When I travel to different cities I always enjoy checking out their oyster bars and Japanese restaurants. I like to tell myself that it's market research, but ultimately I just like these places and want to feel less guilty about spending oodles of money on raw little bivalves.
In Anchorage, Alaska, I had the chance to check out this lovely small oyster bar called the Bubbly Mermaid.
It could seat around 8 people. There was a large selection of champagne and on that day only one type of oyster... but we could choose to have it prepared in a myriad of ways (including natural). Small space means people become friendly with each other, and throw in the natural friendliness of the folks in Alaska and it was a warm time chatting with the folks there.
A few days later we found ourselves in Portland, Oregon and wandering by the riverfront. Needing a break we ducked into Dan & Louis Oyster Bar. There was a cool girl shucking oysters, manning the bar, and chatting with the customers. I was amazed at her ability to multi-task. Even more amazed when she said it was only her second day at work.