Oysters by the Ocean.

Okay, I am aware that seafood is not restricted to the coasts. I live in Chicago, IL - in the middle of the country - and I can still get some great seafood. That being said, there is nothing quite like having fresh seafood directly from the water. Last summer I was in New England and ate lobster in Maine. It was the most delicious lobster I have ever tasted. Yes, it might have been somewhat of a placebo effect given that we were sitting on a pier on the water. There is something about the circumstances and experiences that you are having while enjoying food.

The same happened just a few weeks ago when my brother Erik and I went to the Pacific Northwest for nine days. Our first day in Washington, our cousin and his family took us down to the coast to enjoy fresh oysters. Before we get to the oysters - let's talk about the scenery. Driving down a narrow road in a dense forest, we made our way down to the shore. To put things in perspective for any Midwesterners, my cousins make fun of our forest preserves. They say they should always be called a prairie preserve. If you want to see a true forest, go to the Pacific Northwest where moss covers the trees, where the foliage is so thick that you can barely see beyond a few trees in front of you, where the trees are incredibly tall. After witnessing the forests in the Pacific Northwest, I now understand the mocking of Midwest forests. When I think of Washington and Oregon, I automatically imagine grey skies with a light mist hanging in the air. In true fashion, that is what we experienced. And it was perfect.

Coupled with an array of cheese, crackers and fruit, our meal of oysters was picture perfect. I have had oysters before, numerous times in fact. However, I will go on record and say that sitting at a picnic table, in the Pacific Northwest, next to the water enjoying these oysters far exceeded any other experience that I've had - including eating oysters in Boston.

Tommy.