Saturday, January 17, 2009

Feasting on Obama Nation

Tuesday we inaugurate a new president; the 44th to be exact. And I’m especially proud because along with being the first African-American president, Barack Obama is also the first Hawaii-born president.

What’s funny is President-to-be Obama is just two years older than me. So that means that while he was a senior at Punahou High School in Honolulu, I was just starting my sophomore year at McKinley High School. Our schools were town rivals because of our close proximity to each other, and because we were both large schools—Punahou the largest private school, and McKinley the largest public school.

But enough about my fleeting connection to our local boy president. Today I’m blogging about all the food-related things I’ve seen lately as this country gets into Obamania.

Presidential Cupcakes
I love cupcakes but there are people out there who love cupcakes more than me. In fact, they’re so crazy about cupcakes they wear attire with cupcake themes, which can only explain why a company calling themselves Up With Cupcakes can exists. Supposedly they sell t-shirts and other accessories with cupcake designs.

In honor of Obama’s inauguration, the online company has created a special “The Two Hottest Things in America” T-shirt. On the front is the wording about the two hottest things, and on the back you see a cupcake with the Obama campaign logo on top. You can check it out for yourself here.

Liberal Ice Cream
If you want a scoop of ice cream to go with your cupcake T-shirt, then you might try Ben & Jerry’s special January flavor called “Yes Pecan!”—a play on the Obama campaign slogan “Yes, we can!” And don’t think this presidential promotion is all about commerce because the folks at Ben & Jerry’s (is there still a Ben and/or Jerry?) are donating sales from the ice cream to the Common Cause Education Fund. Learn more about the flavor here.

Toasting the New President
Of course there’s bound to be a lot of Obama inaugural parties across the country, and several local restaurants are getting into the game. At the fairly new Pisco Lounge on Market Street (next to Destino), they’ve created a new drink called PiscObama, made with pisco (the Peruvian alcohol that I love in a Pisco Sour), pineapple (again, because Obama is born and raised in Hawaii), and a bright red cherry liqueur on top (supposedly because red represents the color of the state bird of Illinois—the cardinal—which Obama represented as a U.S. senator). The drink will be sold for $8 throughout January, but will be sold for $5 during the lounge’s new Monday hours and, of course, this coming Tuesday on Inauguration Day.

Pisco Lounge, 1817 Market St. (at Octavia), San Francisco. PH: 415.874.9951

Official Chocolate of the Inaugural Festivities
My sister and her family recently relocated to the Washington, D.C., area from Portland, Ore., and she sent me this Obama presidential inauguration chocolate bar. It looked so official that I didn’t think I could eat it without a security clearance. But I did for this blog, and you, my readers. I have to say it was like any milk chocolate bar. It's made by Astor Chocolates of New York (but made in New Jersey), and even though it's an American company, the chocolate is from Belgium. Oh well, the Europeans love Obama too!

Obama Talks Food
People make a big deal in Hawaii about Obama’s love of the local “plate lunch,” which is the lunch served with two scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad (held together with mayonnaise). The main meat can be a variety of things like teriyaki beef or chicken, pork tonkatsu, beef stew, or kalua pig. I don’t know what Obama prefers, but I bet he’s had them all.

Anywho, I just think it’s interesting to hear Obama talk about food. And taking advantage of the nation’s interest in anything Obama, the Chicago public television station this month aired the pilot episode of “Check Please!” which is the predecessor of the similar show “Check Please! Bay Area” that airs locally on KQED in San Francisco. The creator of “Check Please!” created a pilot to sell his show way back when, and he called on his friend to be one of the three “real people” reviewers. That friend is Barack Obama, then just a state senator in Illinois. He was just as thoughtful and eloquent back then, even when talking about pancakes.

Congratulations to President Obama and the new First Family. I hope they enjoy their stay in Washington, D.C. And I look forward to being invited to a state dinner!


David K. and Ann C.-K. said...

Congrats almost President Obama, but I'll pass on the macaroni salad held together by mayonnaise! Yuck. -- David

P.S. I heard that episode of Check Please in Chicago never aired because the producers felt that Obama was far more polished than his co-reviewers.

Single Guy Ben said...

David, you and your anti-mayonnaise campaign! LOL.

The Check Please episode never aired when it was first filmed years ago, but it was aired this month. The reason of him being too polished was the reason why they didn't air it initially because Obama was doing most of the talking.

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Chef Ben,
Just popped in via Culinary Types and so very glad I did. I'm getting ready to post (hopefully) for Obama's inauguration and I would be delighted to add this link as a resource.

Isn't it all so fascinating. I did a post back in Nov. about the zodiac foods of Obama & McCain which you might find interesting. Thank you so much for sharing...

Anonymous said...

what a fun post Chef Ben. I saw they even have obama ramen in japan...

Anonymous said...

I love reading how people have incorporated the inauguration and Obama into their food. Some are tacky but others have really approached it with style.

I enjoyed reading your summary. I highlighted some of the chocolate sweets I found that I thought had style especially the chocolates with Hope and Change written on them.

I'm Canadian and we are excited for you and for us of the possibilities with Obama leading.