Springtime in Maine can be an overcast and dreary affair (last week, I heard that 16 of the previous 18 days had been rainy!), but every now and then, the weather and the weekends cooperate, and the budding trees and flowers become a vivid reminder of new beginnings and good things to come. That Meredith and my trip to the grand (re-)opening of Rabelais, in its new home in Biddeford, fell on one such weekend, can only be interpreted as a positive sign of a fresh new era for a wonderful Maine business.
It’s with a guilty conscious that I admit that I never had the opportunity to check out Rabelais in its old home on Middle Street in Portland. Don’t get me wrong, it was not without countless recommendations or my own desire to visit (Meredith and I love a good book about food or drink – and at one time, even hoped to collect one from each trip we took together), but unfortunately, I never made the time, and thus missed out on an integral, yet not as obvious, part of Portland’s fantastic food scene and culture. So when Meredith suggested that we visit their new space in the old mill buildings in Biddeford this past weekend, I jumped at the opportunity, and we made a delightful afternoon of it.
Rabelais, and it’s two owners, Samantha and Don Lindgren, are an unbelievable resource for food and drink. It will only take a few seconds of perusing through their shelves to notice that although they might not have every book on food or drink, they quite possibly have every book on the matter, old or new, that’s actually worth reading. In fact, their selection was so well curated that finding a couple of books that Mere and I wanted wasn’t the issue – finding a few books we didn’t want was. We could have spent hours in there, marveling at the selection, trying to settle on a new addition to add to our own, and picking Samantha and Don’s brains for suggestions, but that’s not what a soft opening is for (and there were plenty of more familiar patrons welcoming them to their awesome new space), so it looks like a future trip to the Biddeford mills is in the cards. Until then, I’ll be browsing the archives of their insanely interesting blog, perfecting some cocktails from my new PDT Cocktail Book, and anxiously awaiting their new test kitchen.