The dining options of First Lady Michelle Obama and White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett are a good bellwether of the city’s hot restaurants. On Tuesday, Mrs. Obama and Jarrett stopped in for dinner at the new Italian waterfront seafood restaurant, Fiola Mare, created by Fiola owners Fabio and Maria Trabocchi. They were with three other friends, calling it a “girls’ night out,” according to a tipster.
Jarrett had visited the restaurant before, which is sometimes a clue that one or both of the Obamas will soon follow. But she’s not the only administration official to try out the pasta, grilled fish, crudo, and other delicacies of the month-old restaurant. National security adviser Susan Rice had dinner there with her husband, and Aerosmith rocker Steve Tyler brought in a large group for dinner. The First Lady and her entourage sat at the same VIP table.
Fiola Mare’s perch on the edge of the Potomac River makes it an obvious warm-weather destination. The spot has been filling up recently, even despite cold weather. When temperatures get warmer, expect the restaurant to get even hotter, too.
When it comes to Barack and Michelle Obama’s dining habits, “eat local” doesn’t just apply to produce. The First Couple have been known to favor restaurants within a few blocks of the White House, including Mrs. Obama’s recent birthday celebration at Poste. This past Saturday the stately duo stepped out shortly after 8 for date night at José Andrés’s refined Mexican eatery, Oyamel, about a five-minute trip from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Michelle Obama previously dined at the popular Penn Quarter spot with Let’s Move! director Sam Kass.
While there’s no official word from the White House, the outing could be an early Valentine’s Day date. The Obamas are readying for a busy week with the first state visit from French President François Hollande, while President Obama will address House Democrats at a retreat on February 14 in Cambridge, Maryland. Oyamel received a makeover last year with plenty of romantic touches and a new private dining area. The outing may mark the second year in a row for a V-Day celebration at one of Andrés’s Penn Quarter spots, though a decidedly more casual one; the couple scored a coveted spot at Minibar in 2013.
We all know where the Obamas celebrated their anniversary this year: With Mitt Romney, Jim Lehrer, Big Bird (in spirit, at least), and the rest of the country for the first presidential debate. And it’s probably safe to say it wasn’t the best anniversary the Obamas ever enjoyed, seeing as the President was totally outzingered by the Republican candidate. But what better place to nurse those podium wounds than a tony private dining room at Bourbon Steak, where Obama and his lady dined this Saturday in honor of their 20 years of marriage?
After the whole Shake Shack shake-up, it's not surprising Michelle Obama's people want to keep her dining choices private. So while we know, thanks to Eater DC, that her husband ordered a turkey sub from Taylor Gourmet earlier this week, it remains a mystery what Mrs. Obama ate last night at Eatonville when she popped by the 14th Street spot for a third visit.
"They asked us not to talk about what she ate," says restaurant rep Pamela Pinnock,
who adds that FLOTUS dined with a party of six that included "friends
Pinnock, the First Lady has a favorite booth, which she requests at each
of her trips there. Pinnock also speculates that it's the restaurant's
"sophisticated ambiance and down-home food" that keep Mrs. O. coming
back. "We're really honored and proud to have her."
By Jessica Voelker
At Good Stuff Eatery, chef Spike Mendelsohn (Top Chef alum, Acid Reflux meds shill) famously serves burgers named for Barack and Michelle Obama. The edible homage to POTUS--as heartburn-inducing as a gridlocked Congress--is a beef patty topped with applewood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese, and horseradish mayo. Reflecting her ever-controversial aversion to childhood obesity, Mrs. Obama's sandwich is a free-range turkey burger with caramelized onions, Swiss cheese, ruby tomato, and lettuce on a whole wheat bun with "Southlawn herb garden mayo."
But as Washingtonians know well, a change in the White House leads to countless other little changes throughout the town. If Mitt Romney manages to grab the presidency, he'll be needing a Good Stuff burger too, right? We asked chef Spike what would be on it. "The Romney Burger would be fried cod, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, Creole mayo, and roasted red peppers," Mendelsohn revealed to us in an e-mail yesterday. The burger is "an ode to Massachusetts, and specifically Cape Cod. The roasted peppers and Creole mayo compliment the cod--a nod to the great seafood from Massachusetts."