Road Trip to Mendocino: The Marshall Store for BBQ Oysters


We are driving up Highway 1 to the town of Mendocino! For lunch, I want to show you a fabulous, very casual restaurant that’s right on the water. It’s just over an hour away from San Francisco so an easy day trip if you live in the Bay Area.

Road Trip to Mendocino: The Golden Gate Bridge


First stop while heading over to Highway 1 is the Golden Gate Bridge.  To get to this look-out point, you take your first right after you cross the bridge heading north. The views are amazing and it’s totally worth the stop.

Road Trip to Carmel: Lunch!

I usually try to eat healthy but since I did have a Nutibullet V8 this morning (spinach, carrots, parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon, avocado and tabasco) I’m going to live it up and try something new. I’m at The Forge restaurant in Carmel, California. I arrived early and got my favorite table by the outdoor fireplace.


I ordered the steamers and they were divine. You’ll want a spoon so you can scrape the bottom of the bowl after you run out of garlic bread.

I also ordered the pastrami egg rolls. My waitress said they were amazing! Well, they are good but they are really flirting with cholesterol levels that could make someone like me feel the need to fast for a week. I’d say pass on those but for sure, order the steamers.


Lets walk through town!

Are Oysters Male or Female?

Oysters on the Half Shell
Oysters on the Half Shell

Are oysters male or female? And if an oyster is male, can it change into a female?  Questions which may have caused you toss and turn at night. Well toss and turn no more.  This blog is going to give you a whole new attitude toward these fruits of the sea.

First, if an oyster is fixed with a lot of “stuff” piled up on it, I will eat it. Not a many, but definitely a few. I was at happy hour with my girlfriends and took this photo. Here’s what I like about these particular oysters. First, they are basking on a bed of salt. (Does anyone know if it’s ok to eat a rock or two off the plate? Because I’d almost rather eat the salt.) I also like that there is lemon and the bowl with some mixture (I can’t remember what was in it, but it was pretty good). But here’s what was missing – horseradish and tabasco sauce. If there is anything else I should try on an oyster, please let me know.

So there are a few facts about these slippery little morsels that you can share on a date or, at a party. I must warn you. If you’ve never eaten an oyster, this information may make you NEVER eat one, ever. And if you love them…well maybe you should know a little bit more about what you’re getting yourself into.

1. Is It a Male or Female Oyster? Here’s a fact that surprised me – oysters have both eggs, as well as sperm, so oysters have the ability to change their sexes, which they do, at least once. (Which makes me once again think twice before eating one.) Not something I’d bring up on a hot date as a topic of discussion, but interesting.

2. What’s that about an R? Probably most people have heard about the relationship oysters and “R’s” have been having over the years. If you’re in a month with an “R”, the oysters you’re going to eat will be tastier. These months include May-August, which are of course the hottest months during the year. It makes a lot of sense – way back when, people were advised against eating oysters during these months because of the lack of proper refrigeration.  I knew someone who got sick on an oyster once and it was quite a while before I ate another one. So start slurping them down now because May is just a month away.

3. How do you know if an oyster is alive? There’s one sure way to tell if an oyster is alive. If its shell is open, just tap on it with your fingers, and it snaps shut, then it’s alive. (Sorry, sorry! Are we eating them alive???)

4. Oysters breathe like fish: Oysters contain both gills and mantle which allows them to breathe.  Here’s something that will make you charge over to the nearest bar and place an order: Oysters also have stomachs, intestines, and they have hearts that pump a clear blood (we’re eating raw blood???), along with the oxygen, through their bodies. And if that’s not enough, their kidneys clean impurities from their blood. (Yummmm….)

5. Let’s get to something I can really relate to – Pearls…..Oysters produce very few pearls naturally. (Probably because they are too busy switching back and forth between being a male and female.) Most pearls begin with human intervention. Pieces of shells or beads are inserted inside an oyster. The oyster then covers the foreign substance with layers of protein and calcium and voilà! A pearl is produced. Too bad I couldn’t place a rock in a canvas bag, place it in my dryer and voila, a Gucci bag is produced.

6. And can oysters enhance your love life? If you click FOLLOW I might answer that question in a follow up blog…and you’ll be the first to hear. 😉

Gig Harbor, Washington

Sunrise View at Gig Harbor, Washington
Sunrise View at Gig Harbor, Washington

When I knew I was traveling to Seattle I posted on Facebook and asked people where I should go. My friend Michael was the first to get back to me and told me Gig Harbor (!) My ears always perk up when I hear “harbor” so I immediately looked it up on the internet. I could see that it wasn’t a far drive from Seattle and decided to take the day and explore that area. I got up at 5:30am, hit the original Starbucks, headed south on highway 5 and then north at Tacoma on highway 16. Gig Harbor is the name of both a bay on Pugent Sound and a city on its shore. Quick travel note – you can also take a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and then drive down to Gig Harbor, but either way you’ll need a car to get there.

It was raining, overcast and a very chilly that day. I know a lot of people wish for sun when they are shooting photos, but I personally love photographing under the clouds and especially in the rain.



Here’s a little history – During a heavy storm in 1840, Captain Charles Wilkes brought the Captain’s gig into the harbor for protection. Later, with the publication of Wilkes 1841 Map of the Oregon Territory, he named the bay Gig Harbor. The boats today must look totally different. I was there in the winter so it was really quite. It must be absolutely bustling in the summer, boats crisscrossing in the harbor, people in bathing suits, fishing, etc. For me? I prefer the solitude I found that beautiful morning.


The harbor where I shot these images is just to the right as you enter the city. After, I had breakfast at Tides Tavern. The restaurant has waterfront views and they got my eggs right (always seems like a science project) – poached medium -medium well, whites cooked, yokes runny. (What I wouldn’t give to that in front of me now!)

Tides Tavern Resturant
Tides Tavern Resturant

And yes, fabulous, thick perfectly cooked bacon. I’m surprised the fruit bowl was brave enough to sit so close to that assortment of cholesterol packed, tasty morsels.

Here’s a map that shows you were Gig Harbor is located.  Next, we’re going to head north to the town of Poulsbo and then over to Bainbridge Island.  If you’d like to recieve my next post by email please click the follow button. Cheers!

gig harbor map

If you’d like to purchase a print of this beautiful area, please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors / saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image ½ inch off the wall.

©2013 Shelley D Spray – No content  on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

Seattle Crab Pot

PhotoGirlTravels_Crab Pot

If you can’t remember the last time you wore a bib, then it’s time. There’s nothing more exhilarating than whacking away on your dinner with a mallet, bib tied close around your neck, burning those unwanted calories while you eat. I had the opportunity to do just that when I was at the Seattle Crab Pot. There are a number of things you can order on the menu but their specialty is a huge pot of steamed seafood, grilled corn, potatoes and spicy sausage served with melted butter and lemon (and of course an ice cold beer). After you order sit back and relax. Soon you’ll see your waitress weaving her way over to your table holding a huge overflowing bowl of goodness which is dumped right on your table.

There are four different choices to pick from:

PhotoGirlTravels_Crab Pot 4

So was it really that good?  Check it out for yourself.  My sister was able to join me for dinner so you can see the damage two women can do.

PhotoGirlTravels_Crab Pot2

The Crab Pot is at Pier 57 and the restaurant literally floats on the bay.  And after dinner (or before) you can even steal a kiss if you want.

PhotoGirlTravels_Crab Pot 6