We actually welcomed the rain yesterday. We’ve been running hard for a week, and we were ready for a bit of downtime.
We awoke to a gray day. It had rained Sunday night as the heat wave seemed to have broken in Maine, and the air was noticeably dryer.
Monday morning was dedicated to reading, writing, and listening to the Sergio Mendes channel on Pandora.
The only thing on the agenda was watching a movie after lunch. We skipped breakfast and headed out for lunch just as the rain returned around 11:30.
Peter had been talking about finding the perfect French Fry, so I did a little research and discovered a little restaurant about half a mile away.
As soon as I clicked on their website, I knew I’d discovered the Holy Grail of La Frites!
We walked down Commercial, up Franklin, and as soon as we turned on to Middle Street, we saw the crowd standing in front of Duckfat at 11:45 AM on a rainy Monday.
Peter volunteered to check out the wait and, much to our delight, he flashed us fifteen minutes. It turned out to be less than ten before we were seated inside the tiny restaurant.
I sipped my local draft IPA and listened to the manager tell us the Duckfat story.
Rob and Nancy Pugh created Duckfat. Rob was the chef at Hugo’s, where he won a James Beard award for his cooking. In 2003 they were vacationing in Belgium to celebrate Rob’s 40th birthday and happened upon a Frites window serving up hot and crispy Belgium French Fries.
They instantly conceived Duckfat and opened the Middle Street restaurant seventeen years ago.
There’s clearly a lot of process going into their fries, but there is also a lot of care for the ingredients.
Their menu also features milkshakes and paninis, so that’s where we went. Mrs. Horne started with a strawberry milkshake.
Then came La Frites Grande!
The large was $10.00, and we added a flight of dipping sauces for another $2.50. We enjoyed:
- TRUFFLE KETCHUP
- THAI CHILI MAYO
- GARLIC MAYO
- HORSERADISH MAYO
- CURRY CREAM SAUCE
They were all excellent, but my favorite was the Curry Cream, which was the special for the day.
Mrs. Horne ordered the Duckfat Wedge, featuring smoked duck breast, Great Hill blue cheese dressing, tart cherries, and duck fat bread crumbs. It also comes with Cherry Tomatoes, but they disagree with Mrs. Horne.
Peter went with the House Smoked Turkey, featuring buttermilk fried shallots, Swiss cheese, crunchy lettuce, and preserved lemon mayo.
These are hearty sandwiches, and we easily could have split one.
I also tried a panini; mine was the Duckfat Banh Mi – consisting of duck confit, pate, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and mint
We spoke to our server about the crowd. She said there’s always a line when they open, and every seat is taken by 11:05. I think we got there just as the 11:00 crowd was finishing up – hence the ten-minute wait.
As I was leaving around 12:45, I heard the host quote a one-hour wait.
Relentless has OceanAir blinds everywhere except the windshield. We have an outside cover for the windshield, and since our slip faced south, we put it on Saturday afternoon, and when movie time came around, it enabled us to convert Relentless’s salon into a media room.
We were getting lousy WiFi at Dimillo’s, and even the 5G was spotty, so we ended up with a limited movie selection. I keep about 15 classic movies on the DirectTV DVR for times like this.
I toyed with one of my Mission Impossibles, or The Hunger Games Trilogy, but ended up selecting Guardian.
Not only is it an excellent movie full of action, emotion, and even romance, but since it’s about Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers, it’s a perfect movie to watch sitting on a boat in a storm.
Speaking of the storm, Portland dodged the bullet. After the movie, we went up to the Flybridge, and I put on the Satellite Weather Screen as we watched scary clouds all around us.
Severe storms were passing to the north and south, but it was pretty pleasant in South Portland.
Dimillo’s On The Water
After staring at the converted car carrier for three days, we decided to eat there.
It’s very popular and probably a bit of a tourist trap on weekends, but this was a rainy Monday, so we had plenty of options.
It’s a vast restaurant finished like a fine old ship on the inside.
We had reserved a table, but when we saw the bar, we knew we had to grab some seats on the back side.
We were greeted by an amiable bartender- Jenn.
She helped us navigate the extensive menu and even tweaked a few items to ensure we got exactly what we wanted. She also ensured all food was delivered hot and didn’t sit in the kitchen under a heat lamp.
Although Peter skipped his chowder, Mrs. Horne went with her go-to meal – Caesar, along with grazing off our plates.
Note the fresh white anchovies and thin slices of Parmesan.
Peter went with Dimillo’s version of Lobster Mac & Cheese.
It was a unique take on the classic. The lobster was tossed with rigatoni in a creamy lobster Marscapone cheese with cognac, then finished with a lobster seasoned stuffing crumbs and garlic bread.
I may have to experiment with this at home.
I was stuck trying to decide what to order, and Mrs. Horne piped up, “Get the Seafood Platter, and I’ll have some.”
It’s been years since I ordered a Seafood Platter, so I said, “Okay.”
The photo doesn’t accurately convey how big this was. I think Jenn pulled some strings in the kitchen because this dish had no fries, just seafood, and an onion ring topping.
She brought the fries out on the side.
We all shared, and there were dozens of assorted fried clams, scallops, and jumbo shrimp along with an eight-ounce fried haddock filet.
How big was it?
This is what it looked like when the three of us couldn’t eat anymore.
After dinner, we went up to the sky bar, where Mrs. Horne insisted that I pose for a photo with Relentless in the background.
And as most of New England was getting battered by wind and rain, we lucked out with a beautiful sunset.
Tomorrow: Wentworth-By-The-Sea and Portsmouth, New Hampshire…