Orlando Where to Eat

Opening of Highball & Harvest: A Southern Comfort Dream

If you love soul drenched southern comfort food, have a passion for farm to table restaurants, and love creative culinary flair…have I got a restaurant recommendation for you!

Highball & Harvest is Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes newest culinary concept and it does not disappoint! This new, innovative casual dining concept features interactive dining, unexpected design (the light fixtures are amazing!), handcrafted cocktails, and a creative, playful menu.

Beautiful Bar Design at Highball & Harvest. Take note of the railway inspired name plates.

Beautiful Bar Design at Highball & Harvest. Take note of the railway inspired theme. *Photo provided by Ritz Carlton*

Dining Room-These are the lighting fixtures I'm in love with!

Dining Room-These are the lighting fixtures I’m in love with! *Photo provided by Ritz Carlton*

Another view of the dining room, beautiful communal seating.

Another view of the dining room, beautiful communal seating. *Photo provided by Ritz Carlton*

Chef de Cuisine Mark Jeffers features “low country & cajun inspired” flair  offering dishes infused with Floridian citrus and ingredients from nearby purveyors as well as the resort’s own 7,000-square-foot Whisper Creek Farm! Highball & Harvest incorporates a railroad-inspired design featuring communal seating, a large bar/lounge area, a raw oyster bar (with chefs shucking oysters by hand), and custom hand painted dishware.

Chef de Cuisine, Mark Jeffers (total cutie, huh?) Chef states, "“The dishes we create at Highball & Harvest are designed to give restaurant-goers a sense of nostalgia". That it does indeed...

Chef de Cuisine, Mark Jeffers (total cutie, huh?)  Chef states, “The dishes we create at Highball & Harvest are designed to give restaurant-goers a sense of nostalgia”. *Photo provided by Ritz Carlton*

Let’s get to the absolutely delicious food shall we?

This lovely looking plate of doughy goodness is called the “Parker House Rolls” . I learned that they use ancient grains (called Khorasan Wheat) to create the bread and it was absolutely delicious. The bread itself had such a wonderful flavor, almost sweet like honey that I almost didn’t want to put any of the spreads on them, but how could I resist? The spreads provided were a fresh Herb Butter & an Apple Butter. Yes, they were both as delicious as they sound.

The Parker House Rolls made with Khorasan Wheat, paired with herb butter & apple butter

The Parker House Rolls made with Khorasan Wheat, paired with herb butter & apple butter

One of the amazing things about H&H is that they pride themselves by providing the best signature cocktails. They actually have an interactive cocktail table, where bar chefs muddle ingredients that are then served on the rocks with hand-carved ice and often infused with herbs and citrus from Whisper Creek Farm. I decided to go with the Summerlin’s Smash. They also have a great selection of Florida craft brews on tap!

Summerlin's Smash: Pineapple, Orange, and Mint muddled with Bacardi 8 Rum, Luxardo Maraschino, Lime & Chilies

Summerlin’s Smash: Pineapple, Orange, and Mint muddled with Bacardi 8 Rum, Luxardo Maraschino, Lime & Chilies

Two of the delicious starters that we tried included The Southern Spread & the Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato’s. The Southern Spread came out in a tackle box, showing off the creative southern flair that H&H provides it’s guests.

The Southern Spread: Pimento Cheese, Smoked Fish Dip, Pickled Vegetables, Benne-Seed Lavash, Sourdough Bread

The Southern Spread: Pimento Cheese, Smoked Fish Dip, Pickled Vegetables, Benne-Seed Lavash, Sourdough Bread

Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato: Served with Cajun Remoulade & Corn Chow-Chow

Crab Cake & Fried Green Tomato: Served with Cajun Remoulade & Corn Chow-Chow

Highball & Harvest offers a large variety of entree’s varying from Pimento Cheese Burger, Chicken Fried Chicken, Grilled Swordfish, Blackened Grouper, and more! I personally had the shrimp and grits (like a true Southern gal) and enjoyed every last bite!

The Chicken Fried Chicken: Potato Puree, Garlic Kale, & Watermelon (YES, watermelon!)

The Chicken Fried Chicken: Potato Puree, Garlic Kale, & Watermelon (YES, watermelon!)

Blackened Grouper: Hominy Ragout, Andouille, & Pickled Okra

Blackened Grouper: Hominy Ragout, Andouille, & Pickled Okra

Shrimp & Grits: Canaveral Red Shrimp, Anson Mills Grits, Charred Tomato BBQ, Arugula, Fennel, & Crisp Onions (DELISH!)

Shrimp & Grits: Canaveral Red Shrimp, Anson Mills Grits, Charred Tomato BBQ, Arugula, Fennel, & Crisp Onions (DELISH!)

We ended this glorious lunch with dessert! This is where I felt like the creativity really flowed in terms of presentation! We had doughnuts in a paper bag, a cream inside of a light bulb, and each presentation did not disappoint and they were all so delicious!

Dessert Selection (From top left): Key Lime Tart with Winter Park Honey Infused Oranges, Raspberry Sorbet paired with the Strawberry Shortcake, Sticky Toffee Pudding with Old Rum Custard, and the Baby Doughnuts paired with Capupccino Ice Cream & Nutella.

Dessert Selection (From top left): Key Lime Tart with Winter Park Honey Infused Oranges, Raspberry Sorbet paired with the Strawberry Shortcake, Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon Pickled Apple Chutney & Old Rum Custard, and the Baby Doughnuts paired with Cappuccino Ice Cream & Nutella (my fav).

If you haven’t been a guest at Highball & Harvest yet I strongly urge you to go. I can promise that you will not be disappointed! The personal touches that are clearly created in the menu are delightful and you leave with a great feeling and sense of Florida history & southern tastes. Chef himself is from New Smyrna beach and his Florida roots are clear in the comforting food he creates. After you visit them come back and tell me what you thought! What was your favorite menu item?

Cheers!

A little added personal touch!

A little added personal touch!

 

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