Until about six years ago, I wouldn’t go near an oyster — raw or otherwise. Nearly eight years into living near the Gulf Coast my palate has shifted and now I love enjoying a few salty, briny mollusks — especially with champagne. That oysters are loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially zinc, is like a dollop of cocktail sauce on top. It’s a treat to share a dozen with friends during happy hour at Superior Seafood or to order up a couple as an appetizer at Kenton’s. This spring, I slurped down the freshest I’ve ever consumed at Hog Island Oyster Co., while overlooking Tomales Bay on the coast of Northern California. They were plucked out of the water a couple of hours before we arrived and shucked right there at our picnic table. Even though it’s no longer considered the rule to eat oysters only during the “R” months, I still tend to think of September as the start of the season. I look forward to many occasions to belly up to the bivalve for this local, nutritious, sharable delicacy. Pop the bubbly!