Saturday, October 03, 2009

Happy 17th Wedding Anniversary Date Night: The Obamas Celebrate at DC's Blue Duck Tavern

The first Obama wedding anniversary in the White House...
Today is President Obama and First Lady Obama's 17th wedding anniversary, and they're celebrating right now with a DC Date Night at Blue Duck Tavern. (At top: Mrs. Obama and President Obama outside Blue Duck; inset is a wedding portrait)

The award-winning tavern-style restaurant is Exec Cheff'd by Brian McBride, and features American cooking, with a special focus on roasting, braising, preserving and smoking, in an open kitchen that has DC's first Molteni range. The dinner menu is primarily "local," with foods sourced from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania--although New York, Vermont, Maine and California are also represented in the mix. Blue Duck was one of the first DC restaurants to highlight primarily local and sustainable foods, however.

According to Blue Duck station chef Joe Strybel, the President and Mrs. Obama enjoyed crab cakes and seafood pasta for their celebratory dinner.

The Dessert Proposal...
Barack Obama first met Michelle Robinson in 1989 when he went to work at the Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin as a first-year law student; Ms. Robinson was the lawyer assigned to be his adviser. After setting Mr. Obama up with some of her friends, Ms. Robinson began dating Mr. Obama, but after a few years, she was annoyed that he was not being serious enough about their relationship, which she told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2007.

Mr. Obama had begun to engage in endless debates about whether or not marriage meant anything "as an institution," and Ms. Robinson was tired of it. In 1991, while dining at Gordon's, a Chicago eatery, Ms. Robinson gave Mr. Obama a lecture on "getting serious." Then dessert came, and there was a ring box on the side of the plate. Mrs. Obama recalls that she was shocked and thrilled. The rest is history, and Mrs. Obama now claims that she has absolutely no recollection of what exactly the dessert was that night.

More romance: On their first Valentine's day in the White House, there was no at-home dinner, either. Mr. and Mrs. Obama had Valentine's dinner at Chef Art Smith's Table 52 in Chicago (the dinner menu and a recipe are here). (Above: The Obamas with some members of their wedding party)

Information: Blue Duck Tavern is in the Park Hyatt in the West End, 24 and M Streets, NW, Washington, DC 20037. Phone: (202) 419-6755.

*Obama wedding photos courtesy of the archive, naturally.