The holidays are a whirlwind. So much so that I forget to take pictures to post what I’ve been cooking since being home in Cornelius. Seriously, I made a beautiful potato gratin that was sure to take years off of your life and I managed to forget to take a picture or two. Probably divine intervention though to make sure I didn’t kill y’all early. (I told you I like butter and cream and cheese.) The upside though, is that I remembered to take pictures at a couple of the restaurants we dined in over the week, the first being Haymaker.

Haymaker is owned by Chef William Dissen, a James Beard winner, and is located in Uptown Charlotte. This is the place for all of you who love to brag on southern food but either A.) Can’t or won’t cook or B.) Take the “cook it ‘til it’s kilt” too far.

Kilt – Southern for killed. Re: Green Beans.

There is so much influence in southern cuisine. If you have even an inkling of interest I’d recommend a Google of “southern foodways books.” But I digress. My point is Haymaker beautifully executes many of these influences on its menu. From the humble agriculture beginnings of farmers to what later developed into a sought-after cuisine largely due to slaves brought over from Africa (Collards? Fried chicken? Soul food?!), to the European influences (predominantly French) that land on the plate at Haymaker such as their Chicken Liver Mousse. I’d punch someone in the face for that dollop of heaven right now.

The menu hits many of these stops and it is a great place to have a multiple course meal. We started with their charcuterie board that had both hard and soft cheeses, that heavenly chicken mousse, a pork terrine, duck “ham” and homemade crackers.

We had the perfect mid-course of their cornmeal hush-puppies that were about the size of golf balls which we happily loaded down with their jalapeno sorghum butter. For entrees, we all ordered individually among ourselves. Many of the men in our party got the NY Strip. It looked delicious and none of them left a bite on their plate but I was disappointed in all of them.

Soapbox: If you want a steak, go to a steakhouse. There are plenty of good steaks in Charlotte. I’m thankful we aren’t at Outback (Jesus.) but COME ON!!! You’re at a restaurant with an incredibly focused but creative menu that highlights the beauty of local southern food and you choose STEAK?! UGH. There are so many other beautiful options on the menu. Venture out.

Ok. Just needed to get that out there. Anyways, I got the Wild Caught NC Grouper with a bright succotash accompaniment, Mom got their dumpling salad that looked like it was picked out of a garden that afternoon, and Katie got carrots. But she’s a vegan so we won’t hold it against her. She’ll outlive all of us.

Per our style, we shut down the restaurant with their gracious staff, which afforded me the opportunity to get a picture of their bar that looks more like a church organ that produced cocktails that even Jesus would put his wine down for. (I’m going to hell, I know.) It was twinkly and brass colored and it opened up to the front of the restaurant that boasts floor to ceiling windows out into Uptown. If I haven’t convinced you to go, well, it’s ultimately you’re loss, but it would be a great tragedy of 2019 if you live in Charlotte and don’t make it there before too long.

Cheers and Happy New Years Eve.

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