Friday, May 31, 2013

Fuel Maine

Do you know where Buckfield, Maine is? Middle of nowhere, as in the nearest grocery store is a 30 min hike. But because we love our family and little nieces, our Maine vacation also included some quality uncle/aunty time. Lucky for us, Buckfield is only 1hr away from Portland (which meant we could go back and try Duckfat) and near the metropolis of Lewiston which surprisingly, has a few great hidden gems, including a Chef's Tasting Menu called "Feed Me". How could we not try it?!

After a beer stop at Baxter Brewing Co., we put our faith in Yelp to help us find another hidden gem for lunch. It lead us to a quirky little lunch spot called She Doesn't Like Guthrie's. Long name, tasty place, and certified "Green Restaurant" by Maine! To give our cholesterol a break, we went a healthier route. J got a bbq chicken sandwich while I tried a combo of sweet potato quesadilla and grilled kale salad with avocado, beans, and brown rice and side of really delicious and bright cilantro lime dressing. Everything tasted fresh, clean, and was healthy (I think). It was probably one of the few places where we got a healthy serving of veggies in. Fried fiddleheads count as a healthy vegetable too, right? 

We were obsessed with trying fiddleheads, a seasonal fern of sorts that we saw everywhere on the road stands. I've never seen these greens in New York and stopped by a quaint local stand to pick some up. The kind of stand that someone's neighbor set-up with a fisher price chalkboard; kind of sketchy but it's your local, friendly neighborhood supplier. J's bro is a great cook and prepared the fiddleheads two ways: tempura and sauteed in butter. Delicious! Funky looking but also tasted familiar, like a cross between a string bean and bok choy. 

It must have been fate, because fiddleheads made another appearance the next night when we went out for dinner. J's bro and sister in law had been raving about a restaurant in nearby Lewiston that does a chef's tasting menu. Basically, every dish is up to the chef and is a surprise four-course meal. You just tell him your dislikes, and your meal is at the mercy of his knife. Our inner foodies couldn't resist and off to Fuel we went. 

There's no holding back when it comes to the Feed Me Menu. We decided to be a bit more adventurous and the only exceptions we made were no eggplant for me and no mushrooms for J. It was only fitting that we were dining at the bar as Iron Chef America was playing on the flatscreen overlooking us. 

Our first appetizer course came out and we were already impressed with the presentation. Chef put together a beautiful plate of monkfish two ways (one with a romesco sauce and the other with roasted red peppers and fried leeks) with a few bites of octopus ceviche. The fish was light and moist and the ceviche a bright, acidic and delightful start to the meal ahead. Bring on the second course. To our surprise, we got more fiddleheads! Chef was whimsical on this one, calling it ferns and frogs. I was not expecting fried frog legs and was hesitant to try them but gave it a go anyways. Not too shabby, tastes like chicken! They did a great job cleaning the frogs legs and it did not have a weird, fishy taste that I was expecting. The batter was light and crispy and of course anything tastes great with the addition of bacon. This was much better than the last frog legs experience that I had as a teenager visiting Vietnam. Let's not go there. 

Moving on to the third entree course, we got the best piece of lamb we've ever tasted. Normally lamb is too gamey for my taste and I rarely eat it (except when mixed in gyro meat); J on the other hand loves it. To my surprise, again, this lamb was so tender and not gamey at all. I don't remember which cut of meat the lamb was but it was heavenly paired with tiny bites of sweet roasted grapes and coated with a rich cognac sauce. The bitterness of the radicchio was also a perfect touch. 

Finally, you can't forget about dessert! Talk about wow factor. Our final bite came sizzling in the tiniest and cutest mini cast iron pan. Chef made us a chocolate chip clafoutis, which is basically an eggy and light dutch oven pancake. Topped with whipped cream, it was a delightful ending to our Iron Chef-like meal. This a was such a fun treat. If you're adventurous as we are,  and for whatever reason find yourself in Lewiston, Maine, give the Feed Me Menu a go at Fuel. 

We're curious, are there any places in the Capital Region that does a chef's tasting menu like Fuel? 


  1. is DaVinci's still in/near Lewiston? I loved that place....

    1. We're from upstate NY but would love to explore more places when we make the trek back to Maine. What kind of place is DaVinci's?