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Oct 10th
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Soft and Succulent

dining_Oyster2According to Seafood Watch, farmed oysters, which constitute 95 percent of the world's harvest, are considered a "Best Choice" in terms of sustainability. Nutritionally, a trio of these bivalves has only 30 calories and provides more than 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance of zinc and B-12 and a third of the iron requirement. Purists can guiltlessly slurp away on these open-faced mollusks raw or heated over coals until bubbles just begin to appear in their natural juices.

As a child, I first encountered an oyster hidden in a combination basket of Gilda's deep-fried Fisherman's Catch ($12.75). Its soft center contrasted favorably to the flaky cod and crisp calamari tentacles.

There are numerous places to enjoy oysters on the Santa Cruz Wharf. Riva's Fish House tops them with either salsa verde or guacamole ($9.95) and spicy pepper Jack cheese, and then broils them to molten perfection.

À la Florentine refers to spinach and Mornay sauce, but at Gilbert's Firefish Grill three Oysters Florentine ($8.95) were nestled in a bed of rock salt, topped with spinach plus chopped artichoke hearts and bits of chewy, smoky bacon. Drizzled with Hollandaise, the oysters were warm and tender.

Why all this talk about oysters? Well, a friend was raving about the Oyster Stew ($7.95) at the Dolphin Restaurant. Although not listed on the take-out window's menu, the cook happily accepted my request. I had no idea of what to expect as I waited patiently with the seagulls for the cooked-to-order soup.

Warning: the following may pose unsuitable risk to dieters. From a cup and a half of cream and butter wafted the deliriously tantalizing aroma of seafood. I tasted just a hint of hot spice in the silky thick broth. At the bottom of the carton lay four plump oysters, hot but still succulently soft.


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Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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