The Kennebunkport Festival celebrates the best food, art, and design that Maine has to offer. For those who have never been, the festival is composed of many events, large and small, several of which are hosted in the beautiful homes of Kennebunk’s residents.
This brings us to Chef Leslie Oster of Aurora Provisions, who teamed up with Maine Street Desgn Co., and Devenish Wines to put together a beautifully themed African dinner for this year’s festival. Beyond enjoying good food and company, these annual dinners raise funds for Full Plates Full Potential a charity dedicated to ending childhood hunger in Maine. Each of these events also celebrated a Maine artist, in this case Brad Maushart of F8 gallery at which the dinner was held. The gathering was photographed by the good folks of Maine Magazine. They took much better photos of the event than I ever could and you can find them here Faces Maine. As a teaser to their superior images, I have included some of my better photos and a copy of the menu here:
Watercress with Bock choy, leas and peanut sauce.
African Donuts with Fig Ice-Cream & Cardamom syrup. Served with African Chai Tea
We started out our Friday night by stopping in for a drink at LFK, home of some of our favorite drinks and one of my favorite burgers-the LFK burger with pimento cheese.
After settling in to enjoy our cocktails, we encountered our friend Wayne. He asked us if we had ever tried the burger next door at Petite Jacqueline. In the pursuit of yumminess, my wife and I agreed we should try it out.
For any who have never been to Petite Jacqueline, they do a fantastic job of cooking everything French. Burgers being an iconic American dish made me slightly hesitant to try their version. In order to offset any potential risk, we began with some charcuterie: super rich duck liver pate, fantastic deviled eggs and some yummy cheese. Their list of things to taste was extensive. The board was served with crispy toasted crackers and a small house made baguette. delicious!
When our burgers arrived topped generously with perfectly melted cheese and accompanied by a large pile of fries, I knew that our friend had not lead us astray. The burger was perfectly cooked, and had the dense yet chewy texture that only comes from high quality house ground meat. I loved the choice of using gruyere and the addition of caramelized onions. The sandwich was rich with fat and cheese, but not greasy. Definitely worth trying.
In the spirit of wine appreciation and building community, Joe Appel and Rosemont Market and Bakery brought renowned wine expert Terry Theise to showcase small batch champagnes. Accompanying the fine bubbly were some very tasty small plates produced by Brad Messier. Considering that the Mayo Street Art center doesn’t have a kitchen the food was pretty darn good. Highlights for me were the black pork slider with slaw and perfect mushroom donuts with pork gravy. Happy, happy!
Even a wine novice like myself could tell that these wines were exceptional and the speaker was both entertaining and knew the most intimate details of the wine’s production. My favorite was the first champagne, the Aubry Brut Rose. It was so surprisingly dry it made me giggle. The experience really did help me develope a better appreciation for what makes champagne special. I look forward to attending future events.