Walter Mencken 10:06 a.m., Feb. 6
Sixth Annual Shuck 'N' Swallow at LoungeSix
Popular San Diego restaurants battle in an oyster eating competition that has much excitement for the public, too.
According to Wikipedia, more than 85,500 species of mollusks exist today, with many being oh-so delicious.
You have your more advanced cephalopods, the squid and the octopus, and your gastropods such as snails.
However, neither of these classes of mollusks are as widely enjoyed as that of the bivalve.
One bivalve, in particular, reigns supreme in the lemon-and-cocktail sauce set - the oyster.
Watch our favorite raw bivalve be consumed by the hundreds at JSix's Sixth Annual Shuck 'N' Swallow oyster eating competition.
This oyster party is Wednesday, April 17 at 5p.m. on Hotel Solamar/JSix's rooftop bar LOUNGEsix (616 J Street), where ten restaurants will compete for the coveted oyster lei prize.
Each of the ten competing restaurants will construct a team of two - one who will be the schucker, one the swallower - to battle it out to see who is able to eat the most shucked oysters in ten minutes.
Last year, Blue Point took the crown for eating 145 oysters, and they'll be back again this year to defend their title.
This year's participating restaurants are:
Ten celebrity culinary judges will also be on hand to judge the restaurant teams on technique, team theme, agility and perhaps even form, with the winners receiving a sort of gag prize for their efforts.
Last year, for example, Antonio Friscia of Gaijin paired his shucked oysters with champagne and ate less than 20, perhaps coveting style and the gag prize more than bragging rights.
This year's judges include:
Sam the Cooking Guy
Patrick "Paddy" Glennon
and more, with Brian Malarkey emceeing the event.
Previously held in other cities, Santa Monica Seafood will once again be donating 2,000 oysters for this event which will also include a new addition - Public Oyster Races.
Although it will be free to watch the main event, the Public Oyster Races will be $20 to enter and will see who can eat a certain number of pre-shucked oysters the fastest.
The Oyster Race winner will receive a Shuck 'N' Swallow T-shirt, which can also be purchased for $15 and will get you $5 drinks all night.
For those who'd rather spectate than compete, ten different food and drink specials will be offered as a prize just for showing up.
So, really, everyone's a winner.
Image by Chris Morrow