Monday, January 27, 2014

Out and About: Haymaker

We celebrated Hank's 39th birthday over the weekend. His actual birthday was Friday, but we usually lay low Friday nights since we get up super early for long runs on Saturday. I brought home Chinese take-out and we watched a movie. Poor guy didn't even get a special dessert from his baker wife. But I did have some fun things planned for the weekend.

About 20 friends met up for a post-run breakfast at our usual spot Taco Deli. After an afternoon of relaxing (I didn't even make him work on our painting project that afternoon) we met up with more friends for dinner at Haymaker on Saturday night. We don't get out as much anymore, so I wanted to take him somewhere fun and different. This place was fairly new, and everything that I read about it pointed towards a ridiculously good beer menu, including a lot of local labels and good craft beer. Done and done!

The Holland House: Haymaker Austin

The food only got moderate reviews, but I figured worst case scenario we'd get some apps and a few drinks, and then head elsewhere. After browsing the menu, it looked like the apps alone could make a great meal, so I really didn't worry about it. Touted as "regionally-inspired comfort food", the menu contained items like pretzel bites with house made mustard, beer cheese with kettle chips, and the mother of all apps- the pimiento cheese cristo. Homemade pimiento cheese on white bread, beer battered and fried. I consider myself a connoisseur of pimiento cheese, so I absolutely had to order this. We weren't disappointed.

The Holland House: Haymaker Pimiento Cristo

It was the perfect size for 4- each of us got our own little triangle. I wasn't sure what to expect as far as the amount of breading. But it was almost like an extra crispy grilled cheese. The layer of beer-battered goodness on the outside of the bread really took this sandwich up about twenty notches. It had a great tangy flavor, and the pimiento on the inside was equally as good. I could have been done right then and there.

More friends joined and we proceeded to order dinner- everyone choosing something from their variety of sandwiches. I'm not sure why I picked a patty melt, but for some reason it sounded good. And it was good- but I have been eating pretty healthy, so I think the overload of grease and cheese just didn't seem as appealing. I only ate half of mine (along with some house made kettle chips), and I was done for the night. Overall I'd give the food a B++, and that's only because this isn't a place you go to for a "healthy" meal. But the quality of the ingredients was good, and I thought the menu had a nice variety of items. We'll definitely be going back.

As far as atmosphere goes, this really is a "neighborhood" bar. It has a big (heated) patio out back, and several different seating areas inside. There are TVs for sports (though it's not a sports bar), several pool tables, and yet it is also kid friendly. We saw several young couples out with babies and children. I think it's awesome to have a cool place to go where it's totally ok to take your kids. Overall I think Hank enjoyed his birthday, and we had a really fun weekend.

The Holland House: Hank and Friends
Hank and some of his running buddies at Taco Deli

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