Mainely Food, Part 1

Mainely Food, Part 1

I can’t figure out why I keep putting off writing about our trip, but it’s come to feel like a chore. Bizarre, isn’t it, how something that one does voluntarily and for fun can turn into a duty? There’s just so much going on lately—I’m finishing up one freelance gig and preparing to start another, we’ve got a wedding this weekend and we’re trying to plan a trip to Italy for a second wedding later this summer… Feh. You don’t want to hear my whining. You want to hear about Maine!

So. Maine.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that we planned the travel portion of our trip around food. Several months ago I tore out one of Jane and Michael Stern’s Road Food columns from Gourmet magazine—Roadfood, the book, is my #1 travel guide of all time—about some incredible-sounding subs made in the Italian neighborhood of Portland. While we weren’t necessarily planning to linger in that city, we were more than happy to time our drive up north so that we’d be in the vicinity at lunchtime.

We arrived at Colucci’s Hilltop Market around 2, and tried to figure out the menu. It was a corner grocery with a food counter, and everyone seemed to know what they wanted except us. Well, S knew what he wanted—The Real Italian, the sandwich described so lovingly by the Sterns: mounds of salami, ham, pepperoni, and provolone, topped with tomatoes, onions, green pepper, pickles, and olives, and doused with oil. Since I don’t eat pork or care for cheese, I wasn’t sure what my options would be, but I was pleased to see a turkey Italian on the menu. Senza cheese, I was good to go.

When our order was ready, we took the bag outside and sat at one of two curbside picnic tables. The sandwiches come wrapped in a double-layer of waxy paper, so there was a delightful air of mystery to the meal—what was inside that giant torpedo? We unwrapped our savory gifts:

An Italian is served so overstuffed that you can’t possible put the two halves together and eat it as a true sandwich—the only option is to down the sucker open-faced. S did a fine job with his:

Man, those things were good! Even with something as bland as turkey breast, the mix of juicy, crunchy, salty, and oily was more than satisfying. Our stomachs full, we crawled back to the car and drove the rest of the way up to Port Clyde.

Coming soon: Mainely Food, Part 2, in which we eat a lobster roll, a whole lotta hot dogs, and nearly too many strawberries.