Duckfat. Portland, Maine. For anyone who has eaten at Duckfat, I could stop right now and allow them a moment of silence to recall their last meal there. It would be a happy moment. How do I know? Simple. I’ve eaten there countless times and never had a meal short of extraordinary. It always makes the top of my list when company comes to town. Which is why I found myself there two days ago with my husband and a friend that we hadn’t seen in almost twenty years.
So, what’s the big deal about a sandwich and french fry joint? First, there are the frites. I am not a big french fry eater. I don’t crave them as some people do. I don’t have to eat them if they come with my entrée. Most of the time, I find them to be uninspired and I don’t have much trouble leaving them on the plate. But these are frites we’re talking about. Frites are a lot of things, but french fries aren’t one of them.
Duckfat’s frites are in fact fried in duck fat. Hence the name. I don’t know if the duck fat is what pushes the taste of these frites through the stratosphere, but I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t hurt. The frites are served in a paper cone and come with a bevy of house made dipping sauces. I can’t say that I have tried all of them, but I have yet to find one that isn’t delicious.
If you can stop eating frites long enough to try one of their Panini sandwiches, you won’t be sorry. The sandwiches run the gamut from classics like peanut butter and jelly to new twists like the Comfy Cozy that pairs peanut butter, apple jelly, and thick cut bacon. As an added bonus, they are all made on bread straight from Portland’s own Standard Baking Company. In my opinion, the best bread on earth. Our friend was so happy with his Comfy Cozy that he immediately took this photo and posted it. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for people to start clicking the “like” button.
Duckfat also offers some of the thickest milkshakes I have ever had the pleasure of slurping through a straw. That being said, I haven’t had one since my first visit. Not because it wasn’t absolutely over the moon delicious. My reason was simple, no milkshake meant more room for frites. Sometimes a girl is forced to make difficult decisions.
The dining room at Duckfat is small and friendly. Space is limited, so don’t be surprised if you find a line out the door as prospective diners wait for a table to open up. There are two patio tables directly outside, but those seem to fill up as quickly as the dining room. My preference is to sit at one of the bar stools that lines the wall opposite the kitchen. While I wait for my frites I can play with the magnetic poetry pieces that line the wall. It all adds up to an enjoyable, casual environment.
Chalk another dining victory up to Duckfat. When the three of us left, we were still smiling from the effects of good company, good atmosphere, and good comfort food. Maybe the food wasn’t the only thing that was comforting. Spending the weekend with a friend who has known you since before you knew yourself can be its own comforting experience. All in all, a perfect weekend followed by a perfect dining experience. Sometimes you simply can’t improve on perfection. That’s why the next time our friend comes to town, we’ll find ourselves happily back at Duckfat. I’m looking forward to it already.