When food is treated with the respect it so richly deserves, words flow easily. Add one of the leading luxury resorts in the world to think globally and source locally is a win-win for all – from farmer to chef to diner.
A farm-fresh take on resort dining, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando debuts a modern approach to Southern cuisine with it’s new casual-dining restaurant: Highball & Harvest. Blending rustic design elements with contemporary Ritz-Carlton refinement, the signature restaurant features interactive dining (from table-side handcrafted cocktail experiences to bar-side oyster shucking), a novel railroad-inspired design with a substantial bar area, and a playful Southern-inspired menu.
Helmed by the resort’s rising young Chef de Cuisine Mark Jeffers (a Florida native), Chef Mark pulls his culinary inspiration from his hometown state as well as his extensive travels around the South, from Low Country-infused Charleston to Cajun-spiced New Orleans. Chef Jeffers’ dishes are hyper local, infused with Floridian citrus and ingredients from nearby purveyors and the resort’s own 7,000-square-foot Whisper Creek Farm, which opened in October 2012 and continues to expand.
The thirst-quenching heart of the restaurant will include:
- Interactive cocktail table with handcrafted, herb-infused cocktails. Knowledgeable bar chefs muddle ingredients while curating a personalized cocktail experience. Cocktails are served on the rocks with hand-carved ice, sculpted bar side with a high-end Japanese ice saw and infused with Whisper Creek Farm herbs and fruits. Signature cocktails: “The Last Wish” served over an ice sphere with orange peel, the “Doc Holliday” with house ginger beer and blueberry jam, and the “Back 40 Punch”, a refreshing take on a bourbon cocktail mixed with sweet tea and lemon.
- Cask wine. Central Florida’s largest selection of wines from the cask. This method ensures perfect temperature control and freshness, and is eco-friendly by reducing the amount of wine bottles used.
Insanely Delicious Parker Rolls, Juicy Fried Chicken, House made Pickles & Hot Sauce, Locally sourced and inspired decadent Desserts and more….Allow me to take you on a photo journey of the deliciousness H&H has to offer.
The Southern Spread
Pimento Cheese / Smoked Fish Dip / Pickled
Vegetables / Benne-Seed Lavash / Sourdough Bread
H&H Parker House Rolls
Ancient Grains / Herb Butter / Apple Butter
Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato
Cajun Remoulade / Corn Chow-Chow
Poached Egg / Potato Hash /
Pork Cheeks / Hollandaise
Chicken Fried Chicken
Potato Puree / Garlic Kale / Watermelon
Luxurious and elegant, pastries and desserts are the last impression left on a guest. The whimsical presentation of desserts certainly showcase Chef Chermey’s playful personality with serious talent for pastry making.
Strawberry Sorbet / Poached Rhubarb / Bubble Gum Marshmallow
H&H Key Lime Tart
Winter Park Honey Infused Oranges / Margarita Sorbet
Local Farms showcased on the Menu:
- Grand Lakes very own Whisper Creek Farm
- B + B Farms
- Two Doves Organic
- Winter Park Dairy
- Lake Meadow Poultry
- Palmetto Creek Pork
- Tom West Blueberries
- Edwards Virginia Hams
To top it all, the self-proclaimed #SpicyChat Goddess got to take home a bottle of Chef Mark’s Original Recipe Small Batch Hot Sauce. How thoughtful!! And I am eagerly awaiting JW Marriott’s The Kitchen scheduled for Spring 2015 spotlighting charcuterie, Whisper Creek Farm ingredients, and beer from Whisper Creek Farm.
PS: The Ritz-Carlton offers complimentary valet parking for Highball & Harvest guests.