The weekend is just a fingertip's brush away and the sun shines brightly on a cool, breezy Friday. The anticipation is killer and in your mind, a happy tune slightly lingers around long enough to transport its melody to your lips. You find yourself smiling and the day is golden. "California gold" is the right frame of mind for this happy moment and it's at this time your stomach chimes in with questions of what to consume this weekend. As you take in the sun and kiss of the coastal breath on your face with the windows down, Pacific Coast Highway spreads its roadway for you and takes you to a small diner in Long Beach that feels as great during the night as the day. The Crooked Duck isn't only a sign of intrigue, but a sign of great things to come.
The Crooked Duck isn't very large. In fact, the tiny corner diner has perhaps at most only five spaces to park in their minute parking lot. Luckily, the residential street adjacent to the restaurant is broad and even if walking from a bit of distance, the neighborhood has enough character to add charm to the stroll. Once entering, the word "classic" instantly comes to mind. This restaurant isnt' just a diner, but a diner in a beach city. Charming characters inhabit the space behind the counter as well as on the dining floor. The range goes from beach tanned surfers to the business locale. Lots of great energy is spread out and it's hard not to feel excited to what might happen once you sit down.
One of the treats of eating somewhere local, especially in a beach city, is the friendliness of the service at most places of business and The Crooked Duck is no different. Each server has a story and usually a few tattoos to share. A smile is quickly given and there is a sense of pride with all the workers. A pride which adds more intrigue to what exactly they could be so proud of.
There should be no surprise on what food can do. A great day can go sour quickly when a meal is awful, but on the flip side, a great meal can bring the heavens down and wash away all worries. The Crooked Duck takes the traditional menu of American cuisine and diner culture and "one ups" it with imagination. Take their "Yokohama" Sesame Chicken Nachos. Instead of the heaviness most nachos have with artificial orange cheese and canned pico de gallo, The Crooked Duck's version takes elements of Asian cuisine to create not just a spin to the classic appetizer, but also a light, savory dish that builds up the palate for the next concoction. A hallmark in their menu is also their Duck Chili, a black bean and 5-spice duck chili with smokiness and savoriness that doesn't overpower any one specific taste. The servers always talk about this dish and it lives up to the hype. Whether as a side or on its own, it's a great addition to any meal. The "Will's" Monte Cristo sandwich is a perfect balance of sweet and savory. If you are a fan of French toast, this sandwich is for you. This ham, turkey, Swiss & cheddar cheese sandwich battered and deep fried is absolutely mind blowing. A decadent dish which only gets better with the addition of their raspberry preserves on the side, giving you the power to add as much or as little sweetness as you'd like. Add the saltiness of the fries and the brine of the pickle, which come with the sandwich, and you have every pregnant woman's perfect entree. It is a dish that is definitely different and definitely worth trying for all who crave something bold and new in their eating adventures.
Weekends are an exiting time. It marks the end of the drab, arduous week and the beginning of endless possibilities. The feeling where the world is waiting for you to explore is all encompassing and easily makes you feel like a hundred bucks. It helps you climb those difficult mountains holding you just a few inches away from euphoria and inspires new and bright ideas. It's important to keep that feeling alive and The Crooked Duck definitely helps keep that within you. With an atmosphere that welcomes exciting ideas and food reflecting a blend of tradition and innovation, this a great restaurant to fuel not only your stomach, but your peace of mind.
The Crooked Duck
5096 E. Pacific Coast Highway
Long Beach, CA 90804