It was good to getaway for the long weekend. The thing about “getting away from it all” is that sometimes, the mind takes longer to come back than the body. I’ve physically been back for almost a week now but mentally, I’m still on vacation. At least I was until tonight.
So now I’m playing catch-up. It’s okay though as I have a slew of things to write about. Specifically, I got to try a lot of beer that I’ve never had before. Instead of boring you with an extremely detailed description of everything we did, I’m just going to break the trip up into multiple posts. It’s just easier that way.
On the way up to Windsor, we took a leisurely drive up the coast to Tomales Bay for oysters. After picking up two bags, we continued our northbound trip only to stop once again for lunch. Having driven by this place a few times, we decided to pull over and stop at The Marshall Store.
Sammy and I ordered the rock cod ceviché and a half dozen smoked oysters. Originally we were just going to drink some water but I didn’t feel right starting off my long weekend without beer so I doubled back inside and picked up a bottle of Downtown Brown and Great White, both by Lost Coast Brewery out of Eureka, CA.
The Great White is Lost Coast’s example of a witbier. This is an unfiltered, wheat beer spiced with corriander and “Humbolt herbs”. This beer has wheat characteristics as well as slight tangy, spritzy citrus notes in the aroma. This beer is a hazy, pale straw in color with a white head. As in the aroma, I can taste the sweet wheat malt and citrus notes. This beer is smooth and slightly creamy in mouthfeel. it is effervescent in its med-hi carbonation and medium body. A great beer to drink on this warm Friday afternoon.
I choose this to pair with the rock cod ceviché. When the ceviché arrived, it was uninspiringly plated in a coated, paper plate and served with a side of tortilla chips and garnished with a leaf of lettuce. I am a huge seafood lover and when I find a place that does ceviché well, I make a note of the place. The Marshall Store ceviché wasn’t too special. The rock cod it was made of tasted fresh and lacked any of the “fishy” smell some seafood may have. I could taste the lemon and lime juice they used to “cook” the cod but it wasn’t overpowering. The fresh tomatoes, red onion and cilantro added a freshness, crispness to counter the texture of the fish. Overall, this was a decent ceviché but nothing to write home about. I found the store bough tortilla chips to be one-dimensional and a cop-out (how hard is it to freshly fry some tortilla chips?) while the lone lettuce leaf didn’t add any value to the dish other than color. This dish went very well with the Great White and elevated the ceviché.
The next beer we had was Lost Coast’s Downtown Brown. An example of the American Brown Ale, this beer poured a milk chocolate sort of brown. It was fairly clear with an off-white head. I could smell the sweet malt aromas but the hop character was subtle, at best. This beer started off sweet and malty but had some toasted bread flavors in the finish. The Downtown Brown is medium-bodied, medium-carbonated with a slight grainy astringency. This beer is a classic example of the style. I found this beer to be enjoyable but a bit on the boring side. I’m not bad mouthing the brewers at Lost Coast more than I am making a comment on a dull style of beer. Still, this is an easy drinking beer that can be versatile in its food pairings.
I picked this beer to pair with our half-dozen order of smoked oysters. The smoked oysters were artfully arranged on the platter. The Marshall Store doesn’t smoke these oysters on the spot, they buy them pre-smoked and packaged. For them to smoke the oysters on the spot would take too long so I can understand when they purchase pre-packed oysters. Despite that, this is a solid dish. The smokiness on the oysters was the dominant flavor, almost overpowering the natural aroma of the oyster. Served on a garlic buttered slice of toasted bread, the smoked oyster was topped off what what tasted like Thousand Island but could’ve been an aioli of some sort. Lastly, a spicy, smoked BBQ sauce was in the middle of the platter. Unfortunately, this dish overwhelmed the Downtown Brown. The brown’s malt flavors were overpowered by the smoke of the oysters and the spice of the BBQ sauce. Still it wasn’t a horrible pairing but the smoked oyster dish begged for something with a bit more balls.
After eating to my tummy’s content, Sammy and I chilled for a few minutes to enjoy the view. When we had left San Jose, the temperature was rising fast. Sitting by the seashore, the weather was perfect by The Marshall Store. The sun was out and a cool, ocean breeze was blowing. We could see a few boats parked right by the store and all along the road way were tables and chairs for The Marshall Store customers. They have a weird alcohol license where they could sell you alcohol but you couldn’t consume it anywhere withing the store premesis. This explains the tables and chairs along the roadway.
The Marshall Store is a quaint little place by the sea. Specializing in oysters, their seaside location almost guarantees the freshest of seafood. They have a surprising selection of local craft beers and a few of the macros as well as wine. Overall, Sammy and I enjoyed the scenery, the food and the beer. It’s a great little place to stop by, stretch your legs and grab a bite to eat. Not a destination unto itself, it does make a nice pit stop along the way.