The Restaurant Life of Barack and Michelle Obama

Now that Barack’s been elected to office, not only does he not have to pay for food anymore, but he can order whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, and deploy an armored motorcade to pick it up. Such is the gastronomical gift bestowed upon the most powerful man in the world. There are already rumors that President-Elect Obama will starve Oprah by stealing her preferred chef, Art Smith, and bringing him along to the White House. But a mere one man will not be able to satisfy Obama’s presidential cravings, and since he can longer casually slip into his favorite spots for some pancakes, he’ll be sending Secret Service agents to restaurants across the country to pick up his favorite grub. Here’s a rundown of some of the spots that Obama might order takeout from on a late night of saving the planet.

1. Topolobampo (Chicago) Celebrity chef has lured Bam to this froufrou Mexican eatery with his sopa azteca (pictured above) — a dark broth flavored with pasilla chiles and stocked with grilled chicken, avocado, Meadow Valley Farm hand-made jack cheese, thick cream, and crisp tortilla strips. Favorite dish, favorite restaurant.

2. Spiaggia (Chicago) The Obamas’ special occasion spot. What better way to celebrate a wedding anniversary (October 3) or a McCain ass-whipping (November 8) than with heart-stopping views of Lake Michigan at this four-star Italian gem. Last Valentine’s Day, the couple dropped a measly $700 on an eight-course meal.

3. Sylvia’s (New York) Barack once chatted up the Reverend Al Sharpton over some fried chicken (we presume) at this Harlem soul food institution. Also the site of one of election night’s biggest celebrations.

4. Sepia (Chicago) Michelle Obama, environmental crusader that she is, often dines at this West Loop hit, whose menu is replete with contemporary American cuisine using organic and sustainable ingredients whenever possible.

5. The Source (Washington DC) One of Obama’s favorite DC spots is a pillar of Wolfgang Puck’s fusion empire. Prime beef sliders with smoked onion marmalade and white cheddar to 1600 Pennsylvania, stat.

6. Casa Oaxaca (Washington DC) No word yet on whether the future Prez is yet aware of this authentic Mexican bistro, but he’s been known to nosh on the occasional roasted grasshopper. Oaxaca fries their bugs, but good grasshopper is good grasshopper.

7 Ben’s Chili Bowl (Washington DC) Chili will undoubtedly be an integral part in shaping how the Obama administration governs. Michelle says her husband makes a “mean chili” and follows a family recipe to get it done. But U Street residents will tell you that the meanest chili in town belongs to Ben’s, a vintage chrome diner, jukebox and all. Night-hawk drunkards should not be surprised to find a man in sunglasses and dark suit, asking his boss if he’d like chili cheese fries with that.

8. Rainbow Drive-In (Honolulu) On a recent visit back home, Obama said that he “might” go to this local fave from a bygone era. And why not? Chili rice and BBQ beef sandwiches come in presidential portions, and prices are stock market low, because someone needs to save up for a new puppy.

9. Cosi (Everywhere) Leave it to McDonald’s addict Bill Clinton to assault Obama’s refined palette with generic flatbreads and pizza. The two dined on takeout from this chain restaurant specializing in sandwiches and salads. But, it is sort of comforting that two of the most influential men in the world, with the greatest restaurants in the world at their fingertips, chose to eat food for the people. Respect.

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