Dinner Theater

The Things You Can’t Live Without

PIONEERS, ANGLERS, POETS, AND FIDDLERS have long lauded the natural beauty of the Hill Country and onward west. Now the Texas landscape—our creeks, sunsets, and dirt—has inspired something that’s anything but organic: plastic dishes. A frequent visitor to Llano, Brooklyn-based designer Jill Fenichell has, like so many artists before her, fallen in love with our topography, translating the terrain—from Bandera and the Frio River to the Llano Estacado and the Rio Grande—into mix-and-match place settings. The one-time antiques dealer (she specialized in ceramics) cut her teeth at Christie’s and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, going on to craft custom porcelain tableware for individuals and interior designers. These days she brings her elegant patterns to the much more affordable, eminently sturdier, and entirely more dishwasher friendly melamine. For this collection, Fenichell imagines a mess of casual eatin’: platters of chicken-fried steak and enchiladas suizas, bowls of chilled okra and salsa verde, and dessert plates stacked with flan con canela. “It’s too hot for details,” she says. “Just lay on the food and the friends.” Bongenre tableware by Jill Fenichell, from $12 to $40. Available at bongenre.com; P&K Grocery, 915 W. Mary, Austin, 512-326-3133; Unika Deco, 4412 Morningside Dr., Houston, 713-522-2258; Noah’s, 11255 Huebner Rd., San Antonio, 210-690-0423.

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