Sunday, May 5, 2013

Harvest Moon Grille

As I brainstormed organic, local food spots to hit during Leigh’s Charlotte visit, Harvest Moon Grille was at the top of my list…and apparently it’s at the top of everyone’s list. Numerous publications have hailed HMG as the ultimate locavore spot, and The New York Times even called chef Cassie Parsons the “undisputed queen of local food in Charlotte." Um, scoreboard. We decided on brunch, because they’re known for their redic Grateful Growers pork, and mommy needs her some sausage.

I should note that Grateful Growers and Harvest Moon Grille are from under the same umbrella – Ms. Parsons runs them both, so the restaurant experience is truly from her farm to your fork in her joint. Joint meaning the restaurant and revered HMG food truck. So, hoping I had not overhyped (and thus jinxed) our brunch, I gathered up my husband, sister, baby, 19 pounds of baby crap, and headed uptown.

HMG is located in the historic Dunhill Hotel and, get this, opens for brunch at 6:30 AM! Unfortch we couldn’t order booze apres-noon here in North Cackalacky, so caffeine was our vice of choice at 11:00 AM.

We people-watched while trying to keep Dylan entertained by playing a game of pickup with her teething ring. I felt badly about the baby disturbing other customers, until I caught a snippet of a fellow patron loudly describing her walk of shame via cell phone, and was relieved (and intrigued).

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We agonized over what to order. I made the clearly superior choice of Build Your Own Benedict: poached eggs over GG Sausage on brioche (I think) with sweet potato home fries.  Leigh ordered the organic oatmeal with a side of scrambled eggs, and Shawn ordered the Food Truck Pork Carnitas.

My dish was the jam. OMG, the sausage…..the sausage! Spicy and perfectly cooked, with the bright orange yolk of the poached eggs cascading like liquid gold lava onto the plate! I couldn’t put my finger on what made the dish so perfect, but the bread deserves mention. I’m guessing brioche roll, but it was something sweet and non-english-muffiney….which was an upgrade. There was hollandaise, but it didn’t overpower the glorious proteins.

Jealous?
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Leigh’s oatmeal exceeded expectations – it looked a little thick when it came out, and I feared it would be pasty a la hotel continental breakfast style…but it was perfect. Prepared with milk and butter, and served with brown sugar, pecans, and dried cranberries, it was creamy and satisfying. Her soft scrambled eggs were bright yellow and topped with equally bright and melty cheese.

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So….we had a bit of an incident mid-brunch. It was also Dylan’s brunch time, and we dug out her bottle from the diaper bag. Of course, we had forgotten the key mechanism for bottle usage (the nip). After realizing we had no way to feed the child sans nip, Shawn made a dash on foot to the nearest drugstore for a baby bottle. The universe had fun playing puppetmaster with us, because it unleashed buckets of rain on him mid-dash, and Shawn returned to his Pork Carnitas drenched and defeated.

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Our seven-month-old drank her brunch through a slow flow nip made for newborns, which took 18 times as long, but we survived.

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Upon return, Shawn attacked his meal before I obtained a bite (and commentary on it for this post) but he assured me it was downright delish, without a single complaint. It was served with a side of quinoa, which I imagine made the meal somewhat heartier.

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So, the food was overall just excellent. Our service was fine – though I was a bit envious of a nearby table getting the entire schpeil about HMG, which we somehow missed. The food came out quite promptly, which was much appreciated. Next visit, we’ll trend toward noon so we can add some Bloodies/Mimosas to the mix.

PS: I reviewed Harvest Moon Grille over on The Food Baby back in 2011: check the review of the restaurant here, and the food truck here.

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