The Worthington Farmers Market literally spills onto the walkway of the Worthington Inn during the restaurant's new Saturday breakfast service. The symbolism seems clear - the Worthington Inn is so committed to local produce that one day a week it physically becomes part of a farmers market.
I spent a few early Saturdays (the breakfast runs 8:30-10:30 a.m.) on the inn's lovely patio listening to upbeat jazzy music and staring into a profusion of sunflowers - a little Van Gogh-ish vision courtesy of the Nightcrawler's Garden stall.
My perch close enough to market vendors to chat with them proved to be an inspired spot to enjoy the inn's breakfast - a small menu of nice-priced, populist favorites made with upgraded ingredients courtesy of local farmers.
The surprisingly large Market Breakfast Sandwich ($5) will be familiar to anyone who's ever chomped into an Egg McMuffin. Only the inn's English muffin came loaded with creamily scrambled, local free-range eggs enriched with grated sharp cheddar cheese.
If you like more punch to your eye-opening munch, I suggest you accessorize the sandwich with a King Farm sausage patty ($2). That unfatty pork-pie disc was sagey and peppery and flecked with red chili flakes for an extra kick.
The Mexicali Breakfast Burrito ($8) incorporated more of those great scrambled eggs into zingy jalapeno pepper jack cheese. Providing heft were black beans, and adding a hint of vegetal sweetness were kernels of fresh corn. On the side were sour cream plus a disappointing and out-of-character commercial salsa.
The Market Scramble ($11) prominently showcases fluffy, soft scrambled eggs with a varying array of "what's fresh today" vegetables. Lately these have been combos involving tinily diced sweet bell peppers, spinach and tomatoes with actual flavor. This ova platter arrives with hearty toast (10-grain or rye) and a choice of King Farm's morning pork. Since I'd already sampled the sausage, I went with the bacon and it too was great. Three thick strips were hickory smoky, chewy, slightly sweet and featured less fat than meat.
Sweet-toothers should choose the wonderful, warm Buckwheat Crepes ($8). Made with locally milled Stutzman Farms buckwheat, they achieved a delicate and lacy elegance I didn't expect from rustic buckwheat. The three light and nutty crepes radiated around the plate like petals of a flower. In the center was an incredible splatter of fresh berries spilling over a mound of terrific vanilla-inflected, homemade whipped cream.
For an East Coast nosh, it's hard to beat the New Yorker ($11). Atop a locally baked Sammy's Black Russian bagel (hearty, chewy and dense) were cream cheese, specks of red onion, bacon of the sea (smoked salmon) and little capers fried to crispy (think of them like tiny, briny "crunchberries").
As I polished off that bagel and swirled the last of my pretty-in-pink Blood Orange Bellini ($5), I gazed past an elderly gentleman snoozing on the inn's bench, which abuts the bustling scene of the dog- and kid-friendly Worthington Farmers Market.
Eco-friendly tote bags were billowing over with local greens, someone close by was tinkling "Here Comes the Sun" on a hammered dulcimer and the sun had not yet turned mean. I stalled as long as possible before joining my place in the jostling rush of late Saturday morning.
For more local food news and reviews, click to G.A. Benton's blog at blog.columbusalive.com/underthetable