Take that, Emeril!

January 4, 2010

We always knew the Obamas were eatin’ good in the neighborhood, but we didn’t realize how good until last night’s special Iron Chef America, which pitted Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali against Bobby Flay and White House Chef Cristeta Comerford.  The secret ingredient: anything from the White House Garden.  The four chefs scavenged the garden for their pick of seasonal produce, then returned to the DC set of Kitchen Stadium to make good on Michelle’s challenge: create a meal that inspires Americans, and focuses on eating healthy and locally.

Fashion faux pas survey: To match your Crocs to the First Lady's dress? (AP Photo)

Team Flay and Comerford won handily with: a fennel and apple salad with oysters; Fresh garden salad with fried lobster and squid in carrot juice, sweet and sour eggplant with pine nuts and currants; Broccoli clam “chowder” with a hint of ginger; all American BBQ with pork, slaw, collard green tamale, cauliflower gratin and watermelon radish pickles;  sweet potato tart with honey, topped with pecan brittle and ginger ice cream.

Isn't it considered cheating to smear caviar all over your dish? (Food Network)

This wasn’t Flay’s first interaction with the Obamas, though.  Our POTUS got a little training in the art of grilling from the master…

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The Breakfast Club

December 17, 2009

Apparently, being ignorant of White House tour policies (none on national holidays) or failing to check your calendar can get you everywhere.  Such was the case for the Dardens of Hogansville, GA.  The couple mistakenly arrived a day early for their White House tour (on Veterans Day), and ended up having breakfast with POTUS and FLOTUS! 

Breakfast Crashers? I think not! (Robin Nelson)

Since they already had tour-required security clearance, the  Secret Service allowed the couple to join a breakfast hosted by the First Couple for veterans (of which Mr. Darden is, incidentally).  The Dardens were so surprised by their good luck that they didn’t breathe a word about the First Breakfast until well after it happened (which was smart considering the soon-to-follow Salahi debacle). 

Mr. Darden’s final thought on the meal?  “I felt kind of funny because I was the only man in the room that wasn’t dressed in a coat and tie.”

You think this was on the menu? (AirBed & Breakfast, Inc.)


All I want for Christmas…

December 15, 2009

Obama’s no grinch, that’s for sure!  He’s playing Santa to more than just those bail-out recipients.  Six-year old Jasmina Anema, who has leukemia, was scheduled to meet the Prez over Thanksgiving, but fell ill and had to be admitted to Children’s National Medical Center.  She wouldn’t be deterred, though, and made it back to the White House to lay claim to her Make-A-Wish Foundation wish–to meet our POTUS.

Her visit couldn’t have gone better, either.  Obama chatted her up about books and reading while holding Jasmina’s IV bag, and didn’t let her leave without a box of presidentially sealed M&Ms, a yoyo (old school!), and a big hug with the promise, “You can write me any time.  I’ll get it.”

What did Jasmina tell Obama she wants for Christmas?  A violin.

I really wanted to play with Bo, but I guess meeting you is okay, too. (White House Photo, Pete Souza)


Asian Invasian!

November 25, 2009
Last night’s event can’t be considered anything less than success for POTUS’ first State Dinner!  This much glamour hasn’t hit DC since…the inaugural balls? 
The invitation list was a veritable who’s-who of South Asian A-listers, including Deepak Chopra, Bobby Jindal, Kalpen Modi, Sanjay Gupta, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amartya Sen, Fareed Zakaria, and M Night Shyamalan.  Other guests included Colin Powell, Katie Couric, Steven Spielberg, Alfre Woodard, and Blair Underwood.  In addition to Jennifer Hudson’s vocal stylings, AR Rahman, Oscar winner for the “Slumdog Millionaire” score, also provided entertainment.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all? Hands down, FLOTUS! (Kamm/Getty Images)

 FLOTUS donned a gorgeous dress by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan.  The dress apparently took 40 people three weeks to custom create for the First Lady.

Is this the Oscars or the State Dinner? (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Is Katie wearing a sari??? (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Kalpen really pulled a "Kumar" here--did someone not get the "black tie" memo? (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

We know who was there, but what did they eat?  Guest chef Marcus Samuellson prepared a mostly vegetarian meal, and used arugula, pineapple sage, fresh dill, oregano and thyme from the White House Garden.  Guests had their choice of roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chick peas and okra or green curry prawns and caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens and coconut aged basmati for the main course, not to mention a bevy of dessert options.  Yum!

Beautiful! (Mandal Ngan, AFP, Getty Images)

Wow, that's TEMPORARY? (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


The Red Carpet meets the White House

November 24, 2009

As the White House prepares for POTUS’ first State Dinner, it’s not international relations with India and guest of honor Dr. Manmohan Singh that are of utmost concern.  The media is abuzz about who will show up and what FLOTUS is gonna wear:  Will she sport a new hairdo?  Show off her blazing guns?  Looks like the First Lady has always been a fashion plate, even as a wee lass at her 1984 senior prom. 

Va va voom! FLOTUS is scandalous with that thigh high slit! (Splash News)

Word on the street is that Jennifer Hudson will provide some American Idol-style entertainment at the gala event.  Other rumored guests: Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Bobby Jindal, and Kal Penn.  BoL can’t wait to see who else will grace the “red carpet” tonight! 

Be sure to catch the live streaming of the State Dinner tonight at 8:15 pm.


Guess who’s coming to dinner?

November 23, 2009

The Obamas are getting ready to host their first State Dinner Tuesday night, and all the A-listers have been clamoring for an invite.  While the formal guest of honor is Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, we all know people are hungry to rub shoulders with POTUS and FLOTUS! 

That ain't no REI tent! (Reuters Pictures)

Because the White House doesn’t have space to accomodate the huge dinner (400 guests!), an enormous tent is being erected in the South Lawn.   The White House has been discrete about the invitation list, so BoL figures our invitation was lost in the mail.  Rumor is that Kalpenn Modi (better known as Kal Penn or Kumar), resident White House desi, received an invitation–maybe so Singh doesn’t feel lonely? 

Kumar is in the House! (White House Photographer Pete Souza)

The dinner is so fancy that the White House invited guest chef Marcus Samuelsson of New York’s Scandinavian restaurant Aquavite  to prepare the meal.  While the menu is undisclosed, we know one thing–Dr. Singh is vegetarian, so Samuelsson’s specialty below better not be the only option!


White House Goes Orange

October 31, 2009
The White House turned orange today for 2,6oo trick-or-treaters. And looked almost as scary as it did when the Bush’s and Cheney’s ran the place! POTUS, FLOTUS and FGOTUS (First Grandmother) Marian Robinson handed out treats on the front steps to area school children and later joined families of military and White House staffers inside for a presidential Boo house of sorts. The treats included M&Ms (with POTUS’ signature on them), a sweet dough butter cookie from the White House pastry chef, and  a bag of dried fruit (including cherries, apricots, pears, apples and papayas).
 
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The White House hasn't been this scary since Dick Cheney was here! (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

OBAMA/

Did these skeleton's come from Clinton's closet? (Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS)

As for costumes, FLOTUS was dressed as a cat woman and POTUS was well, a middle-aged parent. Commenting on the kids in costume, POTUS said, “They’re adorable, as is, by the way, my wife — a very nice-looking Cat Woman.” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dressed as Darth Vader, with son Ethan; and Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, dressed as Goofy. The Obama girls (Sasha and Malia) were at the party and apparently flew under cover because no one reported a sighting of the girls in costume! Well done!

PURRRRRRr

She's no cougar! Definitely a purrrrrrrty kitty! (Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)

BOO-bama!

"It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark...Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart" (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

OBAMA/

Ethan, Robert Gibbs IS YOUR FATHER. (Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS)