Last night President and First Lady Obama welcomed the Mexican President and First Lady Felipe Calderón and Margarita Zavala into their home and hosted their second state dinner, this time filled with pageantry, prestige, and mole! The guest list included Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Gayle King (are they a couple? Please say yes!), Dolores Huerta (co-founder of the United Farm Workers), Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and fly-ins from Hollywood comedian George Lopez and Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria Parker.
200 guests were treated to a Rick Bayless cooked dinner in the gorgeous East Room. An additional 100 joined the First Couples in the entertainment tent for dessert, where they enjoyed a performance by Beyoncé and Rodrigo y Gabriela. The tent had cloth butterflies hanging from the ceiling, in honor of President Calderón’z hometown of Michoacan, where Monarch butterflies spend the winter after migrating from Canada.
But enough about all the pomp and circumstance…you came here to hear about the food. Rick Bayless, one of the Obamas’ (and my Dad’s) favorite chefs, hails from the great city of Chicago and is chef-owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. He arrived at the White House two days early to begin the process of making his complicated sauces. Unable to bring any ingredients from his restaurants, he started the menu from scratch, making heavy use of the White House garden. The end result of his state dinner menu sounds delicious. I just hope he makes the dessert recipe available on his website…yum!
Jicama with oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple; citrus vinaigrette; Ulieses Valdez Chardonnay 2007 “Russian River”
Herb Green Ceviche of Hawaiian Opah, Sesame-Cilantro Cracker
Oregon Wagyu Beef in Oaxacan Black Mole; Black Bean Tamalon Grilled Green Beans; Herrera Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 “Seleccion Rebecca”
Chocolate-Cajeta Tart, Toasted Homemade Marshmallows, Graham Cracker Crumble & Goat Cheese Ice Cream; Mumm Napa “Carlos Santana Brut” N/V
(Thank you to CNN’s Ed Henry for tweeting the menu last night.)
For more behind the scenes coverage of the state dinner check out this great interview from Esquire with a very tired Chef Bayless.