Apple pie and ice cream finally put a smile on the Obama girls’ faces


When Sasha and Malia Obama left Berlin on Wednesday night, the tight, polite smiles they wore in Ireland had been transformed into broad grins. Now we know why.

After a shopping trip and cinema visit, the Obama sisters visited Café Josty next to their hotel. Sitting at table 209, surrounded by secret service men, they ordered an apple strudel each with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream, washed down with juice and water.

When the bill for €25 came, a credit card was produced and, at 7.52pm, the waiter handed over the slip for a signature. After adding a very generous €8 tip, the Obama sisters signed the bill: “Michelle Obama”. At that moment, however, the US first lady was sitting six kilometres away at Charlottenburg Palace with her husband – guests of honour at a gala dinner hosted by chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Of course we noticed that the bill was signed Michelle Obama, ” said waiter Daniel Hoffmann to the Bild tabloid yesterday, “but in this case we accepted the slip as it was.”

While the newspaper speculated that the first daughters were authorised secondary users on their mother’s card, Mr Hoffmann’s employers at Café Josty were not amused by the strudel affair.

“Generally under German law, only the cardholder can sign a slip in their name when a bill is being charged to their card,” a spokesman told The Irish Times. He declined to say if the café would forward the bill to the White House or whether it would be docked from the waiter’s pay.

“We’ve nothing further to say on the matter as the waiter in question did a deal with the Bild tabloid in his own time,” the café spokesman added. An US embassy spokeswoman in Berlin said she was aware of the reports but had no further comment on the matter.

After a long week in the public gaze, the gleeful first daughters jetted back to Washington on Friday night, savouring their first sweet taste of teenage rebellion.