A few weeks ago I was up in Milwaukee, speaking about food at the 2014 Pheasant Fest. I ate plenty of good food while I was there, and had a couple beers of course, but by far and away the best meal I had was at Hinterland. I can’t recommend it enough. Along with Hank Shaw and several friends from Pheasants Forever, we were lucky enough to secure the chef’s table, and gave ourselves to the whims of Chef Dan Van Rite and the rest of his staff.
After an initial appetizer of roasted Brussels sprouts, I don’t think we saw another vegetable for about eight, or maybe nine, courses. Instead, we got salami, beef heart tartare, oysters, elk loin and I don’t even remember what else. It was all amazing and by the end I was in physical pain from the food, drink, and laughter we enjoyed over several hours.
One thing I did not get while I was there, but was featured on the menu, was the Pan Seared Duck Testes.
Yes, duck testicles.
Now I live in cattle country and am no stranger to Rocky Mountain Oysters, otherwise known as calf fries or, when we order them at our local dive bar, just “nuts.” Done right, they’re delicious. But I can honestly say I’ve never had duck nuts, or turkey fries for that matter, which show up on menus from time to time. I imagine they’re just fine, and, in the hands of the cooks at Hinterland, I bet they’re damn good. I actually regret not trying them, but there was just no room in my stomach for dessert of duck testes.
While I consider my culinary experiences fairly well-rounded, they might be a bit tame. Other than calf fries and sweetbreads, there has been a lot of offal on my list of things I’ve eaten. Oh sure, heart and liver, but I consider those fairly tame, as are the oysters and squid from the seafood family. How about you, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?