The trailer-café craze that has consumed Austin tends to be a mostly daytime affair, with many if not most in my neighborhood rolling up their windows by sunset. I was delighted to discover that Odd Duck Farm to Trailer at 1219 S. Lamar begins serving at 5 p.m., perfect for "cook's night out" (the "cook" in this case being me).
An intriguing menu, which changes daily, also piqued my interest. Odd Duck offers up appetizers and entrées that adhere to the rediscovered "nose-to-tail" philosophy, which means using ingredients from local farms, and with meats, using every edible part. (Read more about restaurants using nose-to-tail principles, including nearby Olivia in March 2010 TH Taste).
At prices ranging from $3-7, Odd Duck offers an affordable foodie foray from an inventive chef, Bryce Gilmore. Gilmore, a California Culinary Academy alumnus who has worked at Moonshine and Wink in Austin, Café 909 in Marble Falls, Boulevard in San Francisco, and Montagna at the Little Nell in Aspen, got his start in the kitchen of his father Jack Gilmore's Z'Tejas Grill in Austin.
For my dinnertime adventure, I chose rabbit braised in pale ale and mustard with poached duck egg over creamy turnip grits. A hint of Parmesan in this luscious stew gave the dish a slightly tart and pleasantly salty taste. The flavor and texture reminded me of Chinese jook or congee (rice porridge), especially when combined with the turnip grits. The rabbit was tender, and had a slightly smoky aroma, which further enhanced the combination.
The entree portions tend to be on the small side, so on my next visit, I'll be sure to order more!