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Asado Arcadia

Parador La Huella in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay.

 

Scout and Catalogue Nomad Scarf in Indigo.

 

 

 

 

 

Rolling the grill out of the garage yesterday fired me up for the charbroiled parade of summer. With meat on my mind, I sought out an exotic outlet for my carnivorous cravings and found this Arcadian jewel in the fishing village of Jose Ignacio, Uruguay – beloved by some jetsetters in the high season (December to February). Dubbed the best beachside restaurant on the planet by Bon Appetit in 2012, La Huella sits at the end of the six-by-seven street downtown, on the sandy doorstep of the Atlantic Ocean (Bon Appetit food editor Hunter Lewis described the scene as a “bohemian pirate ship run aground – a warren of dining rooms, decks, and open kitchens made of wood and canvas”). Against a soundtrack of Tropicalia music, chef Alejandro Morales has mastered the art of the asado – the South American tradition of cooking meat of an open fire – in addition to many other gourmet traditions from around the world. The menu is a palimpsest of influences: Morales learned to make paella in Spain and shellfish pastas in Italy; for his breads, he drew inspiration from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, and Chez Panisse compelled him to forge connections with organic farms. Now (spring, their autumn) is the time to visit Jose Ignacio: the 300 year-round residents resume their small-town rhythms, and with a new international art fair set for next January, the village – and La Huella – will surely see a spike in appetites.

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