Between holiday parties, last minute shopping and a higher-than-usual concentration of family events, this time of year can be tough on holiday cheer. In the spirit of giving (back to yourself, that is) here are seven sweet, savory and boozy holiday pick-me-ups to boost that seasonally celebratory spirit.
Tiki Drinks at Bud & Marilyn’s
Instead of worrying about the unseasonably warm December temperatures, the folks at Bud & Marilyn’s are embracing ‘em with a month-long tiki pop-up happening in their courtyard (pictured above). Tropical classics like scorpions, painkillers and Singapore slings are sharing the menu with Hawaiian brews from Kona. There's also warm weather-inspired bites like char sui pork, pineapple buns and sweet and sour meatballs.
1234 Locust St.; 215-546-2220
Jewish Christmas at Zahav
Taking a cue from the Jewish tradition of Chinese food and a movie, Zahav is brining back their annual pre-Christmas dinner on December 23rd. This prix fixe affair is offering two seatings at 6 and 9 PM. This year's feast is still under wraps, but last year’s festivities included dim sum and Korean family style feasts — along with big screen showings of cult classics. Call 215-625-8800 to reserve your spot.
237 Saint James Place; 215-625-8800
Buche de Noel at Lacroix
The yule log, a Qubeciose import, is one of the sweetest ways to celebrate the holidays. This year, the talented pastry team at Lacroix is offering two takes on the cake: a dark and milk chocolate log, as well as a pumpkin version with orange and cream cheese. They're available from December 20th to the 27th in the restaurant. If you’re in the neighborhood, make sure to check out a gingerbread replica of the Ben Franklin Bridge on display in the lobby.
210 W. Rittenhouse Square; 215-790-2533
Doner Kebab at Christmas Village
This German style Christmas Market is up and running in LOVE Park, and there are plenty of great bites to sample. Waffles and schnitzel are on the menu, but with the central Center City (i.e. lunch hour perfect), positioning of this market, we’re all about the doner kebab (pictured above). This German street meat staple is shaved straight from the spit onto fresh pita — then topped with shredded cabbage, diced cucumbers, tomatoes and a tangy sauce.
Panettone at Osteria
Festive boxes filled with this sweet and eggy Italian bread are staples this time of year — but your best bet for prime panettone comes from the pastry kitchen at Osteria. Here, slices of candied citrus and dark chocolate bread are served with an amaretto zabaglione.
640 N. Broad St.; 215-763-0920
Christmas Cookies at Termini Brothers
This South Philly by way of Southern Italy bakery does Christmas cookies right with a lineup of old country sweets rarely seen at stateside bakeries. Be on the lookout for hard to pronounce, but easy to love, cookies: almond studded meringues with orange and cashews called scumetti (pictured above), Sicilian macaroons rolled in toasted pinenuts, and imbuttiti, an original Termini recipe that calls for a dried fruit and nut dough that’s aged for six months before baking.
Champagne at Tredici
This Midtown Village newcomer is taking Christmas sparklers seriously with a December only menu of Champagnes by the glass. The current line up includes full and half glasses from all of the big houses, including rarely seen pours of Moet Imperial, Vueve Cliquot and Dom Perignon, all priced from $6 to $20.
114 S. 13th St.; 267-928-2092