Food and Holidays
Maybe you don't celebrate Jesus' birthday with a consumer extravaganza, maybe you don't want to cook a formulaic feast again this year, or maybe you just don't care.ï¿½ Philly has a handful of restaurants, mostly in hotels, that are open Christmas day serving the full array of grub.
After the jump, check out the joints that will keep the stoves lit and the lights on this Friday.
La Fontana Della Citta (1701 Spruce St., 215-875-9990); Moderately famous for veal and seafood dishes, this one is right in pretty, sparkly Rittenhouse, serving their full a la carte menu for dinner.
S&H Kebab House (611 E. Passyunk Ave, 215-639-3214);ï¿½ Doner and chicken kebabs, Turkish veggie salad and babaganouj for peanuts.ï¿½ Super casual for those who reject holiday requirements of putting on their big-boy pants.
Divan Turkish Kitchen (918 S. 22nd St., 215-545-5790); A fancier take on Middle Eastern cuisine, the full menu will be available on Christmas.
Novita Bistro (1608 South St., 215-545-4665);ï¿½ Hey, did you know Morocco is part of the Mediterranean? Merguez, gnocchi and tagine all happily coexist here.
Fancyface Hotel Dining
Sole Food (Loew's Hotel, 1200 Market St., 215-231-7300); Seafood and complicated cocktails in a posh setting. Lovely lounge for secular merrymaking.
Fountain Restaurant (Four Seasons Hotel, 1 Logan Circle, 215-963-1500); One of Craig LaBan's precious few four-belled experiences in a setting right out of the golden age of Hollywood.ï¿½ Both the Fountain and the Swann Lounge are serving groaning tables of brunch fare all Christmas day, $98 per person.ï¿½ Last seatings are 6:30 (Swann) and 7 p.m. (Fountain).ï¿½
Lacroix (Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square, 215-790-2533); The typically lavish Sunday brunch at Lacroix will be served all Christmas Day, $75 per person, until their last seating at 7 p.m.
Chez Colette (Sofitel, 120 S. 17th St., 215-569-8300); A Sunday brunch-styled buffet breakfast runs 8-11 a.m. for $21 per person; lunch and dinner menus will be available a la carte, or a $36 holiday prix-fixe menu includingï¿½ Maine lobster bisque, Muscovy duck, French cheese plate and traditional Yule log dessert.
Palace at the Ben (Franklin House, 843 Chestnut St., 267-232-5600); Dine like a Raj with a luncheon buffet, $14.95 (vegetarian) or $16.95 (omnivore).ï¿½ Dinner will be a la carte from the regular Indian and Pakistani menu.
Derek's (4411 Main St., Manayunk, 215-483-9400); Manayunk's original mover-and-shaker chef, Derek Davis, will serve his Cal-Italian influenced new American menu as usual.ï¿½ The vodka bar upstairs is waiting for you.
Chart House (555 S. Columbus Blvd., 215-625-8383);ï¿½ The a la carte dinner menu will be served riverside all day, starting at 11 a.m. for the ambitious.
Tongiht from 7 to 9, pop by Beneluxx (33 S. Third St.) for half-price appetizers and draft holiday brews (yes, they'll have Mad Elf) that'll also be specially priced. It's a chance to check the tasting room's new menu ï¿½ they've still got all the cheeses, fondues and chocolates to poke through, but they now feature some small entrï¿½es.
UPDATE: So here's some more on Beneluxx's new approach. New chef Dan Kauffman has introduced some new starters and salads, as well as entrï¿½e-size plates like butternut squash ravioli with rosemary brown butter sauce and a New York strip au poivre. There's now a prix-fixe meal option, too. In the first half of January, they'll be overhauling their beer and wine lists, so keep an eye out for that.
Building a quality gingerbread dwelling is only a slightly less time-consuming and frustratingï¿½ project than taking on an life-size West Philly fixer-upper.ï¿½ Bob Vila, master of home improvement, takes the cursing out of the cheeriest season with his diagrammed instructions for building a gingerbread house.
The BobVila.com team provides free, downloadable .pdf plans for A-frame, colonial, saltbox and side gable houses, then shows you how to put it all together with handy illustrations, royal icing and a glass full of eggnog as a strut.ï¿½ Strap on your toolbelt and have at it.
|Lights on the plaza|
Touring Nuremberg, Brussels or Bern in the weeks before Christmas is a bargain traveler's major-cash-saving method -- hostels are cheap and unlikely to run out of hot water when you have shampoo in your hair, museums are uncrowded. But, you're doing your tourist thing while the frosty winds blow and give the locals that adorably apple-cheeked look -- while your nose runs. Better warm up at one of Europe's seasonal Christmas markets with a mug of gluhwein (hot mulled wine) and a hearty grilled sausage.
The Christmas Village at Dilworth Plaza (west side of City Hall) harnesses this Euro vibe,ï¿½ with more than 50 vendors selling everything from traditional folk art to jewelry and 1200-count linen sheets and comforters.ï¿½ Seven food and beverage vendors are also on hand,ï¿½ offering classic winter treats like warm waffles with whipped cream, mulled wine and apple wine from Chaddsford Winery, weisswurst, knackwurst and bratwurst.
The Village is also offering special "Business Meals" from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on weekdays.ï¿½ The offerings change day to day and week to week, and the $6 meal includes a soda, roll and lebkuchen (German gingerbread cookie).ï¿½ï¿½ Check out the specials, after the jump.
Business Meals, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. weekdays; $6 including roll, soda and lebkuchen
Mon: Original Octoberfest weisswurst with potato salad
Tue: Weekly Special (see below for weekly specials)
Wed: Franconian bratwurst with German sauerkraut
Thu: Weekly Special
Fri: Knackwurst with potato salad
Weekly Specials (served all day long)
12/5-12/11: Berliner kassler with sauerkraut
12/12-12/18:Original Hungarian goulash
12/19-12/24: Baked leberkaese with potato salad
|Photo l Drew Lazor|
Add this to that wishlist you're compiling for Pï¿½re Noï¿½l:ï¿½ a Christmas week dinner at Bistrot La Minette (623 S. Sixth St.).ï¿½ The single-week, five-course classic French Christmas dinner runs Wed.,ï¿½ Dec. 16 to Wed., Dec. 23, and chef/owner Peter Woolsey promises to "pull out all the stops" for his holiday guests.
The $65 dinner ($100 with wine pairings for each course) features every rich ingredient you associate with French food: caviar, escargots, foie gras and potatoes dauphine, that casserole-gone-wild of spuds layered in cream and Gruyï¿½re; plus oysters, venison medallions and the French Yule log cake, the Bï¿½che de Noï¿½l. Full menu with wine pairings after the jump.
Bistrot La Minetteï¿½ French Christmas dinner, Dec. 16-23, call 215-925-8000 for reservations.
Tartine de Crï¿½me Fraiche et Caviar Crouton, crï¿½me fraiche, caviar
Five cold water Little Shemogue oysters, lemon, mignonette
Wine: Crï¿½mant de Limoux
Five Burgundy snails, garlic butter, croutons
Wine: Macon Domaine Bouchard Ainï¿½
Terrine de Foie Gras
Foie gras terrine, wild mushrooms, brioche, aged balsamic
Wine: Monbazillac, Chateau Tirecul La Graviï¿½re
Medaillons de Chevreuil Bordelaise
Venison medallions, red wine and butter emulsion, potatoes dauphine, roasted brussels sprouts
Wine: Cahors, Clos La Coutale
Bï¿½che de Noï¿½l
Chocolate butter-cream Yule log cake, vanilla ice cream
Wine: Banyuls, Les Clos De Paulilles
Chef/owner Mike Stollenwerk of fish (1708 Lombard St., 215-545-9600) dropped us a copy of the New Year's Eve menu he'll be serving at his Lombard Street seafooderie.ï¿½ The theme is black and white truffles, and Stollenwerk will be working it into basically every course of this feast, including white truffle ice cream (!) for dessert. There'll be two seatings, one at 6 and one at 9:30 p.m.; it's $110 a head, or $150 with wine pairings. Full menu after the jump.
BLUE POINT OYSTER
Potato bisque, black truffle
Pea leaf-white truffle salad, poached egg vinaigrette
Truffled spaetzle, parmesan broth, melted leeks
Celery leaf, black truffle
Truffled celeriac, royal trumpet, bordelaise sauce
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE TORTE
White truffle ice cream
|Photo courtesy Gershman Y|
|Restaurateur Steve Cook (representing Zahav) gets ready to serve|
History comes edibly alive this Sunday, Dec. 13, when the Gershman Y (401 S. Broad St.) holds its seventh annual Hannukah latke fry-up, Latkepalooza.
More than 3,000 potato pancakes are served to more than 500 adults and children every year. This year will feature variations by the likes of Marigold Kitchen, Snackbar, Zahav, Estia, Jones, Max and David's, Penne, Sabrina's Cafï¿½, Singapore Chinese Kitchen and Whole Foods, among others.ï¿½ï¿½The latke, which is always fried in oil, is a traditional Hannukah food celebrating the miracle of a small amount of consecrated olive oil that burned for eight days and nights while the Second Temple of Jerusalem was rededicated at the time of the Maccabean revolt in the second century BCE.
If that's too much of a mouthful for you, just enjoy your latkes and the balloon-sculpting clown, live music, childrens' arts and crafts and vendors.
Latkepalooza at the Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St., Sun., Dec. 13, 2-4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at gershmanY.org or by phone at 215-545-4400;ï¿½ adults are $15 in advance or $18 at the door, children $10 advance or $13 at the door.
Thanksgiving is so close we can almost smell the stuffing, but we know there are plenty of non-cooking types out there who prefer to steer clear of the kitchen and hit up a restaurant. Don't fret ï¿½ even though hot spots like Supper and London Grill are already booked solid, there's still ample opportunity to get your table-service turkey fix this Thursday.
|Courtesy of Ted's Montana Grill
The reservations at Smith & Wollensky (Rittenhouse Hotel, 210 W. Rittenhouse Square) are going fast ï¿½ their prix-fixe menu features plates like butternut squash purï¿½e, lump crab cakes and a roasted beet, frisï¿½e and upland cress salad as appetizers. Diners have the option of either cornbread/sausage stuffing or cranberry/orange relish to go with their maple-roasted turkey. Sides are family-style ï¿½ green beans with walnut butter and blue cheese; or Brussels sprouts with applewood-smoked bacon, pearl onions and dried cranberry, to name two. The cost is $49 per person and $20 for children under 12, not including tax and tip.
Ted's Montana Grill (260 S. Broad St.) is getting into the spirit, too, with an all-day menu. They'll do traditional roast turkey with dressing (see photo), and sides like garlic mashed potatoes, squash casserole and country-style green beans. Just $14 a person. The regular Ted's menu will be available, too.
terra (243 S. Camac St.) is cooking up a special Thanksgiving Day menu featuring homey specialties like spinach and sweet cranberry salad; roasted butternut squash; roasted turkey with herbed pan gravy; pecan chorizo stuffing; green bean casserole; green chili and cheddar mashed potatoes; and finally, apple and pumpkin pies. (Full menu here.) The dinner costs $30 per person, with tax, gratuity and drinks not included.
Thirteen (Marriott Downtown, 1201 Market St.) is doing buffet-style service from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The hotel restaurant will put out eats like corn and crab chowder; roast turkey with giblet gravy; hand-carved ham and roast beef; and pan-seared sea bass. Sides'll include candied yams and mac 'n' cheese. It's $32.95 for adults and $16.50 for kids 10 and under. After the buffet closes, they'll serve similar stuff family-style from 5 to 9 p.m.; that'll be $21.95 for adults and $11 for children 10 and under.
There's another numerical restaurant going the buffet route, too ï¿½ Nineteen in the Park Hyatt (Broad and Walnut) will put out their opulent spread from 1 to 6 p.m. It's $65 for adults and $32 for children, and the restaurant is still taking reservations for parties of five or fewer.
Out in NoLibs? Darlingï¿½s at The Piazza at Schmidts (1033 N. Second St.) is serving up all the classic dishes we all know and love. If you want to take your meal to go, Darlingï¿½s is taking orders for ham or turkey platters (with all the fixins), starting at $19.95 for two people. They'll serve from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
And for those who want to get started a little early, Memphis Taproom (2331 E. Cumberland St.) is kicking off the holiday party on Wednesday, Nov. 25 ï¿½ all day long, draft beers will be flowing for just $3. They're closed on Thursday, but head on back to Fishtown on Black Friday to check out brunch from noon to 3 p.m. as well as Franconian firkins aplenty. There's still one day left to get a Thanksgiving pita stuffed with turkey, stuffing, cranberry, grilled onions/mushrooms and mayo from Pita Pit (1601 Sansom St.), which'll be open till 5 p.m. tomorrow. Oh, and don't forget the Wednesday-night deals at Varga Bar and Valanni that we mentioned earlier today.
If you know of any other Thanksgiving deals or events in and around Philly, drop us a line or leave a comment. Otherwise, have a safe and happy holiday!
Sister establishments Varga Bar (941 Spruce St.) and Valanni (1229 Spruce St.) plan on accommodating y'all drunk fools on the biggest bar night of the year with some dealage for tomorrow evening. At Varga, they're offering $2 cans during a power hour of sorts from 11 p.m. to midnight; there'll also be Kilo Kai Spiced Rum samples flowing, and food specials from chef R. Evan Turney. Up the street at Valanni, they're kicking off specials at 10 p.m., with an hour-long open bar in there somewhere (they're being a lil' coy about it and wouldn't tell us exactly when), and $5 Ketel One cocktails. Drinkkkkk.
A Meal Ticket reader just checked in with the following holiday query:
I'm coming down to Philly to have brunch with my family on Thanksgiving Day. Do you happen to know any places (not near the parade) that have brunch on T-Day? Or just a good brunch spot in general, that's moderately priced ($15 per person)?
So what do you think, Meal Ticketers? A family-friendly Thanksgiving Day brunch-style meal that won't break the bank? Our first thought was that Morning Glory fits the criteria perfectly ï¿½ except they're going to be closed on Thursday. Whatcha got?
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