Everything You Wanted To Know About Tonight’s State Dinner But Were Afraid To Ask

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Beyoncé is performing. The striped linens are in three shades of “Mayan blue.” There will be “Fuchsia Cattleya orchids,” “Oregon Wagyu Beef in Oaxacan Black Mole,” and toasted marshmallows. All the details after the jump.

From the White House:

The United States and Mexico are linked by geographical, historical, familial, cultural, economic, and security ties.  In recognition of these deep ties and the strong relationship President Obama has forged with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, President Obama and the First Lady will host President Calderón and Mrs. Margarita Zavala in the White House for a State Dinner.

Tonight’s State Dinner will be held in the East Room of the White House. Tonight’s State Dinner Performance will be held under a tent on the South Lawn of the White House.

The most recent State Dinner held at the White House was for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur of India hosted on November 24, 2009.

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.

Since that first dinner, many traditions have been added to State and Official Visits – yet the common theme of forging friendships, exchanging knowledge and building bridges that last for years to come remains unchanged.

History of State Dinners Honoring Mexico
v  Previous State Dinners at the White House in honor of Mexico include those hosted by the following Presidents and First Ladies:

v  President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush in 2001

v  President William J. Clinton and Mrs. Hillary Clinton in 1995

v  President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush in 1989

v  President Ronald Reagan and Mrs. Nancy Reagan in 1984

v  President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter in 1977

v  President Richard M. Nixon and Mrs. Patricia Nixon in 1972

v  President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson in 1967

Décor and Arrangements
Dinner Settings and Arrangements
Guests will sit at a combination of rectangular and round tables set for ten. The two presidents and two first ladies will sit at a head table of twenty.  Tables will be covered in boldly striped linens made in three hues of  Mayan blue.  The colors resemble ripples of water.

Floral Arrangements and Centerpieces
The colorful centerpieces are arranged in handmade woven baskets that have been gilded.  Bouquets of fuchsia flowers, including seasonal Yve Piaget garden roses, Amnesia Roses (grey-purple in color) and Fuchsia Cattleya orchids, are mixed with scented geranium foliage and prickly pear cactus.

Services and Place Settings
The tables will be set with china from the White House’s historic collection.
Clinton – China, 2000
Trenton, New Jersey, Lenox, Inc. Gift of the White House Historical Association, 2000. Commissioned to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the White House.

Eisenhower – Porcelain, 1955
New Castle, Pennsylvania, Castleton China, Inc.  U.S. Government purchase, 1955.

Performance Décor and Arrangements
The décor is designed to honor President Calderón and his birthplace of Michoacán, Mexico.  The Monarch butterfly makes its annual migration from Canada to Michoacán in early spring each year and guests walking into the room will experience the sense of Monarch butterflies in flight.

The tables are decorated in natural shades of oranges and greens. The focal point of each table is a bouquet of marzipan and chocolate flowers.  The flowers are made into marzipan roses, the national flower of America, and dahlias, the national flower of Mexico.

Menu Selection
Mrs. Obama worked with Guest Chef Rick Bayless and White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford to create a menu that reflects the best of American cuisine, continuing this White House’s commitment to serving fresh, sustainable and regional food, and honoring the culinary excellence and flavors that are present in Mexican cuisine.  Herbs, radishes, and lettuces used in preparing tonight’s dinner were harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden.  White House Executive Pastry Chef William Yosses and his team made desserts using White House honey in the Graham Cracker Crumble and Goat Cheese Ice Cream.

Guest Chef  Rick Bayless
Chef Rick Bayless is best known for his highly rated public television series, Mexico – One Plate at a Time and from his six cookbooks.  His  side-by-side award-winning restaurants in Chicago were founded in 1987, the casual Frontera Grill and the 4-star Topolobampo.  In 2007, Frontera Grill was named Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation.  His award-winning Frontera line of salsas, grilling sauces and organic chips can be found coast to coast.  Rick Bayless has won James Beard Awards for Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year.  Mexico – One Plate at a Time is currently in its seventh season on PBS and Rick’s latest book Mexican Everyday was nominated for a James Beard Award.  Rick’s latest restaurant, XOCO, just opened and he was also recently crowned Bravo’s Top Chef Master.

Dinner Menu
Jicama with Oranges, Grapefruit, and Pineapple
Citrus Vinaigrette
Ulises Valdez Chardonnay 2007 “Russian River”

Herb Green Ceviche of Hawaiian Opah
Sesame-Cilantro Cracker

Oregon Wagyu Beef in Oaxacan Black Mole
Black Bean Tamalon and Grilled Green Beans
Herrera Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 “Selección Rebecca”

Chocolate-Cajeta Tart
Toasted Homemade Marshmallows
Graham Cracker Crumble and Goat Cheese Ice Cream
Mumm Napa “Carlos Santana Brut” N/V

Performances by
v  Beyoncé

v  Rodrigo y Gabriela

[Begin insert from Scherer: Here are Rodrigo and Gabriela doing Stairway. So good.

End insert.]

v  United States Marine Band

With a mesmerizing stage presence and visionary artistry, Beyoncé has earned her place in arts and culture globally. She has won over 100 awards including sixteen Grammys. This year she made Grammy history with six wins—the most by any female in a single year. She has starred in six highly successful films including Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records. She is a dedicated humanitarian through her work with Make-A-Wish, Feeding America and GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services). With her family in 2005, she created the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity with the motto, “Where There’s A Will, We Help Make A Way.” The foundation provides aid for the homeless and displaced, recreational and educational services for kids in need, job training and placement, and assistance for those suffering from AIDS.  Recently she opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House in Brooklyn, New York to help former addicts learn skills to meet their personal and professional goals.  Beyoncé is a phenomenal entertainer who continues to dazzle on and off stage.

Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero met as teenagers in Mexico City, both dedicated heavy metal fans at the time.  They combined their talents for a time in the metal group Tierra Acida, playing in some of the roughest clubs around Distrito Federal while working day jobs.  Frustrated with their chances in the Americas, Sanchez and Quintero decided to try their luck in Europe. They traveled to Dublin, Ireland where a friend offered them a place to stay. Speaking no English, and with about a thousand dollars between them, they found that their offer of hospitality had vanished.  The pair soon turned to busking on the streets of Dublin where they established many contacts and connections.  Among their newfound friends was fellow busker Damien Rice, who asked them to accompany him on tour.  They released their debut record in 2003 entitled Re-Foc, followed a year later by Live: Manchester and Dublin.  They now continue to tour the world music circuit, compose, and record.  Rodrigo y Gabriela have appeared on many national television shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and the Today Show.  Their recently sold out concert at Radio City Music Hall featured a guest performance by Robert Trujillo from Metallica.

The President’s Own United States Marine Band
Founded in 1798 by an Act of Congress, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization.  The band has performed for every president since John Adams. Known as “The President’s Own” since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band’s primary mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Today, “The President’s Own” is celebrated for its role at the White House and its dynamic public performances. “The President’s Own” encompasses the United States Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra, and Marine Chamber Ensembles, and performs regularly at the White House and gives more than 500 public performances across the nation each year.

Below is a list of expected attendees who will join tonight’s Reception and Performance following the State Dinner:
The President & First Lady Michelle Obama
His Excellency Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico and Mrs. Margarita Zavala
The Honorable Tom Atkin, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director, NSC
Mr. Monte Briggs Hawkins
The Honorable Joe Baca, United States Representative
Mr. Robert C. Barber, Cambridge, MA
Mrs. Denise Bauer, Belvedere Tiburon, CA
Mr. Steve Bauer
The Honorable Robert Rand Beers, Under Secretary for National Protection Programs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC
Mrs. Marian Beers
The Honorable Alan D. Bersin, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for International Affairs
The Honorable Barbara Boxer, United States Senate
Mr. Michael Camuñez, Special Assistant to the President, Office of Presidential Personnel
Mr. Steven Means
Mr. Thomas Castro, BMP Radio, Houston, TX
Ms. Jacqueline Castro
The Honorable Gil Cedillo, California State Senate, Los Angeles, CA
Mr. Gilbert Martinez
The Honorable James E. Clyburn, United States Representative, Washington, DC
The Honorable  Henry Cuellar, United States Representative
Amy Travieso
Mr. Jim Demers, Concord, NH
Mr. Carlos Elizondo, Washington, DC
Mr. Mark Dumas
The Honorable Eliot Engel, United States Representative
Mrs. Patricia Engel
The Honorable José W. Fernández, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC
Ms. Andrea Gabor
Ms. María Garza, President, Mexican American Council, Homestead, FL
Edward Garza
Mr. Stuart Grant, Greenville, DE
Mrs. Suzanne Grant
The Honorable Raúl  Grijalva, United States Representative
Ms. Marisa H. Grijalva
The Honorable Gary Grindler, Acting Deputy Attorney General of the United States
Christine Grindler
Ms. Christy Haubegger, Creative Artists Agency, Los Angeles, CA
Mr. Steven Wolfe Pereira
The Honorable David Heyman, Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC
Ms. Victoria T White

The Honorable Rubén Hinojosa, United States Representative

Mrs. Martha Hinojosa

The Honorable Fred Hochberg, Export-Import Bank, Washington, DC

Dr. John P. Holdren, Washington, DC
Ms. Roberta Jacobson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for North American Affairs
Mr. Jonathon Jacobson
The Honorable David Johnson, Assistant Secretary of State for INL
Ms. Scarlett Swan
Mr. Lon Johnson
Mr. Michael Kempner, East Rutherford, NJ
Mrs. Jacqueline Kempner
Mr. Steven Lerner, Chapel Hill, NC
Dr. Sharon Van Horn
The Honorable David Lipton, SAP and Senior Director for International Economics
Ms. Mary Galbraith
The Honorable Nita Lowey, United States Representative
Mr. Stephen Lowey
The Honorable Ben Ray Lujan, United States Representative
Ms. Deanna Archeleta
Ms. Maria Matos, Wilmington, DE
Ms. Sindy Ortiz
Mr. Gary Matthews, Chicago, IL
Mrs. Sandy Matthews
Mr. John F. McShane
Mrs. Kathleen C. McShane
The Honorable Daniel Meltzer, Deputy Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Counsel to the President, White House Counsel
The Honorable Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza, Washington, DC
Mauro Morales
The Honorable Grace Napolitano, United States Representative

Ms. Angela Salinas

Mr. Danny Ortega, Chair, National Council of La Raza Board, Phoenix, AZ
Mr. Raul Perea-Henze
Mr. Stephen B. Sobhani
Mr. Jon Ralston, Las Vegas Sun, Henderson, NV
Ms. Madeline Ralston
The Honorable Vivian Rapposelli, Secretary, Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, Newark, DE
Stephen Rapposelli
The Honorable Nick Rasmussen, SAP and Senior Director for Counterterrorism
Mrs. Maria Rasmussen
Mr. Sean Regan, Director, NSSS Transborder Security Policy
Mrs. Eva N. Regan
Ms. Rosa Rosales, San Antonio, TX
Mr. Brent Ashley Wilkes, Executive Director, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Washington, DC
The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard, United States Representative
Mr. Edward Allard
The Honorable Francisco Sánchez, Undersecretary of Commerce, Washington, DC
Ms. Mileydi Guilarte
The Honorable Linda Sánchez, United States Representative
Mr. James Sullivan, Guest of Then Honorable Linda Sanchez
The Honorable Loretta Sanchez
Ms. Esther L. Coopersmith
The Honorable Elizabeth Sears Smith, Office of Cabinet Affairs
Mr. Douglas Smith
Mr. Jeffrey Stirling
Mrs. Cynthia L. Stirling
The Honorable Paul Stockton, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs
Mrs. Kristin Stockton
The Honorable Bruce Swartz, Department of Justice
Ms. Deborah Goodings
Ms. Grace Tsao-Wu, Chicago, IL
Ms. Laura Kofoid
Ms. Mimi Valdés Ryan, Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Kidult.com, New York, NY
Mr. Florian Bachleda
Mr. Jorge Valencia, West Des Moines, IA
Ms. Ramona Rowbury-Valencia
Secretary Tom Vilsack, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
Mrs. Christie Vilsack