It isn't often in this world that we get to use the word "slurp" in everyday conversation, nor do we get to employ the fun-to-say term in a firmly emphatic manner.
That all changes, however, when you're standing next to your friend, and your friend is holding an oyster as he debates whether he'll chew it or down it in faster fashion. "Slurp it!" is often the bystander's cry, for oyster enjoyment is sometimes a multi-person experience.
You best prepare to gingerly slurp, or support your slurping friends as they cautiously consume an oyster, at Grand Central Market on Saturday, Oct. 1 and Sunday, Oct. 2. The downtown public market is preparing to dive deep into bivalve-land, better known as shell-encased savoriness, better known as the DTLA Oyster Festival.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Prepare for a full-on shuck scene as Washington's Hama Hama, "the oldest oyster farm on the West Coast," and the Morro Bay Oyster Company will be in the house (along with mollusk mavens like Rock Harbor Oysters out of Cape Cod and Grassy Bar Oysters out of Morro Bay).
There are oyster shucking workshops — those are gratis — and a "shell-art booth" where youngsters may create "their own oyster-shell pendants" and more creative, ocean-inspired items.
As for the learn-how-to-shuck opportunities, best reserve your spot (even though you don't need to pay to join). They were popular last year, which was the first outing for the festival, and are bound to be so in 2016, as 2015 shucking students spread the good word.
You can tell them you're joining here (and, indeed, no less than an oyster master will teach the course). (The term is Maitre Écallier, but then you surely knew that.) (And the teacher is Christophe Happillon of Oyster Gourmet.) (Parentheses, seen in a row, sometimes take on the form of oyster shells.)
You'll need cash for food, and if you want to join a pair of ticketed classes, you'll need to pay for those as well. A tasting course is on the menu, and one dealing with wine pairings (those vinos that make the brine of the oyster shine).
If a trip up the coast isn't in the immediate cards for you, and you long to find a wooden bench, near a harbor, for some serious pop-shell supping, the DTLA Oyster Festival could be your next feel-satisfied stop.
Downtown doesn't have the waves or boats or foghorns, but it is closer than some of the coast's great oyster farms, so that rules. As does the chance to slurp now and then in public eating situations.