20 January 2011

State Dinner

Recent family conversations stirred up a past interest(obsession) with etiquette and formal dinners. Naturally, I have been devouring all pictures and details about last night's state dinner. My invitation was lost in the mail. (Do you know that tune?)

Quite the variety of guests attended including several politicians, prominent businessmen and businesswomen, fashion icon Vera Wang, olympic skater Michelle Kwan, Chinese actors and musicians, and Chris Botti was one of the entertainers. We attended one of his concerts a few months ago, and it was fabulous.

The Chinese delegation requested American food, so the menu was as follows:

D'Anjou Pear with Farmstead Goat Cheese
Fennel, Black Walnuts, and White Balsamic

Poached Maine Lobster
Orange Glaze Carrots and Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Wine: DuMol Chardonnay "Russian River" 2008 (California)

Lemon Sorbet
Dry Aged Rib Eye with Buttermilk Crisp Onions
Double Stuffed Potatoes and Creamed Spinach

Wine: Quilceda Creek Cabernet "Columbia Valley" 2005 (Washington State)

Old Fashioned Apple Pie
with Vanilla Ice Cream

The pairing of American wines is a nice tribute to the homegrown menu. The pear salad definitely is on trend right down to the white balsamic dressing. Progessing to the second course, a quintessentially American classic, Maine lobster with accompanying vegetables that provide a quiet nod to the heritage of the honored guest. And what better to pair with pear and lobster than a buttery Chardonnay?

Now a brief reprieve and pallete cleansing of lemon sorbet. Meyer lemon, perhaps?
Sadly, this is a tradition that is not seen as frequently in current times. It speaks of elegance and a dedication to fully enjoying the flavors of each course.

The main course arrives, and the favorite flavors of the heartland and South are showcased. Steak served with potatoes and creamed spinach is a standby meal commimerating special events. And a lovely '05 Cab to accent the strength of the beef and spinach.

Pause while the gold-inlaid plates and silver are removed from the table, inwarldy sighing at the satisfaction of such wonderful flavors and hearing America the Beautiful play on the movie screen of your mind.

Dessert is served. Steaming apple pie with a flaky crust, slowly melting the above scoop of freshly made vanilla ice cream. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

And on a non-food related note, does anyone know where to find chairs like this?

They are simultaneouly classic and modern, and if they were for rent, I would host a garden dinner party just to use them.