If you’ve ever wondered how much shuck could a swallower swallow if a swallower could swallow shucks, you need to get to the rooftop of the Canary Hotel on July 28 for Finch & Fork’s first Shuck ’n Swallow competition. “Basically one person shucks oysters, and the other eats them — and the goal is to shuck and eat as many as you can,” explains the hotel’s general manager Reagan Corbett. “Typical winners in the other competitions [at other Kimpton-owned properties] have eaten upwards of 140-150 oysters in 10 minutes. There is a 10-minute qualifying after eating the oysters — if you get what I mean — gotta keep ’em down to win!”
Teams of shuckers and swallowers from the Arlington Tavern, Blush, The Brewhouse, Enterprise Fish Company, Hungry Cat, and, of course, host Finch & Fork will battle it out to see who is the oyster population’s greatest nightmare. Corbett says the event, sponsored by the Santa Monica Seafood Company, which will be providing the oysters, has been successful at the San Diego Kimpton, “and it’s been a blast seeing the restaurants getting together for a little friendly competition. We wanted to bring an event like that to Santa Barbara.”
The festivities will be a bit more leisurely for those attending, but there will be oysters, a “build your own taco” station, and other tasty treats provided by Finch & Fork’s fine chef James Siao. There will also be tastings of local wine and beer— sparkling from Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and a special, event-specific Shuck and Swallow Pilsner from The Brewhouse. Corbett says, “We knew we wanted a beer and a wine partner for this event, so we thought, what’s better than oysters and beer or sparkling?”
A portion of proceeds will also benefit the Environmental Defense Center, a nonprofit that protects and enhances the environment through education, advocacy, and legal action, mostly in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. So it’s good to know the large consumption of oysters — a largely sustainable food anyway — is being balanced by donations to a group protecting the ocean.
And if you don’t get your fill, the event runs right into Finch & Fork’s rooftop Sangria Sunsets, a 4-7 p.m. regular Sunday happening that features $2 oysters shucked to order. Assuming everyone isn’t plumb shuckered out at that point.
Make the munch-the-mollusk scene at Shuck ’n Swallow on the Canary Hotel rooftop (31 W. Carrillo St.), Sunday, July 28, 1-4 p.m. (contest at 2 p.m.). The $30 ticket includes wine and beer tasting and oysters and other snacks. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Environmental Defense Center. Call (805) 879-9100 or visit shuckswallow-sb.nightout.com.