Smiling With Our Eyes

Art Smith's Homecomin', Disney Springs — This is an Ann-Venture and Ann Kelly’s Kitchen all wrapped up into one happy little package. I’m fairly comfortable with limited travel all while staying safe and following social distance guidelines. But only to places I know follow the rules as do their guests. An invitation to visit my friends again at Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs was just the right way to go on a Saturday. Is it a little odd not to see the usual amount of traffic heading toward Walt Disney World on a weekend? It is, but it’s a sign of the times - and the fact that the feels-like was around 105. Wearing a mask in that heat is tough. But since our lone location was Disney Springs with plenty of parking that helped a great deal. It also helps that my photographer Ashley and I tend to like the same stores and know exactly which garage is closest to those stores. A little planning goes a long way.

It’s always a warm welcome to Homecomin’ and with a little redesign plenty of socially-distant seating. Assistant Manager Kevin Smith was telling me just how far they’ve gone to make their loyal fan base feel safe. They actually completely reupholstered the chairs, sanded down the floor along with treating and resealing them and the table tops. One of my favorite things is the amount of space that makes you feel like you’re actually sitting on a front porch, which you can also do. Plenty of room for two and families to all fit in comfortably.

I spoke with Chef Art Smith in Ann Kelly’s Kitchen some time ago and his before and after quarantine pics are pretty impressive. It helps when the person with you is a trainer! But now that we’re all starting to look around for comforting places to dine out Homecomin’ is a nice option.

Advent Health is right in the parking garage to take temps and insure mask are worn and answer any questions with Disney cast members. It’s always nice to hear that first “welcome home.” Also nice to get inside to the AC. Jimmy and Brandon took excellent care of us and with their suggestions we decided to go with the classics from Homecomin’. Those Church Lady Deviled Eggs will take you back to a weekend picnic with the family, but taken up to another level with that lovely crunch of bacon on top. The deep-fried okra - a definite must try and plenty to share. Art is also generous with the recipes so give the recipe for the Church Lady Deviled Eggs a try. But if you want to go with true Southern classics. it’s Art’s Fried Chicken. I sat on the porch for our live broadcast when Disney Springs opened and it was that buttermilk brined for 24 hours fried chicken that was the star of the show. There’s no flavor like it. That was my choice and Ashley went with the Fried Catfish that she knew her late grandparents PaPa and Mimi would have approved of. When a simple meal like can bring back that kind of warm memory, you’re doing something right.

I did mention the Hummingbird Cake this weekend, and that dessert is also a part of Art’s family memories. The recipe is in Chef Art’s bestselling cookbook “Back to the Table” but I can share with you here. I do suggest giving the original a try with at least two forks to share. That cream cheese icing is addictive, the cake is a true southern treasure and meant to be enjoyed. But thanks to the excellent suggestion of at least giving the Hamilton County Chocolate Pecan Pie a try, it was tough to choose a favorite. Can I go with both?

So with a fair amount of to-go containers the leftovers were tucked into a cooler and we shifted our focus to just a little shopping in the World of Disney Store, the Ganachery and of course, Sephora. Then down back down I-4 with the best air scent of all. Fried Chicken. Like all of the Magic Kingdom, we’ll see you real soon.My thanks to the entire staff at Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs for treating us to a wonderful lunch. Enjoy the show below.

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM ANN KELLY’S KITCHEN

Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children - Walt Disney





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