The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

Every Friday, we fill you in on what's been happening in the local restaurant world.

By: Kate Nerenberg

• Given the issues on President Barack Obama’s plate these days—swine flu, General Motors’ bankruptcy—it’s no wonder we’ve seen him falling off the healthy-food bandwagon. On Saturday, he and First Lady Michelle had a date night at Citronelle, Michel Richard’s elegant Georgetown dining room. The President ordered braised short ribs, while Michelle opted for a lobster burger. They also shared a napoleon and a few other desserts.

• On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden joined the President and a press pool for Michael Landrum’s juicy ten-ounce patties at Ray’s Hell-Burger in Arlington. The President insisted on paying—the press would write about his being a freeloader if he didn’t—and stuffed a $5 bill in the tip jar. He got a cheeseburger, medium-well, with Dijon mustard; Biden went with Swiss cheese, jalapeños, and ketchup.
 

• The First Lady dined at Capitol Hill’s Art and Soul with nine women, including her mother, Marian Robinson, and White House social secretary Desirée Rogers. The Southern-inspired restaurant is helmed by Art Smith, a Chicago-based chef who has cooked for the Obamas many times. The group shared appetizers of salmon-caviar hoe cakes, pulled pork hoe cakes, and the Chesapeake seafood fry. Obama had crispy whole rockfish with rhubarb vinaigrette for her main course.

The Next Food Network Star, a reality cooking show that gives the winner his or her own gig on the cooking channel, doesn’t start until June 7. But we might already know who won—the filming took place a couple months ago. On the Foodtvfans.com forum, one blogger, identified as PicBuddy, wrote that Teddy Folkman, the chef at DC’s Granville Moore’s who bested Bobby Flay last year in a mussels throwdown, took the crown. While PicBuddy seems pretty confident about Folkman’s win, another blogger is adamant that that’s not the case. We just want him around to make those Flay-beating blue-cheese mussels

Michel Richard, chef of the venerable Citronelle and the hip bistro Central, is giving up his stake in his Los Angeles restaurant, Citrus at Social Hollywood, to focus on his kitchens here. The Los Angeles Times reports that Alain Giraud, who worked with Richard in the ’90s at Citrus in LA, will take the reigns.

• On Sunday, the Washington Post took home a coveted James Beard award for best newspaper food section in the country. The section’s editor, Joe Yonan, and his team beat out the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle. Post food critic Tom Sietsema was up for two awards but didn’t win.

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