YLNI Farmers Market In Full Swing
Jun12

YLNI Farmers Market In Full Swing

Downtown Fort Wayne has the PERFECT place to grab a morning cup of coffee, a bite for breakfast, some groceries and a little something extra for yourself too! The YLNI Farmer’s Market on the corner of Berry and Barr is a HUGE gathering of local farmers, entrepreneurs, bakers and craftsmen that set up shop from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays in the summer. My best advice is to arrive right at 9. On my visit to the farmer’s market I left around 9:45 and the street was packed! Some vendors even had items crossed off their menus because they had ALREADY sold out. Like the saying goes, the early bird…well, you know…the early bird gets the last fresh snickerdoodle! Here are some finds from my most recent trip to the YLNI Farmer’s Market: I made off with a bath bomb from Redmaster Fusion that, no joke, smells like Fruit Loops . The owner, Kerry Redmaster, started her shop 8 years ago making soy candles and expanded from there. One of the coolest things I have seen is her creation of a bath bomb/soap bar. Just throw the whole thing in the tub and when the bath bomb fizzes out, you are left with soap- Genius! Visit her shop at https://www.redmasterfusionllc.com/ or in person at 537 W. Jefferson Blvd. Did I mention there is a surprise in the middle of her bath bombs? For my kitchen table I purchased some pea shoots and pine berries. Pea shoots taste just like peas, and are loaded with even more nutrition than the full grown plant. These and other “micro greens” are available at the market, and taste delicious on a salad or in a sandwich! I ate my pea shoots tossed with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese, served over lemon and herb spaghetti. Pineberries are white “strawberries” with red seeds and have the faint taste of pineapple in each bite.  Tea drinkers- visit Teajutsu. Actually, you non-tea drinkers go too, just to enjoy the catchy names! With teas called “I Am Froot” (Guardians of the Galaxy) and “Winter at Hogsmeade” (Harry Potter), it’s hard to resist geeking out with a cup. I purchased the Strawberry Shortcake tea, it tastes as bold as it smells and saves calories. This tea tastes just like the real thing! Your taste buds will thank you for visiting the online shop- http://www.teajutsu.net/. You can even place an order online and they will bring it to the market for you to pick up. (Editor’s note – the Teajutsu is a part of the nearby Fort Wayne Farmers Market, also on Barr Street). The YLNI Market is truly a...

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Blue Nile Coffee – Keeping Fort Wayne Roasted
Mar08

Blue Nile Coffee – Keeping Fort Wayne Roasted

Indiana winters makes me turn to coffee more and more. Maybe it’s the endless days of bitter cold and no sun, but there’s something about that warm brew that jump starts my day and makes me feel that spring is just around the corner. I love supporting local brews, so I was excited to hear more about Blue Nile Coffee Co that was started here in Fort Wayne. Michigan transplant Ciera Love (Director of Operations), Foster Park dweller Phil Snodgress (Managing Director), and Fort Wayne native, Zach White (Director of Marketing/Sales), started Blue Nile Coffee Co in September of 2017. They are all self-proclaimed coffee-o-holics and have an innate passion for craft coffee. A chance encounter with an impassioned local coffee shop owner at an obscure town in Michigan gave Ciera the idea to bring this craft coffee concept to Fort Wayne. When I asked, “Why choose Fort Wayne to start this venture?” the group from Blue Nile noted that “Fort Wayne is a unique city in that it offers the amenities of a big city with the hometown feel. It has a vibrancy and a sense of life to it, while other cities are still struggling to find their heartbeat. The community members want to see Fort Wayne prosper, and small businesses have a fighting chance to flourish here.” The three wanted to roast their own coffee and create flavors that are unique to what is currently on the market– Blue Nile does just that. They are quick to point out that they are not just about selling coffee, but their bigger passion is to help people elevate their morning routine. It’s true that most people drink only for necessity, which means they may be hitting up that delicious (insert sarcastic tone here) gas station coffee, which often translates into pouring on mounds of cream and sugar to cover up the bitter taste. Trust me, I’m guilty of having done that a time or two! What Blue Nile does that is so refreshing is that they roast their coffee in a way that brings out the harmony of flavors that many coffee drinkers miss out on. “We create an experience with premium coffee that doesn’t need any additives.” Ciera noted. “The Blue Nile is a major river that runs through Ethiopia, a country in Africa and the birthplace of coffee. For us, Blue Nile stands for uncharted territory and endless discovery. It is a symbol of where we have been and where we are going.” I asked the team how they determined who to partner with in sourcing their coffee, and the team brought up their partnership with...

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Empyrean Cafe – Bringing Event Level Food to the Streets
Oct03

Empyrean Cafe – Bringing Event Level Food to the Streets

Fall is here, and though I’m happy about cute suede booties and the start of football season (Go Pack Go!), I’m bummed that Lunch on the Square is done for the year. There is just something about walking around downtown and eating outside that adds to my sense of Fort Wayne community. So, I was thrilled to discover Empyrean Cafe in the Foelinger-Freimann Botanical Gardens! They have indoor and outdoor seating, and their indoor seating is in an atrium, giving you the feeling that you are outside an surrounded by water, flowers, and ample natural daylight.   You may be familiar with Empyrean, the creation of Julia Fiechter (President, Co-Owner), Gary Probst (Owner), Renee Miner (Chief Event Designer) and Jeremy Miner (Director of Operations) located in the former Summit Club. I first tasted Empyrean’s culinary creations at a charity event I attended, and I was hooked immediately. Deconstructed potato salads, gazpacho shooters, and desserts made with liquid nitrogen – say what?! It was more than delicious – it was a culinary experience. The name “Empyrean” stands for the highest level of heaven, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The only downside was that you could only experience this heavenly culinary experience if you had them cater your event or befriended people solely for the purpose of attending their wedding held in the event space at Empyrean. (Don’t judge. It happens.) I literally spent years stalking them on Instagram and liking each and every picture and accepting every invite to an event they catered. So imagine my excitement at discovering they had an actual cafe where you could walk in and order whenever you wanted! (It was the same level as when I discovered that there is a wine for your cat, which is saying a lot.)   I chatted with Jeremy Miner about the concept behind Empyrean Cafe. Jeremy has been in the food and beverage industry for over two decades and started out as a dish washer. At the age of 14, he was second in command in the kitchen. By age 15, he was running a kitchen that served 400 people in a day and had the restaurant owner’s grandmother call the school for him and pretend he was sick so that he could prep the kitchen for the weekend. It was there that he devoured his first medium rare steak and realized that there is more to food beyond basic nutrition. It’s an experience that transcends mere digestion. Just like a song can bring you back to a particular moment of time, taste can unlock memories and create narratives of its own.   “If you can think it, we can create it,”...

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LFW’s Top Picks for Best Breakfast/Brunch Spots
Feb08

LFW’s Top Picks for Best Breakfast/Brunch Spots

Pancakes, bacon, waffles, eggs and, my personal favorite, mimosas. I think everyone can get on board with breakfast (or brunch if you’re a late riser) as being the best meal of the day. Fort Wayne is truly gifted with places that serve some pretty impressive breakfast/brunch plates. We at Living Fort Wayne are BIG fans of the morning grub, so we’ve compiled a list to help you pick the perfect spot to enjoy a nice mimosa or to recover from the night before.   Jade Kelsey picks… Ted’s Market (12628 Coldwater Rd.) I don’t mind driving across town to Ted’s Market for their weekend brunch! The cinnamon rolls and sticky buns are large enough to share, if you are feeling generous. They also offer an omelet bar for dine-in or take out. The omelet bar includes pretty much anything you can think of to fancy up your eggs. Add some Utopian coffee and it’s perfection! Also if you need to pick up any ingredients for dinner, Ted’s has you covered!   Tim Zink picks… Cosmos Restaurant (3232 St. Joe Center Rd. & 9807 Lima Rd.) This is coming from someone who used to work at a national breakfast chain in my younger days. Whenever I want to grab a hearty breakfast, I like to head over to Cosmos Restaurant. They have huge (I mean HUGE) omelets people should really eat in two sittings, not to mention their terrific pancakes! They have two locations, but I usually travel to the one in the Marketplace at Canterbury.   Rachelle Reinking picks… Klemm’s Candlelight Café (1207 E. State Blvd.) Its “mom and pop shop” feel adds to the quaintness. The service is always fast and friendly, and my staple of two eggs with corned beef hash and rye toast is perfectly complemented by the classic diner coffee. Plus, they have muffins, pies, and cakes that are made in-house. I would recommend you try their famous “Garbage” plate.   Travis Bartlett picks… JK O’Donnell’s Irish Pub (121 W. Wayne St.) My favorite thing to do on Saturday mornings when I don’t have to work is grab breakfast down at my favorite bar. They serve the best Irish breakfast I have ever had and have an amazing staff that keeps me going back. Not to mention that their Bloody Marys are also a top notch item that I pair with my breakfast every time. They also serve a stellar cup of coffee from Utopian Coffee Company as well with cream and the fixings. Klemm’s Kafé (1429 N. Wells St.) When I’m thinking of breakfast places in Fort Wayne, I instantly think of Klemm’s Kafé on Wells St....

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LFW’s Top Picks for Best Coffee Shops
Jan04

LFW’s Top Picks for Best Coffee Shops

It’s a Monday morning and you woke up late for work. As you’re scrambling to get your stuff prepared for the day ahead, you realize your hot water isn’t working. You do as much as you can to your hair and decide that today is a “Messy Bun Day”. You look at the clock and see that if you leave now, you’ll have just enough time to grab that quick cup of coffee on your way to work. Living Fort Wayne knows Mondays well. More importantly, we know where to get the best coffee in town to kickstart your week. So for your convenience, here’s our list of Best Coffee Shops.   Jade Kelsey picks… The Friendly Fox (photo by Nicholas Weaver) This cozy neighborhood joint feels like stepping into a friend’s house, so it’s no surprise that they are family owned and operated. The Friendly Fox serves Utopian Coffee, which pairs perfectly with their Saturday morning special, Malted Milk Waffles. Hungry yet? The Fox also offers a full menu of lunch and dinner specials, including a flatbread for every taste, Korean BBQ, wraps, paninis, salad, and more. If you’re in the mood for some dessert, the Fox also has homemade cheesecake, handmade milkshakes, floats, and sundaes for your relentless sweet tooth. Perhaps just a few macaroons while you sip a cuppa joe.   Becca Bell picks… Old Crown Coffee Roasters It was the first (and only) coffee roaster in Fort Wayne for many years. For more than 15 years, Old Crown has taken the “purist” approach to everything—coffee is roasted in-house, chocolate and caramel sauces are 100% from scratch, veggies and herbs are grown in their backyard, and iced drinks use slow-processed, cold extracted espresso. Not to mention that they have craft cocktails made with fresh juice and house-made syrups and infusions. Since moving into their new location in November of 2009, owners Mike and Jennifer have added a seasonally-inspired dinner menu. For both regular customers and longtime employees, like me, the OC is much more than a coffee shop. It is a FAMILY.   Leslie Snare picks… Dash-In For a mid-day coffee run (and we all need those sometimes, right?) will always be the Dash-In. They feature Old Crown coffee and sometimes you just need a solid cup of joe to make it through the workday. The Dash-In also has some amazing lunch specials! I would recommend their famous tomato bisque along with a strong cup of coffee to warm up during your lunch hour.   Travis Bartlett picks… Mocha Lounge When I lived out in Southwest Fort Wayne, this was my go-to spot for coffee. Super friendly...

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