The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Friday, August 15, 2008


I love raw oysters, but beware these

by Larry Geller

Oyster (Wikipedia)

Just a word to oyster lovers.

I suggest not buying oysters at Costco unless the box is sealed shut.

We were over there today and observed three teenage boys going through the boxes of oysters in the refrigerator cabinet. They were opening each box and handling and inspecting each oyster!

Of course, we called this to the attention of nearby staff, but they took a long time getting over to the oyster fridge, and so the boys were gone. We suggested that they now need to throw out all the oysters in the fridge because they don’t know which ones were handled.

At the customer service desk we suggested that the boxes be taped shut before being put out. Nearly everything has a safety seal, you’d think oysters would also.

Many people eat oysters raw, so we thought you ought to know about this.

Update: An anonymous comment over at Disappeared News where I cross-posted this article warns against the dangers of eating raw oysters that have not been properly processed. Since many people don’t look at comments, I thought I would copy it into the main article here. Anonymous writes:

Check out the website I was shocked to learn that several individuals die each year from the consumption of raw oysters that are contaminated with naturally occurring Vibrio bacteria. Some gulf states have chosen to not take action in order to make raw oysters safe for ALL consumers.

Several years ago, the state of California made a requirement that all imported raw oysters must be pasteurized and since that requirement was put into place there have been NO FURTHER DEATHS in that state.

In order to affect change, consumers need to only accept oysters that are SAFE through post harvest processing or through being cooked. Consumer demand drives the market and the industry would be forced to provide oysters that did not lead to unnecessary deaths.

The website has a wealth of information available and also explains how you can help in making the consumption of oysters safe for everyone. Please help us to spread the word and sign the petition.

Reading through the website, it seems to me that the number of individuals who get sick seems low, but on the other hand, one doesn’t want to become one of them. The consequences seem rather horrible!

Knowledge is good, so make your own choice about when/if to eat raw oysters.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008


Eel alert #2

KabayakiThis is the second and (I believe) last eel alert for this year. Please see Eel Alert #1 for details.

According to the Japanese calendar, Tuesday, August 5, 2008 is the second Doyo No Ushi No Hi for this year.

When I visited Don Quijote, they were amply supplied with frozen 9.5 ounce imported eels. So no excuses. You’ll also need a little bottle of unagi no tare (eel sauce) if you’re out.

Or, of course, you could grab your eels at any fine Japanese eatery in town. Since only a few of us know about Doyo No Ushi No Hi, there won’t be a mad rush for reservations, as there is in Japan.


Back at the market feels good

Red Bell Pepper We skipped the Bishop Museum shindig last weekend, but that meant no farmers’ market shopping. Instead, we took a step back and shopped a little at Kokua Market (which has some of the same local produce that’s at the KCC Saturday Market) and at Costco.

This weekend the market is back at KCC, and so were we. And it feels good. Here’s why.

Costco has a bag of mixed color bell peppers that we used to buy back in the old days, as soon as Costco arrived on Oahu. The price break felt good. Times Supermarket wanted both an arm and a leg for a few limp peppers, and although Safeway produce was more affordable, it was no better quality. We did better in price and in quality at Costco.

But munching on Costco peppers last week was a disappointment. They were not as crisp as the ones we’ve become used to from the Saturday market, and they had little flavor. Less snap, less taste.

At Kokua we bought a bag of greens. A big difference was that the bag was not as fresh as the same greens bought at the market, and that really matters. Some leaves were already soft and almost done for. The next day, they had that slightly slimy feel that lets you know it’s time to cook them or lose them.

The mangos looked good in the display at Kokua. I reached for one, and my thumb sank in. Oops. All of them were ‘way overripe. Those would not sell at the Saturday market, and it wouldn’t be worth it for farmers to lug unsalable produce there and just throw it away later.

KCC Market

So we bought greens, mangos, papayas, radishes, lychees, and all kinds of other stuff at the market. Some prepared Thai bentos also, to eat for lunch. We tried duck confit crêpes made by Le Guignol (excellent!). Scored the best garlic boiled peanuts at Blue Lotus Farms. Chose an olive whole wheat bread at Ba-Le Bakery.

The week is off to a great start.


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