Sweaty Palms

BY Lisa Lindblad

June 18, 2016


A recent trip to Miami was made all the more fun because of the new openings — The Faena in South Beach, Francis Mallmann’s restaurant, Los Fuegos, in that hotel, and Quinta La Huella on the 3rd floor of the East Hotel on Brickell.  For me, who schlepps down to Uruguay to enjoy the magic of Pueblo Garzon, the original La Huella in Jose Ignacio and the charms of Francis’ hotel and restaurant Garzon a street away from my house, finding my landmarks so close to home made me simultaneously happy and sad.  The sad is just ego, I know.  We need to share the joys of our discoveries, no matter how much that niggly voice wants to claim them for yourself!

My friend, who calls south Florida his home, also calls it “sweaty palms” at this time of year.  But the humidity delights me, and it is the roaring a/c that confuses my body and makes me bolt from indoors to out and dress and undress in rapid succession.

We stayed at the One, the eco hotel that charms with its huge rooms, its wonderful natural textures and sane in-room amenities like filtered water taps instead of plastic bottles.


But my god how large their footprint must be in the energy world..I needed to carry around eyeglass cloths to wipe the condensation away every time I sought a warm up on the terrace! I looked at the Edition hotel as well which is also very cool but, if hip, trendy and super young is not your bag, The Betsey is charming.


The Betsey’s plantation style is rather Ralph Lauren meets South Beach but I found it had soul.  They are in the middle of an important expansion which will give them a rooftop pool and more rooms.

And then, of course, there is the new Faena.  OTT, yes..but it is fun and original and has a sense of humor which is not in great supply anywhere I find.


Red is such a happy color and I found the details – the lovely blankets on the beds (made in Mexico) and the rioutous rugs, shapely furniture –  to be quite pleasing.  And the light..look at the photo above and tell me that is not a pleasing room (unless you hate red!)

It is the food that suprises in South Beach..everyone is there but the arrival of Francis Mallmann, the maestro of delicious food cooked over fire, and of his proteges – Martin and Guzman who have opened Quinta la Huella in East  Hotel on Brickell – is the real news.

Francis was voted the best chef in the world back in the 1990’s, but his star has become brilliant since his appearance in the Netflix film, Chef’s Table, and his feature in the inaugural catalogue of the shop, Best Made . Francis cooks divinely, and his method of cooking with fire has now come to Miami with his restaurant, Los Fuegos (soon to expand to Europe).


And then there is Quinta la Huella.  Martin and Guzman worked with Francis years ago and then opened La  Huella – a feet in the sand kind of place -in Jose Ignacio which is 20 minutes from my house in Pueblo Garzon.


 It is my favorite restaurant in the world, and now we have a recreation of it on the 3rd floor of East hotel on Brickell. Backed by Swire (who own East and Upper House in Hong Kong), it is a remarkable rendition of the original updated or adapted for Miami.  The food is sublime, the space outrageously large and wonderful.


So..sweaty palms?  I’ll take it.  If Garzon weren’t so remarkable, I might even have traded it in…but I will be schlepping my 23 hours down to the pueblo as soon as I can!

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Layers of creativity always astound me.  Here you start with a restaurant of note, a great chef, his beautiful food, a photographer's vision, a music track, a point of view, a philosophy.  Layer upon layer or, if you see the world in freer form, creative vision touching creative vision, brushing alongside each other like cloud shadows moving across a landscape.

See the film:

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Zuma Wabi-Sabi