South Beach 2010

Yes, it's cold out there (still). But there are some mighty wonderful perks to working on an oyster farm in the winter. One being that you're allowed to trade one beach for another.

During the insanity of the summer, it was hard to believe we'd ever get a break or that I'd ever recover from the physical (and, um, mental) exhaustion. But as with the tide and the cycle of farming, there are ebbs and flows. Now, it's clear to me why things just have to slow down in the winter. Your body -- and mind -- need a break.

After 2 months in the office, it seemed that break would never come. Sure, I'm now sitting behind a desk instead of laboring under crates and freezing temps on the farm. But that means very little in terms of the amount of work I've accomplished since Jan 1. There was the madness of the Stout launch as well as a series of back-to-back shucking events. At at the tail end of it came the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which we made our way home from late last night.

The Festival served a few purposes for Island Creek: to get the brand in front of some well-known chefs and to introduce food lovers to the convenience of our online store (ahem: you can order our oysters direct to your door). As the temporary marketing chica, I went down to show off all the things I'd learned (and love) about ICO.

The dynamic, I have to admit, was a little weird for me. In the past, I've attended these events as a member of the press, or in some cases just for fun. I would go to eat and drink, to pick up story ideas, and of course, to shmooze. I never pictured myself on the other side of it working the events as a part of the staff and dealing with the logistics of moving to and fro while catering to a crowd.

But after shucking at three events in a whirlwind 28-hour period, I'm satisfied to say, I prefer being on the other side.

A quick rundown on why:

-- Watching The Ace of Cakes cast fall in love with our oysters and our tshirts.

-- Shucking side by side with Chefs Daniel Boulud and Ken Oringer.

-- Slurping oysters with chefs Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger), John Besh (Restaurant August), and Ryan Hardy (Montagna at the Little Nell).

-- Marching the raw bar down Collins Ave at 3 a.m. behind a pair of 3-inch heels (and then sitting down to a late-late-late night dinner of pizza, hummus, and brie).

-- Setting up at The Delano (sadly, without being able to take home a Tiffany's box)

Chasing rainbows.

-- Doing the YMCA at Disco and Dim Sum with Ming, The Cushmans (O Ya), chef Tim Love (Lonesome Dove), and (a very hungry) Eric Ripert (Le Bernadin).

-- And if all that weren't enough, enjoying a million laughs with my animated, industrious crew. (Thank you thank you thank you CJ, Shore, Asia & Nicole!)

There are details I'm leaving out but for good reason. A) My wrists are tired. B) The pictures tell the best parts of the story. C) You can find some of the rest on the Island Creek website. (Pssst: We have a news blog. Guess who's writing it?)