Daily Archives: August 10, 2011

Have a fashionable lunch with Lincoln

There’s something kind of inappropriate about the fact that a luxury vehicle is named after one of the most unpretentious men to ever occupy the White House.

There’s something equally inappropriate about the fact that a painfully hip, upscale eatery in Washington, D.C. is named after him.

Wikimedia Commons

“The lunch menu focuses on traditionally sized entrees, such as broiled golden mac ‘n’ cheese sassed up with smoked ham ($12) and the juicy Lincoln burger served on a slightly sweet brioche bun and topped with creamy goat cheese, a homemade tomato jam and a speckling of watercress shoots ($14). At dinnertime, the menu switches to small plates, with more than 30 selections. Enjoy a French twist on a seaside sensation with the lobster beignets ($12), or get a kick out of the coffee-rubbed duck breast accompanied by a plum, walnut and farro grain salad ($14).”

According to the proprietor, Lincoln’s era “evokes the simplicity of food itself.” That’s probably what people thought back in that age of the Market Revolution. “This evokes the simplicity of food itself,” they must have said to each other, as they sent their manufactured products and commercial crops along all those canals and railways they were building.

Speaking of simplicity, they serve the lemonade in a mason jar.  You can sit there and sip your lemonade out of a jar and feel all folksy, while you gaze at the Pop Art images on the walls and await your fourteen-dollar “Lincoln burger” on a brioche bun.

Can you imagine Lincoln ambling into a place like this, with his hair characteristically unkempt and his pants too short, and folding his angular frame into a booth?  “Well, I reckon I’ll have the coffee-rubbed duck breast with the plum, walnut and farro grain salad.”

The whole thing reminds me of Cornelius Van Santvoord’s story about a petitioner who came to the White House asking for a presidential endorsement to help promote a business scheme.  Lincoln told him, “I’ll have nothing to do with this business, nor with any man who comes to me with such degrading propositions.…You have come to the wrong place, and for you and everyone who comes for such purposes, there is the door!”

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Filed under Abraham Lincoln, History and Memory