We all have our favorite comfort foods. Foods that we grew up on, meals that we ate for special occasions, Sunday suppers, or that special meal our mothers prepared for us when we were sick. The smell or taste of a particular dish can elicit memories of the time and place when you first had it. So, when asked to write a restaurant review on comfort foods, it only seems appropriate to come back to the place where my food memories started, back to a small town in Southern Indiana.
When I went home to spend Christmas with my family, I decided to check out FARMbloomington, a relatively new(ish) restaurant in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. The chef, Daniel Orr, was originally from Columbus, Indiana (where my mom grew up) and went away to school to study restaurant management. After graduation, Orr traveled all over the world, working at restaurants in France, Belgium, New York City, and Anguilla before settling back into Bloomington’s quaintly world-class dining scene.
FARM’s focus is on using fresh and local ingredients, fusing together the flavors of island cuisine and Midwestern cooking. The best part about the restaurant is the ambiance. Filled with vintage 1950s memorabilia, the overall feel and decor is convincing enough to take you back to your grandmother’s kitchen.
I had heard that FARM has an amazing brunch on the weekends, so my dad and I decided to check it out. No breakfast would be complete without biscuits and apple butter! I ordered their biscuit bowl—four homemade biscuits served with real butter and apple butter. As far as food goes, biscuits and apple butter are a true Southern Indiana staple. Even better is when the biscuits are fried, which you can get at the Nashville House in Brown County.
The South has grits—we have apple butter.
But that was just an appetizer! For breakfast, I ordered their special of the day, the vegetarian omelet with root vegetables and my dad ordered their take on eggs benedict. Both came with a side of “homies” and not the kind wear baggie jeans and say “sup?” These homies were french fries pan fried with tomatoes, red peppers and onions.
My veggie omelet was tasty, but I think my dad ended up with the winning dish. Their poached eggs were stacked on top of flaky homemade biscuits instead of the usual english muffin. I think it was that simple touch that satisfied my Midwestern tastebuds. What would have been even more of a comfort food for my family, at least, was their biscuits and gravy. My mom used to make biscuits and gravy for us when we were growing up, but being the picky eater I was as a child, I would not touch the gravy with a ten foot pole. These days, I love a good plate of biscuits and gravy.
If you’re looking for some good ‘ol Southern Indiana comfort food, FARM’s the place to go. In addition to a well-known brunch, FARM was recognized in ’09 by Food Network Magazine as having one of the best burgers in the nation for their bison burger. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, FARM is a nice change of pace from the usual with their fresh spin on traditional favorites.