Monday, September 8, 2014

With a farm-fresh take on resort dining, Highball & Harvest opens at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Highball & Harvest (“H&H”) at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes has opened. 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.
 
Comprised of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes continues its dedication to farm-to-fork dining and authentic, local experiences with the opening of H&H, helmed by the resort’s rising young Chef de Cuisine Mark Jeffers who joined The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando in 2007. Having grown up on the water, the Daytona, Florida native 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 be its hands-on cocktail bar experience.
 
Highball & Harvest’s most unexpected offerings:
 
  • Parker House Rolls, made from Khorasan wheat (Egyptian old-world grains) and served warm and moist with less gluten than typical bread, a complimentary bread presentation made from scratch by the resort's 30-person pastry team. 
  • Signature dishes: Pig-n-Potatoes, an all-day breakfast dish of poached egg, potato hash, and tender pork cheeks with sweet peppers, caramelized onions, H&H Hot Sauce, and hollandaise sauce. The Southern Spreads, pimento cheese dip and smoked fish dip served with pickled veggies, benne seed lavash, and grilled sourdough presented in a metal tackle box. Smoked Lamb Brisket with boiled peanut “baked beans” and collards.
  • Raw Oyster Bar with signature house-made H&H Hot Sauce. Chefs shuck oysters by hand and teach diners all-things-oysters.
  • 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.
 
Reflecting the importance of the resort’s home at the headwaters to the Florida Everglades, H&H’s one-of-a-kind design takes a note from its Central Florida locale, an agricultural industry epicenter. A play on the region’s “Iron Harvest” railroad, H&H exudes a casual elegance of rustic sophistication–warm accents of reclaimed pine wood columns, industrial metal, juxtaposed with refined white brick walls and a checkered marble floor at the Market Station where the breakfast buffet is served. Noteworthy artistic elements include a large abstract still-life mural, traditional antique Killim rugs, custom hand-painted dishware, farm tool accessories, an apothecary chest of rare liquors, and linen fabrics. H&H, designed by The Johnson Studio, offers a variety of seating, from communal dining in a lounge area with a horseshoe-shaped bar to casual leather-padded seats, a modern interpretation of a farm chair.
 
"The dishes we create at Highball & Harvest are designed to give restaurant-goers a sense of nostalgia while enjoying southern classics infused with regional flavors,” says Chef Mark Jeffers. "We start with locally sourced products and allow the quality of the ingredients speak for itself."
 
The opening of Highball & Harvest at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes marks a series of improvements and renovations to the resort in the coming months. JW Marriott Orlando will open Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen in Spring 2015 spotlighting charcuterie, Whisper Creek Farm ingredients, and beer from Whisper Creek Farm: The Brewery opening in September 2014.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show returns to Orlando's Orange County Convention Center Sept. 7th through 9th

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, the source to gain knowledge from insightful education to palate-pleasing food and drink trends; new product options and idea generating special events will bring together thousands of restaurant and foodservice professionals from Sunday, September 7 - Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. This three day trade show and conference, sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association,offers educational programs, special events, new food products, and equipment and services from over 400+ exhibiting companies
 
"We are thrilled to be offering several new and exciting special features at the upcoming Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show including the Fresh from Florida Pavilion, the Roam Food Truck Academy, culinary demonstrations from Celebrity Chef Emeril Lagasse, and others as well as returning highlights including the Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum, the Food Trend Experience, the prestigious ACF Culinary Competitions and much more," said Ron Mathews, Vice President, Restaurant and Foodservice Events Portfolio. Urban Expositions. "We look forward to this year's gathering where thousands of industry professionals will see the most innovative new products and trends in the restaurant and foodservice industry."
 
Highlights for the upcoming Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show, include:
 
  • Fresh from Florida Pavilion - The top restaurant menu trend is focused on local sourcing and The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will sponsor the new Fresh from Florida Pavilion. This new pavilion, which will be part of the Food Trends Experience on the show floor, offers tantalizing organic, sustainable, artisanal, gluten-free and ethnic ingredients giving restaurant and foodservice operators the opportunity to source local, Florida offerings.
  • Culinary Demonstrations - Emeril Lagasse, American award-winning celebrity chef, restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author will be conducting a culinary demonstration at the Show on Monday, September 8 at 1:00 pm. He will be joined by Chef Ryan Vargas, Chef de Cuisine at Emeril's Tchoup Chop, located at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal® Orlando. The chefs will come to together for an exclusive demonstration that will focus on the local and seasonal offerings from Florida.
  • Food Truck Academy and Pavilion - Mobile vending continues to grow in cities all over North America and now represents $1Billion in revenue. For those restaurant and foodservice operators wanting to open food trucks or carts will now find practical education and support services at the Roam Food Truck Academy which will be held in conjunction with the Show on Monday, September 8th. The one day fast track mini Roam Food Truck Academy will give restaurant and foodservice professionals all the fundamentals they'll need to launch a successful mobile food business. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from national experts about business planning, permitting, equipment, production and food ideas, profits, sales and marketing. To register, click here: http://ftafl.brownpapertickets.com/. In addition, Prestige Food Trucks will be organizing a Food Truck Pavilion on the show floor.
  • The Ferdinand Metz Foodservice Forum will offer dozens of sessions focused on operational excellence, winning teams, maximizing profits, hot trends, and building loyalty. Sessions include the Foodservice Council for Women, Fine Dining - Is It Dead?, Making Menus Matter for Healthy Diners, Airport Franchising, What's Hot in the Social Media World for Restaurants, Trends in the Industry, and many more. For the complete conference program visit http://www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com/133/Education.htm.
  • The 2014 American Culinary Federation Culinary Arts Competition presented by US Foods. Chefs will compete in the R.L. Schreiber Apprentice/Jr. Member Florida State Championship Team Skills Competition; Taste of Elegance Pork Signature Recipe Competition, sponsored by Iowa Pork Producers Association; the USA Culinary Cup Team Competition, sponsored by Bari Beef International, Creekstone Farms, Dole, Rich's, Maple Leaf, MillerCoors, Barry Callebaut, McIlhenney Co., Wisconsin Cheese, Fresh from Florida, and Bar Harbor Seafood; The Florida Pastry Challenge, sponsored by The Culinary Source and Barry Callebaut; and the Florida Department of Agriculture Shrimp Signature Recipe Competition. Many of the award winning meals will be served during the Chef's Table Luncheons, a four-course surprise lunch prepared by the participating chefs.
  • The Food Trends Experience is where attendees will have direct access to product, flavors and ingredients driving the most recent trends in the market - healthy, organic, sustainable, ethnic, artisanal, and more. A few of the companies participating in the Food Trends Experience include: Amoroso's Baking Company, Captain Foods, Carmi Flavor & Fragrance Co Inc, Fresh Origins LLC, La Chiquita Tortilla, Northfork Bison Distribution Inc, Teaspoon Willie's, in addition to 50 more.
  • $35K Giveaway - Show Management will be giving away $35,000 in product vouchers - redeemable from the 2014 Distribution Partners.  Attendees can win $500 or $1000 vouchers to cash in for new products or menu items.
The 2014 Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is sponsored by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (www.frla.org). For more information on exhibiting or attending, visit the official Show website at www.flrestaurantandlodgingshow.com. The tradeshow and conference is managed and produced by Kennesaw, GA based Urban Expositions, which offers a complete roster of trade show management services, including exhibit sales and marketing, operations, exhibitor/attendee promotions and services, media relations, seminar and event coordination, database development and management. Through a logical, hands-on approach, Urban Expositions has become one of the fastest growing and most successful trade show companies in the United States. Contact Urban Expositions atwww.urban-expo.com.

Friday, August 8, 2014

$1 Filet Mignon Sandwichies at Morton's

Photo courtesy Landry's Inc.
On Wednesday, August 13, Morton’s The Steakhouse locations nationwide will celebrate National Filet Mignon Day with $1 filet mignon sandwiches in the bar area all day.

“We look forward to commemorating this day with diners at any of our over seventy locations across the country,” said Tim Whitlock, Sr. Vice President of Operations for Morton’s The Steakhouse. “We hope our customers will enjoy this special discount and share the experience with family and friends.”

Patrons can enjoy various bar bites with their sandwiches, including Morton’s crowd-favorite parmesan truffle matchstick fries or crisp iceberg wedge bites.

Morton’s The Steakhouse opened its first location in Chicago in 1978 and now boasts 73 locations worldwide. Morton’s strives to exceed guests’ expectations through its food, award-winning wine list, atmosphere, genuine hospitality and unparalleled service.

Morton’s offers diners “The Best Steak… Anywhere,” serving only USDA prime-aged beef. Besides its exceptional steaks, Morton’s offers diners fresh fish and seafood, and hand-picked produce. Morton’s commitment to excellence is unwavering and is showcased in each menu item through the careful preparation and quality ingredients. Whether gathering with friends or enjoying a business dinner, Morton’s guests have come to expect remarkable service and reliable experiences that keep them coming back from more. For more information on Morton’s The Steakhouse, please visit www.mortons.com.

Monday, August 4, 2014

It seems like there's a bloomin' new restaurant opening every week on I-Drive. The newest: Outback

Wow, there seems to be a new restaurant opening on I-Drive near the big wheel every week. A new Outback opens today. The new restaurant, located at 8351 International Drive at the Orlando Eye, is open for lunch daily, and is the first in the area to feature a new “Modern Australia” building design inside and out.

I checked it out over the weekend and really liked the new look. But don't worry, all the old favorites are still on the menu including the Bloomin' Onion.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Free Chick-fil-A winners

Congrats Chick-fil-A winners:

Adam Scheinberg
Ryan Mezzell
Jamie Vidamour

You've won free food for 3 months. Please email me at eatingorlando at gmail.com with your name and address and I'll send you your card out right away.

Thanks for entering and for your support!

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