Obamas Make Terrible New York Fancy Restaurant Choice, Politically

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Frank Bruni, food critic (for now??) at the New York Times and former George W. Bush 2000 campaign reporter, is very upset with the Obamas’ choice of fancy restaurant for their date in New York City over the weekend, where they saw a lite romantic comedy about the horrific aftermath of slavery. Bruni writes, “Well, of course the Obamas went to Blue Hill,” for the five or six humans on Earth, ever, who might understand what he means. Apparently this is what he WOULD do, because he’s too cool & safe or whatever? No one knows.

If you’d known in advance that they were going to spend Date Night in Manhattan and had to guess where they’d dine, wouldn’t it be the smart-money bet?

Ho ho ho, indeed. Food!

It’s the proper ethical call, the proper message to send, the proper restaurant segue from the planting of the White House garden. It summons all the correct adjectives: local, seasonal, organic, humane.

And — no argument — it’s an excellent restaurant, very much among the city’s standouts. It’s a romantic one, too, with its townhouse setting and dim lighting and sense of calm. So Date Night at Blue Hill makes some sense.

And yet.

In the very predictability of this choice, in its all-too-neat squaring with the officially sanctioned food agenda, in its absence of surprise or abandon, isn’t it ever so slightly disappointing? Just a little too pat and controlled?

During the 2008 campaign Mr. Obama sometimes came across — and was often portrayed — as someone almost joylessly disciplined and restrained around food, and that discipline and restraint went hand in hand with an unflappability that, on occasions, made it difficult for him to connect.

Sponsored Intermission

Jesus. Just shut up, right?

All the President’s Rhubarb [NYT]

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell


Hey there, Wonkeputians! Shypixel here to remind you to remember our Commenting Rules For Radicals, Enjoy!

  • ManchuCandidate

    Um, who won the Nov 2008 election Frank? If Barry really wanted the foodie vote, he would have gotten it.

  • Jerk Cade

    Call today to order home delivery!

  • queeraselvis v 2.0

    Well, honestly, Barry and Michelle tried to make reservations at the Chuck E. Cheese in Flushing, but they were booked solid.

  • american mutt

    seriously? why are conservatives so obsessed with what homeboy eats? i didn’t know their ideology included killing abortion doctors and gastronomy.

  • bored with gravity

    But did Obama put dijon mustard on everything, like a commie? HMMMMM?

  • danadevin85

    im sure president Obama and first lady wasn’t thinking about him or his opinions on date night

  • Come here a minute

    Barry connected the snowbilly grifter back with her precious Alaska, now connect yourself with a steaming hot cup of STFU.

  • jagorev

    Yeah, what a pair of libtards. Real Americans go to Nobu and eat highly endangered bluefin tuna at $14 a bite. F*ck this sustainable, locally grown nonsense.

  • TGY

    Thank you, Dieter.

    “I’m happy as a little GIIIIIRL.”


    Hey, he has a point. When was the last time you saw Barry and Michelle at Ruby Foos with the rest of the tourists?

  • jagorev

    Though I will say this – politically speaking, it probably would have been a better move to go to Peter Luger’s.

  • magic titty

    Uh, yeah, Mr. President. Why didn’t you eat at the Halal Food truck like you wanted to?

  • Spiderfrommars

    Jesus you libtards, if you weren’t in the tank, drinking the Kool Aid, you’d be making this very point. Don’t you miss the surprise and abandon of the past administration? Obamatron is always on message and what do we get? No invasions, no undisclosed locations, nobody shot in the face. Just governing, competence and noun verb agreement.

  • gjdodger

    I guess the Obamas should have gone to that Sarah Palin turkey farm where they kill ’em while-U-wait, to avoid any improprietous appearance of humaneness.

  • V572625694

    “During the 2008 campaign Mr. Obama sometimes came across — and was often portrayed — as someone almost joylessly disciplined and restrained around food…” This knucklehead must have his campaigns mixed up. Hopey was slammin’ waffles’n’burgers and every other damn thing. It was McCain who couldn’t eat anything spicy.

  • jagorev

    [re=329095]V572625694[/re]: It was actually pretty frequently noted that Obama basically loathed junk food and diner fare and made the most painfully obvious efforts to be polite when he was served with that kind of food during campaign stops.

  • mollymcguire

    Mr. Bruni: I hear that Montrachet in Tribeca serves an excellect “sac des dicks.” I suggest you try it.

  • Nim, ham hock of liberty

    “It would have been interesting to watch him bust loose and reach for something rich, messy, decadent, gluttonous: a plate of fatty lamb ribs at Resto;”

    I cannot understand why this muslin elitist decided against a “decadent, gluttonous” plate of fatty ribs.

  • Accordion-o-rama

    Frank Bruni thinks that being “disciplined and restrained” should be joyous.

  • MargeSimpsonsBlackFriend

    No one who eats at Five Guys, Ben’s Chili Bowl, or Ray’s Hell Burger – even as a photo op – is “joylessly disciplined and restrained around food.”


  • Formerly Preferred

    Should have gone for the seal hearts.

  • chascates

    Look, any of Daniel Boulud’s places would have been ‘elitist.’ Any of the Mario Batali franchises would be declasse. And Shake Shack has too long a line.
    With Gotham’s restaurants in a downward spiral consider yourselves lucky.

  • hobospacejunkie

    Yeah, Frank, Hopey had such horrible problems connecting with 56% of voters. You know, the majority?

    Having read, on & off, his food writing, I (naively, apparently) never figured Bruni for a Log Cabin Republican. Or a Grade A blast of elephant diarrhea.

  • BruceLee5000

    Didn’t you just see that loose motherfucker order over $70 in cheeseburgers like two days ago!?! WTF!?

  • GreyPanter

    “Just shut up, right? ”


  • PrairiePossum

    Bruni is just shocked they didn’t drive thru KFC and pick-up a bucket of greasy fried chicken and gizzards.

  • Mustang

    The Blue Hills website says that dress is “elegant casual”. And then I said “WTF?” And then I remember why I am grosed out by New York.

  • Monsieur Grumpe

    Frank Bruni is a bitch.

  • shellyboo98

    Wow, this guy is really grasping at straws here. Hey! They shockingly still seem to like one another despite all the bull s@#$ they’ve gone through in the past 3 years. Let them eat dinner, see a play, have NY hotel sex and call it a day. Its no different than any other couple.

  • imissopus

    Frank Bruni looks fatty and gluttonous. Perhaps Obama could kill and cook him and serve pieces of his flesh at the next White House seder.

  • Gopherit

    boy, he cut them to the quick. It burns.

  • mollymcguire

    [re=329167]Monsieur Grumpe[/re]: He should just go back to sexing the President of France.

  • Cicada

    Frank Bruni’s incisive commentary on our President’s eating habits have opened my eyes to what a calculating monster NOOBAMA really is.


  • Lionel Hutz Esq.

    They should have eaten up in Harlem. Bill O’Reilly could have given them a list of places where the staff and customers don’t shout “Nigger” or anything.

  • AxmxZ

    Frank Bruni won’t be satisfied until Obama plucks out and eats Frank Bruni’s still beating heart. Which is to say, Frank Bruni will be satisfied very soon if he keeps this shit up.

  • Uncle Sam

    Frank’s face is too swollen for my liking. He’s eating too much salt.

  • thefrontpage

    Fellow Wonketters Biff Huntington III and Lacey Weynwright Coopersmith Pendleton IV frequently dine at the Blue Hill, where they enjoy the foie gras, veal, fried rabbit and horse steak on a regular basis.

    The horse steak is a restaurant favorite.

  • thefrontpage

    No one cares what Frank Bruni thinks.

  • sanantonerose

    He would’ve written the same thing if they had dined at a corner hot dog stand, but perhaps with some negative wordage regarding the choices of relish.

  • snideinplainsight

    [re=329167]Monsieur Grumpe[/re]: Ya but his former wife Carla is the hawts!

  • proudgrampa

    [re=329203]Uncle Sam[/re]: His cholesterol and BP are probably sky-high, too. Also.

  • wheelie

    [re=329093]Spiderfrommars[/re]: WIN.

  • azw88

    So, A dem eats at a place called BLUE Hill, where the FUCK is he supposed to eat, RED Square?

  • facehead

    Of course he’d eat at some hill which is blue from all the blood of aborted WASP fetuses and communist smurf orgies.

  • timmy_the_tooth

    I bet they ate ARUGULA GOD DAMNIT.

  • June Cleaver 2.0

    “Real Americans” are frustrated with the fastidious. Let’s hear it for pot bellys and high blood pressure!

  • Madeline

    Showing “restraint” around food is un-American. Shovel it into your pie-holes, patriots!

  • azw88

    and Cafferty on CNN asks, “should taxpayer’s fund Obama’s date?” http://caffertyfile.blogs.cnn.com/2009/06/01/should-taxpayer-money-cover-obamas-nyc-date-night/

    The answer is, of course the fuck not!! He should stay at the White House, get his ‘stimulus package’ sucked by an intern, fuck Hollywood starletts, have women brought in via secret entrances, or just get drunk alone and pass out and konk yourself on the head like all them other Presidents have done before him!

    Obama keeps fucking with White House traditions! first it was NO TIES, now fucking your own wife, what next, turning down bribes… goddamned commie!

  • Egregious

    Were the libertards this ridiculous when Dubya was in office?

  • lawrenceofthedesert

    Bruni’s favorite dish seems to be raw bile — what a weak excuse for a dining blog!

  • Lascauxcaveman

    [re=329157]Mustang[/re]: The Blue Hills website says that dress is “elegant casual”.

    That means if you want to wear your Von Dutch hat, you’d better be wearing Blahniks on the feet, or Uggs, at the very least. Affliction shirts must be tucked into the leather pants.

  • sarahconnor

    I can haz date with Michelle and Barack?

  • problemwithcaring

    [re=329075]american mutt[/re]: Someone else wondered that about wignuttery writ large and it’s obsession with minority eating habits. Is the obsession a shorthand for their “us vs them” logic utopia? Anthropological curiousness about creatures they rarely are expose to? Or typical dumb American provincials who understand everything only through the lens of what they are most familiar: what is shoved into the mouth?

    Questions for the ages….

  • Mr Blifil

    They should have gone to Bruni’s new favorite restaurant, Bagadicks.

  • cranky

    i like my presidents to be junk food eating hysterics. obama must go!

  • Bebe Loves You

    Perhaps they should have let Frank Bruni choreograph the date start to finish. Sure, they flew up from Washing, and I guess there’s nothing exactly wrong with that, but it was so expected. They could have taken a moonlight carriage ride from Westchester and dined on burgers.

  • hobospacejunkie

    [re=329260]problemwithcaring[/re]: Another question for the ages: why is the New York Times losing money?

  • hockeymom

    [re=329116]Formerly Preferred[/re]: win.

  • NotthatLC

    “as someone almost joylessly disciplined and restrained around food, and that discipline and restraint went hand in hand with an unflappability that, on occasions, made it difficult for him to connect.”

    It’s difficult to connect with someone who eats hamburgers on a semi-regular basis??
    Honestly, don’t these people have anything better to do? Like, I dunno, rebuilding their irrelevant, increasingly ridiculous political party from scratch?

  • populucious

    President Obama wore a suitcoat and pants and if you’d known in advance that he was going on a date, wouldn’t that outfit be the smart money bet? With their comfort, versatility and appropriate modesty it makes some sense.

    But where’s the surprise, the abandon? Why this disciplined, nay, joyless restraint? Where’s the dashiki? Where’s the kilt and kimono? Why hasn’t he worn the unitard and cape I sent…I mean..that I’m sure he has somewhere?

    You know he always dressed conservatively during the campaign too, it’s like, he doesn’t even have an inner freak he’s doing such a good job of hiding it. I mean, jeebus. I’m totally voting for the tranny pole dancer next time.

  • Scandalabra

    Now that everyone has seen what this worthless twit Bruni looks like, is his tenure at the Times over? Plus, don’t those Obamas know there is a perfectly respectable Sbarro’s within blocks of the Belasco?

  • Jukesgrrl

    Could somebody please shove a rib bone down this Moran’s gullet? Sideways.

  • Lionel Hutz Esq.

    At least they hit a good play.

  • mardam422

    [re=329093]Spiderfrommars[/re]: WIN!

  • Hominidx

    I pray he was not paid for this article.

  • sarcasticusername

    i’m sure the president will remember to check in with this asshat before planning his next date…not. barry’s trying to get laid, he doesn’t give a damn what the NYT food critic thinks about how achieves that end.

  • freerangemink

    [re=329100]jagorev[/re]: How else can a fella be President Obama’s age, be from the Midwest, and not look like crap (even when not wearing a suit)?

  • smellyal8r

    So Le Cirque would have been to upscale, Michael Scott’s favorite pizza in all New York, Sbarro’s, was full. I mean everyone is a critic. Even the critics. Though I did notice Mrs. O didn’t look too happy getting off Chopper One when they got home. Wonder what that was all about? She probably knew what Frank Bruni thought.

  • lawchic

    WTH. I can’t even believe that I’m commenting on this ridiculousness, but did it ever occur to blowholes like this author that the Obamas chose this restaurant because…they wanted to try this restaurant? From the numerous articles that has been written about this subject, the Obamas love to try different restaurants, and frequently ate out in Chicago, so why in the hell does everything have to have a “secret” meaning. Maybe they just went for the food!!!

    And oh yeah, anytime I read some douche mocking Obama for his “disciplined” diet, I look at him, in a suit, or jeans, and realize he is 47 and then realize that most men in this country at his age only wished they could look that good.

  • Youstonedorjuststupid?

    Ahh, Mr. Bruni! Would you care for a mint? It’s whaaaffer theeen!

  • smellyal8r

    [re=329529]Youstonedorjuststupid?[/re]: WIN!

  • Zorg

    Yes, Frank, if President Obama really wanted to be bustin’ fresh, he would have gone to Lucky Cheng’s. As it was, he decided that as President of the United States, under constant media scrutiny, he would use the opportunity of an evening out with his wife to highlight a positive idea for the consideration of the USA and world population. That is just, so, you know, the kind of thing a grown-up would do.

  • Mr Blifil

    Next time Frank Bruni has a standing invitation to dine at my new restaurant, Perineum. Use the rear entrance when arriving.

  • ericblair

    Bruni is the ass-kisser Bush had a nickname for: “Pancho.” He wrote a flattering book about Bush (“Ambling Into History”) and was just as annoying covering food as he was covering Bush. Ugh.

    Thanks for reminding me of why I hate the New York Times.

  • slavojzizek

    Obama won the election! He can eat all the locally grown, pesticide free arugula slathered with dijon mustard he wants! He didn’t worry much about losing the votes of idiots who worry about such things during the election, and now it is simply irrelevant. You can’t impeach a guy for arugula (at least I hope not). Here is a little snippet from the official description of Bruni’s book on W on Amazon, to give you a sense of where he is coming from: “Bruni initially describes Bush as “part scamp and part bumbler,” but his respect grows, and he finds that, with the September 11, 2001, attacks, Bush “inherited his true purpose,” thereby spurring his emergence as a leader. Bruni is not especially concerned with Bush’s political philosophy, preferring instead to relate many “small moments” to show what Bush “looked and acted like on the edges of what was usually considered news.”” Yeah, those ‘small moments’ are so much more worthy of a close look than, say, his blatant lack of interest in what anyone outside the US thinks.

  • Captain Swing

    If you follow the ‘Very Upset’ link at the start of this post to Buffooni’s article, there’s a reader’s comment beside it that absolutely nails it- The evening was not about food; it was about a gentleman taking his lady out for a romantic evening.

    It’s called class, Mr. Bruni. The Obamas have it. You don’t. Now go eat a dodgy vindaloo.

  • the cold war makes me hot

    Frankie is just jealous that Barack invited Michelle and not him to the romantic dinner.

  • prototype

    Oh noes. Obama isn’t a joyful fat ass American who loves to eat above all else. How will he ever get elected president.

  • yellowdogdem

    Frank Bruni has a prissy mouth. Probably from sucking lemons.