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Tuesday, October 21, 2014         

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Obamas follow fine dining with beach barbecue

The president and his family are cheered as they visit Alan Wong's and the North Shore

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

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President Barack Obama and his family traveled to the North Shore yesterday for a barbecue with a high school friend at his beachfront home.

Obama's 20-car motorcade made an hour's drive from Kailua to Mokuleia via Schofield Barracks for an afternoon visit with longtime friend Bobby Titcomb.

The president ate barbecue, played volleyball and hung out on the beach with family and friends, White House spokesman Bill Burton said.

Police had stopped cars along the route at onramps and side streets. Onlookers were often waving or flashing the shaka sign.

Near Dillingham Airfield a group standing had a sign ready: "Hi, Mr. Prez." Obama also visited Titcomb on the same day a year ago.

The airfield, frequented by gliders and parachute jumpers, was dormant yesterday due to security for the Obama barbecue. Bill Star, one the operators of Original Glider Rides, lamented the lost business as it was the first day of excellent weather this week.

Wednesday night, Obama and his party caused quite a stir at Alan Wong's Restaurant in Moiliili, arriving at about 7:35 p.m.

Diner Darlene Yoshioka of Foster Village got to shake the president's hand.

"He had to pass in front of us, so I just stuck my hand out," she said.

Yoshioka captured several photographs of the president, his wife, his sister and brother-in-law, and Alan Wong greeting his special patrons, on her iPhone.

While waiting for her friends to arrive, she noticed the special table for the president — the only one decorated with flowers. Obama's sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, and her husband, Konrad Ng, also arrived early and played Scrabble while waiting.

"It's a very small restaurant, so when he and Michelle came in, everybody stood up and clapped, and he waved," Yoshioka said. The group of about 10 to 12 did not include the Obamas' daughters.

Gwen Rulona of Kaneohe was brimming with excitement after emerging from the restaurant.

"Alan Wong hardly cooks but he was cooking tonight," Rulona said.

She suspects the restaurateur himself prepared her twice-baked short ribs.

Earlier yesterday, Obama marked the anniversary of a deadly attack at a remote outpost in Afghanistan, saying the seven CIA employees who were killed showed the true meaning of honor and selfless sacrifice.

In a statement, Obama says the U.S. is more secure because of the work of those in the intelligence community. The CIA employees were killed by a suicide bomber who officials said later was a Jordanian double agent.

The Obamas are expected to leave Hawaii Monday.

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