Saturday, April 22, 2006

How the Other Half Eats

And for this week's essay, compare and contrast two menus this week, both from two of the world's richest people -- Bill Gates and The Queen of England. Early in the week, Bill Gates (along with the governor of Washington) hosted a dinner with Chinese President Hu held in Gates' home. (Menu courtesy of the Through the Grape Vine). And last night, Prince Charles led the celebrations and dinner with the Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her 80th Birthday. (Menu courtesy of The Times.) Not terrible wines at the Gates dinner, but not quite up to the Queen's standards. If that's the Leonetti I'm thinking of, it may be a $70/bottle cab, but it's not one that's been laying anywhere for a while. (And the Canoe Ridge is usually in the grocery store for $15.00) I guess it could have been worse. I've certainly been to dinners in DC where no one would have blinked an eye about serving $12.99 grocery store wine to the President of a foreign country.

On the other hand, The House of Windsor served top notch hooch and I suspect didn't even put a dent in the collection. (Imagine having put up enough of the '82 d'Yquem to serve the Queens birthday state dinner 24 years later not to mention that Petrus.) All-in-all it was a rare old cellar raid in Merry Olde England. I know which dinner I would have wanted to attend -- plus, better jewelry at the Queen's party. Bonus -- venison and strangely, no vegetarian menu at the Queen's dinner.

The menu for the Gates affair:

First Course: Smoked guinea fowl salad with hazelnuts, spring radishes and Granny Smith apples.

Entree (three choices offered): Fillet of beef with Walla Walla onions, local asparagus, celeriac puree and chervil glace

Alaskan halibut and spot prawns with spring vegetables, fingerling potatoes and a smoked tomato-infused olive oil

An understated, but well appointed vegetarian plate. (hahahahaha -- only on the west coast.)

Dessert: Rhubarb brown butter almond cake

Wines: 2002 Leonetti Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, 2003 Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay - Canoe Ridge Estate

And for the Queen's birthday?

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