Back to Bates Weekend dinner experiences started without gusto: I was eating cold gluten-free, lactose-free pizza on a Friday night. I had missed dinner, and was eating the leftovers of my dear friend, Taryn Bedard ’18. The cold mystery pizza filled my stomach, but did nothing to please my taste buds.
To complete this onerous task, I travelled all the way to Freeport, ME. After visiting the outlet stores to get pants (I had only brought a solitary pair of jeans with me to school for unknown reasons), my mother and I walked into Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro, a warm and intimate restaurant with an hour wait to get in. Luckily, I had made a reservation a few weeks ago in anticipation of parents in Freeport looking for food.
Our waitress seats us at a gigantic table for two, and we instantly appreciated the privacy and calmness our spacious dining environment afforded. We started to take in our extended surroundings: cozy chairs, comfy couches to wait on (which were all full) and attractive patrons enjoying beautiful dishes.
We order. Burrata with pesto, red peppers, broccolini and toasted bread with cheese to start. I take the hand-rolled gnocchi with duck confit sauce, while my mother orders the golden beet salad.
While our food was being prepared, my mother and I sunk into conversation about my school life. Five classes, no sleep, the usual Bates College busy student story. Luckily, before we could get to the topic of grades, a mound of cheese draped over warm crunchy bread arrived before our surprised eyes. We cut into the burrata, and soft cheesy goodness slowly cascaded out. Scooping some pesto and burrata onto a piece of bread, we swiftly started talking about my mom’s rowing and evaded the grades conversation entirely. Phew.
After consuming the glorious burrata and pesto, our entrees were promptly delivered.
From across the room, I could smell the savory odor of the salty duck confit. As I bit into a broccoli head, I was surprised by the sauce trapped among the florets. I never knew broccoli could taste so good, until I tried the duck. A glorious blend of salt and cheese and crushed hazelnuts provided a complex flavor profile in the confit. The gnocchi provided an excellent vehicle for the sauce.
Glancing across the table, I noticed my mom’s golden beet salad had quickly disappeared- it was no longer “golden.” As she finished the remaining greens, I dove further into the gnocchi. Having already consumed the rest of the duck and vegetables, I used a scooping motion to get as much sauce on the gnocchi as possible.
However, I quickly realized I was running out of stomach space. In efforts to enjoy as much fancy food as possible, I gobbled up as much gnocchi and sauce as possible. Success.
Again looking up from my own plate, I noticed that my mother had finished her meal as well. We smiled. We breathed.
As the check arrived, we thanked our waitress and left the warm embrace of the restaurant for the cool but inviting sidewalk. Breathing in the air, I felt my food settle and I appreciated again the duck confit deliciousness in the form of a soft burp.