Matthew Black and Kimberly Hemby update the blackboard listing available goodies daily, but the "Beef on Weck" is a mainstay.
LONGING FOR A FLAKY CROISSANT? Pining for a fresh baguette? If “oui, oui!” is your answer, take note: Blue Marble Cafe and Bakery in Seneca offers a mouth-watering selection—no passport required.
Owners Kimberly Hemby and Matthew Black opened Blue Marble in December 2011 and quickly earned a loyal following of diners eager for the breads, soups, pastries and travel-inspired sandwiches prepared fresh every day by Black, who trained under two French chefs.
“Our inspiration comes from what we like to eat,” says Hemby. “We are both well-traveled, and our sandwiches are inspired by some of our favorite cities and the sandwiches that are a signature to that city.”
In fact, Blue Marble’s growing menu reads more like a map. The “Windy City” combines Italian roast beef, fried green peppers and pickled vegetables on an Italian roll. The “Philly Porcetta” is an Italian roll piled high with roast pork, aged provolone and arugula, and the savory “Beef on Weck,” a Buffalo, N.Y., classic, features roast beef smothered in fresh horseradish on a caraway sea salt roll with au jus.
The “Voodoo Reuben”—pastrami, pepper jack, coleslaw and Creole mustard on pumpernickel— is the most popular sandwich, though it’s hard to go wrong with the “B-3,” a generous portion of bacon and brie on a baguette with lettuce and spicy tomato mayo, Black’s personal take on the classic BLT.
No lunch would be complete without dessert. The selection changes daily, but pastries and croissants are regular fixtures that fly off the shelf, none faster than the sweet Carolina Danish, with orange pastry cream, citrus glaze and toasted pistachios.
Whole baguettes and freshly baked loaves of cranberry orange, jalapeno-Cheddar, and pumpernickel bread are another house specialty, one that keeps regular customers like Meredith Wickham, who once lived in France, coming back at every opportunity.
“Blue Marble baguettes are by far the most authentic I’ve had in the Upstate,” she raves. Hemby and Black say they work hard to build relationships with local suppliers, buying organic beef from Gibson Farms in Westminster and cheese from Split Creek Farms in Pendleton. They also try to get to know their customers.
“I want everyone to feel as if they are in our home and they are truly welcome,” she says. “The Earth is our big blue marble and we just want to make our little corner taste better.”
TOMATO PAN ZANELLA
ROASTED GOAT CHEESE CROUTONS
4 thick slices day-old country white bread, torn into small pieces
8 ounces goat cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
Red wine or sherry vinegar
Salt to taste
4 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese
4 ripe heirloom tomatoes
½ red onion
1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil
1 English cucumber
1 bunch basil, stems removed
To make croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss bread pieces with goat cheese, olive oil, vinegar and salt. Lay croutons on sheet pan and top with grated Parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
To make vinaigrette: Cut tomatoes in half and squeeze into small bowl to remove the seeds. Reserve the tomatoes. Add the onion, vinegar and salt to the seeds and stir to combine. Stir in the olive oil. Cut the tomato halves into 1-inch chunks. Peel the cucumber and cut length-wise into thin strips. In a serving bowl, combine the goat cheese croutons, tomatoes, cucumber and basil. Add the vinaigrette and toss. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes before serving.