Beautifying a Meal on a Plate

The old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder” may not ring true in meaning, when Beautifying a Meal on a Plate. There is absolutely no subjectivity when your eyes see a beautiful dish of food. Even little children get excited and happy when they see food that looks pretty and pleasing to the eye. Like us adults, they are ready to dig in and eat until their hearts are content. I love making things look pretty.  I have found that over the years, even the simplest meal can be dressed up and served on a beautiful plate.

A few years ago, my mom and I visited Nashville.  We were celebrating her birthday and I took her to her favorite restaurant-Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. From the time we were seated with a basket of delicious bread until the time we left the restaurant, it was quite an experience. Before taking our order, the waiter handed my mom a red rose and had personalized a ‘Happy Birthday’ card that he put in a card placeholder, just for her. The tablecloth was white and when we ordered our meals, they truly beautified our meals on a plate. 

I ordered filet mignon.  It was on a lovely white plate with the steak juices oozing from it. It was absolutely delectable. My mom ordered the roasted double breast of chicken with mushrooms, white wine, leek and thyme sauce. It, too, was tender and outstanding. They drizzled the juices from the chicken and sprinkled a little pepper on her plate. Visual Perfection!

Our vegetables on a plate were even beautiful. The roasted asparagus with herb butter were tied perfectly in a bow using sautéed red peppers. I have been emulating that idea ever since and my dinner guests are always amazed.  I proudly credit Fleming’s for that creative touch. We also ordered mashed potatoes. They were in a lovely white bowl with a plate under the bowl. A serving spoon was stuck in the mashed potatoes. One taste of the mashed potatoes, oozing with the herb butter, cracked black pepper and kosher salt, immediately pleased my palate.

But wait, it was my mom’s birthday celebration and what’s a Birthday without cake right? My mom loves dessert and I had told the waiter in advance that we were there to celebrate her birthday.  I knew she loved anything chocolate. I ordered her a chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream. She was absolutely floored when the dessert came to the table. I took pictures of her beaming ear to ear. I knew she loved the presentation because it was simply exquisite. She, too, loves and respects all things beautiful.

Her dessert was on a white plate, dusted lightly with powdered sugar. On the dessert plate, sat two scoops of vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with a few shavings of nuts and lightly dusted with cocoa powder. Beside the two scoops of ice cream, sat the warm chocolate lava cake topped with three delicious raspberries and garnished with a lovely mint leaf.  What a presentation! However, the restaurant “pulled out all the stops” for my mom’s birthday. For dessert, in addition to the chocolate lava cake, they gave her a complimentary box of truffles. Yes, more chocolate for the birthday girl and all freebies. My mom was ecstatic and I just knew if she could pinch herself, she would have.

Even I left with an unexpected parting gift from Fleming’s. After dinner, the waiter cleaned our table to get it ready for the dessert presentation. I was admiring the crumb sweeper he was using to get rid of the breadcrumb droppings that had earlier somehow landed on the tablecloth. He gave it to me and three years later, I still have that special tool and use it often.

This was a meal to remember because not only was the food excellent, the entire layout was a five star rating. Yes, Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but not many of us can resist a Beautiful Meal on a Plate. Enjoy serving and eating yours to its Fullest-Breadcrumbs and All!