Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
The end of a romance has been known to cause some folks to lose their appetite. Those folks were not eating at Farmer's Table, a wonderful, cozy little farm-to-table restaurant in Fayetteville situated in what used to be a home, complete with crown molding and creaky wooden floors. The tables are covered in a vibrant mish-mash of unmatched tablecloths. There's a patio, too, which is perfect for late-morning brunches in the early fall. This is where we found ourselves a couple of weeks ago, seated next to a couple who looked like they were maybe not having as great a time as we were.
Breaking up is tough. And sometimes, when you know there's a strong possibility for much wailing and gnashing of teeth, you choose to do it in a public place. So it was for one poor young lad on this fine autumn day. As his soon-to-be ex handed him a letter that began "Dear Sweetheart" (it was hard not to peek), we ordered coffee and Chai tea. Both were wonderful.
By the time Poor Lad had finished reading the letter, we had ordered, helped along the way with knowledgeable recommendations from our very kind server. We tried to hide in our coffee cup as he slowly and silently put his head to the table in anguish. He left it there for some time, raising it only when the server came back to place a hearty breakfast plate in front of the breaker-upper. "Man, she's still going to eat?" we thought. And eat she did. As she did not see fit to place an order for her former beau, our man left in a huff. The heartbreaker barely batted an eye, delved as she was into her brunch bliss of potatoes and eggs.
With his mopey departure, the mood lightened, and continued to do so as our table was topped with all we had ordered. The Benny on a Biscuit ($11) was a highlight, an order that will be tough not to repeat upon return visits. Starting from the bottom, what you've got is a soft and lumpy (in a good way) biscuit, topped with sliced ham or sauteed greens (the menu recommends choosing both, which we did), poached eggs from a free-range chicken, and a homemade hollandaise.
We went out on a bit of a limb with this one as we're not huge Benedict fans. The hollandaise, when excessively applied, can be a bit much, but that wasn't the case here. There was just enough. It was creamy with a hint of lemon to make it tart. We don't usually do greens with breakfast, but these, too, were a hit and gave a nice balance to the dish. The eggs were nicely poached, with firm whites and oozy yolks. But one of the true unexpected surprises was the side of potatoes. They were crusty (again, in a good way), toasty orange and actually took some effort to bite into. We're guessing they were rolled in flour and cooked in cast-iron. The crispy, well-seasoned outside gave way to a mushy middle. This is an A-plus side dish.
We also were pleased with the Ozark Huevos ($9). Local non-GMO corn tortillas are placed on the bottom of a shallow bowl to serve as a bed for stewed organic pinto beans, two over-easy eggs (we upgraded to over-medium), organic tomato chili sauce, cilantro, chopped onions, Sriracha aioli and a cilantro cream sauce. We opted to add chorizo for $1.50. Blue corn tortilla chips are added as a topper.
Simply put, it's everything you love about breakfast food and Mexican-inspired dishes. The eggs, chorizo and beans — which have a quite meaty flavor from being stewed in beef broth — are warm and comforting. The tomato chili sauce is a perfect combination of a house red enchilada sauce and chili gravy. The toppings are perfectly picked. The fresh cilantro and onions deliver a nice, fresh flavor and the sauces are complementary. The Sriracha aioli and cilantro cream sauces are used sparingly and provide a nice cool kick to an otherwise warm plate. We can do without the chips, but who's counting?
It's too bad that our poor young lad didn't get breakfast before his hopes of true love were dashed. It might have softened the blow.
The Farmer's Table Cafe
1079 S. School Ave.
We'd be remiss to not recommend the pancake. The War Eagle Pancake ($3) was the perfect thing to finish everything off, sort of a breakfast dessert, if you will. It's huge, but not off-puttingly so. One is enough for two diners to split as a side. The griddle gives it a nice, golden-brown crust. It's thick, but not dense, with buttery, pillowy edges. It's fluffy, and where most diner-style pancakes can turn into a chore to eat, this one is almost bready and utterly delightful. The organic maple syrup that comes with it is sweet, rich and runny and has a depth of flavor you won't find in most eateries. Log Cabin, it ain't.
7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Credit cards accepted. Full bar.