Pleasure on a Plate

A radish rose blooms on the plate of an attractively presented entree.

There are certain niceties to eating out that transform eating a meal into a “dining experience.”

For example there is the attention to ambiance– the music and the decor. And obviously there is the waitstaff, which would be challenging to try at home.

However,  some of the biggest game changers start on the plate itself. Like doilies. I love the way a doily makes a muffin look like it is ready to go to Sunday school. Or a cup of tea look like it is ready for its first cotillion. The first time I saw doilies en masse was at the Ritz Carlton in Boston.  I had seen them manifest themselves in other hotels–they are a staple of room service carts, I suppose, room service being  a dining sport unto itself.

Eating breakfast with freshly washed hair in a fluffy white  hotel bathrobe while reading that city’s newspaper and pouring coffee from your own little pot and with

Breakfast with the San Francisco Chronicle
Breakfast with the San Francisco Chronicle.

cream from your own little tea party sized creamer while looking out at a local landmark like our muddy river, or the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge or the Phillips Collection is one of those sensual, beatific  pleasures that makes me want to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming. Don’t get any ideas, this kind of moment is as rare as hen’s teeth for me. Oh! And closer to home,  the Hermitage can do it up right, too, with a view of our own capitol building.

And even closer to home, of course, is Mr. Wu’s, where radishes and carrots bloom amongst the already beautifully presented entrees.

Having watched Mr. Wu deftly create a kajillion radish roses, I don’t think I will be adding radish carving to my repertoire of dining flourishes–but I do think I might pick up some doilies and slide one under my next bowl of oatmeal.

Homely doesn’t have to mean plain!

4 thoughts on “Pleasure on a Plate

  1. OMG! I love doilies too! Just last night, I was watching episode 4 of True Blood and one character (I forget her name) yelled to her boyfriend to get some of those fancy paper doilies they just bought to bring outside in case somebody wants to set their iced tea down on the car hood. 🙂

  2. Oh that is good!
    Everything looks so much prettier with a doily under it! Have you taken any photos of any of your wondrous dishes that are going into your vegan a la southern style cookbook wearing a frilly dress to the table?
    And didn’t you love making Valentines with doilies? 🙂

  3. Doilies make me think of my grandmother, a very southern lady who taught me the “southern way” of entertaining. Doilies were always under her cookies cakes, dessert bowls and of course the omnipresesnt cheese straws. Obviously, I learned my lesson well because I have bought in increments of 1000 for the receptions at GPAC. I agree with you. They add that little touch of elegance.

  4. I looove doilies!!! My mother bought me some from England and I loved them–they were plastic but you thought they were linen. I have been in Hot Springs and Tarry wanted to stay over a day longer–messed with my thinking. By the way do you know anyone who really likes “plain”–I don’t–they like simple–I don’t understand simple.

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