The “There’s Nothing for Dinner” Dinner Salad

Dinner Salad | The Urban Grape

Obviously I love to cook, but part of keeping my love of cooking alive is knowing when to get take out. I try to plan for at least one night a week, because even the most dedicated home cook needs a freaking night off. That night was supposed to be last night, but the slowly wilting contents of my fridge made me reconsider, put on my apron, and come up with something fantastic.

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Create a Memorable Culinary Experience with Urban Grape & Saltbox Kitchen!

The Urban Grape | Urban Grape Saltbox


Looking for a unique and curated event idea? Whether it’s for 8 or 80, Saltbox Kitchen can craft a farm-inspired menu featuring hors d’oeuvres, small plates, or a multi-course dinner expertly paired with wine or beer selected and poured by experts from Urban Affairs by Urban Grape. These hospitality-driven events combine fine food and beverage with seamless event planning and execution so you can fully enjoy the experience and leave the details to us!

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A Foray into Fall Food

The Urban Grape | delicata squash

It seems like just a week ago that I was bemoaning the death of tomato and corn season, but just like that I’m officially excited for fall food. The savory deliciousness, the ease of wine pairing, the joy of eating dinner by a quiet fire – it does feel pretty exciting to have these moments back in our lives after a hectic, hot summer.

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Another Birthday in the Books

The Urban Grape | Birthday Dinner

I am a wee bit obsessed with my birthday. I’ve traced the genesis of this obsession back to the bunny cake my mom used to make me every year. I started to anticipate my birthday cake months in advance, and even though we never knew what the weather would be on April 2nd (case in point, this weekend), we knew we’d be eating big slices of candy-dotted, vanilla-iced goodness that night. You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced red licorice whiskers on your birthday.

With marriage came the shifting of the birthday planning responsibility from my mother to TJ. I’ll be honest and say that I had no faith that he could fill the big expectations created by my mom, but time and again he has proved himself more than capable of the task. This year was no exception, and he planned a celebratory night at Eastern Standard and The Hawthorne with a small group of friends in tow. It was the exact celebration I had been hoping for. With such a big night out on Saturday, I knew I wanted to celebrate at home with the boys on Sunday. But, what to cook?

All week I poured over my cookbooks, but I couldn’t get inspired. At 3 o’clock on Sunday I sat down with the new Bon Appetit Magazine hoping the perfect meal plan would be contained within. It was: cocoa and coffee rubbed steaks, grilled asparagus and spring onions, and farro and pea salad. An homage to spring and a good reason to get the grill ready for six months of constant use.

TJ made negronis while I prepped dinner and whipped up some Katharine Heburn brownies for dessert. It was a simple menu, but full of flavor and vibrantly green – the remedy to months of roasted winter root vegetables. The kids ate asparagus, a gift in itself. TJ and I drank the 2012 Realm “The Tempest,” his favorite new cult Napa Cab and one he feels is poised to soon eclipse better known labels. It was simple, it was sweet, it was just as perfect as the night before but in it’s own way. It’s what birthdays have become. The only thing missing was the bunny cake.

*About Realm*

Realm will be getting an exhaustive blog post after we visit them in Napa later this month, but in the meantime here is what you need to know: their story is amazing, and their wines are coming onto the scene in a big way. TJ has been raving about them for a year, and we’ve finally got three of their offerings at UG. Right now, you can still get their wines for a (relative) steal in comparison to better known Napa Cab producers. But they’re still a small producer, and as demand grows for their wines, so will the prices.

We drank the store’s last bottle of The Tempest last night (sorry!), a Merlot blend with Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. It’s round and juicy on the first glass, a dark fruit Napa wine in all ways. But as it opens up it becomes decidedly European, moody and earthy with notes of tobacco and fall spices. 96 points Parker, if these things matter to you. It was a great pairing for the steak, which is what we cared about.

We still have the 2012 “The Bard” red blend in stock (99 points Parker), as well as the 2011 “Farella” Cabernet and 2011 “Dr. Krane” Cabernet. All are excellent wines, and worth exploring if you’re looking for new Napa rising stars! Please click the button below if you would like to inquire about purchasing these wines.

Buy Realm Wines





Sophie’s Picks!

The Urban Grape | Sophie Staff Picks

Sophie takes the wheel on the blog today. Joining us as our Special Orders Manager last fall, Sophie comes to UG by way of great Boston restaurants like Ribelle and Grille 23. Given her restaurant background, Sophie is a pro at recommending food and wine pairings. Here she shares one of her favorite recipes, with two possible wine pairings! 

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Valentine’s Weekend Is Upon Us!

The Urban Grape | Cookie Cake

I have a lot of love for my husband, but I can’t say I’ve ever had a lot of love for Valentine’s Day. It ranks up there with New Year’s Eve in terms of holidays that can never live up to one’s expectations. I remember the year I made a heart-shaped cookie pie for a boyfriend….and then he didn’t even share the damn thing with me. It’s hard to have a warm and fuzzy feeling about a holiday after an experience like that.

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