Saturday, October 01, 2011

The President And First Lady Celebrate 19th Wedding Anniversary At Restaurant Eve

At Alexandria eatery, a locally sourced, seasonal dinner for extra-special Date Night...
President Obama zipped back to the White House on Saturday night to retrieve First Lady Obama after giving the keynote speech at the Human Rights Campaign annual national dinner in Washington. The First Couple mark their 19th wedding anniversary on Monday, Oct. 3, and Mr. Obama escorted his beloved to the upscale Restaurant Eve for an early celebration. They arrived at the fine dining establishment, located about seven miles from the White House across the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA, shortly before 8:30 PM. (Above: The First Couple with part of their wedding party in 1992)

Cathal Armstrong, a transplanted Dublin native who is a leader in the local movement for organic and sustainable sourcing, is executive chef, and he cooked the Presidential meal, according to the restaurant. Armstrong is founder of Chefs as Parents, and works on school nutrition initiatives. He was among the small cabal of culinary professionals who helped advise Mrs. Obama and her Let's Move! team during the creation of the Chefs Move to Schools initiative in 2010.

Restaurant Eve's slogan is "Nourish the Palate," and the menu changes with the seasons; Armstrong creates his heady dishes according to ingredient availability. The restaurant is in a converted 1800s rowhouse, and there are two rooms available for the kind of private dining that the President and Mrs. Obama might have needed for their special evening: The Chef's Tasting Room and The Sunflower Room. The Chef's Tasting Room has prix-fixe menus that cost up to $150; Armstrong's signature dishes include an heirloom tomato tart with garden basil, and butter-poached Maine lobster with Eastern Shore corn. The "Bistro" menu has main courses priced up to $41, and a prix-fixe three-course menu on Friday and Saturday nights for $65.

"Love people who have great palates and dine with us... especially uh... THE PRESIDENT AND HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE!!!" was sent out (sic) on the Restaurant Eve Twitter.

"Armstrong had to call home to turn the chicken stew off!- He forgot it on the stove when he ran in to feed uh THE PRESIDENT!," was another tweet.

Yet another tweet: "The dining room mood is surreal."

With his wife and business partner, Meshelle Armstrong, the chef owns three eateries in Alexandria, and Mrs. Obama has patronized these since moving to Washington. A visit that is on the public record came in 2009, when Mrs. Obama took First Grandmother Marian Robinson, daughters Malia and Sasha, and friends to a celebratory dinner at another of the Armstrongs' eateries, The Majestic. The resturant had hosted a fundraiser for Candidate Obama early in his presidential effort.

The President and Mrs. Obama were on the road back to the White House at 10:20, and by 10:50 the press pool had been dismissed for the evening. The First Couple also celebrated their 17th anniversary--their first in the White House--by dining out, with a fete a deux at DC's Blue Duck Tavern. Their 18th anniversary celebration in 2010 involved no dining outing that is on the record.

Earlier this week, Mrs. Obama thrust Alexandria, VA into national headlines with her visit to a Target store on Route 1.

The wedding...
Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson were married on Oct. 3, 1992, at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois. Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. officiated; the First Lady's brother, Craig Robinson, walked her down the aisle. The reception was held at the South Shore Cultural Center. (Above: The tired couple during the celebration)

Stevie Wonder's song "You and I" was their wedding song. The legendary singer was last at the White House in August, where he led the celebrity-filled crowd celebrating President Obama's 50th birthday in a jazzy rendition of "Happy Birthday."

"I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me. We might not have married," President Obama told People magazine in 2009. "The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship."

In 1991, Mr. Obama proposed to Ms. Robinson over dessert at Gordon's, a Chicago eatery. As Mrs. Obama has told the story, she spent dinner lecturing Mr. Obama about "getting serious." Then dessert came, and there was a ring box on the side of the plate. Mrs. Obama said that she was "shocked and thrilled," and also that she has absolutely no recollection of what exactly the dessert was that night. And the rest is history...

Information: Restaurant Eve is at 110 South Pitt street, Alexandria, VA. Phone: 703.706.0450.

*Archival photos