In the time-honored tradition of going out to eat whenever Mom is in town, I picked Holeman & Finch Public House. Very well-publicized new spot (Southern food, all organic/local, small plates…but modeled after British gastropubs?) from local chef behind Restaurant Eugene and a bunch of bartenders. Got hip to it and geeked for it from CL and AJC reviews. DUMB scrumptious. Absolutely loved it. Mom, not so much. This place gives no quarter to vegetarians. Pork, glorious pork, from the roota to the toota. I didn’t even dip into the real crazy stuff (souse, ears, tails, etc.), but what I did have was sublime.
Deviled eggs, three ways: baconized (better than I thought bacon could be, and bacon is possibly one of the greatest things ever invented), pickles (I liked it, and I don’t like pickles), and cayenne (couldn’t taste a lick of heat…maybe they forgot the, um, cayenne part).
Bread and butter: all housemade (they’re opening up a H&F bakery down the block soon, I read), all GOOD AS HELL.
Pork belly, grits, grilled baby onion, house pickles: I am extremely guilty of jumping on the pork belly bandwagon, and unashamedly so. The stuff is heavenly. But that wasn’t even the best part of this dish. If you think grits are homely and unremarkable, come eat some of these. They were rich and thick….it was kinda like eating butter. Except it won’t make you gag. That’s quite a backhanded compliment, but a compliment nonetheless. I’d eat these grits for every meal if I could. Plus I made sure to get a littel of everything in each bite….great strategy. The smoky onions and the sweet/tangy pickels played sooo well of the richness of the swine and grits.
Pasta, pancetta carbonara, fried egg: The extra-thick spaghetti had to be housemade (or at least handmade nearby), the pancetta was as excellent as it always is (when asked, I usually say it’s fancy bacon – is that correct?), and the light carbonara and egg blended perfectly to create a homey, simple sauce.
Coca-Cola Float (Fernet Branca ice cream and candied lime) and sugar glazed donuts: Fernet Branca is some sort of Italian aperitif (from what I can Google), a syrup/concentrate/liqueur of some sort that is usually mixed with club soda to make a tonic. Anyhow, it had an extremely distinctive taste, one that I’ve never had. Semi-licorice-ish, but not nearly as nasty, kinda earthy, like it’s a root or something. Good though, but the dish in it’s entirety….I mean, it’s a Coke float, what can really go wrong? But the donuts may give Krispy Kreme a run for their money — at least when the HOT NOW sign is on.
Although there were plenty of other things I want to try, I could go back and eat the exact same thing and be extremely pleased.