In a region dotted with greasy spoons that serve the same fatty breakfast meats and eggs, it’s no wonder that Easton residents have embraced the Farmer’s Daughter.
There are twists on breakfast favorites, and lunch dishes with Asian or Latin influences. The ingredients are as fresh as they come, in true farm-to-table fashion: Eggs and bacon are from local farms, and produce comes from Langwater Farm, just down the street.
“A lot of people don’t understand how old the food is by the time it gets to stores,” Farmer’s Daughter owner Chandra Gouldrup said. Farm-to-table is “trendy now, but it’s what I know and am accustomed to eating.”
I went to the Farmer’s Daughter, which opened in June, with a friend from Easton who told me there are lines out the door every single day. When I arrived around noon on a Sunday, a dozen people were standing outside, and there was a half-hour wait.
The interior, gutted and redecorated from its days as the Main Street Cafe, is cottage chic, decorated in creams, blue slates, and warm woods. Water served in mason jars adds to the country vibe, and I was pleased to see loose leaves when I ordered tea.
We started with a cheese plate ($3 per wedge), served with sesame seed crackers. The brie was mild and buttery, the blue creamy and tangy. The bûcheron was my favorite, creamy and sweet with a drizzle of honey and a slightly acidic finish. The fig compote, made with fresh and dried figs and accentuated with lemon and vanilla, was delicious enough to eat by the spoonful.
With the sliders trio ($11) you get a choice of turkey burger or pulled pork, but I was able to try both. The turkey slider – moist and peppery, topped with avocado, peppers, and spicy aïoli – is no mere dieter’s alternative to beef, but a hearty burger in its own right. The pulled pork was sweet with the tang of vinegar, and topped with a crunchy apple slaw.
The Bangkok wrap ($10), served warm, enveloped Thai-marinated chicken, brown rice, shredded carrot, and cabbage slaw with toasted peanut vinaigrette. My friend’s husband enjoyed the wrap, along with a side of lightly sweet and crunchy veggie chips. I thought it was good, but the flavors aren’t the most exciting the menu has to offer.
My friend ordered the Niçoise salad ($14), a beautiful bowl of baby greens, potatoes, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, haricots verts, anchovies, and preserved tuna with a shallot vinaigrette. A native of France, my friend is particular about her salade Niçoise, and pointed out the salad had no olives, much less Niçoise olives.
She also felt the tuna was dry and should have been packed in olive oil, and noted the potatoes were home fries. “As a purist, you want just boiled potatoes,” she told me. Still, we agreed the haricots verts in particular were deliciously tender and fresh.
Their daughter, 9-year-old Charlotte, is a picky eater and opted for the single waffle ($6), to which she gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up. It’s cooked just right, fluffy inside and almost crisp outside, and the side of bacon ($4) was thick and juicy.
The friendly staff might still be learning to cope with the overwhelming response, since there were some service flaws. We still had no plates after being served the cheese, and a side order I placed for a sweet potato and chive pancake ($5) was forgotten.
I let them deliver the pancake after our meal ended, anyway. It was like a disc of peppery mashed potato partially covered in mashed sweet potato, but I found it dense where I was expecting something lighter and crisp, like a latke.
Our table had spent a lot of time agonizing over what to order, and for future visits I have my eye on the Nutella Belgian waffle ($10); quiche du jour ($9); and French affair ($9), which consists of prosciutto and melted brie with a fig and pear compote on a toasted baguette.
The restaurant already has a base of faithful clients, a few of whom visit regularly to taste their way through the breakfast and lunch menus, Gouldrup said. It’s the first restaurant for this farmer’s daughter, who previously worked at Petit Robert Central and Sibling Rivalry in Boston.
Gouldrup, who grew up in southern New Hampshire, said her father and grandfather were farmers. Though she wasn’t raised on a farm, her father went to school to study agriculture, and the family ate from an extensive garden regularly.
Purist Niçoise concerns aside, my friend and her family plan to return, liking just about everything else. I plan the same, though the trip is more than a walk up the road for me. It’s not every brunch place that offers something more fresh, more imaginative.
One thing Gouldrup is adamant about is resisting having a deep fryer in her kitchen.
“I wanted to show a slightly healthier menu,” she said.
“There’s a lot of guilty pleasures as well, but there’s a lot of other ways you can show food.”Shirley Goh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow her blog at whataboutsecondbreakfast.blogspot.com.