We've sung the praises of Southwark's superb bar and bartenders in these pages before, and after a recent visit we're in a singing mood again. While seated at the bar and tucking into a warm chicken confit salad in a sage-cider dressing, we overheard (okay, eavesdropped) something about homemade grenadine. Turns out bartender George Costa has been fiddling with pomegranate molasses and turned out his own version of the garnet-hued mixer. Try it in one of Southwark's signature Mary Pickford cocktails, where it mingles with rum, pineapple and maraschino liqueur. It might sound syrupy sweet, but it's surprisingly balanced with a bracing, dry finish. >> Southwark, 701 S. Fourth St. 215.238.1888. www.southwarkrestaurant.com
With worldwide hatred of America at an all-time high, is this really the time to be calling your new establishment the Ugly American? And in Philadelphia, where we're now nationally known for being less than attractive? Owner Kevin Kelly says the name comes from the 1963 movie starring Marlon Brando; he also jokes that he named it after himself. While the name might be an odd choice, the menu from husband-and-wife chef team David and Carla Gilberg is intriguing. It highlights regional American dishes, including beef-on-weck (Buffalo's answer to the cheesesteak). To match the American fare there's an all-American wine and beer list which Kelly hopes to maintain without caving to the pressure to bring in imports. The space, which formerly housed old-school Italian spot La Vigna, has been renovated to include a wine cellar and a long, handsome oak bar. >> Ugly American, 1100 S. Front St.
Eat It With Your Mom!
Going to see The Nutcracker at Christmas is one of those things my mom talks about us doing every year, but that we've never actually done. In our house we prefer to spend the season shopping, eating and arguing. Perhaps this year we'll get just a tiny bit closer to cultural fulfillment by attending the Nutcracker Tea at XIX. The restaurant at the top of the Bellevue is hosting a finger sandwiches and sweets spectacular in honor of the ballet. For $38 you get an assortment of dainty sammies plus sweet treats like "sugarplum fairy pudding" and a marzipan financier. It's $19 for kids under 13. >> 2-5pm. $19-$38. Through Dec. XIX Nineteen Cafe, Park Hyatt at the Bellevue, 19th fl., Broad and Walnut sts. 215.790.1919. www.nineteenrestaurant.com