Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dinner with President Obama

Last weekend, we went up to Washington, DC to participate in a rally.  And ran head on into the President of the United States of America!

His motorcade came pouring out of the Rose Garden side of the White House, and we were astounded at the power and depth of the entourage.

He has an amazing amount of people helping him to move safely around the world, and we got a glimpse of that.  Even my husband was impressed, and that is hard to do.  One of the more chilling vehicles was this one:

It came right behind a standard box ambulance, and we were told later that it was "additional support".  I guess Kennedy's assassination taught the Oval Office a lot about exposure of the President to the masses.  See that guy right at the steps in black, with his back to the street?  There were dozens of them, and they meant business.  No playing.  Get Off The Street!  Now! 

That's the ambulance that would whisk him away on the left.  And the suits walking in a line across the street are the Press Corps.  If you know DC, you know that this is the Hotel Washington, and that meant that the President, who was giving a reception for the Irish Prime Minister, only went one block from the White House.  With his entire support group. 

Now.  See the snipers on the roof?  There were locked and loaded, with binoculars and very large guns.  And see the Presidential Limo right in the middle of this picture??  Yes.

  After being safely blocked from the public by two square blocks, tons of Secret Service men,  snipers on the roof, and what looked like the entire Washington DC police force, we were allowed to walk down the side street right beside his entourage after we told the Secret Service man that we had a reservation in the "blocked zone", and could we please walk there?  They were about the nicest men I ever met - they understood two Senior Citizens wanting to go to dinner...however, they had steel cold eyes.  Never saw such a combination before.  Those men would slice you down in a second.  No remorse.

Here is Husband, sauntering down the street, right into the Bulls-Eye of the snipers.  "Come on", he said.  "This is the way to the restaurant".  Worst headache of the security team.  See them up on the roof?  Those two vertical hash marks above his right shoulder?  I closed my eyes and followed.  He's my husband, and he will keep me safe, right??  

I couldn't help it.  I took shots of the Limo when we got to the corner, although the cop with the hat had eyes that were boring into me as if to say, "Give me a complete break!".

We turned the corner to our restaurant, Old Ebbitt Grill (what else?) and husband, for God's sake, spotted a bench, and said, "Here, let's sit down and watch".  

Understand this:  the bench he wanted to lounge on was in No Man's Land, in a street stripped bare of bystanders, with only Secret Service Men, Cops, Snipers, and the Presidential Limo on it.  And us.  And he wants to sit down and watch???  I turned to look at the hundreds of people cordoned off by yellow crime tape about a block away, turned back to him, and hissed, "MOVE IT!" And slid inside the restaurant door without looking to see if he was following.  Thankfully, he was.

When we entered the restaurant, a little hush fell over the crowd peering through the windows at the action.  Husband stepped up to the hostess and announced our presence, and we were immediately whisked to a table, past all the people who were waiting for their reserved tables to be freed up, and who turned as one to look at us as we passed by.

Husband, who was by now imbued with the power of Capitol Hill, enjoyed his meal immensely.  And enlivened by our brush with power, so did I.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Building the American Dream, One Dollar At A Time

It seems ages ago that I stumbled upon one of the best Fusion Sushi Chefs I'd ever eaten with...he was tucked into a corner of a steak house in tiny little Shallotte, North Carolina.

I didn't get to eat with him too often, as I had already begun to shift my home base back to Atlanta from the North Carolina Coast.  But every time I got the chance, I went to partake of his amazing creations, and was always delighted with the nuances he was able to pack into the simplest of dishes.

After moving back to Atlanta, I would occasionally check in to his Facebook Page, just to see the pictures of his newest creations, wishing that I could reach through the screen with my chopsticks...  this is one that he titled "Rainbows Aren't Just in The Sky":

Yum Yum.

He was fond of serving in Soup Spoons, and I was always delighted to see his artistic talents applied to another lovely offering.  Like this one~

He was hard, hard working; he had to drive down from Wilmington every day to attend to his tiny Sushi Bar tucked into the corner of the steakhouse.  About an 85 mile commute, round-trip.  He didn't have any way to cook in his little corner, so he had to dash to the back of the building to the restaurant kitchen in order to make his hot dishes.  You'd see him running back and forth, never loosing his graceful demeanor while serving up his exquisite dishes.

Like his Hamachi Kama, rubbed with Lemon Grass and Ginger...

 A couple of weeks ago, I got a little tap on the shoulder from Chef Mark.  He is striking out on his own, and trying valiantly to open his own little restaurant in Wilmington, NC.  And true to Mark's form, he is firm about having a Sustainable Sushi Restaurant.  As in, being responsible to the planet, and the oceans that provide us with all this fabulous food.

He is trying to raise some opening capital on Indiegogo, and amazingly enough, is having a slow go of it.  My amazement is that with all the folks who swooned over his skills, he's far from his fairly moderate goal of $5,000.00.  I hope you will give this guy a little boost and show your belief in hard work and the American Dream by donating anything you can to his effort.  And then, give yourself a pat on the back for helping sponsor someone who refuses to just go collect unemployment.

It is the original American Dream...with an Asian twist!  


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