Highball & Harvest at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando

As an amateur local blogger, getting invited to special events around town is very exciting!  Missing them due to illness…not so exciting.  I was bummed to not make the tasting event with Chef Jeffers at Highball & Harvest at the Ritz-Carlton but enjoyed seeing all of the amazing dishes posted by other local bloggers that did attend.  I couldn’t wait to visit, and was so thankful for the opportunity to attend a special reception at Highball & Harvest.  Thank you to Michelle Valle for the invite!

Since this was going to be a child-free event for me and the hubs, we decided to make a night of it and booked a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando.  (If you are a Marriott rewards member there are special perks!)  With a AAA membership you can book a room for $199.  Well worth it for this special night.

We arrived early and after check-in visited the lobby bar for a few snacks.  Our server brought us an assortment of bar snacks including pretzels, wasabi peas and candied walnuts.

Lobby bar

I ordered a hummus and veggie plate that came with soft pita wedges and sliced carrots and tomato.

lobby bar app 1

The hubs ordered smothered tots topped with cheese, sour cream, jalapeño, and tomato.

lobby bar app 2

Oh my, were these good.  Definitely enough to share.

After a walk around the hotel, and some lounging in our room, we got ready for the reception at Highball & Harvest.

We were welcomed with a signature drink, the “Last Wish”.  I won’t give away all of the ingredients, but the base is whiskey, with house-made cola and essence of tobacco.  (Not tabasco, you read that right, tobacco.)

reception 1 last wish drink

The drink was poured over a perfect ice ball with lemon wedge.  It was very smooth and a great drink to sip and stroll.

reception 2 last wish drink

So we strolled through the lovely tables adorned with fresh made selections for the evening…

reception 3 display 1

pimento cheese spread and white fish dip,

reception 3 display 2

pickled veggies and peppers,

reception 4 display 3

and deviled eggs.  A great spread for a Southern style soirée!

reception 4 display 4

There was a station set up for a special lemonade concoction…

reception 9 display 7

as well as a full oyster bar.

reception 10 display 8 oysters

Highball & Harvest also has their own hot sauce!

reception 19 display 19

This was a perfect pairing.

reception 21 display 21

Each table in the bar area was adorned with a small jar of nuts as well as Chef Jeffers’ Jerky.  A special treat!

reception 17 display 17 jerky

There were also a few desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.

reception 7 display 5

The hot red light was on…and the baby doughnuts were ready!

reception 8 display 6

The sugar and cinnamon spiced doughnuts were served with nutella for dipping.

reception 16 display 16 donuts

Adorable!

reception 10 display 10 baby donuts

You could even snag a sample tube of nutella to take home.

reception 11 display 12 nutella

There were also mini strawberry shortcake cups.

reception 23 display 23

reception 13 display 13

reception 10 display 9 strawberry shortcake

And, last but not least a coffee gelato station.

reception 12 display 12 gelato

Highball and Harvest offers something else unique…wine on tap.

reception 14 display 14 wine kegs

16 different wines are available on tap.

reception 22 display 22 wine on draft

We decided to enjoy an early dinner at the bar.  A full menu is available and there is plenty of seating at or around the bar.  We enjoyed live music on our visit.  (I hope that continues, it was excellent.)

dinner napkin

We started with a couple of appetizers.  The hubs wanted to try the grilled corn chowder.

dinner souyp

This dish was topped with “pig popcorn” and grilled corn relish.  The taste was rich and hearty and could definitely be eaten as a meal.

I ordered the Southern Spread.

dinner appetizer 1

This appetizer came in what looked like a cool, old metal tool bucket.  Fantastic presentation.

dinner appetizer 2

This appetizer included pimento cheese spread, smoked fish dip, pickled
vegetables, benne-seed lavash and sourdough bread.  I was in heaven!

dinner appetizer 4

My favorite was definitely the pimento cheese spread on sourdough bread.

The fish dip, with pickled veggies on lavash was also divine.

dinner appetizer 3

I definitely recommend this appetizer.  I also saw an order of the H&H Parker House Rolls.  Oh my, that’s definitely something I will return to try.  Come hungry folks, H&H doesn’t do small appetizers!

After all of the reception food tasting and our appetizers, we opted to split a dinner (the small portion).  We chose the shrimp and grits.

dinner shrimp and grits

Anson Mill grits were topped with Canaveral red shrimp, charred tomato BBQ, arugula, fennel, and crisp onions.  Fantastic dish.

We were definitely thrilled with the food and the service, and look forward to visiting Highball & Harvest at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando again.

We enjoyed our lovely room…

room

and appreciated the card and gift left for us by the wonderful staff at Ritz-Carlton, who wished us a Happy Anniversary during our visit.

room gift

We had a lovely anniversary.

Shhh

Thanks again to Michelle Valle and the Ritz-Carlton staff for making our visit so special.

Make sure you visit Highball & Harvest for any occasion!  They are located in the Ritz-Carlton at 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, FL 32837.  Make reservations by calling (407) 393-4422.  Valet parking is available at the hotel and will be validated by the restaurant for their guests.

You can find out more information about Highball & Harvest and their menu at http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Orlando/Dining/Highball_Harvest/Default.htm#.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s