If you sweet friends have been paying attention, you know that my grandparents were saints in my eyes. So much of who I am, what I say, what I love, comes from them. The comfort food I crave is no exception.
Honestly, when pressed for time, my grandma could make mac and cheese out of a blue box that was to die for – it wasn’t until I was an adult that she shared her secret – that quarter cup of milk needed to mix with that neon powder was replaced with, wait for it…heavy cream. Lord have mercy.
It was by her side that I learned to pick fresh peas from her massive garden and then we’d shell those peas on the back porch as she would tell me stories that would make me laugh till my sides hurt. And my grandpa, a livestock rancher, taught me to love fried chicken and biscuits dripping in cream gravy. Of course, he also taught me “the circle of life” when it came to livestock, and I think that taught me appreciate the food even more. Food never tasted better than it did in their home, which became anyone’s home as soon as you pulled into the driveway.
So, when I had the opportunity to go to Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs, my standards were high. When you say “homecomin’ and comfort food” you better back that up. It seems that people have been raving about it since Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ opened. And y’all, I now know why.
Welcome home, y’all!
From the moment we walked in, there was a sense of being home. It didn’t hurt that as we were welcomed by a member of the restaurant staff we were told, “You are literally at home, if you need anything just holler my name!” Not gonna lie, I swooned.
Southern home cooking done right
I’m just going to tell you, every single thing they put in front of us was delicious – or as my grandpa would say, “so good it will make you stand up and slap your granny.” (For the record, my grandpa would never slap anyone, especially my grandma, it was just one of his sayings.)
The Thigh High Chicken Biscuits could have been enough to satisfy my comfort food cravings. The biscuits melted in your mouth, the chicken was fried to perfection, and the bread & butter pickles and hot honey drizzled on top just added to the taste of home. After one of those (who am I kidding, I ate three), I could have left a happy woman.
Until they brought out the Shrimp & Grits, that is! A bowl pile high with pan-seared shrimp with tomato gravy and Tasso ham served over creamy Bradley’s grits. They were a yummy, unique take on a southern staple. The first fork-full of those and I was settling in for a long afternoon.
Sides to die for
Not to be outdone, the side of Momma’s Mac and Cheese would make my grandma proud. But perhaps the best kept secret of the menu are the KC Greens: Braised Kale and Collards. Even collard nay sayers at my table (I’ll give you a moment to gasp at the thought) were impressed.
Salads straight from the garden
Now, if you feel like this kind of meal is too heavy for you (clearly, we didn’t grow up in the same house), never fear. Like all good homecomin’ welcomes, Chef Art Smith thought of everything – including supporting local Florida farmers. There are entree salads on the menu that are sure to please. We devoured the Harvest Salad, that was so fresh you would swear they had a garden out back, but I would have given my eye teeth to try the Summer Salad. There’s always next time.
If you weren’t already stuffed
And since no southern meal would be complete without it, bring on the dessert! The Shine Cake fuses two of Chef Art’s favorites – his momma’s recipes and moonshine! You could have rolled me out of there after a bite of it. Not to be outshined, the Hummingbird Cake is one of the best I’ve had (don’t tell my grandma!). And because we are family, I’ll pass along the Chef Art Smith’s recipe! Here ya go: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Hummingbird Cake Recipe.
Cocktails, beer, wine, and moonshine!
There are more local craft beers and cocktails than you can shake a stick at – including Art Smith’s own speciality moonshine drinks. Being a Texas girl, I prefer tequila over moonshine, so the Figs and Berries cocktail was on my list. With fresh muddled strawberries with Dobel Diamante Reposado Tequila, fig jam, agave and lime juice, it would have made a satisfying dessert!
Grab & Go
If you are just passing through, you can pick up a small selection of sandwiches and such and a slice of the famous Shine Cake!
Home away from home
So there you have it. It may not be Mamaw’s cooking, but it sure does make me feel at home!
My meal was hosted by Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ as a part of the Glamping Bloggers Retreat 2017. While I did not pay for my meal, the opinions I expressed here are my own and the 100% honest to goodness truth!