Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gulf Coast Visit: Obamas Enjoy Ice Cream At Bruster's, Saturday Dinner At Firefly - Updated

Press corps declines President's offer to finance their frozen assets...The Saturday dinner menu
For a sweet end to a quick trip to the Gulf Coast that's been overshadowed by sharp criticism of President Obama's Friday night remarks about the Ground Zero mosque, the First Family visited Bruster's Real Ice Cream stand on Sunday morning in Panama City Beach, Florida, before heading back to Washington. The Obama trio each enjoyed cups, with the President's order being mint chocolate chip, according to pool.

After placing his family's ice cream order, the President, holding some cash, invited members of the press corps to order some ice cream too, offering to pay (photos above). There were no takers, although it was a hot and humid Florida day.

"You don't know what you're missing," President Obama said.

First Lady Michelle Obama ordered a Hot Fudge Sundae with no whipped cream and extra fudge, Bruster's co-owner Joan Epperly told local media. Sasha had a cup of Cake Batter Oreo.

The Presidential visit happened as owner Joan and her co-owner husband Larry Epperly were celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary; they had been told the Obamas might be stopping by but did not know for sure until the motorcade was a block away. The president paid for the ice cream with a $20 bill, and Epperly plans to have it framed, she said. (Detail of the Bruster's order, above)

Waitresses from the Hooters restaurant located across the street from Bruster's emerged from their lunch service to catch a glimpse of the First Family (they wore Hooters t-shirts and aprons, and were easily identifiable). The President chatted with some locals before getting back in the motorcade--but not with the Hooters women. Enthusiastic onlookers reportedly lined the streets as the motorcade departed.

Update: Menu details for Saturday dinner at Firefly
Saturday night found the First Family at Firefly restaurant in Panama City Beach, following a round of late-afternoon putt-putt at Pirate's Island Adventure Golf. The White House released no information about what the Obamas ate, but the eatery offers everything from Cracked Pepper Crusted Tuna to "Artisan Pasta" and "Handmade Pasta," with entree prices ranging from $9-$22. Chef Paul Stellato told Miami's News Herald that he served a tuna appetizer and a course of fried oysters to the First Family. For dinner, Mrs. Obama had lobster, Sasha had pasta alfredo and the President had a New York Strip and shrimp, Stellato said. For dessert, the First Family enjoyed crème brûlée.

President Obama insisted on paying and used his own credit card to cover the meal, Stellato added.

Boat ride around the Bay
On Sunday morning, before the ice cream outing, the Obamas enjoyed a boat trip around St. Andrews Bay, which is right outside the Marriott complex where they spent the night. A highlight of the trip on the Bay Point Lady, a converted Navy boat, was a porpoise breaching the water as the First Family watched. Kudos to the Florida Tourism Board for having well-trained sea creatures. (Above)

Related Gulf trip posts: On Saturday, the President and First Lady held a roundtable with Gulf residents and local officials, then a news conference to announce that the Gulf is "open for visit," and detail recovery plans. The Obamas enjoyed lunch at a local eatery--including the all-important Gulf seafood--and the President and Sasha swam in pseudo-Gulf waters. President Obama clarified his remarks on the Ground Zero mosque project during the trip, and the White House then clarified the clarification. The comments about the mosque project came as the President hosted the adminsirations's second White House Ramadan Iftar dinner on Friday night.

*The last Obama ice cream outing was during a weekend trip to Bar Harbor, Maine in mid-July, which included a visit to Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream. The President ordered a coconut cone.

Info: Bruster's is at 7101 Coastal Palms Blvd., Panama City Beach, FL, 32407. Phone: (850) 249-2544. Firefly is at 535 R. Jackson Blvd, Panama City Beach, FL, 32407. Phone: (850) 249-3359

*Getty photo of porpoise, Reuters photos of ice cream outing