An Elegant Experience – The Chophouse on Bankhead

On Saturday evening, two of our closest friends went to dinner with us sans kiddos! This rarely happens, so we were all excited for an opportunity to spend time together. We mulled over various dining options on Saturday afternoon, and we decided to try a place none of us had ever been to before – The Chophouse on Bankhead.

I was beyond blown away. From the moment the open the door to greet you to the time they say good night, everything was perfectly executed. At no point during the evening did I think, “I wish they knew or did that.” The restaurant is located in Mt. Vernon, Texas, which was about a 20 minute drive for the four of us. Mt. Vernon is a fun town where my best friend and her family lives, so I already enjoy visiting there. The Chophouse on Bankhead is incredibly unique and different from the other restaurants currently there, though. Our meal was a true experience, lasting well into three hours.

We started with a charcuterie board, which was just fantastic. The executive chef pays such close attention to the details and pairing of foods. A lot of love and time went into each course. The homemade pickles, though, were my top pick from our appetizer!One we had enjoy the platter, we all opted for wedge salads with perfect, tangy blue cheese dressing. Since we knew we would have multiple courses, we chose to have each couple split the wedge, which the restaurant was more than willing to do.

I’m not even normally a huge lover of blue cheese, but I couldn’t help but each every delicious bite. Our entrees took the longest time of all the courses for us to decide what to eat. While the menu was vastly more expansive than this, my picks were narrowed to choosing between the mussels (l0ve), the ribeye (love) and the crabcakes (love). Simply because everyone who has left a review has raved about the steaks, the ribeye won out, which my husband and Jonathan also got. Sally opted for the crabcakes, which looked absolutely wonderful!

The au jus was the tastiest I’d ever had, and my baked potato was dressed perfectly. Even as big of a steak eater as my husband is, none of us could finish our steaks. This may have been paritally due to the food consumed prior to this course, but did we let our full stomachs stop us from ordering dessert (no picture of it….sorry about that!)? No, we sure didn’t. We ate our sticky toffee pudding like they had just told us the place was on fire – that is to say, very quickly!

Something that really pushed this visit over the top in every way were the extras they brought. An amuse-bouche was brought over by the executive chef himself prior to our meal, and I wish I had thought to take a picture of it! It was a delicious mousse resting on top of a quarter of a cucumber slice. The flavorful bite impressed us all. After our entrees were eaten, the chef again brought us another delight – coconut macaroons, which were perfectly creamy with that toasted coconut flavor throughout. The attention to every last detail was unmatched.

I will say, I felt a little odd taking pictures of the food, as I know that isn’t truly in accordance to etiquette. However, I had spoken with the executive chef and let him know about my etiquette business, so he was very encouraging of my blog post, which needed pictures.

All around the restaurant there were frame photos and newspaper articles about Mt. Vernon. The pictures were so neat to look at, but the newspaper articles took the cake! We learned about one poor man who was “minus his right little toe” after a mishap with his gun that shot the toe “clean off even with his foot.” Most of the stories we read about were just as comically written.

If you have the opportunity, I hope you’ll visit The Chophouse on Bankhead. The experience is magical, and I know you won’t be disappointed!

Dressing For Dinner

Wow! My husband and I went to dinner with a group of close friends tonight, and it was the most amazing experience! For those of you who aren’t local to me, we live in a small town, and fine dining experience are few and far between. Due to this, we don’t have many chances to get dressed up for dinner. Tonight, though, felt like a magical occasion, and I loved it.

The Oaks Bed & Breakfast is a recently refurbished home turned into a bed and breakfast. As if this wasn’t neat enough, every Thursday (starting today) they’re having Date Night. (Side note: It’s reservations only.) The meal is set, other than the main protein, which adds a unique element to it as well.

Tonight we had cold cucumber soup, ceviche on a bed of avocado, choice of salmon or stuffed flanked steak accompanied by mushroom risotto and pesto zoodles, melon and mozzarella salad and, finally, chocolate and caramel cheesecake. Every bit was outstanding. It took a while to get through all of the courses, which is exactly what I wanted. I LOVE when dinner is an experience. We also took this time to dress up a bit more than we normally do, and I didn’t realize how much I had missed that.

Additionally, we had great, quality time with friends sans kiddos. 🙂 To top off a perfect evening, we got to sit in the coveted private dining area, which reminded me of the private table in Commander’s Palace.

If you’re within driving distance of Sulphur Springs, Texas, I highly recommend getting reservations for this weekly treat!

My Love of Lenox


If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you may notice I tend to highlight Lenox china. In fact, when I first looked for advertisers, they were who I sought to become an affiliate for. I was ecstatic when Lenox wanted to partner, as well! Why my love for Lenox

  1. First and foremost, teaching Southern etiquette, I have an appreciation for products made here in the South. Lenox’s bone china is STILL made in Kingston, NC. I appreciate their committment to quality, even after more than 125 years in business.
  2. They’re timeless. I have several favorite patterns by Lenox (only two of which I own), but I know without a doubt, future generations will be able to use (and love) my Lenox china without it becoming dated. Again, the quailty will help it last.
  3. They’re not simple. This one may seem a little contradictive to #2, but the fact it, you are able to personalize your dinnerware with accent plates, special pieces, etc. Often, each type of piece (such as a coffee cup) may have three or more potential designs making it even more of your own.

So, what are my top patterns?

  1. I will always adore Vintage Jewel above the rest for the simple reason that it is our wedding china. It is special beyond a doubt to me, and I love using it every chance I get. Here’s what it looks like:As you can see, it is a very classic pattern. The attention to detail on this one (notice the rim) is what initially drew my eye. I also love that we can use it for any holidy.
  2. AutumnThis is a very bright pattern, with gorgeous blues and oranges. It also isn’t a smooth plate, as the accent colors are handpainted. In short, it is stunning. I always get compliments on this pattern.
  3. Royal GrandeurI have always loved blue dishes, and this pattern is no exception. To me, it’s a little less formal, but it’s no less impressive.
  4. RepublicThis is a pattern I could see using on a very nice cruise ship. Gold is as classic as it gets. The little added details sets it apart from more white-and-gold dishes.

Which pattern is your favorite? Do you have a go-to china brand you love? Thank you for reading!

This post contains affiliate links, and I will earn compensation for any purchase you make after clicking these links.

Napkin Folding (and Unfolding)

To begin this segment, I want to elaborate on a point I made in the previous napkin post. I said that as soon as you sit down, you should place your napkin in your lap. This is because everyone should sit down at the same time. On the occasion the host has not sat down at the same time you have, it’s best to wait until they have sat down. They lead the dinner. But I digress.

When you sit down to dinner, your napkin may look like a crown foldrectangle or a swan. If you’re hosting, get as “flourishy” as you want. I’ve even attached a link at the bottom of the post for a good napkin-folding website, which has a fold I attempted for the first time tonight, the crown fold. How royal.

A couple of things to keep in mind. The most formal (think: dinners we’ll likely never attend, unless you plan to meet the queen) would never have the napkin on the table; it is placed on the plate or charger. Fun fact: these formalest of formal (yes, I know it’s not a real word) dinners also do not have bread plates. The bread is placed on the tablecloth or runner to the left of the plate. Yum…the practical reason behind placing your napkin in your lap when you sit down can be seen in this scenario. If you don’t remove it, how will you eat?

fold 1

Even black tie affairs (white tail being the most formal) may have napkins on the plate, if that’s the host’s preference. Otherwise, it’s to the left of the plate, underneath the silverware. If the napkin is monogrammed, regardless of the fold, the monogram is in the bottom left in the case of a rectangle fold or the center in case of a diamond fold. When there is no monogram, the fold is closest to the plate. To be 100% honest, this is an area of etiquette that is not commonly practiced much any longer. The primary goal should be to have all of the napkins facing the same direction.

To remove your napkin, simply pick up the silverware with one hand, remove the napkin to your lap, then replace the silverware. Once it is under the table, open it to cover your lap (or leg).

I, unfortunately, do not have napkin rings. However, fold 2if you set your table with them and don’t want to roll the napkin, the pointed side is towards the diner. Just place the napkin ring to the top left of the place setting. Once the meal is finished, return the napkin to the ring with the pointed side toward the table.

 

If you have any other napkin questions, please ask away! Who knew there would be so much to learn about a piece of cloth (or paper)?

Fun Folds: http://bumblebeelinens.com/napkinFolding.php

A Napkin Can Say So Much

A napkin can say so much. Knowing how and when to use it can not only save your lap, it can save your seat!

place setting1

napkin1

When I first got interested in etiquette, dinners were what I naturally gravitated towards. I loved setting the table, putting out the special china and serving our favorite foods. Now, let it be known I do not advocate hiring out help unless you need it/can afford it, despite what the other Emily says…you know, Emily Post. However, I love a cloth napkin and feel they make any dinner special. Fun fact: napkin rings were created to let each person know which napkin belonged to them; they were kept on the table throughout the day for all meals. Appetizing, I know.

crumbled napkin1

No matter if it’s cloth or paper, as soon as you sit down, the first rule of napkin etiquette is to place your napkin on your lap. Ladies, this would be over your entire lap. Men, this is over your left leg. There your napkin will remain until you get up. If you want to return, place your napkin on your chair; this lets everyone know you’ll be back (Schwarzenegger impression). If you are leaving for good, place it to the left of your plate. That’s it. It’s that simple.