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Of Oysters and Gin

Today was rough.

From the moment I sat down at my desk, feet still aching from the 10k, I was busy. Request after request seemed to pile up with seemingly little time to dig myself from the fast-growing pile of work in my queue. There were deadlines, questions, confusion from co-workers, and a general sense that today's pressure greatly out-paced that of my day-to-day. As 4:30 loomed I started to feel like I needed a dramatic break from the mentally cramped environment of the day but I wasn't sure how I'd accomplish that without going straight-away to bed. Not one to call it a night early, I recalled that Can Can has a weekly cocktail tasting that I had yet to attend.

I'm not going to say that I needed a drink but the prospect of good mixology lifted my spirits, so Val and I headed to Carytown for some light fare, cocktails, and atmosphere.

Can Can's cocktail tastings work thusly: from 6-7 on Tuesday nights they mix up free (!) tasting portions of the evenings tipple while the full size is a special price all night. Tonight's sampler was a Gin Rickey (theirs had Bombay, lime, soda, and simple syrup on the rocks) mixed up right, and weighed in at $6.50 if you went for a full dose. Pair that with the Fontina Fondue (which we had at our first dinner there) at $4 bucks and you have a reasonably inexpensive night out with a cocktail and a fancy snack in a classy atmosphere. This evening, however, we had a few other drinks - London Pride on tap, for example - and couldn't resist dessert.

I also crossed a gustatory threshold; I tried, for the first time, oysters on the half shell.

consumed oyster on the half shell

I chose to have my first oyster at Can Can for two reasons. First of all, I'm pretty comfortable with the freshness and quality of this restaurant's food. More importantly, I was able to snag oysters one-at-a-time for $2.50. Steep? I don't know yet. But I do know that I didn't have to commit to a plate of bivalves with the possibility of hating them.

It turned out, however, that raw oysters aren't scary or slimy. They taste...well, they taste like the sea. Nether fishy nor smelly, the oysters and their liquor (the briny liquid in the shell) went down the hatch easily with a quick burst of flavor. The bartender, hearing it was my first experience with oysters, helped me out. I was first served a little guy which was a bit more intense in flavor. I ate this small serving unadulterated since it was my maiden voyage, and the experience was good enough for me to order a second. My next oyster was considerably larger and I spiked him with a squeeze of lemon for a touch more brightness that worked well against the ocean flavor.

All told we were in and out of Can Can in about an hour with some quality eats in between. It was the perfect week night diversion to take my mind off a brutal day in the cubicle farm.