Friday, October 16, 2009

New York - Friday Evening - The Oyster Bar

On Friday evening, after I arrived by train in New York from Connecticut and settled in at my hotel, I headed back to Grand Central Station to meet Tobias and his partner, James, near the big clock in the center of the main floor. As Tobias said, there were so many people gathered around, it was like Grand Central Station. We met and headed for the bar section of The Oyster Bar until our table was ready.

I saw James and Tobias in Anaheim, but I didn't spend much time with James. I suppose that he was very busy, as he has an important job at 815, from which he will soon be retired due to belt-tightening by the national church. Tobias was, to be sure, quite busy, too, but we ran into each other twice in the cafeteria and had lunch together. James and Tobias are charming company. What could be better than an evening of drinks, excellent company, sparkling conversation, and good food?

We shared calamari as an appetizer. For the next course, Tobias had oysters on the half shell, and James and I had a spicey clam chowder. I tasted one of Tobias' oysters, which was good, but Louisiana oysters are better. I have not yet found oysters anywhere that are as delicious as those from Louisiana. Since the appetizer and soup pretty well filled me up, I was glad that I had ordered a crab salad. The big chunks of blue crab meat mixed with fresh greens, tomatoes, and a nice dressing, made for a heavenly salad. I can't tell you what the others ate, because I was swept away by my delicious crab salad.

I told Tobias and James the story of FDR's visit to New Orleans during Robert Maestri's term as mayor of the city. Maestri, who had only a third grade education, threw a dinner for FDR, which included oysters in the menu. As they were eating, Maestri leaned over to FDR and asked, "How ya like dem erstuhs?" Oh, the horror! What did FDR, with his patrician manner of speaking, think of that?

Tobias took the picture below without being able to see what he was snapping, but he got us centered on the second try. He looks to have gained about 10 pounds during the meal. If you've seen other pictures of Tobias, you'll know that he is quite slender.

Tobias, James, and me

Altogether a lovely evening.

And as a special treat, below is a picture of Tobias in another life, his life as an actor. Yes, that's Julie Harris in the picture. Tobias played Tad Lincoln in James Prideaux's "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln", with Julie Harris as Mrs. Lincoln, at the Kennedy Center Opera House and the ANTA Theater on Broadway (1972-3). How about that? More than two years ago, before I knew Tobias at all well, I boldly posted on his life in the theater after a bit of snooping around and internet stalking. Here's the post from June of 2007. Be sure to read the comments.

Julie Harris and Tobias Haller


  1. It sounds like a lovely evening! And I know what great company that James and Tobias can be as I met them at a dinner with you in 2008.

    Here's my secret... I lived in the NYC area all those years, commuted in and out of Grand Central for all those years and yet I never once ate a the Oyster Bar.


    One day!

    Glad you had fun with these fine gentlemen!

  2. Calamari---food of the gods. And in such wonderful company too! Swoon and sigh...


  3. Fran, yes. That evening, we had a lovely dinner at Molyvos, the Greek restaurant. The food at The Oyster Bar is quite good. James made the recommendation.

    Doxy, I aim to make everyone jealous with this post. And my account of Saturday and Sunday follows, with more lovely people and more delicious food.

  4. Mimi, I agree wholeheartedly about Louisiana oysters--but I would gladly put up with inferior oysters for an evening with Tobias and James!

  5. Oh GREAT, here I sit in the middle of the campo wherever it is that I think I am (but it ain´t anywhere near a Oyster fav in NY is at The Plaza Hotel) talking/reading about great food...well, I´ll buckle down my jealous longings and wait for tomorrows craving installment (I´m great at pretending nothing is amiss) ´bout a Tamale (tomorrow is Saturday, Saturday is Tamaleday) in exchange for that crab salad?

    I had fun at your Grand Central party/reunion...thanks for including me.


  6. Kirke, as I was quite happy to do. Erstuhs be damned.

    Poor Len! For your sake, perhaps I'll tone down my next postings a bit.

  7. I, for one, am quite jealous, so I think you've succeeded. I do enjoy oysters and so far I think I like the Pemaquid Oyster (local to our bay) the best. Before moving here my favorites were Olympia. The tastes of oysters vary so much and I find myself really liking some and not liking others at all. Never did develop a taste for the oysters from north of San Francisco. Chacun à son goût.

  8. Such good company... unlike other commentators, the food isn't making me salivate. But my, you get around!

  9. Sounds like a wonderful evening, yummy food as well! I love calamari!

  10. Calamari and Clam Chowder both have me salivating and Crab salad would be good too. Not that keen on oysters myself but am sure the company was scintillating.

  11. I remember your post outing the actor and, because I try to do whatever Mimi tells me, almost, just reread it and all the comments. I was just trying to behave back then. Yes, Tobias was a fox in the theatre and remains terribly cute, but I try not to drool over other men's husbands. At least not obviously.

    So glad y'all had a good time.

    Yes, I'm jealous of your gallivanting about getting to meet up with everybody, but I'm blessed that this included me.

    So good to have you back blogging.

  12. I can't comment on the difference between New York and Louisiana ersters. I've never been to the Oyster Bar, and I've only had the Texas variety (that was millions of years ago in Galveston in one of those old oyster houses by the Bay with piles of oyster shells out back; "oyster stew," basically chowder with oysters in it, was my father's idea of a bowlful of heaven).

    Tobias was a real looker! Brains and looks; no wonder James fell for him!

  13. Amelia, I've tasted oysters in Seattle, but I did not like. I don't know that they were Olympia oysters, but that seems likely. They were quite small.

    Paul, have I really known you that long? We're getting a history behind us.

    Counterlight, wait until I write about Sunday. You will be the star of the story.

    Grandpère and our friend from Connecticut are talking about making the fishing expeditions an annual October affair. That might mean that I would go to Connecticut and possibly New York every autumn. Whoo-whoo!

  14. That might mean that I would go to Connecticut and possibly New York every autumn. Whoo-whoo! GM

    Oh, more GM jealousy creeping into another day...I spent part of my recent travels in the U.S. visiting ¨Sunny¨ and her husband, Claus von Bülowlike people on a huge spread of luxurious farming countryside (she leases it out to the peasants like days/daze of old), with her own lake, in the North of was horrid (thank God they won´t be reading this) and I´ll NEVER go back! I wanna follow GM around instead, as she has better luck.

  15. "Counterlight, wait until I write about Sunday. You will be the star of the story."

    Oh dear.

  16. Len, so then you'd stalk me in real life? Well, have at it. I had a lovely visit, both in Connecticut and in New York.

    Counterlight, don't worry. If I embarrass you, it will be because of too much praise. My whole weekend in New York and New Jersey was extraordinary.

  17. Mimi, thanks for this reminder of the lovely time we shared. Now it is in cyberspace and the Wayback Machine forever!

    Much love, and now I'm salivating too!

  18. Tobias dahling, it was lovely, wasn't it? You and James are delightful company.

  19. I tasted one of Tobias' oysters, which was good, but Louisiana oysters are better. I have not yet found oysters anywhere that are as delicious as those from Louisiana.

    Behold, the Provincial: just can't take you anywhere, can ya?


    [Received my first, brief, lesson on oysters from a lovely tranny prostitute in Portland, OR c. 1988. No, the above is not a euphemism! ;-p]

  20. Behold, the Provincial: just can't take you anywhere, can ya?

    Only about the erstuhs, JCF, only the erstuhs.

  21. Your post made me open eye dream for several minutes. I am stuck in Africa cos of a one year contract i got here, and everyday i am in search of such stories to keep myself alive :) How i miss NYC

    Experience New York


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