pop!A-RAZZI: President's State Dinner

Obamas Host State Dinner
The White House - Washington, DC

The President, Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama held their first state dinner last night at the White House, welcoming India’s Prime Minister, Manmoahan Singh, and his wife Gursharan Kaur to a night of chic Indian elegance!

Celebrities, democratic fundraisers and politicians alike clammored for what was the hottest ticket in town. The much coveted invitation however, did land in the mail boxes of about 338 guests who attended. Guests included, Gayle King, Steven Spielberg, Alfre Woodard, Blair Underwood, Jhumpa Lahiri, Alberto Vourvoulias, Katie Couric, Colin Powell and his wife, Alma Powell. Politicians mixed with Hollywood celebrities and Indian dignitaries decked out in tuxedos, beautifully colored saris and galmourous dresses.  The star of the night, as expected, was the first lady herself who chose to wear a Naeem Khan number. The Indian-born designer of Mrs. Obama's handmade gown, told CNN's "Larry King Live" that it took three weeks to complete the dress at his family's workshop in India -- with 40 people working on it. Fab indeed!

The entertainment lineup included Grammy Award-winning singer-actress Jennifer Hudson and jazz vocalist and composer Kurt Elling, both from the Obamas' hometown of Chicago, and Indian musician and singer A.R. Rahman, who won two Academy Awards for the music in "Slumdog Millionaire."

The theme was glam garden with an chic Indian twist. The tables featured beautiful apple green linens, gold trimmed china, and purple flowers to play homage to the national bird of India, the peacock.

New York celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquivit fame, First Lady Michelle Obama and White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford designed a menu "to showcase the best of American cooking," Obama said at a press preview. Below is a look at the vegeterian menu:

Potato and eggplant salad

White House arugula with onion seed vinaigrette
2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Modus Operandi, Napa Valley, California

Red lentil soup with fresh cheese
2006 Riesling Brooks ³Ara² Willamette Valley, Oregon

Roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney
chick peas and okra
or green curry prawns
caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens and coconut aged basmati
2007 Grenache, Beckmen Vineyards, Santa Ynez, California

Pumpkin pie tart
pear tatin
whipped cream and caramel sauce
Sparkling Chardonnay, Thibaut Janisson Brut, Monticello, Virginia

Petits fours and coffee
Cashew brittle
Pecan pralines
Passion fruit and vanilla gelees
Chocolate-dipped fruit

Photo: Luke Sharrett/The New York Times
Brenda Smialowski of Getty
Frank Thorp CBS