The Ivy is a star-studded landmark in LA. It isn’t exactly a restaurant someone
who is hiding from people would go to
Blog by a GUIDEPOST user
While we were popping a grape into our mouths at each of the 12 strokes of the zero hour, hoping 2015 would be a better year in real terms than the old one, our old king was four thousand miles away in California, away from the people who love him.
But how could this have happened? How can a ruler who has done untold good for a grateful kingdom, surmounting constitutional constraints, be so alone? That solitude is what comes out so clearly in the fuzzy photo taken by a chance diner at The Ivy in Beverly Hills, likely someone who was hoping to catch a Hollywood celeb but hit on a European monarch instead who would rather not be in the spotlight when he isn’t on official duty.
Don Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son June of last year and is therefore no longer head of state. But he retains the title of king and does events assigned to the royal family. In the seven months of his abdication he has been spotted indulging his gourmet tastes in the best restaurants in and outside Spain but in doing so he keeps a fastidiously low profile. He is careful not to detract attention from King Felipe VI who has ascended the throne of Spain seamlessly but has yet to prove his mettle. Half a year on the throne is much too short for that, even for someone who has been trained since birth to be king, and his father would not want to steal the show from him.
This is not to say that Juan Carlos I has become a recluse. The Ivy may be an expensive restaurant but not so prohibitive as to be virtually exclusive. Anybody who has some money to spend can go there; that alone increases the mathematical probability of people who know Don Juan Carlos personally, or through the media, being thrown next to his table in the customarily crowded restaurant, described as a star-studded landmark in LA. It isn’t exactly a place someone who is hiding from people would go to.
Don Juan Carlos is famous for his extraordinary capacity for instant rapport which has made him popular among his peers and people from other walks of life. Which is why that sense of solitude that clings to him could be puzzling even when viewed against the backdrop of a lonely childhood and the long years of solitary tight-rope act during the Franco era.
There he was, so far away from home on New Year’s Eve, with only one unknown man for company. But what is home to King Juan Carlos? His exiled parents’ villa in Estoril, Portugal when he was a kid? The La Zarzuela royal hunting lodge turned palace in the outskirts of Madrid where he and his young family have lived when he was Prince of Spain and king later on?
What, apart from the usually impeccable wait service and good food, drew Juan Carlos I to The Ivy on such a special date? Was it the California nouvelle cuisine that is reminiscent of food “at home” if only because some of them have Spanish names? Primavera omelette, French Rosé Champagne Sangria, calamari . . . Why, even the exuberance of the décor in the country cottage rooms is Andalucia-exhuberance!
The Spanish press describes Don Juan Carlos as a king who’s looking more relaxed than he was, say, a year ago when the burden of heading the state lay heavy on a shoulder debilitated by family scandal including the one he himself generated going elephant hunting in Botswana. It would be good if he also finds a place he could finally call home.
The Ivy in Beverly Hills consists of an outdoor terrace and country-cottage rooms. The Ivy chain has partnered with The Open Table (www.opentable.com) to handle reservations and diners say the arrangement works fabulously. In 2014 it won the Open Table Diners’ Choice, which award is nothing to sniff at considering that Open Table handles online reservations at about 31,000 upscale restaurants worldwide and seats around 15 million diners a month.
A diner at The Ivy on New Year’s Eve writes (http://www.opentable.com/the-ivy): “We had a reservation for New Year’s Eve. . . We were seated outside. . . Even though it felt a little bit like sitting on the sidewalk and the neighboring table was extremely close, it was a good ambience. . . The New Year’s Eve menu for $95 was delicious and definitely enough: glass of champagne, appetizer, main course and dessert. Everything was very good. Unfortunately, the food got cold pretty fast because of the wind. . . Overall, I would absolutely recommend the restaurant to my friends and family.”
Would that have been Don Juan Carlos’ thinking too?
113 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
Neighborhood: Beverly Hills
>Ivy photos: The Ivy official website, www.opentable.com, and the foodspotting website
>Beverly Hills sign by John O’Neil (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jjron), GFDl 1.2