Monday, June 06, 2011

Obama Wines & Dines Merkel At DC's "1789"

Ahead of Tuesday's Official Visit and State Dinner, a private dinner of local, organic delights at Georgetown's 1789 Restaurant...
President Obama seems to have a new tradition: The Pre-State-Dinner Dinner. On Monday night, he escorted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Georgetown's 1789 Restaurant, where they dined a deux, ahead of Tuesday's Official Visit and State Dinner. In January, the President had a private dinner with President Hu Jintao on the eve of the Chinese leader's State Visit. Hu's dinner was held at the White House, however, and included a handful of guests.

President Obama departed the White House in the motorcade at 6:52 PM, and picked up Merkel at Blair House. They arrived at 1789 at 7:02 PM, and dined for close to two hours, without their spouses. The restaurant's aesthetic reflects its name: It is in a renovated Federal house, and guests enjoy dishes that are anchored by the regional favorites from America's states, surrounded by American antiques and period equestrian and historical prints. Chef Daniel Giusti's menu changes daily.

Dinner at 1789 was the second restaurant outing in ten days for the President and the Chancellor: Both attended the G8 Working Dinner on May 26th at Le Ciro’s Barriere Restaurant in Deauville, France, hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The two have met ten times since President Obama took office. In a new interview with Der Tagesspiegel, his first with a German news outlet, President Obama hailed Merkel as "a genuine friend of America," and "an inspiration." (Above: The President and Merkel chat at the dinner with British Prime Minister David Cameron)

The Presidential menu...
According to a restaurant source, for the first course, the President and the Chancellor ordered Summer Asparagus Salad ($10) and the Baby Beet Salad ($11). Both were made with produce from the Northern Neck Fruits and Vegetables and Tuscarora Organic Cooperative.

The Asparagus came with "a sunny side up pheasant egg, Everona Piedmont sheep’s milk cheese, toasted bread and lemon." The Beet Salad was served with "Humboldt Fog goat cheese, spicy greens, pistachio di Bronte and lemon."

For their main course, both Obama and Merkel ordered the organic Beef Tenderloin ($45). According to the 1789 menu, the beef came from one of a number of family farms in Virginia that supply the restaurant. It was accompanied by "a Yukon gold potato puree, roasted Porcini mushrooms, Swiss chard and bordelaise."

In Georgetown, a happy crowd of onlookers gathered on the cobblestone streets, beyond the security barriers, and they cheered as the President and Chancellor emerged from 1789. President Obama dropped Merkel back at Blair House at 9:14 PM, and arrived at the White House four minutes later. (Above: The President waves to bystanders as he and the Chancellor leave their dinner)

The Chancellor is the first woman and first European leader to be honored by President Obama with all the pageantry of an Official Visit, which begins at 9:00 AM Tuesday on the South Lawn, with a formal arrival ceremony that will include a 19 gun salute and a troop review. The State Dinner begins at 7:35 PM, and will be in the Rose Garden of the White House, a first for the President and First Lady. The President will award the Chancellor the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the dinner.

Info: 1789 is at 1226 36th Street Northwest, Washington D.C., DC 20007. Phone: (202) 965-1789.

Top photo by REGIERUNGonline/Denzel; second by Pete Souza/White House; third by Getty