What I Ate, What They Served & Who I Met at THE WHITE HOUSE!
Last Wednesday on February 27th, 2013, Coleman Entertainment Group client and actress Vivica A. Fox and I got spiffy at the W Hotel in Washington DC, walked across the street and attended an exclusive and private Black History Month reception at THE WHITE HOUSE!
Upon enduring and enjoying the fifteen to twenty minutes of security detail, including multiple check-in points, sniffing dogs, and metal detectors, we rubbed elbows in line with the Reverend Al Sharpton, Harry Belafonte, Phylicia Rashad, and Pras. Before we knew it, we were behind the black iron-rod gates, walking the wide driveway, ultimately passing the colossal white columns and inside the East Wing where framed family pictures and exquisite luminous portraits of White House residents and former presidents lined the corridors while military men and women in full United States regalia greeted us at every turn and corner to personally invite us in, uttering the unbelievable and thrilling words, “Welcome to the White House.”
As you can imagine, everything at the White House is super fancy. From the bathroom to the hallways, the attention to detail is magnificently posh, elegant and enticing! There was so much to look at – from books to furniture, crown moldings to chandeliers, whether taking in a view from the storied paneled windows or wallowing in the building’s rich history, each moment and each breath was opulently awesome.
The reception took place throughout the house’s main lobby where a military band played. Champagne, wine, Maker’s Mark, sparkling water and any beverage of your choice was served at various bar stations accompanied with crisp white napkins branded with the President’s official seal in gold. I stole about 10 of them.
At both ends of each hall were large vast rooms where the food was served. In between those rooms were a series of double doors that opened to the lavish Blue and Red themed rooms where more portraits, historical artifacts and distinct regal designs become a royal reality.
Food at the White House was plentiful. Servers and attendants in black tuxedos catered to our every whim, whether they served a plate, picked up a glass or just checked in to make sure everything was ok, the staff was friendly and super accommodating.
Silver trays and towers lined the buffet tables that featured White House signature dishes, including jerk chicken with plantain skewers, Caribbean shrimp & grits, kale greens, smoked salmon with a wasabi mayo, and desserts galore! I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that this food was scrumptious, toothsome and downright some of the best food I’ve EVER HAD! The grits were thick and creamy, the shrimp were robust and clean, the greens were flavorful and the presentations were neat and pristine. The jerk chicken skewers alone made me want to stuff my pockets to take some home, but I somehow managed restraint. The ham sandwiches featured salty thinly cut fresh pork on thick dry warm and toasty mini biscuits and they were everything cocktails and receptions are meant to serve!
About and hour or so in, after a rousing song from a local gospel choir, President Obama came out and addressed the crowd, fresh from the Capitol’s reveal of the new Rosa Parks statue, and instantly I felt like I belonged.
“When u hear me speak don’t think of me a the President, think of me as one of you,” Obama informed the crowd. ”I grew up without a father at home.” And with that sentence, I realized that Obama and I had more in common than I ever knew. Indeed, he was like me, and every other lucky soul in the place – the main reason most of us voted for him. The fact that I had even been in the White House as a guest, and not just a tourist passing through, verified what I already knew – without a doubt, Obama is the voice of change, the embodiment of hope and the spirit of our ancestors – Black, White, Latino and everything else in between. After all, that’s what America is made of.
Later that evening, Ms. Fox and I stopped by Vice President Biden’s house for more encouraging and uplifting words. We mingled with politicians from the Carolinas, actress Lynn Whitfield was there, and we even had the chance to take pictures with the Vice President himself, who, by the way, has to be the coolest, hippest and most charming guy I’ve ever met! Believe it or not, the food at Vice President Biden’s house only got better, and I was in sheer heaven reaching and grabbing for more mini shrimp & grits, the fiji apple salad on endive and the mini ice cream sandwiches!
I was so pleased to take part in the magnificent celebrations thrown by President Obama and Vice President Biden! How fascinating and inspiring it was to visit my hometown and get a glimpse into the lives of our leaders. I felt so blessed, I knew I had to share the experience with my Burgers & Bourbon readers. I hope that you read this and felt like you were right there with me… It truly was one of the highlights of my life and I am utterly grateful to our President and VP for their inspiration, appreciation, kindness and hospitality!