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You Can Eat Like a President in 2012

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- With Presidents Day weekend coming, it's worth noting that our presidents, no matter what party, seem to agree: Las Vegas and New York City are some of their favorite dining destinations. TravelsinTaste has rounded up some of their dining experiences in case you'd like to spend your President's Day weekend enjoying in a similar fashion.

For two years in a row, President Bill Clinton celebrated his birthday at Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This guy could go anywhere for his birthday dinner, and chose Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak ... twice. Executive Chef Barry S. Dakake has kept him coming back for more of his cuisine at N9NE inside the Palms Casino Resort and takeout from the restaurant when he was staying at the Bellagio. He's prepared tastings from almost his entire menu, including steak, chicken, salmon, scallops, lobster papardelle, salads, sashimi, rock shrimp and some sides. The Clintons liked it so much they got another delivery later in their stay.

New York City's 21 Club has been known to host many presidents and please them so much they've even donated gifts to its "toy" collection.

Another celebrity chef whose cuisine Clinton has savored is Hubert Keller of Fleur by Hubert Keller and Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay. One of America's most widely recognized and acclaimed chefs, Keller was praised for his early championing of original, multicourse, vegetarian menus in a four-star setting. His zeal for vegetarian cooking was recognized by the White House and he was invited to be the first guest chef to prepare his sophisticated vegetarian menu for Clinton and the first family. Revered by his colleagues and fans, the Frenchman boasts a long list of accolades and awards, including being named the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef for California and being placed among the foundation's prestigious Who's Who in Food and Beverage. Food & Wine magazine tapped him as one of the 10 Best Chefs in America, and Restaurants & Institutions gave him its Ivy Award. He's hailed by The New York Times as a "Rebel with a Cuisinart."

President Barack Obama shares more than just a party with Clinton. Dakake cooked for Obama at the Democratic National Convention dinner at George Maloof's home at the Spanish Trail Country Club. During his last trip to Las Vegas, Obama stayed at the Element Hotel. He and his staff enjoyed a dozen pizzas and some cannoli from Dom DeMarco's Pizzeria & Bar, which was opened last month in Summerlin by DeMarco, the legendary pizza maker behind the award-winning Di Fara's in Brooklyn, N.Y.


If you can't make it to Vegas you can certainly bring some Vegas with you. You can indulge in a splendid evening at Bellagio's Petrossian Bar with live music from David Osborn, the pianist to the presidents. Osborn has performed at the White House for many residents, including presidents Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama. Guests at Petrossian Bar can relax on one of the velvet couches overlooking the casino while enjoying beautiful music played by Osborn on the one-of-a-kind Steinway Grand. The elegant lounge gently sets the mood for sophisticated tastes and discerning palates. It's designed to be the ultimate meeting place, where guests may choose from an array of offerings -- from afternoon tea to the finest Champagnes, Petrossian caviar and smoked salmon.

On the other coast, New York City's 21 Club has been known to host many presidents and please them so much that they've even donated gifts to its "toy" collection. John F. Kennedy donated a model PT-109 (he dined at 21 on the eve of his inauguration) Clinton has donated a model of Air Force One to the collection and held multiple events at the restaurant, including daughter Chelsea's birthday and -- true to his publicized healthy eating (at least his love of vegetables) -- has ordered the Vegetable Tasting. Another president with a healthy choice is Gerald Ford. He ordered chicken salad from the Restaurant Week menu in 1994 and even keeps a private stock (wine) at the restaurant, while Jimmy Carter is a fan of the famous '21' Burger.

Here's to dining like a president this holiday.

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