Holly Ebel: The most important meal of the (Satur-) day
There are many who start their Saturdays first thing at the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market, probably forgoing a cup of coffee or a little breakfast in their rush to get there.
Not to worry. If hunger pangs strike as you are on your way, there are plenty of delicious options to stave those off once you arrive. Follow me.
Walking into the market from the west side (as I do) you come directly to Infuzn Foods. New this year, it’s described by Andy Kollengode, one of those involved in the venture, as “Indian inspired with a global twist.”
Foods offered are vegetarian, with some also being vegan and gluten-free. An extensive menu is written on a board and includes a combination wrap with potato, masala and rice. Samples are offered and I tasted a millet porridge and a pineapple rice, both excellent.
Kollengode and his crew prepare some of the food in Pine Island at what used to be Kathy’s Catering. Other items are prepared at the market. A mango smoothie will give you a good boost.
Needing a cup of coffee? You’re in luck because right next to Infuzn is Old Abe Coffee. Abe Sauer offers a wide selection of both hot and cold coffees, one of which is the Classic, named the best cup in Rochester. A shot of maple syrup is available if you want it.
There is also bullet-proof coffee, Vietnamese ice coffee, and Thai ice tea. If you’re a little kid and not yet into coffee, he will pour you a small cup of Kapper’s chocolate milk, compliments of “Old Abe.”
Coffee in hand, the next thing you come across are several tables lined with donuts, donuts and more donuts. These come from Northwoods Orchard, known for donuts now and apples in the fall.
There are several flavors including vanilla, apple, blueberry and cherry.
Most have a light sugar coating over them, but there are also some without. With the help of a donut machine, these folks bring close to 1,600 every Saturday. I had a vanilla and it was perfect, not too big and not too sweet.
Turn left and head down that first aisle where you can’t miss Alexa and Lori Feyn’s bakery tables groaning under the weight of cinnamon rolls, pecan rolls, coffee cakes, English muffins, morning glory muffins, blueberry muffins, scones and cranberry wild rice muffins. While you can certainly eat one as you stroll you might bring some home for later in the morning.
Across from them is Vreeman Farms, a longtime market vendor known for its breakfast burritos and breakfast sandwiches. Ingredients are mostly from the Vreeman farm.
Their menu sign also lists popcorn. Why? “Because when we bought the food truck there was a big sign advertising popcorn. Eventually we painted over it but people like popcorn so we make it.”
At the end of that aisle go past a few produce vendors, then head east, where you can see three food stands. The first is Firebrick Bread Wood-Fired Pizza, which specializes in breakfast pizzas made to order by Stephan Jennebach. Among the creative choices are onion, bacon, cheese and scrambled egg or asparagus with Alfredo sauce, mozzarella and crumbled bacon.As the morning goes on lines form and not surprisingly he sells between 100-120 pizzas every market morning.
Le Petit Cafe is next, where Diedre Conroy holds forth with various coffees and delicious little cakes.
In her display case were petite lemon yogurt cakes, Moroccan orange cakes, scones, biscuits and a walnut coffee cake, just the right size for one person or to share.
The last in that group you will not want to miss. Crepe Jeanluc is new to the market this year and brings authentic flavors of Paris with his specialties. He makes both savory and sweet crepes with appropriate toppings.
Jeanluc is a well-regarded pastry chef and when you see his display of tarts and pastries you’ll understand why. They are picture perfect. If you miss him at market he will also be at Thursdays on First.
What’s especially nice is that whatever foods you choose, you can make your way to the picnic tables along the Zumbro and enjoy your early or late morning repast, a great start to the weekend.