When my sister and I were kids, my parents would periodically make a point of taking us out to a nice restaurant — where “nice” means “had napkins that didn’t come out of a table dispenser.” The purpose of these dinners, they said, was to make sure that we knew how to conduct ourselves in polite company — you know, learn the proper way to hold dining utensils, how to engage in polite dinner conversation and generally give the impression that we weren’t raised by wolves. I don’t know that they fully succeeded in their mission, but I do remember these dinners fondly, and my husband and I try to have similar dinners with our daughter, as often as we can afford. I figure that at some point, she’ll be having dinners outside of my presence, and it would be nice if her host did not have to pick up after her too much.
Just as I love breakfast buffets at hotels, I also love their formal dining rooms as well, such as the The Legacy Grill at The Westin Stonebriar. Formal dining rooms at hotels feel, somehow, less stifling than other formal restaurants (perhaps because there are often no other choices for dinner when at a resort). But I also love them because they provide great opportunities to practice our good table manners.
And for the record, the Westin Stonebriar sets the mood beautifully for my daughter, by serving her milk in a proper wine glass. Awesome.
The Westin also taught my daughter how to review the menu and order the most ladylike items available. I happen to be a firm believer that a proper lady should not roll up to a dinner table and eat like she’s storing up for the winter. Instead, she should eat like a delicate flower.
And because I lead by example, I ordered this:
See? Delicate flower. Eat like a sweet baby bird, me.
Oh, all right, I also ordered this:
What? Okay, I eat like a baby emu.
We also shared this:
And, sweet mother of Gumby, this:
So anyway, yes, we ate well at the Westin. We even managed to do so with our napkins on our laps, and without scratching ourselves with our forks. And it was delightful.
And my husband and I will save the “All good things in moderation” lesson for the next time we go out to eat.
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