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COLUMN: Where to enjoy the best fall flavors in Bloomington


November is finally here, which means there’s only so many days left to enjoy fall’s best dishes. Hurry to these local spots for their fall options before it’s too late:  

The Elm 

The Elm is a great place for a nice family dinner or romantic date night. I started my meal off with some of their small plates, such as the Fall Burrata, Squash Tart, and the Butternut Squash Soup. Out of all the small plates I tasted, the Fall Burrata was my favorite. The bread was toasted perfectly, as I topped it with the burrata, apple confiture, honey, pecans and cranberries. I recommend the Goodnight Bolognese and Maple Leaf Farms Duck for the main course. I liked the vegetables in the bolognese, though it didn’t fill me up. The duck’s portion was much bigger, served with sweet potato purée and lacinato kale. Not only does the menu celebrate the season, the inside of the building is filled with fall colors and scented candles.  

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Inkwell Bakery and Cafe and Poindexter Coffee 

If you’re looking for a more casual setting, Poindexter Coffee and The Inkwell Bakery and Cafe are serving some delicious fall pastries. Inkwell’s current baked goods favorites are their apple crumble muffins and pumpkin muffins, and Poindexter serves pumpkin walnut muffins. I tried their pumpkin spiced chai latte with cinnamon, I liked how the cinnamon took away some of the spicy flavor from the chai. I also loved their Hocus Pocus blackberry iced tea. I don’t usually try blackberry flavored drinks, but it tasted more like a passion fruit flavor instead. Both Inkwell and Poindexter are great places to enjoy a fall treat while studying.  


This year, FARMbloomington is hosting Thanksgiving. The restaurant's new American cuisine is celebrating all things fall this month. Their website allows you to reserve a table for Thanksgiving Day or to arrange a carryout order for those celebrating the holiday at home. Their menu is now available to view online, offering various main course options. Vegetarian meals are also available, as well as a delicious pumpkin pie for dessert.  

FARM’s current fall options include their chicken corn chowder — a great starter or side dish. Their nightly specials menu serves a new dish each night of the week, and my favorite meals were served on Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, I enjoyed their “Not Yo Mamma’s” meatloaf special, served with mushroom gravy, smashed potatoes and sautéed greens. For those who aren’t the biggest fans of meatloaf, try their Thursday night meal instead: “Chef D’s Braised Beef Brisket,” served with smashed potatoes, sautéed greens and onion gravy. This dish was cooked perfectly and easy to bite into. For those who just can’t wait to enjoy those memorable side dishes until Thanksgiving, they’re available right now at FARM.   

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Big Woods 

The Big Woods November menu is finally here, and these options are a must-try. Their November dessert menu serves pecan pie, sugar cream pie and pumpkin cheesecake. Their specialty drinks include a Peanut Brittle S’mores Martini and a coffee red ale called “Java The Red.” Fall options on their normal menu include their Busted Knuckle Chili and their Maple Bourbon Chicken Sandwich. The chili includes marinated beef with roasted tomatoes, onions and green peppers in a spicy tomato broth, and the grilled chicken sandwich included arugula, caramelized onions, pepper jack cheese and double-smoked bacon topped with their maple bourbon bbq sauce. I would definitely go back and order these two items; however, they are filling, so I would probably share it with someone next time. These dishes may not have pumpkin or apples in them, but they are great options for a casual fall meal.  

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