Something in the Freshness of Farmers, Fishers Bakers

Washington is a pretty brunchy town.  You have a LOT of options, for all sizes of groups, at a variety of price points, catering to tourists or the secret spot revered by locals, with just about every style of cuisine and large boozy drinks.  But what if there were a place that did it all?

20141122_090521Enter Farmers, Fishers, Bakers.  It actually checks every box for brunch.  Buffet, Check. Bloody Mary, Check.  Assortment of sweet and savory, Check. Big groups, Check.  Table served cinnamon rolls, Check.  You read that right.  These babies are cinnamon spicy, pillowy, and doused in a wonderful creamy icing.  I was too embarrassed to ask for more, but there were so many options on the buffet, I managed to survive.

The buffet is an ample mixture of Southern, traditional and Mexican with fun pops of fried shrimp, passed pizzas, sushi, and benedicts. Dedicate a plate to each station.  I started with the Gardner’s Table, a collection of fresh seasonal salads and dips; the Maryland crab dip out of a skillet is cheesy and salty with the sweetness of lump crab. Next hit up the Farmer’s Table where they have a thinly sliced slow roasted chuck eye served medium, one of the best things I’ve eaten– the crust is a well balanced mix of spices and the meat magically stays juicy. Get yourself a made to order omelette and keep these two plates in the back of your mind the rest of the day.

It’s ok to take a break and enjoy your Bloody Mary and the waterfront view, but be ready for an unending presentation of artisan pizzas with perfectly made crusts, fried crispy shrimp served with a bright citrusy cocktail sauce, sky high benedicts (seriously!) and sushi.  You could likely just stay seated and enjoy the traveling trays as your meal.  That’s a challenge I am willing to accept for next time.

Typically in these situations, I try to behave myself and eat the food as served.  I like weird combinations so when I have an opportunity at a buffet sometimes I take some liberties.  I layered slices of the thick cut bacon on the harvest french toast and then scooped a bit of the bananas foster onto the bacon.  Call me crazy, but it was amazing.  Same with the tacos over at the Butcher’s Table; grab a sweet corn tortilla, a spoonful of the fresh in your face guac, go back for a little bit of egg and top it off with the chuck eye.  I deserve the judgement but the natural quality of the ingredients is so high that it’s hard to mess this up.  Go get another plate and prepare to keep eating because…

More goodies await you at the Butcher’s Table.  That’s right, you’re going back for honey fried chicken and the farmers meatballs with grilled ciabatta.  If you’re too full and have absolutely no more room, you must still get a spoonful of the marinara.  This tomato sauce, can and should be eaten by the spoonful.

What is really amazing about this place is it’s organizational structure.  Farmers, Fishers, Bakers and it’s sister restaurants, Founding Farmers, truly lives it’s philosophy, instilled by the North Dakota Farmers Union. It’s refreshing (pun intended) to see an organization that literally operates farm to table.  The sustainable mentality is seen in its recycling, composting and reclaiming efforts and it’s LEED certifications. And even more important, you can taste the love and care put into the food being served.

Farmers, Fishers, Bakers is definitely about the experience.  They never let your coffee run out. And everyone is HAPPY.  What?  At least a third of the brunches in my life are only memorable because of a frazzled server, or a screaming baby at the table next to you.  There must be something in the fresh squeezed juices.

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