Few foods possess as many legends and sayings and fictional references and jewelry-based cachet as the not-so-big, kind-of-knobby, definitely briny oyster.
But what a beautiful briny it can be. And what beautiful stories, real and unreal, surround it, from a cameo in "Alice in Wonderland" to pearl mythology to what months are okay are okay for oyster consumption (the letter "R" is said to figure into the month's name, if you don't know this old chestnut).
Or you can scratch all that, plunk yourself down at a seafood house, roll up your sleeves, practice your shucking, and get to the pure oyster enjoyment, an enjoyment that's celebrated with extra gusto come Aug. 5 each year.
What to do, where to go and what to see
For that's National Oyster Day, and while many a seafoodery offers oyster-based choices year-round, you're apt to see the occasional oyster-specific focus on the fifth day of August.
The Rockefeller, both of Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, will throw the bivalve its national holiday bash on the fifth by gifting the gastropubs' customers with a deal: one-buck oysters on Aug. 5, while those salty, sea-flavorful supplies last.
And, yes, you can mix 'n match oyster types, too; they're "seasonal varieties" on the menu, so you should get a fair sampling of tastes.
Can't make it on National Oyster Day itself? Fret now, shucking experts of Southern California: Mondays are your day at The Rockefeller, week in and week out, for one-dollar oysters. Again, while they stay in stock. If a group of major oyster fans gets to the restaurant before you, they may slurp away all of that brine before you can start.
And while we're at it, cheers to Monday night, which has, in many a city across this land, served as the "all you can eat" seafood night, whether it's crab legs by the pound or oysters for a buck a piece. Any eatery doing its part to make savory-up the start of the week gets a hardy high five.
Just be sure to wipe any lemon juice or horseradish from your hand, post-oyster eating, before doling out the deserved high fives.