By Brooke Wylie - 03/09/10 12:15 AM EST
“Obama Date Nights” is a tradition that has followed the pair from the family home in Chicago all the way to the White House.
“Carving out that time, making sure we have Friday or Saturday date nights... We usually go out to dinner, and what I’ve found, which is interesting, is that our girls like it,” she said.
What is immediately striking about the “Obama Date Night” is that the whole event is usually very simple and something we can all replicate.
Since arriving in the Capitol, the tradition hasn’t slipped and if the President of the United States has time to take his special someone for a night on the town, we all do.
Check out a collection of local D.C. “date night” destinations enjoyed by the Obamas.
It was the quintessential “Obama Date Night,” private, elegant and with a hint of understated glamour. So when Jean-Jacques Retourne, Maitre’d of Citronelle received a reservation for a very special guest, he had a hunch it was going to be an interesting evening.
“I received a phone call requesting a particularly secluded table and I received three or four phone calls that day to ensure the table was available,” Reourne said. “I was told, ‘Jean-Jacques, you have to make sure you have that table.’”
Retourne said the restaurant had an idea of who the mystery guest was, but for security reasons, they didn’t know for certain.
“It was very special... it was their first date night since he had become President, it was a hundred days in office, it was their first visit to Citronelle, you know they could have gone anywhere and they came here so it was super special”
Citronelle, destination restaurant and brainchild of patisserie chef Michel Richard, is a one to continuously astonish the senses. The prix-fix three course menu that changes seasonally welcomes this season with a selection of romantic treats.
“I get so many phone calls, people calling asking for advice, where to take their girlfriends... we have couples who came here on their first date and have since come regularly, for you know, ten years,” Retourne said. “Boyfriends who bring girlfriends to dinner and get down on their knee to propose, we’re a destination restaurant.”
Just a few blocks north of the White House, a little southern comfort offers retreat from the bustle of K Street at Georgia Brown’s on 15th Street. The award-winning restaurant is renowned for teaming deep southern hospitality with understated elegance that Washingtonians have come to expect from an evening on the town.
Reassured by the knowledge that Michelle Obama dropped in for lunch a couple of months ago and once frequented by the Obamas during the President’s days as a senator. Executive Chef Jim Foss says the comfortable, casual and inviting atmosphere of Georgia Brown’s offers a palate-stimulating menu... and a sensual little after-treat to take home and sweeten the evening.
This regional restaurant with a southern accent will leave diners reminiscent of a culinary stroll through oak-lined fields, the tasty ingredients and warm afternoon-in-the-sun atmosphere, sure to leave an impression.
On the off chance that being the southern belle of the ball isn’t your thing, perhaps the organic delicacies of Restaurant Nora on Florida Avenue can provide quite the romantic retreat.
Originally built as a grocery store in the nineteenth century, the little escape offers all the deliciousness of a five-star restaurant with none of the guilt.
The organic ingredients and evolving menu change daily and cater to all tastes.
Ben’s Chili Bowl
Finally, if there’s one thing about “Date Night” worthy of credit, it’s that the Obamas are not afraid to change things up.
Ben’s Chili Bowl, a national treasure that has served Washington through some of its most prosperous and troubled times, opened its doors in 1958 by Ben and Virginia Ali, and hasn’t shut them since.
Though it may not be the traditional fine dining experience, the bustling atmosphere and hearty meals will leave an enjoyable after taste (and newfound respect for chilli) in your mouth.
With meals that could feed an army and perfect cuisine to warm you up on these last chilly days of winter, visiting Ben’s will likely leave you feeling as though you’ve been dining there all your life, while simultaneously wondering how you went so long without it. The U street diner is packed full of history and fascinating trivia certain to give you and that special someone opposite you plenty to talk about.