Oftentimes people forget that Florida has Southern roots. These restaurants offering farm-fresh, southern-sourced feasts are delicious reminders. Want a side of barbecue to go with the beautiful weather? The brisket at 4 Rivers Smokehouse is so beloved by locals, there’s a line out the door. The Ravenous Pig hosts monthly pig roasts and a Swine Hour with pub fare like BLT Biscuits 4—tomato jam and bacon atop Gruyere biscuits. Cask & Larder is redefining the art of Southern food with a seasonal-changing menu of dishes such as dry-cured ham with pepper jelly and biscuits. Their preserves and pickles would make any Southern grandma proud. For dessert, try dough fried in wit beer, with a generous pot of caramel and citrus glaze for dipping.
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Southern Food Coma at Cask & Larder
Southern Rock permeated through Cask & Larder’s bright, barbecue-scented, space: The Allman Brother’s Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Lynard Skynard: It was like my freshman year of college all over again, without much of the angst. Vegetables swim in Bell jars on the shelves; okra, grits and collard greens dot the menu; weathered beer bottles line a raised beam (also, coincidentally, much like my freshman year of college): Cask & Larder lives up to its desired reputation of being a “Southern Public House.”
Cask & Larder prides itself on its craft beers and Southern cuisine and does both quite well. Their certified Cicerone crafts seasonal beers. I had the Pigtoberfest, an autumnal-colored, Bavarian brew which went well with the appetizers of oysters and random pickles (okra, carrots, string beans, peppers, cucumbers). The food is regionally sourced: the pork is from Ocala, Florida, the wild redfish from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the grains and grits from South Carolina. The grits and collard greens were unexpectedly sweet, the curly fries had a hint of barbecue, the Nashville hot chicken sandwich - the chicken is first barbecued and then fried - was a spicy, heart warming (and a perhaps heart-stopping) concoction.
We ate very well at Cask & Larder and its catalogue of Southern comfort foods did put us at ease and if as part of their Southern hospitality they had had offered us a place to take a quick nap I'm certain we would have been much obliged.
Another way to experience Orlando is through its growing craft beer culture, with locally-owned breweries, brew pubs, and beer-centric restaurants cropping up all around Central Florida. For whatever ales you, head to Orlando Brewing for fresh, organic beer. Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour is the locals' choice, with more than 20 on tap and some 200 bottles of beer. To pair gastronomical fare with your cask ale, try one of the sister restaurants just blocks from each other in Winter Park: Ravenous Pig, a gastropub, or Cask & Larder, a self-proclaimed "Southern Public House." At the latter, reserve a private table for dining at the in-house brewery. Foodies and beer lovers, rejoice.