For years, trailers were the ugly ducking of the culinary scene, with spotty service, slim variety, and the constant specter of food poisoning. Enter a new era, the age of the concept truck, when innovative chefs, cooks, and just plain ordinary folks started opening up quirky, fun food trailers to serve their community. I should know. Over the past 50 weeks, I’ve crisscrossed the corridors of Central Texas (and some of the rest of the state), forking down french fries, scarfing sliders, and feasting on Asian fusion to bring you honest reviews of the best and worst (and many mediocre) food trucks. So today is a special day. Today marks the fiftieth post of Trailer Thursday! It’s been a long time since the inaugural sushi trailer kickoff post. To celebrate, I thought we should visit a swan on the scene: Odd Duck Farm to Trailer. One of the most innovative, interesting, and delicious spots I’ve been to, Bryce Gilmore’s mobile station has been using local, sustainable ingredients (and a wood-firing oven!) to create a rotating array of small plates since 2009. But y’all are trendy. You’ve likely already visited this belle of the ball more than once, not to mention frequented Gilmore’s hot new brick-and-mortar venture, Barley Swine, on South Lamar. Indeed, the chef was featured in April’s Food & Wine magazine as one of the ten best new chefs in the country, and it’s a challenge to squeeze into Barley Swine’s packed premises or even order at Odd Duck before it sells out of its most popular items each night. Fortunately for me, on the sweltering evening that I revisited, the kitchen was just firing up. And oh, what a treat. First was a flavorful quail breast, grilled to perfection with just a hint of smokiness, sided with crisp-grilled green beans, and topped with a shishito pepper. One of the things I love about Odd Duck is the presentation. Sure, you might be eating out of styrofoam, but it’s still going to look damn good. Another example: the vegetarian entrée, with grilled zucchini and yellow squash, hints of fresh lettuce, plump texmati rice, and melty gruyere with a sherry onion vinegar. The crimson diced tomatoes on top added the final summer touch. Though the homestead Parmesan grits and lamb shank was hardly the prettiest dish of the evening, it was certainly my favorite. Smoky, pulled lamb in the center of a hearty round of custard-yellow grits, with crispy grilled broccoli florets and plenty of Parmesan: How can you beat that? Odd Duck tried its hardest with a beautifully constructed Richardson Farms pork belly slider. The tiny sweet bun was buttered and grilled to perfection and the pork belly had a nice crust and texture, but unfortunately, it was too fatty and tasteless. Even the pink homemade sauerkraut and aioli couldn’t save the slider from its bland fate. Too bad, especially considering that it’s a staple on the menu. I preferred the venison sausage on a nicely grilled baguette, with a shishito pepper, a dollop of aioli, and a pickle spear on top. Nothing ground-breaking here, but good eating nonetheless. The same could be said for the expertly done roasted beet salad, with tender beet cubes, roasted cauliflower, and heaps of feta in a light champagne vinegar. So go discover Odd Duck’s exceptional fare all over again. Surrounded by so much satisfying savory food, you won’t even notice the scorching summer heat that’s now upon us. And just think, you might even make it out of the trailer park without overindulging on one of Gourdough’s donuts. 1219 S. Lamar (512-550-5766). Open Tue–Sat 5:30–10. Posted by Megan Giller
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