Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday Thoughts


Magnificent.  Modern.  Cutting edge...yet fabulously retro.  HMF at The Breakers has been worth the wait!  I could go on and on....and on....and still not find enough superlatives to describe HMF.  I think The Breakers' press release for HMF is spot on, and exaggerates nothing.  So, with their permission, I have asked to borrow it to share with you, my readers. You need to read the details...and then come for the experience!

Photo courtesy The Breakers
HMF, located at The Breakers Palm Beach, introduces a thrilling and refreshing new take on the alluring, classic Palm Beach cocktail culture -- a destination for modern ‘social drinking and eating’ unlike any other on the island, and unlike any hotel lobby bar in the U.S.     In a setting drenched in timeless American glamour and the cool of modern nostalgia, HMF restores the social rituals of cocktail culture in a lively, high-style atmosphere.  Internationally-renowned hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany (Per Se, Restaurant Daniel, Le Cirque 2000, MO Bar London), acting as design consultant to Peacock + Lewis Architects, was enlisted by The Breakers Palm Beach to re-imagine the resort’s historic Florentine Room as a contemporary, Palm Beach cocktail soirée, an artful blend of high life, then and now.   “The nostalgia and the glamour of yesteryear are quite en vogue, while palates continue to become more sophisticated,” said Tihany. “We conceived HMF to be an open, interactive arena of decadent delights, and to cultivate a distinctly social, dynamic and inviting environment for the resort’s savvy clientele.”   Named for The Breakers’ founder Henry Morrison Flagler, HMF is where those who appreciate the art and intimacy of an exhilarating cocktail party can satisfy their discerning appetites for sensational food and drink in unexpectedly fresh ways.  Its extensive menus feature an innovative take on sharing plates representing a variety of authentic, globally inspired cuisines, with focus on the freshest, seasonal ingredients incorporating organic and locally sourced items; handcrafted, rave-worthy cocktails ranging from the vintage to the experimental; and an award-winning, 40-plus page, 1,600-selection wine list of varietals from around the globe – Bordeaux to Burgundies, Riojas to sakes,  carefully curated by The Breakers’ master sommeliers – all designed to surprise and delight the senses.  Inspiration is effusive behind the bars, in the wine displays and the theatre-style kitchen, thanks to esteemed master sommelier, Virginia Philip, and newly minted HMF chef Joey Tuazon (formerly of Acqua at the Four Seasons Miami) working with resort executive chef Anthony Sicignano. 

HMF guests are tended by an engaging, highly intuitive team, each skilled in the art of cocktail culture and stylishly dressed in striking, custom-tailored attire.  Vibrant music galvanizes the mood, with HMF’s own music and entertainment director, Kirill Basov, crafting and spinning custom playlists and eclectic blends, and heightening the interactivity of the guest experience so that everyone feels connected to the scene; he also oversees special events at HMF.   A Cigarette Girl, inspired by the social theatre and atmosphere of cocktail clubs of the 50s and 60s, will move through HMF nightly offering various tastings of specialty items for sale…an aperitif, culinary sampling or dessert or to take guest photos, all to enhance the HMF experience.   

Tastes and Sips / A Sampling of Signature Drinks and Sharing Plates  

 Signature cocktails with innovative twists, featuring home-made ingredients/mixers, sodas and an unexpected array of fun, whimsical garnishes … Railcar #91 features Courvoisier VSOP, fresh lemon juice, local honey and orange foam; the classic Daiquiri with Bacardi rum and home-made lime cordial, the GT, our version of the classic gin and tonic, infused with rosemary and Kirby cucumber, Chanel #6 with vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice; martinis and dirty martinis with novel tastes of vermouth, the Grand Mimosa, a luxe turn on a Breakers’ historic favorite but made with fresh-squeezed, local Florida oranges and a splash of Grand Marnier…      

* Wine selections from all over the world...from Australia to France, Italy to South America, Spain and Portugal to Israel and Lebanon, Germany, Austria and Greece…with a master sommelier presiding to share insights and recommendations on bottles or exceptional wine-by-the-glass offerings, to enjoy on its own or to pair brilliantly with sharing plates…   

 Savory sharing plates such as Warm Onion and Reggiano Dip, House Made Fingerling Chips; Wood Roasted Asparagus and Burrata; Orecchiette, Duck Sausage and Wild Mushroom; Churrasco Steak Chimichurri; Lamb Meatballs, Spanish Mole, Wood Roasted Peppers; Chicken Albondigas Tacos...     

Full spectrum of craft beers, including two local breweries such as Florida Lager and Orange Blossom Pilsner, to complement with HMF’s food items or enjoyed on their own… 

For oenophiles, the main attraction is the stunning Wine Wall, a 7,000-bottle showcase of The Breakers’ 28,000-bottle collection.  Made of polished stainless steel and clear glass, it was designed to exquisitely contrast with the room’s original architecture.   Tihany conceived this Wine Wall as a Master Sommelier’s dream, satisfying the resort’s two such certified wine experts, Virginia Philip and Juan Gomez, who carry the legacy of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award since its inception in 1981.  In addition, a premium collection of cigars, housed in a Tihany-designed custom humidor of clear glass with ribbon mahogany, are available to enjoy just outside HMF in the Mediterranean Courtyard or on the Seawall while enjoying ocean breezes.   Yet for all its night life accoutrements, HMF is an alluring and versatile, day-to-evening destination.  It entices guests for a morning latté with freshly baked pastries, an afternoon respite of delectable refreshments and engaging conversation, or, after sundown, an impeccably made cocktail or Master Sommelier-selected wine by the glass that perfectly pairs with an array of mouthwatering specialties.   HMF’s mantra of social drinking and eating is much for those who relish its all-day iced tea bar as its spirit-based cocktails.   More than just a founder’s moniker, HMF pays homage to legendary railroad and oil magnate Flagler, developer of the resort town of Palm Beach and much of Florida (circa 1890s and early 20th century).  He originally built The Breakers in 1896 and set it on its path to modernity as a one-of-a-kind classic – one that would always appeal to the “jet set” of the times.  HMF appeals to the same luxury-lifestyle audience of today, who covet social connection and unique aesthetic experiences that contrast with their highly digitized and impersonal world.     Tihany’s Design Brief Knowing design’s vital role in formulating a new rendition of glamorous, golden-era Palm Beach, The Breakers turned to Tihany, the creative visionary behind many of the best restaurant venues around the globe.  He was challenged with the task of re-creating the historic Florentine Room (formerly home to the resort’s Tapestry Bar and L’Escalier restaurant) as a captivating destination, stylish and sophisticated, yet incredibly comfortable, warm and welcoming.   The transformation focused on changing the usage of the room rather than the room itself, to make it less intimidating and more engaging, while balancing sensitivity to preserve the Florentine Room’s historic elements.   Tihany was mindful that The Breakers’ significant architectural venues (circa 1926 reconstruction) were inspired by palaces and gardens of the Italian Renaissance.  Accordingly, the Florentine Room was patterned after the 14th-century Palazzo Davanzati in Florence, richly decorated with ornate, intricate details; a hand-painted, high-beamed ceiling and wrought-iron chandeliers. Within the walls and ceiling of this spectacular space, Tihany’s custom furnishings, innovative food displays and open kitchen create a new energy and style. 


After a seamless arrival experience from valet to just a few steps off the main lobby, guests enter HMF and are welcomed by two contemporary bars featuring ribbon mahogany with bronze accents:  one beckons guests to enjoy cocktails, while the other offers the finest sushi fare.  Stylish, modern furniture bathes the room in rich tones of cognac and cyprus green, and a bold carpet covers the floor in a luxurious jewel palette.  The room is illuminated with a soft radiance by over-sized floor lamps and wall sconces lining each column around the perimeter.   The prominent, 7,000-bottle Wine Wall anchors the space and provides a majestic backdrop for guests of the private dining room, a sumptuous and exclusive setting for up to 18.   “We envisioned HMF to be the most fabulous place to meet for drinks, anywhere,” said Nick Velardo, director of food & beverage of The Breakers Palm Beach. “It is incomparable to any lounge or restaurant, a place that goes way beyond where cocktails and dishes are simply prepared and served.  HMF will independently revive the joie de vive yet refined spirit of classic Palm Beach cocktail culture and restore social drinking and eating as an enduring tradition.”   Visit HMF 7:00am – 11:00am for small-batch coffees and bakery items, 11:00 – 5:00pm for a heavenly daytime menu, including afternoon tea 3:00pm- 5:00pm featuring traditional and exotic selections; 5:00pm – 2:00am offering an informal and inventive menu that draws from global cuisine, seasonal eating and the gourmet food truck movement.     For more information, call 561.659.8480, or visit www.hmfpalmbeach.com.      
                               


It is my understanding that the daytime service will start just after Christmas Day.....but if you are in the area....and you should definitely stay at The Breakers when you are!....you must visit HMF. This is reminiscent of the Old Florida where I grew up.  This is glamour and sophistication mixed with modern elegance.  It is a Classic Preppy Five-Star recommendation!!

Now, how does all this fit in with this week's theme of a Visual Life?  Simple....my pictures from HMF will be simply perfect with all the (many) other pictures I have of Miss Betty and her sister, Frances, on board ship (the Queen Elizabeth)....nightclubbing in New York in the 40's and 50's (El Morocco, the Stork Club, etc.),...and even at tea dances at the Cavalier Beach Club..  I have never been sure how to put all of that together, but I think a narrative of sophisticated nightlife fits their activities as well as my trip to HMF!




Now, off to Worth Avenue!!  Cheers, Liz

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