presidential eats

Dan Barber Respects Holy Trinity of Bruni, Waters, and Obama

Barber with girlfriend Aria Sloss.

Barber with girlfriend Aria Sloss.Photo: Patrick McMullan

Two weeks ago, Dan Barber cooked for the Obamas on their dinner date at Blue Hill, and it kind of changed his life. "My father takes my calls now. My girlfriend seems a tiny bit more psyched about me," he joked at a L'Ecole dinner following a Quintessentially-sponsored screening of the documentary Food Inc. But as for what happened that fateful night, he can't really talk about it. "Honestly, I'm not allowed to," he told us. Barber said he had no warning they were coming. "They just walked in. They had a reservation under another name." But he's sworn to secrecy about what they ate. "It was just a private dinner to them, even though it was very public, and strangely, they want to keep some of it private. So my thing is no comment. I'm sorry." He's also staying mum about Frank Bruni's assertion that Blue Hill was an overly PC, predictable place for the Obamas to dine. "My response is no comment, because it's Bruni. The only no comments I have are Bruni and the Obamas." Actually, we soon found out that Barber has three sacred cows: Bruni, the Obamas, and Alice Waters. We asked him what he thought of Waters saying she thought hot dogs should be made of beef from grass-fed cattle. "I never heard her say that," he replied. "Can I do a 'no comment' on that, too?"

Luckily, Barber does comment on theoretical situations. He'd be into that mythical grass-fed-beef hot dog. "I think it would be the most delicious, juiciest hot dog imaginable. The dirty seventies street hot dog that I grew up on doesn't make my mouth water anymore." And he would plant tomatoes in the Obamas' vegetable garden and take them to eat at Franny's in Brooklyn. "Well, I'd like to take them to Brooklyn, get them away from it all. Also, I think Franny's serves fantastic food, and it's in this family style that I think the Obamas would both appreciate and really adore. I eat anything on their menu. Except for the pizzas. I think I've been in there and had pizza once. I just love all the other dishes. It's my favorite restaurant."

View our Party Lines slideshow for more.

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