Spring’s arrival means different things to different people.
For some, it signals a season of warmer weather, when thick socks and snow boots can be traded in for swimsuits and flip flops. For others, it’s the need to grab the Windex and rubber gloves, carry out a laundry list of chores and rid the home of unnecessary items.
For many, myself included, springtime means making an annual pilgrimage to a local nursery to load up on seeds, potted plants and topsoil and begin the months-long journey of watching their garden grow.
Or, as has been the case in some of my experiences, not grow.
Despite my somewhat spotty track record with two above-ground backyard garden beds, I decided to take advantage of a recent sunny weekend and head to Terrain, a home and garden shop just off Post Road in Westport.
Set in an unassuming warehouse, Terrain offers experienced and novice gardeners alike a variety of products, as well as inspiration. The store — whose parent company, URBN Brands, also shepherds Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters — teems without feeling claustrophobic, no doubt thanks to high ceilings and oversized windows.
Within the upscale supply shop sits Terrain Garden Café, a bustling, quaint eatery that offers seasonal, local fare. We stop in for brunch on a busy Sunday morning but not before perusing the shop and marveling at the elaborate floral arrangements and outdoor furniture.
Surrounded by striking greenery that hangs artfully from the walls, the rustic café offers both seated brunch and dinner, along with an outdoor area for warmer months.
The eatery pays homage to its garden store surroundings through the presentation of its fare. Drinks are served in glass Ball Mason jars. Several desserts are delivered in pint-sized cast iron skillets. A loaf of bread is presented in a ceramic flowerpot and along with a superbly sweet herbed butter.
Once seated, we can’t pass up the pork belly starter, which features two thick slices of juicy Berkshire pork. Crispy squares of polenta and perfectly charred maple Brussels sprouts are served alongside it and garnished with a sweet cranberry chutney.
A quinoa salad is a true brunch delight, with a mix of spinach, feta, olives and pickled red onions. A red wine vinaigrette adds the perfect touch to the heaping plate.
Main dishes vary widely, with options of traditional breakfast fare, like an organic egg omelet or French toast, listed next to a thick cheeseburger and a skirt steak served with eggs and potatoes.
We decide to try a bit of both. Poached eggs sit atop warm, flaky buttermilk biscuits and thick slices of maple ham to make up the eggs Benedict. Following a suggestion by our helpful waitress, I decided to splurge and add avocado, which proves to be an excellent decision. The plate is topped with an absolutely delectable hollandaise sauce, a standout of the meal for both my guest and me.
Our second entrée is a fried chicken sandwich served in a warm potato roll. Pimento cheese and house-made pickles adds an unexpected flair to the traditional lunch item. A side of slightly greasy, thinly cut French fries, though nicely seasoned, are not quite crispy enough for our tastes.
From the dessert menu, we select a cheesecake dish, which is also artfully served in a small glass jar and presented on a wooden block. The creamy sweet treat, which reminded me more of a yogurt than a cheesecake in its consistency, is topped with tart winterberries and garnished with crumbled graham crackers.
My mother, an avid gardener whose vegetable plot on our Ohio farm is nearly a quarter of an acre, assures me that gardening is just as much about the experience as it is the outcome. The hope and excitement can be just as satiating as snap peas or green beans — both of which, for the record, I tried and failed to grow last summer.
Whether your gardening prowess spans decades and includes a large outdoor patch of greenery or you struggle just to keep your potted plants alive, Terrain Garden Café will offer something for you to dig your fingers — if not a green thumb — into.
For more, visit shopterrain.com.