An internet debate has erupted over two identical bowls of pasta.
On Feb. 18, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden stepped out of the White House for an intimate dinner for two at Italian American restaurant Red Hen in Washington, D.C. Although the pair often go out to eat (and sometimes with other presidential couples) what made tongues wag was not where they went out to eat, but what they ordered.
According to a Feb. 21 article in Washingtonian magazine, the Bidens ordered a couple glasses of barbera, grilled bread with cultured butter, chicory salad and two orders of rigatoni with sausage, the restaurant's signature dish, for dinner.
The Mezzi Rigatoni, a $24 dish consisting of tomato, fennel sausage ragu and pecorino Romano, seems like an uncontroversial thing to order on date night, but the idea that they both ordered the same thing stirred up a quite a debate on Twitter.
“There are 2 types of couples in this world: those who order the same dish at a restaurant and those who would never ever dare,” tweeted Washingtonian food editor Jessica Sidman. “I would definitely glare at my husband if he ordered the same thing as me because obviously we need to try as much of the menu as possible!" Sidman was responding to food writer Regina Schrambling's tweet wondering if the "secret to long-term compatibility" could be found in the Bidens' twin order.
The tweets, combined with the first couple’s commitment to rigatoni, caused many people to sound off about whether a couple should order the same dish.
“I have honestly never heard of a couple — married or otherwise — who order the EXACT same at a restaurant,” tweeted one person in response.
“Respect for the double order!” tweeted another.
“I hope that means they shared one entree,” added another Twitter user. “Two people ordering the same entree is a gross violation of romantic/gastronomic law.”
“Going double on the rigatoni is f---ing amateur hour,” tweeted another user with a passionate perspective. When someone replied that they appeared to be “triggered by pasta,” they replied in the affirmative: “yeah man absolutely.”
“Guys I 100% order the same dish as my fiancé because I’ll be damned if I don’t get the food I want just because he wants it too,’” tweeted writer Elyse Notarianni.
“People are going on about them ordering the same thing but if youve had the ragu you understand,” wrote another Twitter user.
“It’s such an honor to have a presidential visit, but it’s funny that this is what came out of it,” Red Hen's chef and owner Michael Friedman told the Washington Post. “It’s a fascinating thread people have chosen to follow, and I’m just really enjoying the banter.”
Friedman, who is married, says he doesn’t have to worry about two identical entrees coming to the table on date night, because he has a more adventurous palate than his wife. “I’m the guy ordering the offal, while she’s getting the salmon … but maybe we’d get the same thing if it’s what we both wanted,” he said.