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March 03, 2009

Best Bites: Foothills Bakery

Foothills Bakery
1123 Main Street, Fairfax, 849-6601

By Suzanne Podhaizer

In rural Franklin County, places to nosh are few and far between. And if you're a vegetarian or a whole-foods aficionado, most area eateries will leave you in the lurch.

But one little gem in Fairfax caters aptly to both crowds. The tiny Foothills Bakery, right across from the Food Venture Center and down the road from the burned-out church, offers delicious, homemade fare at very reasonable prices.

On Saturday morning, a meat-free friend and I headed over to try out the food. A rich bowl of cheesy cauliflower soup — studded with tender brassica chunks — got us off to a good start. A side salad with homemade lemon-chive dressing was fresh and crisp, and featured pickled banana peppers along with the usual vegetable suspects.

Main courses were just as good. A simple ham sandwich (the meats are baked in-house as are the breads) was slathered with bracing tarragon mustard, and the spinach-studded veggie lasagna was cheesy in a good way. I brought home a slice of Southwestern quiche and a miniature flatbread pizza for dinner.

The numerous baked goods were worth a taste, too. The chocolate croissant was excellent and the fruit danishes pleasant. A late-night wedge of moist carrot cake hit the spot, and had just the right amount of cream-cheese frosting. My friend brought home a chocolate-layer bar, and couldn't stop thinking about it three days later.

Pleasantly cluttered with homey decor and featuring a mix of paintings and photographs on the wall, the restaurant has a lived-in vibe. Stopping in for a meal is like eating at a friend's house with a bunch of good-natured strangers.

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