White House

Yum! White House dishes up menu for Trump administration’s first state dinner

unnamed(8)We’ll bypass some of the other details about President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump’s first state dinner, but we’ll share the menu for political junkies who are also foodies.

The first course will include goat cheese gateau and buttermilk biscuit crumbles.

For the main course, rack of spring lamb and Carolina gold rice jambalaya, “which will be cooked in a New Orleans tradition and scented with the trinity of Cajun cooking—celery, peppers, and onions, and spiced with herbs from the South Lawn,” according to a press release from the White House. For dessert, a nectarine tart.

The Trumps are hosting President Emmanuel Macron and Mrs. Brigitte Macron of France for the administration’s first state visit.

Sadly, details about the guest list and Melania Trump’s gown won’t be released until just before the dinner begins, according to a release.

But what the first couples will be sampling tomorrow night:

State Dinner

The color scheme is cream and gold and the china settings consist of the Clinton china for the baseplate, along with both Bush (43) and Clinton china for the dinner service.  The First Lady chose the Bush china with the green color palette to complement the spring green and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room.  Mrs. Trump has also selected pieces from the extensive Vermeil collection as well as American Silver from the White House Collection—from Tiffany & Co. and S. Kirk & Sons—to add to the décor in the State Dining Room.

Entertainment

Washington National Opera from the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts

 Floral Arrangements

The Cross Hall will feature over 1,200 branches of cherry blossom, all grown in the United States.

 The State Dining Room will feature more than 2,500 stems of white sweet peas and nearly 1,000 stems of white lilac—both California and Dutch grown mixed. 

 The parlors will feature a variety of mixed garden flowers.  The Stephanotis vines, which will also be featured in the parlors, are from California.

 Menu

The menu will be a showcase of the best of America’s cuisines and traditions, with nuances of French influences prepared by the renowned White House Executive Chef, Christeta Comerford (a full menu can be found at the bottom of the release).

 The first course celebrates the wondrous first harvest of spring, using greens from the White House kitchen garden.

The main course will  be a Rack of Spring Lamb and Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya, which will be cooked in a New Orleans tradition and scented with the trinity of Cajun cooking—celery, peppers, and onions, and spiced with herbs from the South Lawn. 

Dessert will be a Nectarine Tart infused with White House honey and accented by crème fraîche ice cream.

 Wines

The wines were selected to complement the menu and embody the historic friendship between the United States and France, which dates back to the American Revolution.

 The Domaine Serene Chardonnay “Evenstad Reserve” 2015 is the product of American and French collaboration—a combination of French plants from Dijon that thrive in the volcanic Oregon soil and colder temperatures.  The wine was aged in 40 percent French oak barrels for more than 12 months.

The Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir “Laurène” 2014—This wine uses the motto “French soul–Oregon soil.” The grapes at Domaine Drouhin are harvested and sorted by hand and fermented in French Oak barrels.

 Schramsberg Demi-Sec “Crémant” has been served in the White House for official and ceremonial events many times over the years.  The subtle sweetness and creamy effervescence of the 2014 vintage is the perfect accompaniment for a nectarine tart. 

Full Menu:

First Course:

Goat Cheese Gateau

Tomato Jam

Buttermilk Biscuit Crumbles

Young Variegated Lettuces 

Main Course:

Rack of Spring Lamb

Burnt Cipollini Soubise

Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya 

Dessert:

Nectarine Tart

Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

New report puts $500 billion price tag on opioid crisis

Nearly all of the focus on the opioid crisis gripping the nation has been on the human toll, with 14 Floridians a day dying from drug-related causes and twice that number experiencing non-fatal overdoses.

But the opioid epidemic has a whopping fiscal cost as well, according to a new report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers released this morning.

The report found that previous estimates of the economic costs associated with opioids “greatly understate” the true amount because they don’t include the economic impact of fatalities.

The report found that the economic impact of the opioid crisis was more than $500 billion in 2015, a six-fold increase over previous estimates.

Over 50,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2015, and 63 percent of those deaths involved opioids, according to the report.

“The problem is worsening at an alarming pace, with opioid-involved deaths doubling in the past ten years and quadrupling in the past sixteen,” the council wrote.

The new figure quantifies the costs of opioid-related deaths by relying on the “value of a statistical life,” figures usually used when evaluating “fatality-risk reduction” benefits of policies or proposals.

The numbers in the report, however, are certain to be questioned. The use of VSL is controversial. And the council adjusted the numbers of deaths in its total to reflect the under-reporting of opioid-related deaths by 14 percent, based on a 2014 study.

The authors of the report offered an explanation for why their estimates were so much higher than prior analyses.

The council relied on VSL and included heroin-related deaths as well as prescription drug deaths. The White House report also used the upward adjustment for under-reported deaths. And the opioid problem has worsened, the authors noted.

The report was aimed at giving policymakers the “economic analysis needed to review and assess” potential solutions to the opioid epidemic, the council wrote.

“A better understanding of the economic causes contributing to the crisis is crucial for evaluating the success of various interventions to combat it,” the report reads.

And the CEA concluded by pointing the finger at drug companies for contributing to the use of street drugs by hiking prices.

“Supply-side interventions that raise the economic costs of supplying legal prescriptions of opioids may have unintended consequences depending on the extent of demand side substitution induced towards illicit opioids,”  the report concluded.