4. THE POTUS AND FOTUS ARE FOODIES
From the organic vegetable garden flourishing on the South Lawn to the president's burger runs to the first lady's work advocating healthier school lunches, the Obamas have made it clear: Good food is on their agenda and also on their calendar. When the first family gives the White House chef the night off, they hit some of the city's hottest restaurants.
"They're the biggest celebrities in the city, so it's news when they show up anywhere for dinner," Mendelsohn says. "With Twitter and Facebook, the word spreads immediately." Whether it's an intimate dinner for two, a quick stop for a pizza slice or a simple supper with the family, one thing remains constant: The Obamas like to dine at locally owned, small-business restaurants.
BLUE DUCK TAVERN
Sharing plates of crab cakes and seafood pasta, the Obamas celebrated their anniversary at the softly lit chef's table at this American bistro, known for its airy open kitchen and regional farm-to-table menu.
During dinner, the president's Twitter and Instagram accounts posted a photograph of him and Mrs. Obama chatting with diners around a wooden communal table. On the menu at the cozy bistro: black pepper-and-cheese pierogi and hand-sliced Old Bay fries with curry mayo.
DEL RAY PIZZERIA
On his way back to the White House after a little shopping, the president dropped by this pizza joint to pick up three pies: sausage and pepperoni; green pepper and red onion; and a Supreme Clientele, which has all the aforementioned toppings plus olives and mushrooms.
Southern food must have a fan in Mrs.Obama,who has twice visited this eatery named for the Florida hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston. Surrounded by high ceilings, playful murals and rocking chairs, she ordered the pecan-crusted trout.
RAY'S HELL BURGER
Obama visited the bustling, no-frills burger place twice: once with Vice President Joe Biden, and once with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who ordered a cheeseburger along with the POTUS and peacefully split a plate of fries.
It's not hard to see why President and Mrs. Obama chose this seasonally inspired American restaurant for Valentine's Day: It's quiet, intimate and decorated in romantic red hues, and it offers a tasting menu at a price that will steal hearts -- $59 for four courses.
Prices and other details were accurate when published in July 2012.Continued on page 5: