A Pair of Odd Ducks

I’m still alive. Writing all my papers hasn’t killed me, yet. Maybe that’s because I haven’t accomplished quite as much as I think I should have by now.

I’m pushing along, trying to get everything done and not let our apartment go completely by the wayside. Todd’s been great about keeping up with the dishes, and he’s even cooking more, now that he’s done coaching for the season. If I can, this weekend I’ll post about the amazing dinner he made for me on Tuesday. I think he feels like he needs to step it up, now that I’m becoming more successful in the kitchen. But I’ll save that story for another day…

Yesterday, as I was leaving work, I started thinking about my schedule for the weekend, and how much I was going to have to buckle down and finish the 45-60 page group paper I’m collaborating on for my International Business class. I’m not going to be seeing daylight all weekend, am I?

Considering that my husband won’t be seeing very much of me in the next few weeks – what with all the hours I’ll be slaving away in our bonus room, cut off from TV, 100% focused on my homework so that I can get that diploma I’ve been after for, oh, just 23 years of my life – I decided to take him out for some duck.

No, I didn’t make duck. I know, my title was misleading.

And no, we didn’t even eat duck.

The duck I’m talking about is a great little spot called Odd Duck in Bay View, a neighborhood on Milwaukee’s south side. I asked my boss if she could recommend a nice place to take Todd, because I wanted to have a “Farewell, I’m going to be in the study dungeon for the next month” dinner. I told her we love La Merenda, an international tapas restaurant, but that we can never get a reservation less than 2 weeks ahead of time. She listed a few places, including the Odd Duck:

“I’ve heard the Odd Duck can be a little… weird… They do interesting things with food, so if you’re picky…”

Nope! Sounds perfect!

I made a reservation and met Todd at work, then had him follow the GPS (in a straight line for 6 miles) to our destination.

It’s a cute little place with amazing food. We kept it simple, splitting a meat and cheese board over ginger beers. We would have had white wine, but I’m on another round of medicine to knock out this ever-so-resilient ear infection, so I had to abstain. But their small plates AND large plates menu looked amazing. We’ve decided we’re going back again, as soon as I can poke my head out of my cave of academia.

If you decide to check it out, here’s their menu page (the menu changes every day, so click on the PDF in the top right corner), and a list of the meats and cheeses we tried out:

Meats – Pig Red, Air-Cured Ham, ‘Nduja, and Sec de Lyon

Cheeses – Roth Käse Buttermilk Blue Affinée, Izar-Gatza Raw Milk Idiazabal, Carr Valley Benedictine, and Marieke Mustard Seed Raw Milk Gouda

Sides – Preserves, whole seed mustard, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, delicious toasted bread (all made locally)

It felt like we were back in Europe. When we were honeymooning in Andorra (that sounds pretentious every time I say it), we had meat and cheese for breakfast every day, and usually for either lunch or dinner. That’s one of the big things I miss about Andorra. I’ve wanted to put together a cheese board at home a few times since we got back, but the price tag always stops me. Meat and cheese were incredibly inexpensive in Europe, but not so much here in the good ol’ USA. In Andorra, we bought packages of prosciutto,  chorizo, and other delicious cured meats for €1. ONE EURO. The same product would be about $6-8 in the supermarkets here, if not more. And the cheese was the same story! A wedge of brie (my favorite cheese) was about £2 in England. If you haven’t priced out a wedge of brie lately, I’ll tell you… it’s about $5-7. The exchange rate is good for them, but not THAT good.

I just missed the meats and cheeses, and the Odd Duck repaired my ‘Nduja-deprived heart.

I strongly recommend that you go there if you are planning on taking an educational leave of absence from your husband for a few weeks.

Next order of business: ENTER THE CHILI CONTEST!
You want this to be a contest, right? You want a cookbook, right? Then enter the “It’s a Melting Pot Pie All (or Nothing) American Chili Cook-Off” Recipe Contest. Entries are due THIS SATURDAY, November 17th, so submit them now!

Until the next taste,