$60 in gourmet pizza pies are comfort food after a Christmas gift jaunt...
Awaiting the end to a Congressional standoff on the payroll tax credit, and all alone in Washington thanks to the fact that his wife and daughters are already on vacation in Hawaii, President Obama on Wednesday afternoon left the White House for a Christmas shopping spree at the Potomac Yards shopping mall in Alexandria, Virginia. He was accompanied by First Dog Bo, who was the recipient of a huge red-ribboned dog bone and a bag of Chew-Bacca dog treats, purchased at Pet Smart. After, at about 1:30, the President dropped in to nearby Del Ray Pizzeria where he greeted excited customers after ordering three thin-crust pizza pies to go--two of which were special orders.
The President's visit was "pretty crazy," Maddie Abram, who does double duty as a server and manager, told Obama Foodorama. The pizzeria had just fifteen minutes advance notice that Mr. Obama would be dropping by. Business continued, with other customers--and the staff--thrilled to see the President, she said.
Del Ray is beloved by locals and is frequently on "best of" lists for its gourmet creations, which use "the freshest ingredients." Abrams said the President ordered one large (14") thin crust "Supreme Clientele" pizza, which has red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, peppers, red onions, olives, and mushrooms, and sells for $19.
The President's two other pizzas were special orders: A 14" thin crust pepperoni and sausage pie, and a 14" thin crust pie with green peppers and red onions. Each was $20. The total bill was more than $60 with tax, and the President paid in cash, Abram said.
"We were happy that he came into check us out. It was very exciting," Abram said. "We think it will be a good boost for business." The pizzeria was already packed this afternoon with curious customers.
Outside the pizzeria, his pie mission accomplished, the President worked the crowds that had gathered at the intersection of East Del Ray and Mount Vernon Avenues, plus a fifth cluster of squealing well-wishers a bit further down Del Ray Avenue, pool reported. (Above: Outside the pizzeria)
$40 bucks...and Christmas shopping
The White House on Tuesday launched a social media campaign, asking citizens what they would use $40 dollars for--the amount each American paycheck will go up if the House doesn't pass the payroll tax credit.
President Obama provided a close answer when he dropped by Pet Smart before his pizza stop, where he bought Bo his bone and a bag of treats, for a total expenditure of $41 dollars. (Above: An employee looks on as the President and Bo check out the bone selection at Pet Smart)
The President also bought gifts for daughters Malia and Sasha at the nearby Best Buy--but those far exceeded the $40 limit.
Clad in shirtsleeves, the President held Bo by his leash as he paid with a $50 bill at the Pet Smart checkout counter.
"Okay, Bo, don't get too personal here," the President admonished the First Dog, who was very interested in a chocolate-colored poodle named "Cinnamon," according to pool. (Above: The President, Bo and Cinnamon at the checkout counter)
After a quick stroll, the President entered Best Buy at 1:10 p.m.
"This (stop) for the girls now," he said as he went in.
After a round of handshaking he headed straight to the Wii section, where he bought a "Just Dance" game for his daughters.
"The girls beat me every time on these dance games," President Obama said. "But you'll never get a picture of me (playing) because I get graded F every time."
He also bought a pair of $50 iTunes gift cards and an unidentified game, for a total tab of $194.48.
"Let's see if my credit card still works," The President said at the checkout counter. It did.
After more grip-and-grins outside, the motorcade left at 1:21 p.m. Nine minutes later, the President arrived via side streets at the intersection of East Del Ray and Mount Vernon, to pick up his three pizza pies at the Del Ray Pizzeria. There was sports banter and more handshaking.
Outside, the President worked the crowds on all four corners of the intersection, plus a fifth cluster of squealing well-wishers a bit further down Del Ray Avenue.
The motorcade was rolling at 1:48, and arrived back at the White House at 2:05 p.m.
"POTUS dutifully ignored all efforts by poolers to engage him on the payroll tax imbroglio," pool reported.
Information: Del Ray Pizzeria is located at 2218 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA. Phone: 703-549-2999.
*Photos by AP/pool