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Michelle Obama's Houston Night Out

Surprise! Michelle Obama and a friend enjoy a low-key meal at a trendy Houston restaurant

Michelle Obama April
Michelle Obama — shown here earlier this year — enjoyed a low key meal in Houston. Photo by © Jewel Samad/Getty Images
First Lady Michelle Obama at Triniti Restaurant in Houston
First Lady Michelle Obama and a friend had dinner Wednesday night at Triniti.  @DMJ_IAH/Twitter
Triniti restaurant, sign
Michelle Obama chose Triniti and its beautiful space as the spot she'd enjoy dinner with a friend in. Photo by Morris Malakoff
Michelle Obama April
First Lady Michelle Obama at Triniti Restaurant in Houston
Triniti restaurant, sign

How did First Lady Michelle Obama spend her Wednesday night in Houston while President Barack Obama attended a Democratic Party fundraiser at the River Oaks home of trial lawyer John Eddie Williams? The answer quietly came out on Twitter.

And CultureMap has even more exclusive details.

Chef/owner Ryan Hildebrand first became aware that Obama was considering dining at Triniti on Tuesday. "They came in yesterday and scouted it out," Hildebrand tells CultureMap. "They really didn't want to tell us who it was.

"When I found out, I was honored. Personal politics aside, she's a classy, amazing lady who could go anywhere she wants to go. I was honored she chose to go to Triniti."

 "She was just the most gracious, sweetest thing ever." 

As Hildebrand understands the process for deciding which restaurant to visit, Obama's team selects six possible candidates, and then the First Lady chooses the one that's most appealing to her. Hildebrand found out she'd selected his restaurant around 5:30 p.m.. 

The chef describes the atmosphere during service as "low key. It was business as usual." Secret Service agents stationed themselves a few tables away and around the restaurant. They searched people as they entered but otherwise things were status quo.

For dinner, Obama and her friend started with tomato and burrata salad, followed by a local greens salad and a shared plate of caramelli (a gift from the kitchen). Both women had halibut for their entree. Although they attempted to decline dessert, the kitchen sent out pastry chef Samantha Mendoza's tropical fruit dish and the restaurant's signature petit four boxes. To drink, they selected a bottle of pinot noir.  

Hildebrand says the "leisurely dinner" took about three-and-a-half hours. 

Owner Chong Yi and Hildebrand spoke to Michelle Obama for a few minutes before she left but decided not to ask for a photo. "She really just wanted to have dinner with her friend," Hildebrand says, so the staff respected her privacy.

"She was just the most gracious, sweetest thing ever."

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