I couldn’t wait even 4 days to blog about this Shabbat dinner. Similar to last year’s rooftop Shabbat, I got a call from my friend Marissa from OneTable who wanted to put together a Shabbat al-fresco towards the end of summer. After how well last year turned out, how could I say no?
The dinner was in the garden at Christy Webber Farm & Garden–a branch of Christy Webber Landscapes in Chicago. The idea of having a Shabbat dinner outside in a garden sounded too good to be true to me; luckily, it exceeded even my wildest dreams.
I love a good tablescape. My new friends at Christy Webber Farm & Garden helped me out in this department–I had a vision and they elevated it with fresh greenery, pumpkins, and gourds! I brought the tablecloths, gold chargers, and plastic plates and silverware.
I also made the candlesticks. They are SO easy to make (exactly like these DIY menorahs from last year), and I bought the actual candles from the dollar store. I outfitted all the tables for about $20 and 10 minutes of work. You just glue the 3/4″ copper tubing (specifically called a “coupling”) from Home Depot to these wooden blocks. If you don’t feel like making your own candlesticks, the below are just as cute!
I bought all the tablecloths, plates, plastic silverware, etc. on Amazon:
The Place Cards
I created these place cards using my Cricut (shocker), and they turned out really cute! I just cut out a square with a score line in the middle, and cut a leaf shape out on one side of them. I used a white gel pen to write people’s names, and voila! I put the place cards inside so people would see them on their way out to the garden. (See more Cricut projects here)
I don’t think it’s a secret at this point that I’m obsessed with Chloe Wine. Their pinot grigio is my go-to, and I was so happy they offered to provide the wine for this special evening! There was barely a drop left at the end of the night. Plus, it’s so pretty!
As an appetizer, I put together a cheese board made with goodies from Trader Joes. It’s surprisingly easy to put together cheese boards like you see at fancy events; I couldn’t believe how well it turned out! Shout out to my friend Lauren who helped me set up the dinner AND put the final cheese board together. I just bought all the supplies!
Everything you see here on the cheese board was about $50 total (for the food):
- 2 apples
- Red grapes
- Cheddar cheese
- Goat cheese
- Gruyere cheese
- Apple jam
- Fig & olive crisps
- Brioche toasts
- Assorted crackers
The actual marble slab ($50) is a Crate & Barrel piece I bought this year. It’s extremely heavy, but I can’t tell you how many compliments I get on it. It is sooo perfect for these types of large appetizers, and I keep it on display in my kitchen when it’s not in use!
The Main Course
For dinner, I had Doc B’s catered. The manager at the River North location was so nice; we basically called him and said “we have 30 people coming for dinner and want to keep it light; here’s our budget, can you help us put together a menu?”, and he put together the perfect dinner. It was an assortment of salads and 2 sandwich platters. I would 100000% order from them again!
Side note: the dishes that went the fastest were the Tangled Noodle Salad and the Brussels Sprouts Salad. I highly recommend these dishes if you’re ordering from them!
Sadly I didn’t photograph the dessert, and I’m not entirely sure how I missed this! I picked up black and white cookies from Manny’s Deli in Chicago. They are the yummiest and I just cannot resist a black and white cookie. The key is to get a bite of both the chocolate side and vanilla side at the same time. If you don’t get that reference, please see here.
I should also mention that my friend Eshley also made 3 dessert challahs, so we were SET in the sweets department.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped make my dream Shabbat a reality!
- Effie at Christy Webber Farm & Garden for being the most gracious host I could ever ask for
- My friend Lauren for coming 2 hours early to help me set up
- My friend Eshley for making SIX challahs, which were gone in approximately six seconds
- My friend Taryn for candy-ing the almonds for the cheese board, and for taking a ton of photos when I was busy setting up and greeting people
- OneTable for providing the grant that made this dinner happen; if you’re looking to host or attend a Shabbat dinner in your city, sign up for their platform! It’s the BEST!
- All 30 people who showed up, ate good food, drank good wine, and spent the most wonderful evening together making new friends