Hey Jim and Huey, how ya doing.
Yes I have had Willipa's many times. But it is an all day drive for me. I have to "Pack my lunch", so to speak. I only get them when I am passing through somewhere north. Were talking three hours just to Astoria, then cross the bridge and on up into Hueys turf. They do have people selling them out of their car trunks along Hwy 101, but I have never trusted that they were fresh. I get them from the source or not at all.
Hey Huey, that reminds me. I get them from Hamma Hamma, every time I am up on "The Hood". Those Canal Oysters are pretty darn good too. Last time I dove at Mike's, he let us pick some off his property.
Meanwhile Jim, don't think you know it, but there is a 'new game in town'. A guy named Mike Marshall started a company called "Suspended Singles". He raises Gormet Oysters for the European marketplace. He signed a 'non-compete' with the other Oyster Farm, so he can't sell locally. They farm them in the top 18 inches of the water column. Cull them once a week. If two or more Oysters stick together they are culls. Guess who chows down on the culls. Haa Haa!! Call a quarter sized Oyster a 'cull'. I dare you. They are candy. We eat his Oysters raw, after popping them open on the BBQ. Or they go into 'shooters'.
And Geek, just for clarification, most people I know don't like the large or supersize Oysters. Too full of 'goosh' (scientific term) LOL. If I have those big babies, which I try to avoid, I pan fry low and slow until the goosh goes away. For popping open on the BBQ, I use nothing but medium's or smaller. Here you have several choices. Eat them as soon as they pop, either naked or with a sauce. Or you can move them over to the smoker and run a pan of smoke against them. Not trying to cook them any more, just trying to impart the smoke to them. The Smalls, the Babys and the Petites are eaten raw. They don't last long enough to get cooked, let alone smoked. They go into a shot glass, topped with your favorite sauce and are slammed down, right in front of a nice cold brewski.
I buy them by the bushel. 4-5 dozen in a bushel, depending on size. It is a great party idea. Keeps guests busy and fascinated for hours.
I don't have any experience with East coast Oysters, but bet they are great too.