One Girls Crazy Outlook on life in Southern Maine

In December 2010 I moved to Southern Maine from a small town next to Bangor (Bangor is right in the center Maine and is one of the largest cities in Maine for those of you wondering if it's in Canada). Here are some crazy stories of outings, hikes, beer and just the general mayhem that is my life. Welcome. Enjoy. Love it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Day Centered Around Food

I decided that I would write a little different post than what I have been writing. Up until now I have only been posting about one restaurant at a time. This was because, for the most part, we would only visit one place at a time. You can imagine my dilemma when we decided to get a little something at multiple places in one day. I liked the idea, but in my head I struggled with how I was going to blog about all the amazing food that we would be eating. This is what I came up with; One blog. Four amazing places. So here you have it. A day centered around food.

I will start by telling you how this came to be. Our original plan was to spend the day walking around Old Port. Investigating small goodies at different places, supporting my shopping habit and really just making a day of it. We figured April would be a good time to do that. The weather is just now starting to get nice (it's not snowing every other day) and it's just before tourist season, so it's still not to busy.  We should have known that it was going to rain on our only day off together that week.

I love this picture by the way. I don't know who took it, but it amazing.

We weren't going to let this ruin the day though. We bought an umbrella, and headed to the Old Port.

~ Duckfat ~

Location: 43 Middle Street, Portland Maine 04101

Price: $

I have heard many people say many good things about this lovely restaurant. However, I was always hesitant just because of the name. "Duckfat" isn't exactly the most appealing name when you think of food. However, you remember what Mama always said when you were younger? "Don't judge a book by it's cover." Take this into consideration when thinking about Duckfat (the restaurant, not the actual fat of a duck) because let me tell you, it's amazing. We decided that this would be stop number one on our food excursion. We also decided that we would only be getting the infamous, Duckfat French Fries.

These Fries are something you can read about, hear about, look at and even smell. But until you have tried them, you have not had "the duck fat experience." As you can see from the picture to the left, they are served in a cone serving dish. This is cool, but honestly takes away from how many fries you can get due to the fact that (obviously) the bottom (cone section) is very narrow.
This is the large order. It is almost the perfect size for two people. Almost. Actually it probably a great size for people who actually have self control when it comes to eating french fries. We do not. We probably could have sat at this quint little restaurant and eaten these fries all day. Not just because they are fries, but because they are AMAZING.
They were so hot when they came out that we couldn't even touch them (this was amazing because cold fries suck) . When we were finally able to eat them it was like an electrifying burst of epic deliciousness in your mouth. They are cooked just right and are perfectly crunchy. They are even edible without any sort of sauce on them. Which is good because somethings I just get excited and there is no time to dip. They were literally perfect.

As far as regular fries go. These are probably my very favorite that we have had in Old Port. Another good thing about Duckfat is the array of sauces that you can choose from. They include; • Truffle Ketchup • Horseradish Mayo • Garlic Aioli • Curry Mayo • Thai Chili Mayo • Raye's Sweet & Spicy Mustard • Duck fat Gravy (1.00). You can select one sauce and any additional is 75¢. We decided to go with the Raye's Sweet and Spicy Mustard and The Thai Chili Mayo.

Both sauces were very very good. The mustard was just your typical mustard, but added to the flavor of the fries. The Thai Chili Mayo, however, was my favorite. I didn't not expect it to have such a "kick" to it. It was very spicy. I should have expected it since it had the words "Thai" and "chili" in the name. It was perfect with the fries. Although I would recommend you try the fries with the sauces, they really aren't needed in the long run. The fries are so perfect by themselves that the sauces actually take away from the experience. That being said, I would still try the sauces. They really are very good.
Unfortunately, we did not try any of the Panini's that are on the menu. BUT, I have already made plans with a friend to try the PB and J Panini because it sounds amazing.

Another great thing to note about Duckfat... They serve beer!

Duckfat in Old Port is a great place to go if you are looking for a small, quiet, laid back place to eat with a friend or significant other. It is very small. I think, in the winter, it only seat about 15 people, MAYBE. However, I did notice they have many people coming in ordering "to go" and in the summer they do have some seating outside.
You have the option so sit where ever you want, and you can sit at a table next to the window, or at a bar in the front or along a wall. Because of the rain it wasn't very busy so we sat at the table. I did, however think about moving to the bar because they had a large magnetic board that spans the bar with word magnets on it. Ya, I am a little kid.

The kitchen is also open and centered in the room so you can see what is going on at all times. It is really very interesting, I really enjoy being able to see my food being made.

I believe that anyone who is open minded and doesn't let the name "Duckfat" bother them, would enjoy this lovely little hole in the wall. However, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to parents with young children just because they don't have a kids menu and they don't really have proper seating for children, they are all bar stools. For us, it was beneficial that it was raining and it was two in the afternoon. I have heard the place fills up very quickly.

Here is a link to the Duckfat Menu.

**Rivalries Sports Pub and Grill**

Location: 10 Cotton St. Portland Maine 04101
Price: $

For about three weeks I have been telling my boyfriend I want to try the wings at Rivalries in the Old Port. Finally, we did. I have heard from many people that the wings are outstanding... They were right.

When we arrived at Rivalries there was literally nobody there (that is what happens when it rains). They were do dead that within 2 minutes of being there we had our drinks. For me, a woodchuck cider, for my boyfriend, a Guinness.

After inspecting the menu from front to back we settled on what we had come for. WINGS. And man, what a GREAT IDEA.
They have the option of wings or tenders, naturally we went for the wings. They are also very limited on the sauce selection. You can either have traditional buffalo or sweet chili buffalo. We had 6 of each.
The traditional buffalo was very good. It had that excellent buffalo flavor, and they were quite spicy. Spicy enough that I had to take a minute after eating them to let my mouth cool down.

Traditional buffalo.

The sweet chili buffalo were the amazing flavor. It was mixture of sweet, tangy, and spicy all rolled into this one sauce. They were very good. Surprisingly enough though, they were even hotter than the traditional buffalo.

Sweet Chili Buffalo.
The chicken wasn't that chewy gross chicken, in fact they were cooked just right. They were still warm when they came out too. Which is obviously always a plus. After both sets of wings were gone (which didn't take long), I decided to mix the two sauces that were left on the plate together and eat them with a piece of celery. Needless to say my mouth was on fire after... but man oh man... it was delicious.

Rivalries is a very neat place if you have never been there. It is huge. There are two stories, although on regular days and nights the second story is usually for larger parties. It is a sports bar so they have 30 flat screen TVs and a huge menu. If I were going to go back I would probably like to take a big group of people, although my boyfriend and I, like always, did have fun with just the two of us. I wouldn't mind sitting at the bar with some friends though, drinking a beer and watching the Sox (especially if they would start winning)...

*~Nosh Kitchen Bar~*

Photo courtesy of Corey Templeton

Location: 551 Congress St. Portland Maine 04101
Price: $$ish

Alright so, if you have been an avid reader than you know that this isn't our first time to the infamous NOSH.A couple months ago we went here with friends and ever since then I have done nothing but talk about the bacon dusted french fries. I have wanted to go back to Nosh since the moment we left the first time. So we figured that we would check it out again for dinner.
There is no point in describing the inside of Nosh to you. I have done that... so lets talk about the FOOD. 
Naturally we decided to start with the bacon dusted french fries...they were epic as usual. I still am dying to know how you make bacon dust.

We also tried a new appetizer... FRIED PICKLES... Now, you all know my love for fried pickles steams back about a month ago when I tried the friend pickles and buffalo wild wings. Since then, I have been craving them none stop. So, when I saw fried pickles on the menu at Nosh, I got excited. They were not what I had expected. A normal fried pickle looks like a pickle slice that has been deep fried. Not these. They were WHOLE pickles, deep fried in tempura batter. They looked like the chicken fingers that you get at Chinese restaurants. You know, the ones that you bite into and the whole piece of chicken comes out.. ya these were the same idea, except they were pickles.

Don't get me wrong. I love any type of fried pickle. But they were just very different. They were hard to eat for one because they were so incredibly Hot and two, like that Chinese chicken the pickle comes out of the fried part. None the less they are still very good.

I got the Roast Turkey Sandwich. It was AMAZING. It had turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, bacon, stuffing AND cranberry sauce in it... whoa. It was huge, almost to big for me to take a bite... almost. I was only able to eat half because it was so filling.  It was a very good sandwich. The cranberry was not to tart but not to sweet either, which is just the way I like it. The stuffing was your typical stuffing and was very good and thick. Because I was only able to eat half I took the other half home. I wouldn't recommend doing this. When I went to eat the sandwich it was very dried out, the lettuce was wilted and the bread was hard. This is what happens when you put a sandwich in the fridge, but I was still disappointed. When it's fresh though it is amazing, but you better bring your appetite.

Like I said, the sandwich was huge. And it was served with a pickle!!!

Along with the new food we tried a new beer. It was called St. Bernardus Wit. It is an imported Belgium wheat beer. It is light like Allagash White. It is very very good. I wasn't going to order a beer, but then I tried my boyfriends and I was hooked. It was very sweet and not at all bitter which make for the perfect beer.

We ended up drinking ours out of the bottle. But I wanted you to see what color the beer is. It makes it very light.

My boyfriend tried the Buffalo Pork Belly. It was pretty good, but he said that it wasn't very filling, even though it was huge.
He said that even though it was a big sandwich, he could have eaten another burger later that night. He was going to get the big kahuna burger, but he decided to try something different. I think he wishes that he had. The buffalo pork belly didn't have much buffalo taste when I tried it. It had cheese and ranch dressing on it. It also came with a pickle!

Over all I really enjoy Nosh. I can tell you though, that although I am in love with the bacon dusted french fries I am ready to move on and try new things. As far as the Fried Pickles go, I will stick to Binga's.

The Last Stop Of the Day...

~*~Ri Ra Irish Pub*~*

I know I know, we just went to Ri Ra's like a week ago (not even) but I just couldn't get that lava cake out of my head! After our food excursion day where we spent way to much money, we decided that there was no point in stopping there, so we headed over to the Irish pub for some dessert. To be honest we really aren't dessert people. Don't get me wrong, we aren't weird, but we would rather order an appetizer of wings than a shared piece of cake for dessert. However, there are always exceptions. 

We got there around 8 PM and IT WAS PACKED. In fact, if you wanted a table they had a twenty minute wait, we decided to sit at the upstairs bar.

The friendly bartender came over and in no time we had our drinks and menu's. We decided that we were just going to get dessert even though my boyfriend, who just ate a giant sandwich at Nosh was still hungry. This was a great choice. We ordered the Lava Cake;

 I am in love with this cake. I wish I could learn how to make it. I m sure if I did some research than I could do it... but I rather just have Ri Ra's make it for me. It was just a gooey as the first one and the black raspberry filling topped it off PERFECTLY.
I tried to take a picture so you could get an idea of what the inside looks like.
I wish this picture had come out better. But I have hoping you get the idea. It is so incredibly soft and gooey and just melts in your mouth.

We also ordered the Guinness sundae. It was very good. I was a little nervous about it because I am not a fan of Guinness at all. I later learned that that's just the name of it and I don't think they actually use any Guinness in the recipe.

It was soft but chewy and chocolaty. The strawberries were a great addition to the dessert and complimented the Guinness Sundae very well. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish, however, nothing can beat the lava cake.

The beer that my boyfriend ordered was the best beer that we had that day. It was called Weihenstephen. It is a german beer that is very light. It is considered a hefewiezen, which means it is a wheat beer. The taste of the Weihenstephen was almost a perfect taste, as it should due to the face that the brewery has been open for nearly 1000 years. I do believe that is plenty of time to perfect some beers!

Check out the Weihenstephen Website it is kind of cool.

Our food day was really very amazing. It was fun going from place to place just trying one thing here and there. I don't think this will be the last time we do an excursion like this one. I do believe it is best to do it on a rainy day though. That way not every single place you go is packed.

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