In the less than six months he has been in office, we have seen that President Barack Obama cares about eating well. He and his wife Michelle have dropped more than enough hints that eating well and even growing good food is important.
But we have seen the president out getting cheeseburgers and fries, the most recent visit was to a Five Guys last week.
How can one think about eating good food and yet occasionally going for a cheeseburger? Someone who understands the "balance of food" gets that you can generally eat well, but occasionally treat yourself to something that is not as healthy. Everything in moderation.
Michelle Obama has had some grief for her efforts to grow organic food. And Michelle has been the stronger voice in the relationship, talking about cutting back on processed food. But even Michelle went to a Five Guys recently herself.
During President Obama's first fast food trip, he was mocked for his use of mustard. Of course, mustard is much healthier than ketchup. On this trip to Five Guys, he ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers, and mustard. Forgetting the impact of the cheese in both occasions, Obama did order vegetables and left off high-sodium condiments such as ketchup and pickles.
Obama did snack on peanuts while waiting for his order, not a bad choice for a snack as long as it's in moderation.
Both times Obama got fries, and fries are potentially worse for you. But again, everything in moderation. And it does seem like the Obamas are smarter in their fast food trips than former President Bill Clinton with his jogs to McDonald's.
Of course, most of us don't eat like the president. We don't have a chef in-house who will cook what the First Family wants at a whim, nor do we eat at state dinners, sometimes in foreign countries. But most of us do go out for a fast-food run once in a while.
I had plans to make it to the Chicago location of Five Guys for some time. The fries are supposed to be really good, and the Chicago Tribune had just tested area restaurants, and declared Five Guys fries best in the city.
I had already followed Obama to Dixie Kitchen & Bait Shop last January, so why not make a trip to Five Guys?
You walk in and see sacks of potatoes covering the front of the establishment, like a old-time bunker from World War I. There is a sign saying where today's potatoes come from.
I had read an earlier review of the place that wasn't flattering to the hamburgers. The sign above ordering noted that the burgers were juicy and well-done. As much as well-done normally means dry, there was skepticism. Despite that, I ordered a burger with sauteed mushrooms (cheese was not a good option, especially with a current personal sinus outbreak) and a regular fries.
I received a gigantic amount of fries, fresh-cut and very potatoy. They stayed hot for awhile. I can't say they are the best I've had or even the best in the city. They are fresh, and if you only have about 10-15, are tasty. But they aren't exciting, and I got rather bored rather easy. By contrast, I could eat Steak and Shake fries by the handful and never get tired of eating them.
The burger was better than expected. The fine print on the "juicy and well-done" is that the burgers are thin. I got a "little burger," which was 3.5 oz. It was quite good and I did enjoy eating that.
If you like a lot of fast food that is higher quality for a decent price, Five Guys is worthwhile. But it would help if there was a smaller fries portion. Eating the fries alone would be something I would rarely do.
In maintaining the need to eat better, I feel temptations for an occasional burger and fries. And it's always good to pick somewhere that does it better than the average fast food run. Most of the time, I eat quite well. But occasionally, I like a little fun. Just like the president of the United States, all of us looking to find our own "balance of food."