In Honor of Coronado’s OysterFest: Top 12 Things You Didn’t Know about Oysters

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got oysters on the mind! Lucky for me, Maretalia is hosting its first-ever OYSTERFEST this Saturday from 12-3pm. Think: bottomless oysters, small bites, endless Prosecco and Lillet spritzes. (Link to buy tickets and promo code at end of article.) But it got me thinking…what is it about oysters that makes them so darn delicious? (I know they aren’t for everyone, but they are definitely in my top five food groups.) To me, it’s like taking a taste of the ocean. And what’s not to love about the ocean?

So I did a little research, and compiled these fun and jaunty facts…

  1. Oysters change their gender. What?! It’s true. All oysters start off as male, but most change permanently to female by the time they are a year old. Their reproductive organs produce both sperm and eggs, and they can change gender at their will.  It is technically possible, therefore, for an oyster to fertilize its own eggs.
  2. Humans have been eating and cultivating oysters for thousands of years. Oysters have been eaten by humans since prehistoric times, and cultivated at least since the times of the Roman Empire. The Roman Sergius Orata was the first person known to cultivate oysters by building a system that could control water levels.
  3. Manhattan’s oldest street, Pearl Street, is named so because it was covered with crushed oyster shells. In the 17th century, the shore of New York City was covered in oyster beds, much to the delight of the native Lenape Indians. 
  4. Move over, Brita! Oysters are amazingly powerful little water filters. In fact, each day one oyster filters 50 gallons of water. A healthy one-acre oyster reef filters 24 million gallons…that’s enough to fill 36 Olympic size swimming pools!
  5. Oysters are super good for you. Hooray! Oysters are high in zinc, which is good for your immune system, and also provide calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids, iron, and protein. Oysters are also low in cholesterol.
  6. Most American oysters are of the same species. Oysters harvested from the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay and off the coast of Virginia are all the same oyster, Crassotrea virginica. This oyster species is native to the Gulf Coast and the East Coast. However, this does NOT mean they all taste the same.
  7. Oysters get their flavors from their environments. Although most American oysters are the same species, they have different flavors. Because oysters filter so much water, they develop a flavor profile from their environment. Different bodies of water have varying levels of salt and different kinds of nutrients.
  8. Like wines, oysters have a variety of flavor profiles.  The flavor of oysters can be categorized mainly by the following flavor characteristics: briny, buttery, sweet, metallic and mild. Experts can break down these flavors even further, picking out flavors like melon, cucumber, mushroom and more. 
  9. Oyster reefs are really strong—so strong that they can hold back fierce waves. Oyster reefs provide an effective natural barrier to storm waves and sea level rise. They absorb as much as 93 percent of wave energy, which reduces erosion, flooding, and property damage from coastal storms.
  10. In captivity, an oyster can live up to 20 years. Oysters are capable of spawning within their first year of life, and they reach prime spawning size by the time they are three years old.
  11. Pearls don’t only come from oysters. All oysters are capable of producing pearls, but not the shiny, pretty pearls of value. In fact, most pearls are harvested from an inedible type of oyster as well as from freshwater mussels.
  12. Oyster reefs are endangered world-wide. But reef restoration efforts have been successful!  Oyster reefs are the single most imperiled marine habitat on Earth, with up to 90 percent of wild reefs lost. The main culprit is destructive fishing practices, including over-harvesting, along with habitat loss and declining water quality. Fortunately, oyster reef restoration efforts are very successful. Some 80 restoration projects are currently underway around the U.S., including Nature Conservancy projects in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.  Monitoring of these projects has shown as much as 212 percent increases in oyster growth and 850 percent increases in other marine life on the reefs.

Bonus Fact: 

And the fact you’ve been waiting for…is it true that oysters are good for your sex life? After all, Casanova supposedly ate 50 of them for breakfast each day. But the experts say…sorry, you’re going to have to rely on your charm. There is little–if any–truth to the idea that oysters are an aphrodisiac. They do contain phosphorus and iodine, which may increase human stamina, and zinc is known to aid in production of testosterone. In addition, American and Italian researchers found that a type of mussel related to oysters contains two rare amino acids: D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, which have been shown to increase sperm motility and stimulate testosterone in mice. But no studies have looked at whether that translates to increased libido. 

I hope you found these oyster facts useful! I’m excited to down a bunch of oysters this Saturday at Maretalia. You can buy tickets online here.  Don’t forget the ISLANDGIRL1300 discount code for $5 off.

And remember, Blue Bridge offers a FREE CAR SERVICE to the Village and Cays, so you can enjoy those bottomless mimosas and Lillet spritzes responsibly! See you on Saturday, and let the irresponsible consumption of oysters commence!

Thanks for reading.

Top Ten Reasons to Attend OysterFest at Maretalia

I’m a bonafide oyster freak, so I was delighted to learn that Maretalia is hosting its first ever OysterFest next weekend. Maretalia is celebrating the end-of-summer in style with ENDLESS OYSTERS (as in all you can eat!) as well as bottomless Prosecco! I mean, what’s not to love? 

It’s all happening at Maretalia Saturday, September 14th from 12pm-3pm. The price is $50 a ticket for everything—(must be 21 and up) AND, I’ve got a DISCOUNT CODE!  (Keep reading for code.) 

“OysterFest has been a labor of love that we have been talking about for months,” said Lauren Lemus, General Manager at Maretalia. “It gets so busy on Coronado over the summer and this event gives everyone an opportunity to wind down, relax and enjoy themselves.”

Not like you need a reason to sip champs and suck down oysters, but in case you aren’t convinced, read on for my Top Ten Reasons to Attend OysterFest.

  1. You can test your oyster-eating prowess. How many can you eat in one sitting? I’m sure I can handle at least two dozen. Maybe I’ll go for three.
  2. Pop that Prosecco….as many bottles as you like! Enjoy bottomless Campo Viejo Prosecco.
  3. …Or, indulge in a refreshing Lillet Spritzer. Beat the heat with a cool spritzer, (as many as you want.)
  4. Listen to live music. Guests will be treated to the music of Jenny O’Henny (think an eclectic mix of jazz, blues, and R&B.)
  5. Get a free ride. Um, isn’t it amazing that Blue Bridge does this? Maretalia offers complimentary round-trip car service for residents and visitors in the 92118 ZIP code, including the Cays and surrounding Coronado hotels. Yes, please!
  6. Savor and sample limitless “small bites.” If you need to take a break in between servings of endless oysters, enjoy some small bites like meatball sliders. Also, included in the ticket fee!
  7. Beat the heat and enjoy the A.C. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have air conditioning in my home, so anywhere I can relax in doors in the cool air is pretty fab.
  8. Celebrate the glamorous life. There’s just something so luxurious and classy about Maretalia. It just oozes opulence.
  9. Toast the end of summer with all your friends! Is there a better way to send-off-summer?
  10. Save $5 with the Island Girl discount code! Buy your tickets here before they sell out, and on the first page enter ISLANDGIRL1300 as your discount code.

See you at OysterFest! (Bet I can eat more than you can.)


Summon Your Inner Flower Child at the Bloom Bash!

Peace, love, and lava lamps…oh my! The Coronado Flower Show is turning back the clock for its Saturday night party, so pull out your florals and fringe! It all takes place on Saturday, April 13th under the tents at Spreckels Park from 6:30-9:30pm.

“This year’s flower show theme ‘Flower Power: Looking Back to 1969,’ so we did spin-off of that, and made the party theme ‘Peace, Love, and Flowers,’” explains Colby Erickson Freer, co-chair of the Bloom Bash along with Sara Stillman. “We envision a glammed-up Woodstock…flowers in your hair, toes in the grass.”

Guests will be treated to live acoustic music from Matt Heinecke as they enter the tents, where they will pick up their tasting cards and drink tickets. The area’s top restaurants will be serving up their finest nosh, including Poke 123, Il Fornaio, Attitude Brewing, Saiko Sushi, Miguels, BBQ Boss, Lobster West, and more.

Coronado Brewing Company is pouring beer, and High Tide Bottle Shop and Kitchen will pop bottles of fine wine. In addition, Liberty Public Distillery is mixing up a surprise craft cocktail, just for the event!

You’ll also find a “Braid Bar” by Salon de Ville, and don’t forget to pick up a flower crown from the Coronado Flower Lady.

“Girls are encouraged to wear their hair down so they can take advantage of the glamorous, hippie-chick hair treatment,” says Colby.


Fun Flowery Hippie Chicks

Can it get any better? Oh yes…it can.

Other whisperings include: a lava lamp section, a teepee village, a VW Bus photo opp and some creative, Woodstock-era seating. Does this sound amazing or what?

Who doesn’t love a good lava lamp?

And of course you can’t have a peace, love and flowers-themed party without some killer 60s and 70s music! Never 2L8 will take the stage and perform tried-and-true classics like “I Will Survive,” “Sweet Caroline,” and of course some Janis, Zeppelin and the Stones.

Never 2L8 to perform legendary hits of the era.

“I’ve done a fair amount of riding in some flower power VW bugs and buses in my day,” said Chris Nurding of Never 2L8. “This theme fits our set list nicely. But we’ll also play a few newer, more contemporary songs for the younger attendees.”

After all, it’s about bringing everyone together, right?

Co-chair Sara Stillman is excited for this year’s theme, and emphasizes the spirit of togetherness.

‘The themes of peace, music and flowers are some of the most prolific from 1969, and will fit perfectly within the tents of the Flower Show as well as the Bloom Bash,” says Sara. “Our goal is to bring generations together to celebrate, so this theme ties in wonderfully.”

Sara—who also works as a fourth grade teacher at Christ Church Day School—still remembers entering the Flower Show when she was younger.

Sara at the helm!

“My mom still has my first place ribbon from my entry in the children’s miniature section,” says Sara. “I love coming back year after year to see the flowers and horticulture that Coronado puts on display.”

Colby—a mother of two who works as a Senior Loan Officer at Griffin Funding—also has fond Flower Show memories.

“It was always so magical when the tents went up in the park,” says Colby. “It always seemed so huge, it was its own kind of wonderland. I always loved the ‘dark’ tent, and the section with all the fruit animals.”


Colby with her daughter Coco who just turned one.

Colby takes the home front judging very seriously, and surprised her husband Brad with her zealous approach to gardening when they moved into their first home on I Avenue.

“I told Brad I had to get our front lawn ready for the Flower Show, and he was like, ‘what?’” said Colby. “I went to Home Depot, and spent way too much money, and I put out all these flowers, and I was out there for hours digging in the dirt. When I was done, Brad was like, ‘wow, I love that you have to do this!’ And I think we got a blue—or was it a red—ribbon that year.”

Getting crazy for the home front judging.

Sara also loves the spirit of beautification that the Flower Show brings to the island.

“I get so excited when I see people gardening and putting out flowers in their yard,” said Sara. “It’s amazing that each year, Coronado comes together to celebrate the Flower Show, one of our longest running traditions. It’s part of what makes our small town so wonderful!”

Sara and Colby say they’ve been getting lots of help from their Bloom Bash committee, and members of Coronado Junior Women’s Club.

“Being a part of the Flower Show allows me to help carry on a beloved tradition that I was lucky enough to have as a child,” said Sara. “I want to do my part to make sure future generations will share the same experience, and hopefully add a little fun with parties like Bloom Bash along the way!”

Tickets for the Bloom Bash are on sale now for $45 at

Buy your tickets soon, because the event is expected to sell out! The Bloom Bash ends at 9:30pm, but for those who want to continue to celebrate togetherness, an after-party is “in the works,” according to Colby.

Not sure what to wear? Check out the fashion inspo below! Thanks for reading, and see you at the Bloom Bash!

Caught on Camera: Havana Nights CSF Gala at the Hotel Del Coronado

This picture says it all!

Half of my heart is still at the Hotel Del, basking in the afterglow of Saturday night’s wildly fun Coronado Schools Foundation Gala & Auction. This year’s Havana Nights theme brought out the Carmen Miranda in all the ladies, who came adorned in ornate headpieces and va-va-voom dresses. The boys topped off their tropical looks with fedoras and Cuban cigars.

Guests dined on an amazing surf and turf dinner, sipped on savory wines from Skylark Winery and bid on items like a trip to Miami, sunset boat cruise, orthodontia package, and lots more.

I’ve got to say, we’ve attended every CSF Gala for the last 6 years, but this one was the hottest yet! Congrats to Donna Salof and Dollie Caitlin who chaired a fabulous event, and everyone who helped make it a success. So excited to see the community rally behind the spirit of giving to our schools!

Did you miss the fun? Check out the pics.

Good night, Club Tropicana!

And last, but not least, here’s a picture of what happens when you sleep through the delivery of your nighty-night burrito. Don’t let this happen to you.

Thanks for reading everyone! See you next year at CSF!