Sunday, April 26, 2009

Smithson 2009: The Venue and the Menu

One thing that is consistent for any event held at the Smithsonian: the food is always fabulous and the setting is gorgeous. This year Bob remembered to take pictures not only of the clothes but of the food and surroundings.

The event took us to all three levels of the newly-remodeled National Museum of American History. The opening reception was on the lower level; the dinner was in the main hall on the second level, and dessert was on the upper level. Seen above are just some of the tables set for dinner. With more than 350 attendees, there were a LOT of tables. Each one had a unique flower arrangement.

This was our table (number 4). The appetizer was already in place when we got there, and there was a ribbon-wrapped program on the chair.

Before we got to eat, we were welcomed with remarks by Brent Glass, director of the NMAH, and by G. Wayne Clough (above), the new Secretary of the Smithsonian.

The appetizer: Crab and Avocado Tower with Lemon-Pepper Pletzel. I had no idea what a pletzel was; turns out it is similar to flatbread or a thin cracker. Very tasty. (And note the place card: again, it's the little details that make an event special)

I wasn't fast enough with my own camera to capture the amusing image of both Bob and the lady next to him photographing their plates.

The main course: Grass-fed Virginia Beef Tenderloin (which was amazingly delicious), Country Braised Short Rib Pot Pie (the little round thing at the top under the peas), Buttermilk and White Cheddar Whipped Potato (yum), Yellow Tomatoes, Spring Peas, and Spring Mushrooms.

The dessert: Lavender-Lemon Parfait with Blueberry Soup. Take a close look at the clear container holding the soup: it's not glass. It's ice. Can you imagine the logistics of having to prepare 350 desserts in ice cups and have them all look so perfect? The dish was accented with fresh lavender blossoms -- a lovely touch. I adore lavender anyway.

Bob said it was a good thing he chose to wear suspenders rather than a belt.

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