Monday, August 6, 2007

Duck Fat & Rabelais

There are no pictures of the paninis, there are no leftovers. Only the menu to remind me that I have to go back. I was in Maine over the weekend for a wonderful wedding. Late into the party we were all talking about food and wine (as we did almost all day) when we finally got around to talking about where we were going to eat the next day.
Someone mentioned a place in Portland named Duck Fat. The important point of the discussion was the fact that they fry their french fries in duckfat. That's right, duckfat. In spite of the fact that it was late and we had been drinking, I still remembered the name of the place.
The next morning we set out for Portland address in hand and with hunger as our impetus. We ordered the Meatloaf panini with was thinly sliced meatloaf with red onions which we soft. Definitely comfort food. The other sandwich we ordered was the special panini: Duck confit with Blueberry preserves and Goat cheese. This was absolutely delicious. I know you are thinking, how can this possibly go together. Of course it does. Just like foie gras and apples go together. The sweet and the savory are a wonderful match. The panini is big enough that you can eat one half and leave the other half for later.
The Duck Fat fries were also wonderful. They had skin on and they that a rich brown patina to them. An order of the large really is large and is plenty for two people. There are dipping sauces and we opted for the truffle ketchup. The truffle flavor is subtle, certainly not intrusive.
We were also in need of coffee which Duckfat also does a very good job of. Oh yeah and we ordered some beignets to go. They provided a delicious accompaniment to the coffee while we were driving out of Portland.
But we didn't drive out of Portland until we'd visited Rabelais. This wonderful bookstore on Middle Street (right down the street from Duckfat) is devoted to books on food, wine and certain arts. The couple used to live in Brooklyn, NY and are incredibly nice. It is spacious, carries books published both in the USA and abroad and they can find things for you.
All in all, I never thought of Portland as a destination but I think a little weekend trip up there is in order.

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