On the advice of a friend, I took a ride to Biddeford for a mid-week tasty lunch at Part & Parcel, a specialty market and kitchen that’s women-owned and that’s been open since about Memorial Day. Situated in the epicenter of downtown, Part & Parcel is a gorgeous space with blonde wood floors, high ceilings and fabulous amounts of natural light from the huge front windows.
It has a lot of real estate and could easily fit more seating, but I’ll cut the place some slack as it’s still relatively new and likely still growing into the space. I do hope it adds some counter seating by those front windows, as that would be an ideal spot for people-watching. That said, there is a patio out back that I look forward to hitting after the spring thaw.
Before raving about my lunch, I’ll mention that Part & Parcel carries a respectable range of local produce, beers and wines, prepared foods and bath and body products, among other items that I wish I had had more time to peruse.
The Part & Parcel sandwich menu has eight offerings on it, ranging from $7 to $9. The Cowboy ($7) is made with goat cheese mousse, candied jalapeños, pico de gallo and greens and comes on brioche bread. I almost ordered the turkey avocado BLT ($9), served on ciabatta and made with applewood-smoked bacon. Yum! But this Sicilian writer could not resist the gravitational pull of the Italian, which is one of the $9 options. Served on ciabatta, the Part & Parcel Italian is heavily populated with salami, capicola, local ham and provolone and is adorned with banana peppers, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, garlic greens, mayo, salt and pepper. I paired it with a raspberry lime Spindrift sparkling water and a bag of Deep River sea salt and vinegar chips and sat myself down at one of the three tables.
While I waited for my sandwich to arrive, I appreciated the steady diet of outstanding tunes being played on the sound system, including Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon In The Sky.” But the music had to compete with an annoyingly loud walk-in cooler. Not sure what can be done to muffle it, but it was distractingly loud – not enough, however, to keep me from paying Part & Parcel another visit, though, because my enjoyment of the Italian satisfied my sense of taste immensely.
The wait for my Italian was a short one. When my sandwich was delivered and I took the first bite, I made a marvelous, unexpected discovery: It was grilled! This meant that the provolone was a ittle bit melted and that the flavors of everything on this glorious sandwich were all the more enhanced. It took significant restraint on my part not to inhale the thing in about seven seconds. Instead, I savored the flavor of several ingredients working together to dazzle my taste buds and took my time, for once, with eating. Only when every last morsel, crumb and speck was gone did I venture over to the baked goods case to see what Part & Parcel had to offer – just for a look.
The raw cocoa crunch balls stared back at me from their glass jar, while some almond sliver-covered blueberry scones watched from their perch in a case a few inches away. But what really quickened my pulse was the cookie situation. Part & Parcel had double chocolate brownie, chunky peanut butter, triple ginger molasses and oatmeal chocolate chunk with sea salt. They were $3 a pop, which may seem a bit steep, but these were righteous looking, sizable cookies. At the last second, while being rung up, I asked for ginger molasses one to go. Hours later back at home I suddenly remembered I had purchased it, and my sweets-loving spouse was more than happy to partake of the cookie with the understanding that I would want her tasting notes. The next day, in the early part of the afternoon, an email arrived with this official report: “It was not the thin, soft version from my childhood, it was heftier, thicker and crunchier. It had have a slightly softer center, and it tasted great with a deep ginger flavor from the cookie itself, and the addition of chopped up candied ginger put it over the top.” She also shared that the cookie was just the right size. “Not too big, just right for a lunch dessert.”
I don’t venture to Biddeford all that often, but every time I do, I’m pleasantly surprised. Part & Parcel was another win in that department.
WHERE: 17 Alfred St., Biddeford; (207) 494-8376, partandparcelme.com
HOURS: 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
WAIT: About five minutes
PARKING: On street and nearby municipal lot
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No, there are two granite steps