By Bonnie Berger
Located near Elm Mott, Café Homestead is an ideal place to take out-of-town visitors or quell your appetite after a day exploring Homestead Heritage’s grounds.
Homestead Heritage is an area near Elm Mott featuring its Traditional Crafts Village, which, according to its website, homesteadheritage.com, “showcases a community of craftsmen who have returned, not to the past, but to the enduring values exemplified in handcraftsmanship.”
The restaurant’s is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday cater to conventional mealtimes rather than late-night feasting. Weekends begin early at 7 a.m. on Saturdays with a special breakfast menu in addition to regular service until 6 p.m.
Is it silly to fall in love with a restaurant because of French fries? Thick, tender and perfectly salted, these Russet fries are tasty enough to indefinitely distract you from your entrée. Retaining the starchy quality that comes from real potatoes, it’s easy to believe each batch is grown on-site and prepared with care.
However, they are just fries. Chances are they accompany a hefty burger or flavorful sandwich from Café Homestead’s lunch menu. In my case, they were paired with the South of the Border burger, a third-pound beef patty smothered with pepper jack cheese, green chilies, red onion, lettuce, tomato, avocado and homemade Ranch dressing served on a whole wheat bun.
An impressive tower of protein and vegetables, the gourmet artisan bread was no match for the oversized portions sandwiched between it. With such a myriad of toppings, it’s impossible to leave hungry. Although a robust portion, the whole business was swamped with dressing, drowning out the subtle heat of green chilies and pepper jack cheese.
Despite the mess, the grass-fed beef held its own. Should your burger not experience a similar deluge of condiments, the ingredient quality between each bun will dazzle you.
Ingredients ranging from the lettuce on every sandwich to the eggs in each pie crust are either locally sourced or grown in one of Homestead Heritage’s many gardens. All meat is raised within the community, yielding the kind of hormone-free sustenance that often evades supermarket shelves.
Artisan cheeses are smoked over pecan shells and properly aged at the nearby Brazos Valley cheese shop before gracing the café’s dining room tables.
Breads and baked goods are born from wheat that is ground at the water-powered gristmill adjacent to the café. Even desserts like their rich ice creams and fruit-filled pastries are made from scratch.
Lighter offerings are available, too. For an option that will satisfy taste buds and satiate hunger, a bowl of the jalapeno sweet potato soup is a must. This creative pairing of flavors meld, producing a potage with an enjoyable kick.
Each spoonful is the appropriate combination of sweet and savory. A homemade dinner roll with fresh garlic butter adds extra substance if the full-bodied soup does not suit.
The wait staff is courteous and knowledgeable, ensuring a visit that is as luminous and inviting as the dining room. Home-style wooden tables gleam under the warm overhead lamps while the bakery case filled with delectable pastries and assorted bread loaves beckons.
Ultimately, quality, organic foods paired with innovative recipes make the winding drive and slightly higher prices worth it.