Despite Financial Crisis, Pricey Wine & Fancy Food for Bush & Co.

Dignitaries from around the globe were in Washington, DC, last week for the G-20 world summit. The goal of the gathering, of course, was to come up with solutions for tackling the world’s economic crisis — you know, the situation where people like you and me struggle to keep our jobs, stay in our homes, and get some sort of supper on the table? No such struggle for George Bush and his guests.

From the Telegraph (UK): G20 summit: the recession may be deep, but for world leaders the living is high

As the assorted presidents and prime ministers travel around the American capital in cavalcades of black limousines, causing locals and tourists to endure with gridlock in the busiest parts of the city, you could be forgiven for thinking that the crisis was solved.

The foyers of hotels across the city – from the Four Seasons to the Park Hyatt – resemble the United Nations in full session, with ordinary guests pushed out of the way to make way for delegations from around the world.

Friday’s night inaugural summit meeting was no different. After President George W. Bush greeted the various leaders on the steps of the White House, it was down to the most important item on the agenda: dinner.

An email from First Lady Laura Bush’s office detailed the lavish menu. Leaders feasted first on fruitwood-smoked quail with quince gastrique, followed by thyme-roasted rack of lamb with an aubergine fondue.

Dessert was a pear torte followed by a Vermont brie served with walnut crostini.

Pass the government cheese: White House State Dining Room

… [T]he fact that President Bush, entering his final two months as leader of the free world, chose to sit himself between China’s Hu Jintao and Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is perhaps a sign.  Outside, in the permanent drizzle that has so far shrouded the summit, a group of protestors staged what they were calling a “People’s Banquet.”

The menu? Rice and cookies and bottled water. Apparently there’s a financial crisis on.

A little more from – you have to hear about the wine:

According to the White House, tonight’s dinner to kick off the G-20 summit includes such dishes as “Fruitwood-smoked Quail,” “Thyme-roasted Rack of Lamb,” and “Tomato, Fennel and Eggplant Fondue Chanterelle Jus.”

To wash it all down, world leaders will be served Shafer Cabernet “Hillside Select” 2003, a wine that sells at $499 on

The exceedingly pricey wine may seem a bit peculiar given leaders are in Washington to discuss a possible world financial meltdown, but Sally McDonough, a spokeswoman for Laura Bush, said it “was the most appropriate wine that we had in the White House wine cellar for such a gathering.”

McDonough also said the White House purchased the wine at a “significantly lower price” than what it is listed at.

“Of course the White House gets its wine at wholesale prices,” she said. “Given the intimate size of the group, it was an appropriate time for The White House to use this stock.”


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