Happy almost-New Year! We decided to take an impromptu trip to Portland today to capitalize on the television vacation idea we had last week, and are now clutching our stomachs on the bed in sheer, saturated bliss.
Going to Duckfat has been a five-year dream in the making for me, since I discovered as a wee epicurean that duck fat could be used for more than just confit and guilt. Dr. D and L’s recommendations solidified the desire, and we set off on this bright, beautiful morning to get out of town and have an adventure.After the world’s smallest lobster roll, a drive through the desolate summer towns of New Hampshire, and an instant snarkfest on empty stomachs, we rolled into town with poutine and milkshakes on our minds. Hey, it’s a holiday. Duckfat did not disappoint. It’s a cute, hip restaurant with soft corners and neat prints on the wall. Even with its neat ambiance, it felt comfortable and seemed to attract a variety of patrons, all united by the desire of salty fried potatoes. The menu made for some tough decisions- delicious sandwiches, a massive charcuterie board, and housemade sandwiches fighting for top billing. A large poutine and two milkshakes were enough to fill us up, though. I chose the duckfat caramel milkshake, made with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, caramel infused with duck fat, and large grains of sea salt. It was exceptional. It had a very mild caramel flavor and intense nuttiness, tasting more like brown butter than a sweet dessert. It was too easy to drink, but thick in texture- I made it through about half of it before I had to give up. Too bad milkshakes aren’t available in takeout form. The Bedfellow tried the original milkshake, double thick Tahitian vanilla and creme anglaise. It was tasty, but the flavor was very mild and floral, like fresh milk, and it wasn’t very vanilla-heavy. Oddly enough, it didn’t have a doubly thick texture, either, and was thinner than the caramel shake. Despite that the Bedfellow does not like caramel, we both agreed that it was the better milkshake.The poutine. Hot damn. The fries, perfectly sliced with a thin, light crisp to them, stayed crunchy underneath the deluge of delicate duck gravy and melted cheese curds. Even the ones that were soft absorbed the sauce and melted in our mouths like fried potato pasta. I haven’t had poutine like this in a long time. For $10, it was an awfully generous portion, and they brought us a cup of toasted curry aioli without charging us. We split it alongside our shakes and left full and warm inside. For two people, it makes a marvelous dinner or late-night snack. Happy New Year, readers! I hope you have a happy, healthy 2014. I can’t wait to eat and indulge with you in the coming year.