How Michelle Obama's Birthday Date Cost the President His Foodie Credibility

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Once an adventurous diner who frequented hip D.C. eating establishments, President Obama can now be found picking over bland fare at fusty old-school restaurants. Last night, to celebrate the First Lady's birthday (and her new Twitter account, probably), the Obamas went to upscale Italian joint Café Milano. The Georgetown institution is known for its high prices, fancy frescos, and exclusive clientele—but not for its menu. "Its food is fine. Salads are big, pasta servings are small, and fish and meat entrees are just the right size," hedges a middling Frommer's reviewer. Quoth one Yelper

If you're looking for fine dining, you'll be majorly disappointed  If you're looking to see lots of men comparing suits and watches (short of saying something else) or if you hope to see some politicians, then you might like it. 

In short, Café Milano is the kind of untrendy insider hangout politicians have been patronizing for decades, and a President dining there usually wouldn't raise an eyebrow. But foodies expect more from the Consumer in Chief. The Obamas they've come to know are a couple who savor organic cuisine at Restaurant Nora, locavore meals at Equinox, and still rub elbows with unpretentious locals at Ben's Chili Bowl (where the President eats for free). Michelle has made healthy food a priority as First Lady, and Barack even brews his own beer! If the President weren't so busy, he'd probably be reading Lucky Peach. (Not really.) So you can see why the Obama's date at Café Milano undermines that foodie image. District locals thought the choice was totally passé:

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.