Sunday, December 27, 2009

Obama Dinner At Alan Wong's, Beach Picnic

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dined at a favorite Honolulu restaurant this evening: Alan Wong's on King Street. The restaurant is located on the third floor of a downtown office building, in the same neighborhood as the apartment where the President spent his boyhood. (Above: The President leaving the restaurant)

The Obama arrived at 7:40, with the President's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and her husband Konrad Ng, and left about two hours later, leftovers in hand. Dinner followed a fairly low-key day, in which the Obamas picnicked on a private beach, and worked out at the local Marine base. The President was also briefed on the ongoing airline terror concerns.

Wong, an internationally known chef who also has a restaurant in Tokyo, is the leader in farm-to-table sourcing in Hawaii. He's credited with creating modern Hawaiian cuisine, which uses the freshest, often local ingredients from land and sea, and blends the large variety of ethnic food influences that exist in the islands: Portuguese, Japanese, German, British, Chinese, Polynesian, among others. This year, he was awarded the 2009 Hero of Hawaii award for his advocacy of local farmers and fishermen, and has won many, many other awards.

In June, Wong was a guest chef at the White House; he top-toqued the first-ever White House Luau on the South Lawn, which was a picnic for members of Congress and their families. Wong cooked his famed Kalua Pig in special slow-roasting ovens, because historic considerations prevented traditional pig-roasting pits from being dug into the White House grounds. Wong's home-cooking recipes for White House Kalua Pig and White House Wasabi Potato Salad are here. (Above: A thatched drink hut on the South Lawn, for the White House Luau)

The President and Mrs. Obama have dined at Wong's restaurant two previous times, last year on Dec. 29, during their pre-inauguration vacation, and in August of 2008. No word on what the President and First Lady dined on this evening, but Alan Wong had some special items on the Christmas menu: Ahi Tartare, Three Crab Dumpling with Garlic Black Pepper Gravy, Hudson Valley Duck Curry, and a "Surf 'n' Turf" with Maui Cattle Company Beef Tenderloin and Butter-Poached Lobster with Truffle Puree. (Above: Maya Soetoro-Ng and Konrad Ng leaving Alan Wong's restaurant)

Related: The menu for the White House Luau is here; details on the preparations are here. *AP photos.