by D.J. Wilson
Long time Actor and director Clint Eastwood gave a surprise speech at the Republican National Convention which aired from Tampa recently. His use of satire was interesting as he addressed an “invisible” President Obama. There were mixed feelings about his speech but one thing is inarguable: he was able to build a successful life in America. He wants to protect that freedom and he wants the same opportunity to exist for everyone under an industrious President. Eastwood is a “tradesman” by his own definition; he also established one of the finest restaurants in California. He joins a long list of celebrities to become restaurateurs. In addition to lending names and providing financial backings to their establishments, many place their personal stamp on aspects of the restaurant, including the menu and décor. Some celebrity owned eateries offer casual dining at affordable prices, while others are quite upscale in design and price. The atmospheres reflect the mood, style and personal taste of the owners. Let’s take a culinary glance at three popular restaurants owned by rich and famous stars. Perhaps, you may have the fortune to dine in one of these great places. Be sure to book reservations for your culinary adventure in advance, as these are quite popular “attractions”. For your interest, I am including a political note on each of these celebrity owners.
*Mission Ranch Hotel & Restaurant – Carmel, California – This historic 1800’s ranch was restored and preserved by a very famous resident who also served as former Mayor of Caramel, actor and director Clint Eastwood. With lovely views and in a quiet and rather romantic location, the ranch serves as a getaway hotel, wedding and vacation destination and can accommodate corporate dinners. The restaurant is well known for its wonderful American Cuisine and boasts a piano bar with live music. Offering a wide array of foods from filet and lobster to roasted half maple leaf duck, dinner is a veritable feast. Meals may be eaten indoors or outside on a heated patio. On Sundays, a buffet brunch is available featuring live jazz. Guests are invited to bring their appetites along but are encouraged to leave their cellphones behind in order to fully enjoy their culinary experience.
Political Note: Clint Eastwood registered as a Republican to vote for Dwight D. Eisenhower. In recent years, he suggested he is “a moderate”, neither left nor right-wing. While some of his political views may have seemed to steer toward the left at times, he endorsed and campaigned for John McCain during the 2008 Presidential elections. While he wishes Obama well, he expresses disappointment in Obama’s leadership as a President and wishes for all Americans to grow and prosper under decent government. He fully lends his support to Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.
*Zoom, Park City, Utah – Opened in 1995, this vibrant restaurant is owned by the famous American actor, director, producer and businessman, Robert Redford. Located at the foot of Main Street and at the historical site of Park City’s former Union Pacific Depot, Zoom features a warm, yet casual ambiance. The comfortable interior features rustic wood floors which pay homage to Park City’s pioneering roots. Offering hearty and sophisticated menu of American Continental cuisine and a selected list of fine wine, this restaurant continually receives great accolades. As part of the Sundance Resort experience, it is open for lunch and dinner daily. The menu is diverse and displays the talents of the kitchen staff who combine regional influences to create memorable and unforgettable dishes. I urge you to take a look at the mouth-watering menu.
Political Note: Though politically a liberal, Robert Redford supports environmentalism, Native American rights, and the arts. While most of his federal political contributions have been to Democrats, he has on occasion supported Republicans, namely Brent Cornell Morris and Gary R. Herbert. Interestingly, he has been a noted vocal critic of Barack Obama for a lack of follow-through on environmental policies.
*Bongos Cuban Café – Miami, Florida – This is one of many businesses owned by Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio and features a Cuban theme. It is described as “where Miami meets Old Havana’s tropical ambiance, cuisine and style.” The intimate seating, natural elements and awakening atmosphere combine to make dining in this restaurant a unique experience. Opened in 2000, the restaurant is located in the heart of Downtown Miami with breathtaking views of the port of Miami, Biscayne Bay, and Downtown Miami. Cuban cuisine takes center stage at this authentic restaurant which features home-style entrees such as Cuban style steak and their famous Creole seafood combo. This exciting place boasts a nightclub featuring Latin Rhythms for those who like to dance.
Political Note: Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan is a Cuban-born American whose family fled Cuba when she was young. Her father was once a personal bodyguard to the first lady of Cuba (the wife of Fulgencio Batista). After Castro’s Revolution, her father was captured in the Bay of Pigs Invasion and was held prisoner until an exchange was arranged by President John F. Kennedy. Her father also served in Vietnam. Gloria’s mother was a teacher. In addition to her talents, Estefan is the author of children’s’ books and a cookbook. She is described as a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. Gloria proudly holds an Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Medallion of Excellence for Community Service, and has served as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the 47th Assembly of the United Nations.
Celebrity establishments are held to the highest standards and reflect elements of the owners’ personalities. Travelers go out of their way to dine in celebrity owned restaurants, often making reservations far in advance and spending quite a bit for the privilege of doing so. I’ll bet if you dine at Clint Eastwood’s elegant restaurant, you’ll make his day! You’re bound to remember the way you were at Robert Redford’s rustic-charmed eatery. Or maybe you’ll let the rhythm get you at Gloria Estefan’s Latin- themed establishment. No matter which you choose, you’re certain to have an entertaining experience!