To-do lists abound during the holiday season, especially when it comes to holiday gift shopping and grocery shopping but fret not — this list is all about savoring the special things that only happen during this time of year. It’s all about celebrating the season and making the very most of it, something you should definitely do here in Philadelphia.
From seasonal cocktails and fancy lunches to the best desserts and taking time out to be a tourist in your own town, here are a few of our favorite suggestions for how to best celebrate the season.
1. Get a seasonally minded cocktail.
Whether it’s a boozy hot number or simply a celebratory martini, drink specials abound this time of year, and you’d be wise to take advantage. Some of our favorite cocktail spots for the winter weeks include:
- Warm up with a glass of Wassail Italia at Cry Baby Pasta, which steeps freshly squeezed cranberry juice with lots of warming spices like clove, allspice, and cardamom, punched up with applejack and Italian maraschino liqueur. Ask Sam Pritchard behind the bar about their Bitter Cold series of hot amaro cocktails, too.
- Try Paul MacDonald’s newest winter creation, The War on Christmas, at Friday Saturday Sunday: Brennivin Aquavit from Iceland, wine-based aperitif Cardamaro, H&H 5-Year-Old Seco Especial Madeira, Creole Shrubb, and Ramazzotti, an Italian bitter liqueur, garnished with orange and sage as aromatics.
2. Find the most festive holiday décor.
Some restaurants go all-out when it comes to the decorations:
- Visit Heritage in Northern Liberties: It’s full of stunning indoor greenery, complete with a decorated Christmas tree, lighting, and a vintage fireplace.
3. Be a tourist in your own town.
While a dinner out is entertainment in itself, there are lots of festive happenings that pair beautifully with your Resy. Spring for dinner and a holiday show:
4. Have a fancy Friday lunch.
Because one of life’s great luxuries is a special lunch on a wintry Friday. Whether it’s dim sum shared with friends or a classic destination with a long-lost friend, now is the perfect time to plan a long lunch.
- Despite its large footprint, Suraya is the perfect place for a solo treat-yourself lunch of mezze, flatbreads, and hummus with all the fixings — without judgment.
5. Take advantage of all those holiday specials.
Whether it’s seasonal menu specials (latkes! tamales! crabs!) or a special holiday pop-up, now is the time to seize the day.
- Learn about Pennsylvania Dutch roots with Elwood’s Christmas dinner inspired by William Woys Weaver’s book, “Folk Tales of the Pennsylvania Dutch” using winter heritage foods like apples, turnips, pumpkin, and pork.
6. Slow down.
The holiday season is always a whirlwind. Whether solo or with a loved one, take time to slow down, and have a quiet dinner in a cozy, candlelit restaurant. Maybe even without cell phones.
- Wm. Mulherin’s Sons sets the mood with its lounge fireplace against dark wood, exposed brick, and gold accents. Ask about prime couch seating with your Resy.
7. And whatever you do, don’t skip dessert.
Actually, maybe go out of your way to get some holiday desserts.
- Mish Mish continues to create bangers, including their newest cheese-for-dessert plate layered with hazelnut praline, brandied cherries, and a mountain of grated L’Amuse Gouda.