Since moving into the White House, Barack and Michelle Obama have made a point of regularly going out to Washington restaurants. They are exceedingly democratic diners, eating everything from burgers, pizza and chili dogs to regional American and classical French food and fresh-from-the-farm fare.
Recently I found myself wondering where the First Foodies would eat if they were ever to come to Sacramento. Here are my suggestions:
At D.C.’s Five Guys, Obama ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeño peppers and mustard. In Sacto, I’d send him to Burgers & Brew for a first-rate bacon jalapeño cheeseburger. It’s made with a half-pound of Niman Ranch ground beef, topped with spicy pepper Jack cheese and jalapeño mayonnaise and served on a freshly baked roll from Davis’ Village Bakery. Don’t forget the fries, Mr. President: B&B’s are delish.
Burgers & Brew: 1409 R St., Sacramento; (916) 442-0900
Last month, Michelle Obama had dinner with friends at Art and Soul, an upscale restaurant (owned by former Oprah chef Art Smith) that serves down-home Southern fare such as pulled pork and crispy whole trout. In Sacramento, I think she’d enjoy Sandra Dee’s Barbeque & Seafood, where she could choose from fried pork chops, barbecued rib tips and deep-fried Southern seasoned catfish. All entrées come with cornbread and two medium sides. (Get the mac ’n’ cheese and the mixed collard and mustard greens; you can afford the calories, Michelle.)
Sandra Dee’s Barbeque & Seafood: 601 15th St., Sacramento; (916) 448-6375; sandradeesbbq.com
President Obama recently treated D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty to a Chili Half-Smoke—a quarter-pound half beef, half pork smoked sausage on a steamed bun—at Ben’s Chili Bowl in the district. In this capitol city, he’d be wise to go to Capitol Dawg and order a Sutter’s Fort Brat (grilled pork bratwurst on a sesame-seed roll). If he’s watching his weight, he might want to try the Governor Vegan Dawg, a steamed vegetable and grain protein frank.
Capitol Dawg: 1226 20th St., Sacramento; (916) 444-1226; capitoldawg.com
Just before Inauguration Day, the Obamas had one of their famous “date nights” at Equinox, whose chef uses organic ingredients grown within 100 miles of the restaurant whenever possible. Chef Michael Tuohy embraces the same philosophy at Sacramento’s Grange Restaurant, located in downtown’s Citizen Hotel. There, the prez might tuck into a salad of local farm lettuces, marinated beets and North Valley chèvre, followed by grilled free-range chicken with olive tapenade, served with grilled summer squash and onion salad. By the way, Tuohy has been known to shop at the Wednesday farmers market just across the street at Cesar Chavez Plaza.
Grange Restaurant: 926 J St., Sacramento; (916) 492-4450; grangesacramento.com
At D.C.’s chic French restaurant Citronelle, the first couple recently ordered a round of martinis, followed by a lobster burger (for her) and the 72-hour braised short ribs (for him). They’d surely find something delicious at La Provence Restaurant & Terrace in Roseville—perhaps Coquilles St. Jacques a la Mediterranéennes (seared diver scallops in white wine sauce) and Entrecôte Sauce Morilles (grilled New York strip steak with mushroom sauce). For dessert, they could share Mille Feuille à la Fraise (orange-scented biscuits filled with fresh strawberries and crème chantilly, served over fresh strawberry coulis).
La Provence Restaurant & Terrace: 110 Diamond Creek Place, Roseville; (916) 789-2002; laprovenceroseville.com