Monday, December 7, 2009

Duck Fat is More Than Worth the Drive

Hop in the car, drive about two hours north, and follow your nose to the smell of potatoes frying in a bubbling cauldron of rendered duck fat. You wind up having the best lunch of you life at the café named for the signature ingredient, Duck Fat, in Portland, Maine. Whenever Dan and I happen to be in Portland, we are always sure to stop by once or sometimes twice just to get our fix on everything that we love to eat from their menu.

Duck Fat is an offshoot of the fine dining themed sister restaurant, Hugo's, owned by Rob and Nancy Evans. The menu features paninis, soups, salads, fries (including poutine), desserts, and milk shakes. Some past favorites for me have been the duck confit panini, the fries with truffled ketchup, and the toast and jam, although you really can't go wrong with anything. Figuring out what to order is tough - if only they offered tasting menus with little bites of everything they serve.

We usually stop in and have lunch before we do anything else, and then walk around downtown Portland for bit. I really like the Rabelais Bookstore, which offers a well chosen selection of books about food and wine - not just cookbooks, although they have plenty of good ones of those too. I also like checking out the multiple shops that offer handmade pottery by local artists. I've picked up some beautiful heirloom quality pieces that I've used for special occasion meals. And while you're in the area, it's fun to head into Browne Trading Co. to talk to the folks about the daily catch and possibly sample the caviar and cheeses. Browne also boasts a terrific selection of hard-to-find wines that's lots of fun to peruse.

On your way back to your vehicle after you've walked off your poutine, stop back into Duck Fat to get a milkshake for the road. They are so thick that you can barely stir them much less suck them through the provided straw. I can usually begin to drink mine once it's sat in the car melting for about 20 minutes. The strawberry is my favorite. They humorously call it the "five dollar milkshake," but it only costs four! I think it would be a bargain at twice the price.

On your next trip to Portland be sure to make time for Duck Fat at least once during your afternoon. You'll be in hog heaven as the rendered animal fat courses through your body!

1 comment:

  1. I can taste the duckfat fries now ... Mmm i really enjoyed that place! Thanks to you and dan for recommending!