AUBURN — Like the comfort food you relished as a kid, the right food acts as a tasty time machine.

That’s the aim of Carbur’s Folly.

The sandwich — one of dozens on the menu at Pastiche in Auburn — hopes to remind folks of Portland’s Old Port in the 1980s and ’90s. Back then, Carbur’s Restaurant on Middle Street was famous for its ultra-long sandwich menu.

One of the popular creations was a vegetarian sandwich that was eventually called Carbur’s Folly.

It was toasted on a white Italian bread with two kinds of cheese and sweetened with roasted red peppers and caramelized onions.

Since Pastiche deli opened in early December at Great Falls Plaza (next to the post office), its version has developed fans. Many were too old to to savor Pop Rocks washed down with a can of Jolt, but have fond memories of the era’s food.

“People love it,” waiter Michael Peterson said.”They come in all the time and talk about Carbur’s and what it was like.”

They talk about the menu, with its burgers, buffalo chips and five-decker sandwiches. And they talk about the people they were back then.

Of course, Peterson and several of the deli’s workers were too young to remember the upscale sandwich shop, which at its height had locations in Burlington, Vt., and Plattsburgh, N.Y., as well as in Maine. For a short time Carbur’s opened a satellite in Auburn back in the day, on the second floor of the old Engine House on Court Street, which many still remember. No Curbur’s restaurant exists today.

From what they’ve heard, Pastiche’s sandwich is a good approximation of the original “Folly.”

The sandwich adds another meat-free choice to the selection, which also includes a “veggie classic” and a hummus wrap.

The Folly is made with Pastiche’s own peppers, onions, portabella mushrooms, slices of tomato and two cheeses, provolone and mozzarella. It is melted together in a ciabetta roll.

It takes about five minutes to prepare, said Courtney Abbott, a deli clerk and waitress.

“But the wait is worth it,” she said.

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Making Carbur’s Folly

Toast two slices of wheat or Italian white bread. Spread them with garlic mayonnaise and top each piece of bread with a thin slice of provolone and a thin slice of mozzarella (four pieces of cheese total).

Heat a mixture of caramelized onion, roasted red peppers and portabello mushrooms and spread evenly across one of the cheese-covered slices of bread. Top with two slices of tomato.

Combine both halves of the sandwich and heat — Pastiche uses a panini maker — for about one minute until the cheese melts. Serve warm.


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