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Friday, December 19, 2014

Post Thanksgiving in Austin - Odd Duck and Lick Ice Creams

Oh man... it's almost Christmas! And I haven't even finished my Thanksgiving posts yet!! Time flies...

Well, to continue on the culinary trip in Austin, we had dinner at Odd Duck. They also used to operate out of a trailer. When it closed, I was so sad because I never got to try it. Then I found out they opened an actual restaurant! Yay! I immediately called for reservations.

Odd Duck
1201 S Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 433-6521
Price: $$-$$$

Unfortunately there weren't great times available for a Saturday night dinner. And they told me they don't really take reservations between 6-8ish because the traffic is so high. So I went ahead and reserved for 5:45PM for 5 people. We were driving back to Dallas later that night anyways so an early dinner may not be so bad.

As the day went on, my fiance's parents decided to join us. I called to see if we could add 2 more people and they told me it would be an hour and half wait. Eeeeks! But we decided to go and chance it anyways.

I really love the outside design of the building. (You can see a nice picture of it on their website.) And the inside was cool too. Kind of rustic-chic. It's not a big place. I checked in with the hostess. She was very nice but said it was about an hour for a group of 7, but she's going to see what they can do. I told them we can sit separately if need be. In the mean time, we ordered some drinks.

Draft Apple Cider Moscow Mule (house ginger beer, apple cider, citrus, vodka) $8~ (right)

Hendricks Gin and Lemonade. (left) This is kinda my go-to drink now. I absolutely love Hendricks Gin, so refreshing.

I went to check in with the hostess after about 15-20 minutes, and she told me there was a table that is late for their reservation and have not called them. So if they pass their 15 min window, then we can have their table. And... to our luck, they were no-shows! Sweet! So I think we maybe waited about 30-40 minutes or so? Didn't feel like a long time. They still had to put us in 2 tables for 4, but it was next to each other.

Odd Duck's menu is pretty small and it's more tapas style. Smaller plates and everyone shares. However, for the smaller plates the prices weren't equally small. haha. I've realized that for most tapas places actually. Tricky.... XP

Since we had 2 separate tables, we ordered separately, but passed everything among the 2 tables. hehe.

Pretzel (ham and cheese, mustard bechamel) $6~ 
These were so cute! I love the presentation in the mug. They gave 1 pretzel for each person. The ham and cheese is baked inside the pretzel. And the mustard bechamel was divine! Rich and creamy and just a bit of tang from the mustard. Paired perfectly with the soft but chewy pretzel. We tried to keep the cup with the leftover bechamel. But at some point it got taken away. haha.

Today's Taco (pigs ears $5~ each). 
We got 2 of these to split among 4-5 of a bite per person essentially. It had really good flavor. I think the tortilla was corn but I didn't mind it. Usually I hate corn tortilla cuz of the flavor but this was very mild. I was excited about the pigs ears but I've had better. I'm not sure how they cooked it but it was too soft. Pigs ears are supposed to be a little chewy and crunchy since there's a thin layer of cartilage between the skin. I wanted more of that texture.

Lamb Kebab (meyer lemon relish, green chile hummus) $7~ 
This was surprisingly good. You know me... I don't like lamb. But the gaminess wasn't bad at all, and it was an explosion of flavor. I really loved the hummus as well, especially with the raisins which added a burst of sweetness.

Roasted Beets (borscht, dill, creme fraiche, chips) $8~ This was interesting, lots of textures and different flavors. I wouldn't order it again, but enjoyed it.

I really liked how their plates and cups all have different designs. Very eclectic, and quite homey.

Buckwheat Crumpet (broccoli, fondue, maitake, hazelnut, duck egg) $14~ 

I thought this sounded really interesting. It was so cute on the afternoon tea-esque plate. A play on tea and crumpets, I'd imagine. hehe. Small portion but sooooo good. This was my favorite dish of the night even though everything else was delicious. I loved the texture of the crumpet. Kinda like a fluffy pancake? But the size of a biscuit. This dish was rich and comforting. The duck egg and fondue made it so creamy. The hazelnuts were a great addition. It added texture and nuttiness. So many flavors and yet it looks so simple. I'd get one just for myself next time. haha.

Cast Iron Pintos (pancetta, grilled cabbage, sage) $11~ 
The other table ordered this and I got a bite. I'm usually not a fan of pinto but this was so good. The beans were creamy and you get the flavor and fattiness from the pancetta but then the frisee on top added freshness and crispness. And the kitchen accidentally made us a second one so we got more of this for free!

Grilled Bacon (corn pudding, chanterelles, mustard greens) $14~ 
This was my #1 pick from the menu to order. I love bacon and all the elements are some of my favorites too. I love corn and mushrooms! The bacon was smokey and flavorful, with just enough fat. And I thought it was plated beautifully.

Spaghetti (fennel pork sausage, egg yolk, mint) $13~ 
This was my 2nd favorite dish. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. The sausage was yummy and I loved the snow pea leaves in there. We eat a lot of snow pea leaves in Chinese cooking but it's very rare in western cuisine. So I'm always surprised when I see it.

Special of the Day: Pork Chop (almost 1 lb., collard greens, apple, mustard, topped with chicharrons) $26~ 
This was an impressive looking plate. So much bigger than anything else we ordered. It's like an edible forest! So pretty with all the different colors and textures. The flavors all worked together. I loved the mustard seeds and the collards. The apples provided a nice refreshing crunch. The pork itself was delicious, but I think about 1/3rd of it was pure fat. So it wasn't really a pound of actual meat...

Risotto (sunchoke, goat cheese, truffle oil) $13~ 
Keeping with the "forest" theme... also a beautiful plate. I knew this had goat cheese in it... and I could taste it, although not super strong. It still wasn't for me. The risotto was creamy and cooked well though. Everyone else loved it.
Most of the portions are pretty small. But when you order a lot of them, you still get full! :P Everyone was pretty full but I wanted to try one of the desserts. (of course. hehe)

Coconut Rice Pudding (horchata, ginger, butternut) $7~ 
This came in an unassuming little bowl. The white stuff on top is granita. The creamy rice pudding is underneath and there are little chunks of butternut squash and candied ginger throughout. Initial bite... whoa! The mixture of textures and the cold rice pudding with the super cold granita was pretty amazing. It was refreshing yet rich. I loved the butternut and ginger... and usually I don't like heavy ginger flavors. Really great way to end the meal. It was weird... my fiance didn't like it. But oh well, more for me! :)

It was a great meal, everyone enjoyed themselves. The food was fantastic. We got to try some incredible flavors and combinations. And a big thank you to my fiance's dad who picked up the bill before anyone knew what was going on. That was super sweet of him. Our waitress was very nice and explained the menu well. And I really appreciate the hostess taking care of us and being really friendly in the process. I highly recommend Odd Duck, just make sure you make reservations!

Quality of Food:




Overall Experience:


Oh... and a little something extra. I discovered, while getting ready to leave Odd Duck, that Lick Honest Ice Cream shop was really close by. Since we're leaving that night... why not another stop first? :P We decided to walk... it's about a 15 min walk from Odd Duck.

Lick Honest Ice Creams
2032 South Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 363-5622
Price: $

They use pure, whole ingredients and locally source their dairy. And they have some very interesting flavors! Such as Cilantro Lime, and Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint. They also have some vegan flavors too. It's a really small shop, not for lingering, but we were getting it to go anyways.

I got a waffle cone with 2 scoops: Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie and Coconut Avocado Curd
Both flavors were fantastic. Although I wished it was richer/creamier. All the ice cream I sampled seemed a little more watery than say Ben & Jerry's or Baskin Robbins. Maybe that's because of their ingredients. Still good though, probably better too because it's lighter.

Pretty good ice cream. Definitely very unique flavors. A bit pricey, which I can understand from the ingredients point of view. It's a nice treat to have if you decide to cut out foods with artificial ingredients. :)

Overall Experience:

HAPPY HOLIDAYS~~ Stay tuned for my Christmas food festivities. :)


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