The summer air is warm and muggy; grated metal chairs surround outdoor tables waiting for guests to appear. Inside, a smile at the check-in station and murmured conversations blend with Aretha Franklin’s ‘Chain of Fools’ as the steady hiss of an espresso machine pulls one silky, caramel stream after another into warmed, waiting mugs. Booths and tables alike are at capacity as friends, family, and couples connect over steaming plates of Shrimp and Grits, Biscuit Boards stacked with house biscuits served with spoon fruit, local goat butter and spice honey, Croque Madames, or Breakfast Tamales . . . it’s just a typical Sunday Brunch at Feast Bakery Café in Bloomington.
We discovered Feast several years ago at one of the local Farmer’s Markets; it was a scorching hot summer day, the thermometer pushing 100 degrees. Vendors were under canopied stalls and as we entered the market, we noticed a very long line at a particular vendor table – Feast – and the single item available? Tamales. We purchased a 4-pak, some homemade mango salsa and headed home; we steamed our first batch and have been hooked ever since.
The Café is a small space with pale green walls, amber-colored pendant lights, a pastry case filled with breads, cakes, cookies and bars – all made from scratch on site. In fact, business has been so successful they need more prep space to keep up with demand; they opened a second location in Bloomington this past spring. Coffee, tea and pastries will be available at the second location while housing the entire baking operation in the back.
The fair-trade coffee is always fresh, the orange juice fresh-squeezed, and the wait staff is knowledgeable and efficient – right in line with the soothing ambiance of the place. And even though you will most likely leave with a full belly, you might be tempted to sneak a peek at what’s inside the pastry case and grab a little something for later. Lines may be a bit long, but customers are content to chat with friends while waiting for an open table; the comfortable atmosphere, combined with a flair for thoughtfully prepared fresh food, makes Feast Bakery Café is a food destination worthy of the wait.
While I originally wrote this piece for Edible Indy‘s Winter 2014 issue, blueberries are at their peak here in the midwest right now; spoon fruit is simply a ‘loose’ version of jam. This is such an easy recipe and takes less than an hour to make from start to finish. You can process your spoon fruit in a water bath to make the jars shelf-stable or tuck them away in your refrigerator and enjoy on your morning toast or a fluffy scone or biscuit.
BLUEBERRY SPOON FRUIT
Very slightly adapted from Erika Yochum, Feast Bakery Café M
akes approximately 4-5 cups
- 7 cups blueberries
- 1-1/2 cups raw sugar (more if your berries are a little on the tart side)
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 375
- Wash the blueberries, pull off any stems and toss any that may be past their prime
- Toss the blueberries with the rest of the ingredients
- Pour onto a 9×13 glass baking dish, spread in an even layer and bake for about 30-35 minutes; give them a quick stir after 15 minutes and continue to bake until thick and bubbly
- Remove from oven and stir again making sure all the sugar has disolved; spoon fruit thickens as it cools
- Spoon Fruit is terrific as a mix-in to yogurt, topping for ice cream, in lieu of syrup on pancakes or waffles as well as served with warm biscuits or scones
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This is so alluring – I love the name, too. Spoon fruit just rolls of the tongue – I’ve never heard of it before, but make a stovetop version quite similar. It’s so good on just about anything! Hope you are both well, Deb & Prof 🙂