And yet, the species to which this delectable mollusk belongs, Crassostrea virginica, is actually native to the East Coast. (It's one of only five species—along with pacific, olympia, kumamoto, and european flat—grown in the United States.) The Totten Inlet virginicas I tried came from Taylor Shellfish Farms, whose president, Bill Taylor, told me that his family's operation was one of the first to raise virginicas on the West Coast, starting in the 1890s. "There was a high demand back then," Taylor said, "with so many people with money coming to California." Many of them were Easterners with a yen for the oysters they'd left behind. Virginicas thrived in Totten Inlet, where the algae-rich waters of neighboring Little Skookum Inlet meet the brinier ones of the Puget Sound's chilly depths. In these felicitous surroundings, the virginica, prized to this day for its meaty texture and clean taste, gained something more: a singularly buttery, seaweedy flavor balanced by a bracing, oceanic briskness.