Time to Toast

By staff July 1, 2007

To my birthday boy and beating the heat at The Grape.


By Judi Gallagher


This past Friday marked my son Eric’s 21st birthday. Since he is a cook at the Ritz- Carlton, work came first and he could not be home for a dinner celebration, as the holiday weekend is one of the busiest in Sarasota. Eric’s request was simple: “Mom, bake me your triple-layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting; but can you make it the same way you made it when you totally messed up and added too much oil and it was all soggy? That was my favorite.”

Eric with his unfortunately not soggy cake.


 Ah, the life of the kid whose mom is a chef—they always seem to have to eat the practice dishes and mistakes. Unfortunately for Eric, though, the triple layers came out perfectly this time—couldn’t make it soggy for the life of me.


Cliff Roles and The Grape's new GM, Carlos Toro, swirl some flavors.

Have I got a deal for you!
The Grape, which has reopened under new management, and I might say, it’s a refreshing change, indeed, has a beat-the-heat special for wine enthusiasts. Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m. you can enjoy a wine flight special for seven bucks that includes complimentary appetizers on the bar. For more information about all their wine-sipping specials, call Carlos Toro, The Grape’s new GM (formerly of Emeril’s and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans).


Fun catching up with radio talk show host Cliff Roles, a regular at The Grape; Blab TV mogul Donny G.; Premier Properties’ real estate queen Lynn McDonald (she went straight for the chocolate); and good friend and “Mr. Downtown” Matt Orr over at The Grape last week. We are all in agreement that the smoked salmon pita Pisa is a top pick on their menu, and would be nice after a stroll down to the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. Apparently The Grape has another special on Saturdays from noon-3:00 p.m. Five flights of wine for $5—only wish they had a nice lawn chair to nap in afterwards.


Feeling the need to avoid loud boats and quite honestly, loud people in muscle shirts, we opted for a pre-4th of July weekend at home. Great choice, as our first three Bella Roma tomatoes at the pool garden ripened under the sun and afternoon rains, allowing us to enjoy a tomato-basil salad with grilled sausage kabobs and my favorite cowboy burgers from Whole Foods. Be careful with your barbecue this fourth—feeling lazy, I purchased some steak kabobs from another market. Athough pretty in the case, they could have used three days marinating to make the meat more pliable than shoe leather. Maybe that’s why my aspiring chef son came home from work and had a bowl of cereal and two more pieces of carrot cake for his dinner, instead!


What are you cooking for the 4th? Share some inspiration by posting below!
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