Do YOU know the best restaurant in Disney Springs?
I do! It is Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen. During my Glamping Bloggers Retreat, Homecomin’ treated us to a menu tasting which included the best fried chicken on the planet. (I tipped the waiter, but the food and my drink in the best adult sippy cup ever were given to me for free.)
let me introduce chef art smith
I first learned of Chef Art Smith at a blogging conference in Atlanta when I had dinner at Southern Art and Bourbon Bar courtesy of Beech-Nut baby foods.
Come to find out; Art Smith is quite a celebrity. He was Oprah’s chef for ten years, and he appeared on the show Top Chef Masters.
the best fried chicken in the world comes to disney springs
The restaurant opened in July 2016 and quickly became the best Disney Springs restaurant for families.
The warm country style in the restaurant makes you feel like you are visiting a friend’s home. The mural is hand-painted, and the chandeliers are made from real potato sacks. The bathroom hall is lined with mementos and personal pictures of Chef Smith including this one of a family visit to Disney World in 1972.
Chickens are a recurring motif, and I’m still kicking myself for not buying one of the chicken t-shirts.
the delicious menu at the best restaurant in disney springs
Before our hosted meal, I ate twice at Art Smith’s Homecomin’ on my dime. The first time I ordered Art’s Famous Fried Chicken with Creamy Mashed Potatoes. The second time I ordered fried chicken but upgraded to Mama’s Mac and Cheese. (Are you sensing the pattern?) Thanks to my dinner companion, I also tried the house-made hush puppies. Both meals were delicious and left me no room to eat dessert. The portions were HUGE, and I had enough leftovers to make another meal.
I was super excited to learn that our Glamping Bloggers hosted lunch would be a family-style menu tasting (remember, hosted = free). I knew they would serve the delicious fried chicken, but I would also get to taste menu items I never had room in my tummy to order on my own.
appetizers and salads
When we arrived at our table, two Jaspar Boards were waiting for us to try. Each board had a sampling of tasso and country ham, pimento cheese, smoked fish dip, candied pecans, buttermilk crackers, and what I hear are the best bread and butter pickles ever. (I don’t eat pickles.) I sampled a little bit of everything except the dip (I don’t eat fish either), but I wanted to save room for the fried chicken.
Then the waiter brought out the Thigh High Chicken Biscuits and I forgot all about that fried chicken.
Oh. My. Gosh. Those chicken biscuits are one of the best things I have ever eaten. The chicken was drenched in a delicious sweet and spicy barbecue sauce and sandwiched in a cheddar biscuit.
I ate two.
Next came the Harvest Salad (served without the chicken). It looked delicious, but I passed so I could save room for the entree and dessert.
entrees and sides
We were treated to both Art’s Famous Fried Chicken and Shrimp & Grits with sides of Creamy Mashed Potatoes, Momma’s Mac and Cheese, and KC Greens: Kale and Collards. Luckily, I don’t like seafood, so I was able to concentrate my efforts on my beloved fried chicken. And while everyone agreed that the greens were the best they had ever eaten, I focussed instead on the mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese.
Every bite was delicious. Even the ones I took after I swore I couldn’t fit another piece in my stomach for fear of not having room for dessert.
saving the best for last – dessert!
I knew about Art Smith’s Hummingbird Cake, but it isn’t chocolate. And I only order desserts with chocolate. (Chocoholics Unite!) Thankfully, we were able to sample the Hummingbird Cake as well as the Shine Cake. The Shine Cake is a butter pound cake with Moonshine Syrup served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. The Hummingbird Cake is a banana-pineapple cake with cream cheese icing made from an old southern recipe.
My favorite was the Hummingbird Cake, and the Homecomin’ kitchen was kind enough to provide the recipe to share with you!
chef art smith’s hummingbird cake
Yield: 12 servings
Butter and flour, for prepping pans
3 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily brand
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped ripe bananas
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces butter, at room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 4 1/2 cups sifted)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh seasonal fruit for garnish
Vanilla bean ice cream
for the cake:
1. Position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350F. Lightly butter two 9-inch round cake pans, sprinkle evenly with flour and tap out the excess. (If you wish, butter the pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, then flour the pans and tap out the excess.)
2. S the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl.
3. In second large bowl, stir or whisk the bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Do not use an electric mixer. Pour into the dry mixture and fold together with a large spatula just until smooth. Do not beat. Spread evenly into the pans.
4. Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, 30-35 minutes. Transfer the cakes to wire racks and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks (remove the parchment paper now if using). Turn right side up and cool completely.
for the icing:
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until combined. On low speed, gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar, then the vanilla, to make a smooth icing.
Place 1 cake layer, upside down on a serving platter. Spread with about 2/3 cup of the icing. Top with the second layer, right side up. Spread the reaming icing over the top and sides of the cake. The cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored, uncovered in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Serve slices with a scoop of ice cream and a fruit garnish.
my next visit to art smith’s homecomin’
There are still a few items on the menu that I want to try. On the top of my list are the Church Lady Deviled Eggs and Auntie’s Chocolate Cake.
And more of the Thigh High Chicken Biscuits. Lots More.