Posted by: oysterculture | January 16, 2009

Will Obama impact DC’s restaurant scene?

Having lived in the DC Metro area before moving to San Francisco, I imagine preparation for the inauguration is reaching fever pitch.  Foodies are buzzing on a variety of earth-shattering issues – I’ll admit it is nice to ponder something other than the economy or world politics for a change.

Obama Family, picture from the Daily Mail UK paper

Obama Family, picture from the Daily Mail UK paper

  1. Who will be the White House Chef?
  2. Will Obama venture out to restaurants?  Bush was a stay at home president.
  3. What will be the impact of having a Democrat in the White House?
  4. How will Obama’s personal tastes reflect on DC restaurants?
  5. What will the Inaugural Dinner be like?

 Here’s some prognostications, facts, or just my humble opinion:

  1. Who will be the White House Chef?  Obama is keeping, Cristeta Comerford who was the chef for President Bush.  She is the first woman chef to hold this position and an immigrant from the Philippines.  Questions were raised about this position because of its high profile and potential ability to influence cooking.  Sustainably sensible foodies wanted someone in this position who used organic, locally raised foods, preferably with an on-site vegetable garden.  Turns out,  Cristeta meets this criteria – she’s been preparing food this way all along, just not tooting her horn.

    Cristeta Comerford, White House Chef

    Cristeta Comerford, White House Chef

  2. Will Obama venture out to restaurants like Clinton?  I can vouch that Clinton dined out a restaurant on many occasions.  Roads would be shut down because the Secret Service had cordoned of the area.  President Bush, on the other hand, stayed home.  So, if Obama does go exploring, what does that mean for the DC culinary scene?  If his visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl with DC Mayor Adrian Fenty is any indication, we will know if he follows the USDA food pyriamid –
  3. What will be the impact of having a Democrat in the White House?  According to Fortune Magazine in 2001, upon the arrival of Bush, Washington became a carnivore town, with steak houses swelling in rank.  The assumption is that Republicans like steak – rare, and the Democrats like healthy foreign food.  (I propose that Independents eat raw)
  4. How will Obama’s personal tastes reflect on DC restaurants?  We might get a whiff of an idea from the Washingtonian Magazine’s site, a selection of restaurants with similar counterparts back in Chicago. 
  5. What will the Inaugural Dinner be like?  The Chicago Tribune did a wonderful job of summing up this important dinner for past president. 

While we have no way of knowing what the future entails, I propose we will not be bored following the culinary adventures of Obama in DC.

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Responses

  1. I believe also there are going to be some interesting adventures. And you know already in 2008 DC got quite a few new restaurants opened by some of the famous chefs, Adour for example. I live 15 minutes away from downtown so I’m definitely excited!

  2. I miss DC, I always enjoyed dining out there. Famous chefs indeed: Michael Richard, Jose Andres, etc. Enjoy the inauguration, I bet it will be an incredible experience.

  3. I lived in DC as an intern in college for 1 semester + summer…I remember going to Bethesda for some great food. I also remember that DC had so many of those “weigh-my-food” cafeterias that I haven’t seen recreated in any other city. While I occasionally love my juicy steak, more healthy and more ethnic trends are good!

  4. Funny, I never thought about those ‘weigh-my-food’ cafeterias until you mentioned them. They were certainly everywhere. Before I left, the City was pushing to add some variety to the street vendors, getting more Korean, Mexican, etc. offerings – Something other than hot dogs. They had limited vendor permits, and were holding competitions. They have not gone to tacqueria trucks yet, but I bet its just a matter of time. Its funny how those little things stick in your mind.


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