Since the day it opened four years ago, Homespun has been popular among local Beacon residents and day trippers coming to visit DIA:Beacon at the waterfront and the shops and galleries on Main Street. Owner Jessica Reisman ran a successful bakery in Seattle before moving to town, and she has not lost her touch with this specialty food cafe. The Homespun menu offers robust salads and sandwiches created with local ingredients, homemade soups, and a wide array of tempting desserts, including tarts, pastries, and cakes, all made on premises. One item, however, was not on the menu, and that was dinner.
This is no longer the case, with the eatery offering a summer dinner from 6pm to 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights. On warm, clear evenings, most diners choose to eat out in the lovely garden area, bordered with seasonal plantings and featuring trellises, a large arbor, and a fountain at the back. It has been hung with festive outdoor lighting for the season, and that’s where we were seated. As prepared by chef Claudia Levesque, the supper offerings are simple, and divided into three sections: small plates, cheese tastes with accompaniments, and desserts.
The cheese plates are grouped by country and include Italian, Spanish, French, English and Dutch, and American, the choice of my partner and me heading into Memorial Day weekend. The cheeses on this plate were Coach Farm aged goat, raw milk Great Hill blue, and Humbolt Fog, served with neutral, thin charcoal crackers from the Fine Cheese Cracker Company, dates, sliced pear, and a tangy tomato relish that we later discovered was the same sauce used on the famous Homespun vegetarian meatloaf and made with tomatoes, fresh ginger root, fenugreek, and dried ancho chillies.
Small plates, big tastes
For our small plates, we ordered the mini crabcakes with remoulade, empanadas made with beef from local, grass-fed cows, and the special of the evening, medjool dates stuffed with Fourmé d’ambert, a French blue cheese.
The remoulade was mildly tangy, allowing the delicate crab flavor to come through. The medium weight crust of the empanada pastry was equally up to the task of offering just the right compliment to the local beef filling. The figs with bleu cheese were another successful pairing, but with the cheese plate also on our table, perhaps we might have selected a plate that would help cut the dairy, such as the olives and South African Peppadews (a brand of sweet peppers).
Homespun offers a variety of gourmet sodas and drinks, as well as microbrew beers and a small selection of interesting wines. My partner was enchanted with her glass of Cuma, an organic wine from Argentina with heavy black-currant undertones.
Lest you think that the tapas-style offerings do not make for a satisfying meal, dinner was so satiating my partner and I were forced to share a dessert. Already familiar with Homespun’s deadly dessert-fu, we figured we were in for a treat when we ordered the buttermilk panna cotta with berries. Panna cotta is an Italian custard-like creation with a consistency somewhere between flan and Greek yogurt. The rendition here was silky smooth, a refreshing way to enjoy strawberries and raspberries en plein air.
The service was attentive and professional. If you go for lunch instead of dinner, be aware that the place gets busy, and the fresh food prep may have you waiting, especially on weekends. Homespun also sells specialty and gourmet food products.