Presidential tastes: Eating like Obama
Then president-elect Barack Obama, center, pays for a chili half smoke with a side of shredded cheese at Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington. (Joshua Roberts, Bloomberg News / February 17, 2011)
While visiting Washington and its surroundings, why not eat like a president — at new economy prices, of course. Here are a few local spots with tasty food good enough for President Barack Obama and his family:
Ben's Chili Bowl Opened in 1958, this renowned restaurant remains true to its roots with lots of chili, burgers and dogs. Obama orders the chili half-smoke — a pork and beef smoked sausage topped with mustard, onions and spicy chili sauce ($5.45). 1213 U Street, NW; 202-667-0909; benschilibowl.com
Ray's Hell Burger Site of the "historic" hamburger summit where Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited to feast on a traditional American lunch last June. The Russian leader topped his cheeseburger with jalapenos, mushrooms and onions. 1725 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.; 703-841-0001
Sei A favorite of first lady Michelle Obama, the sushi at this modern Asian restaurant was reportedly served at White House Christmas parties. Not as recession-friendly as burgers, pizza and chili, but there's a prix fixe menu for lunch ($20) and dinner ($35). 444 7th Street, NW; 202-783-7007; seirestaurant.com
We, The Pizza Chef Spike Mendelsohn, of Bravo TV's "Top Chef" fame, opened this restaurant last year next to his other, equally popular Good Stuff Eatery. The first lady dined here along with her daughter, Sasha. They both enjoyed the homemade lemon-lime soda. 305 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-544-4008; wethepizza.com or goodstuffeatery.com.
The Dairy Godmother Specializing in Wisconsin-style frozen custard, this sweet spot is frequented by the Obama family. There's a monthly calendar for flavor specials with Cherry Tree topping the list for Presidents Day. 2310 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Va.; 703-683-7767; thedairygodmother.com.