Tuesday, January 12, 2010

If It's Good Enough For The President, It's Good Enough For You

President Obama hosted his first official State Dinner at the White House on November 24, 2009.  The dinner honored His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India. The event is most well-known for the infamous Salahi couple who gate-crashed the party, but of course there was much more to the evening than the unusual security breach.

Even though the State Dinner was held at the White House, there is a Bay Area connection. One of the wines served at the event was produced by Modus Operandi Cellars winery based in Napa Valley. We received a lovely bottle of 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from my sister-in-law Cecille Taylor, who is an ophthalmologist in Sacramento. One of her patients is Robert Rogel, owner of the winery. Along with a bottle of the wine, Cecille sent us a copy of the State Dinner program. It includes some interesting facts:

- "The first State Dinner for a foreign head of state was held by President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant on December 12, 1874 for King David Kalakaua of Hawaii."
- The Obamas' first State Dinner was held under a tent on the South Lawn of the White House. The decor reflected a garden theme, with green and sustainable elements.
- Colors included apple green table linens and deep purple flower arrangements, paying homage to the state bird of India, the Indian Peacock.
- "Mrs. Obama worked with Guest Chef Marcus Samuelsson and the White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and her team to create a menu that reflects the best of American cuisine, continues this White House's commitment to serving fresh, sustainable and regional food, and honors the culinary excellence and flavors that are present in Indian cuisine. Herbs and lettuces are harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden."
- Entertainment included performances by Jennifer Hudson, the National Symphony Orchestra with Marvin Hamlisch conducting, and the United States Marine Band.

My husband and I tried the Modus Operandi Sauvignon Blanc and quite enjoyed its light, slightly fruity taste. It went down easily with its crisp, clean flavor, and would go well with anything on the lighter side, including the salad and vegetables it was paired with for the State Dinner. Here is the delicious sounding menu from the event.

Dinner Menu:

Potato and Eggplant Salad
White House Arugula with Onion Seed Vinaigrette
2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Modus Operandi, Napa Valley, California

Red Lentil Soup with Fresh Cheese
2006 Riesling, Brooks 'Ara', Wilamette Valley, Oregon

Roasted Potato Dumplings with Tomato Chutney
Chick Peas and Okra


Green Curry Prawns
Caramelized Salsify with Smoked Collard Greens


Coconut Aged Basmati
2007 Granache, Beckmen Vineyards, Santa Ynez, California

Pumpkin Pie Tart
Pear Tatin
Whipped Cream and Caramel Sauce
Sparkling Chardonnay, Thibaut Janisson Brut, Monticello, Virginia

Petits Fours and Coffee
Cashew Brittle
Pecan Pralines
Passion Fruit and Vanilla Gelees
Chocolate-Dipped Fruit

I think a restaurant should replicate this menu and offer it as a special meal. I would be very interested in eating it and think many others would also be intrigued. As Cecille so succinctly put it when she sent us the wine, "If it's good enough for the President, it's good enough for you!"

1 comment:

  1. Suzanne, my partner Robert forwarded this to me. Thanks for writing about my wine! We were very pleased to be included in the State Dinner line up and hope to be thought of again as we have several wines that would surely impress the Prez and his guests. By the way, I just started a blog called 'My Life as a Winemaker'. Check it out if you would like.
    Thanks again!