- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2015

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spent a leisurely couple hours at Vintage Cave Honolulu, dropping an estimated $1,000 on a meal with wine at an upscale restaurant that actually charges $500,000 for those who want to buy a membership.

Mr. Obama passed on the membership at the Vintage Cave Honolulu, but he did order the price-fix menu at $295 per plate, Mediate reported. And, according to Honolulu Magazine, “the total bill for two, with wine, will approach $1,000.”

The restaurant bills itself on its website this way: “One can enjoy exceptional food and wine at the hands of gifted masters of the culinary arts. ‘Chef’s recommendation’ commands a gravitas guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning palate. Seasoned sommelier’s conduct the process of pairing wine and food with true finesse and style. Secure in the natural embrace of the cave-like environment, guests are encouraged to relax, ‘hit reset,’ and escape the ordinary.”

The meal comes as Mr. Obama continues to be riddled with criticism about the optics of his presidency — including a hastily assembled presser in mid-2014 about the Islamic State beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, and then moments later hitting the golf links.

Shortly after, Mr. Obama took to “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd to explain his actions.

He said: “It’s always a challenge when you’re supposed to be on vacation. Because you’re followed everywhere. And part of what I’d love is a vacation from the press. But there’s no doubt that after having talked to the families, where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain that they were going through, after the statement that I made, that you know, I should’ve anticipated the optics [of golf].”

He also said to CNN that he was aware “optics … matter. And I’m mindful of that.”

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