Given President Trump’s well-documented eating habits, the dishes the White House plans to serve in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, may come as a surprise to an electorate that knows about his taste for fast food, Diet Coke, meatloaf and steaks cooked well-done (and knocked back with ketchup).
The menu for Tuesday is decidedly seasonal, featuring young lettuces as part of the first course and spring lamb for the entree.
It’s contemporary, with buttermilk biscuit crumbles adding punctuation to a salad featuring a goat cheese gateau and a burnt-onion soubise, or sauce, enhancing the main course.
The first state dinner of the Trump administration, executed by longtime White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford, also reveals some sly diplomacy. The rack of lamb is to be served with jambalaya, an iconic Louisiana dish influenced in part by the French. (Jambon is French for ham.) A lovely nod to the American South, the side dish will showcase Carolina Gold, a long-grain rice prized for its superior flavor and yellow hue in the fields.
Did POTUS, who has called the White House “the greatest restaurant,” sign off on the meal? No doubt. But the stylish fingers of first lady Melania Trump seem to be all over the menu. Tomato jam will lend color and sass to the aforementioned goat cheese gâteau, for instance, and the finale, a nectarine tart, comes with ice cream flavored with creme fraiche. Will the president get his beloved extra scoop? Time (and leakers) might tell, although reports have indicated he might be cutting back.
While greens and herbs are said to be plucked from the White House kitchen garden planted by Michelle Obama, there’s no obvious attempt to incorporate a Trump brand in the dinner. Even though the teetotalling Trump owns a Virginia winery, the dinner will feature all bottles from the West Coast. They include the 2015 Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay, incorporating French vines that take well to Oregon’s volcanic soil; the 2014 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Laurene, fermented in French oak barrels; and Schramsberg Cremant Demi-sec, a sparkling wine that will be familiar to White House partygoers.
Indeed, the only obvious Trumpian touch on the meal: a mere three courses — one course fewer than at the state dinners hosted by the Obamas. The president, who has yet to dine in a Washington restaurant other than his own and is known to annihilate what’s on his plate, is not the type to linger long at the table. His house, his rules.