Cafette - This relaxing, casual BYOB in Chestnut Hill is the perfect place to enjoy a drink and solid home cooking with friends. Open for lunch Monday-Saturday, dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
No credit cards. 8136 Ardleigh Street, Chestnut Hill, (215) 242-4220.
Delilah's - For a bit of Southern comfort, try the fried chicken, greens and mashed potatoes made by Delilah and served at her stand in the Reading Terminal Market. Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Cash only. 1136 Arch Street, (215) 574-0929.
Down Home Diner - This old fashioned diner is an oasis in the middle of the bustle of the Reading Terminal Market. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. No credit cards.
51 N. 12th Street, (215) 627-1955.
Jones - This moderately priced, 70s themed restaurant, offering old favorites like macaroni and cheese, is the newest creation of Stephen Starr. Open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner daily. 700 Chestnut Street, (215) 223-5663.
Judy's Café - This 25-year-old, family-friendly restaurant has been serving American comfort food to several generations of Philadelphians. Open for dinner daily. 627 S. 3rd Street,
Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant - Chicken fingers and tuna melts are part of the menu at this Manayunk restaurant specializing in regional American Cuisine. 4120 Main Street, Manayunk,
Nick's Roast Beef of Philly - Lunch, dinner and a large selection of beers are offered daily at this popular Old City bar/restaurant. The menu includes famous juicy roast beef sandwiches along with other calorie-laden favorites including chicken wings and fingers, mozzarella sticks and fries. 16. S. 2nd Street, (215) 928-9411.
Mother's - This lively, family-friendly restaurant has been a New Hope favorite for more than 25 years. The menu boasts classic favorites including "Burgers on an English," roast beef and barbeque beef sandwiches and wings with hot sauce. Open for lunch and dinner daily. 34 N. Main Street, New Hope, (215) 862-9354.
Charlotte's - This Delaware County restaurant serves traditional American cuisine in a lovely Victorian setting. Menu includes seafood, pasta, veal and steaks. Serves lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. 3207 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, (610) 356-7100.
Nifty Fifty's - The menu at these popular diners, which are reminiscent of the days of poodle skirts, features burgers, fries and creamy milkshakes. All locations are open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations and credit cards are not accepted. 1356 E. Passyunk Avenue, (215) 468-1950; 2491 Grant Avenue at Roosevelt Boulevard, (215) 676-1950; 2555 Street Road, Bensalem, (215) 638-1950; and 1900 MacDade Boulevard, Folsom, (610) 583-1950.
NEW RESTAURANT OPENINGS
Bella - Chef/owner Ali Waks opened this American bistro, which highlights foods from regional farmers including chicken potpie and molasses fried pork chops. Dinner only served Tuesday-Saturday. 2000 Lombard Street, (215) 985-3222.
Roux 3 - Mediterranean fare is served at this new restaurant in Delaware County. Open for lunch Monday-Friday, dinner daily. 4755 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, (610) 356-9500.
Springdale Café - This BYOB restaurant in Exton offers contemporary American cuisine in a modern setting. Open for lunch weekdays and dinner Tuesday-Saturday. 880 Springdale Drive, Exton, (610) 524-8600.
FRESH & LOCAL
Greensgrow Farmstead, located in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, runs a nursery and farm stand on a rare urban farm. From May to November, shoppers can purchase locally grown produce, humanely raised meats and eggs, along with cheeses and breads. Open Thursday, 12:00 noon-7:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. from spring through fall. 2501 E. Cumberland Street, (215) 427-2702, www.greensgrow.org.
Eclectic Mediterranean-influenced bring-your-own-bottle (BYOB) favorite Django sculpts its ever-changing menu based on what's cookin' down on the farm. Squashes are popular in the fall, and different varieties make their way into soup, pasta and gnocchi dishes. Past menus have included butternut squash cooked risotto-style and squash-stuffed angliotti with sage brown butter. Owner Ross Essner is also a big fan of microgreens and baby versions of fall herbs and produce, which he says are often more flavorful than their larger cousins. 526 S. 4th Street, (215) 922-7151.
Blue Moon Acres farm specializes in greens, including 45 varieties of microgreens and 10 types of field greens. The enclosed on-site market also sells edible flowers and some produce such as broccoli, cabbage and carrots. Open to the public Tuesday and Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 2287 Durham Road, Buckingham, (215) 794-3093, www.bluemoonacres.net.
At the South and Passyunk Farmers' Market, Philadelphians from deep in the heart of the city can bring themselves closer to nature by buying farm-fresh foods. Maybe they'll even spot local chefs buying ingredients for that night's dinner. Open Tuesday, 2:00-7:00 p.m. from mid-May through November. 5th & South Streets.
The menu items at the homey Honey's Sit 'n' Eat depend almost entirely on what's available locally. Some comfort foods with a twist that owners expect to serve come autumn will rely heavily on squash: three-squash vegan lasagna, fairytale pumpkin and butternut squash soup and stuffed squash with cornbread stuffing covered with homemade tomato sauce. Tomatoes will also play a big role this autumn with the annual offerings of fried green tomatoes and heirloom tomato juice. 800 N. 4th Street, (215) 925-1150.
Like many Philadelphia restaurants, owners of Honey's buy their fresh local ingredients from Fair Food Farmstead at Reading Terminal Market. Created and run by the Fair Food initiative, this farm stand emphasizes local foods from small-scale producers, with offerings like humanely raised meats, organic and specialty fruits and vegetables and raw milk and cheeses. Open Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. 12th & Arch Streets, (215) 627-2029, www.whitedogcafefoundation.org.
Pennypack Farm Education Center for Sustainable Food Systems is a charitable, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the health, economic, ecological and social issues involved in sustainable local food systems. There's also a limited market on the premises. Open Tuesday and Friday, 7:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m. 683 Mann Road, Horsham,
(215) 646-3943, www.pennypackfarm.org.
Barshak buys all of her dairy products from Merrymead Farm & Country Market, a busy multi-use farm with a shop that sells seasonal produce (including locally grown apples and pumpkins), baked goods, flowers, meats and non-hormone dairy products. With 30 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream for sale, regular tours and Halloween activities like hayrides and a corn maze, this farm is a fun place to bring the kids. Open seven days a week, hours vary by season. 2222 Valley Forge Road, Lansdale, (610) 584-4410, www.merrymead.com.
Restaurant Taquet chef Clark Gilbert says he's looking forward to adding lots of locally raised lamb to the menu during his first autumn running the kitchen. Diners can expect to see dishes like braised lamb shank, lamb stew with risotto and roasted lamb shoulder, all served with regionally grown vegetables such as celery, turnips, carrots and rutabaga. Venison served with red wine sauce and a ragout of local root veggies should also make an appearance, as will homemade caramel ice cream over a warm apple tart. 139 E. Lancaster Avenue, Wayne, (610) 687-5005, www.taquet.com .
Chef Gilbert raves about Hendricks Farms & Dairy, where he buys grass-fed lamb, beef, pork and rich dairy products like yogurt, cream, milk and hand-crafted cheese. The visitor-friendly sustainable farm and dairy has a store on premises and offers custom-prepared meals and educational culinary events. Open Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
202 Green Hill Road, Telford, (267) 718-0219, www.hendricksfarmsanddairy.com .
The Continental Mid-town. Kick off a Saturday or Sunday with a jolt of caffeine that comes not from a coffee bean but from a cacao bean. Brunch at this Stephen Starr spot includes: French toast made of thick brioche bread oozing with warm milk chocolate and topped with strawberries; and chocolate Belgian waffles stuffed with mascarpone cheese and dribbled with bourbon maple syrup. 1800 Chestnut Street, (215) 567-1800, www.continentalmidtown.com.
The Radnor Hotel's Champagne Sunday Brunch includes the Premium Callebaut Belgian Chocolate Fountain, complete with strawberries, crème puffs, marshmallows and pretzels for dipping, that will test the will power of chocoholics. 591 E. Lancaster Avenue,
St. David's, (610) 688-5800,www.radnorhotel.com.
Maron Chocolates, one of the oldest chocolate shops in the country, will stay open late Valentine's Day to serve romantic delectables like chocolate fondue for two. While the 100 varieties of hand-crafted chocolates are year-round hits at this Rittenhouse Square favorite, on Valentine's Day the chocolate handcuffs, body paint and voodoo dolls (for angry exes) fly off the shelves. 1734 Chestnut Street, (215) 988-9992, www.maronchocolates.com.
At 30-year-old Country Fair Chocolates, those with a sweet tooth can shop for hundreds of homemade chocolate options like Oreos, Vienna Fingers and Nutter Butters dipped in chocolate. But the most popular offering here are the huge, luscious berries swirled in that sweet brown nectar of life. 93 S. Main Street, New Hope, (215) 862-5359.
Naked Chocolate Café cultivates the sensual side of dessert with its oh-so-decadent Au Chocolat teas, chocolate-covered fruit and baked goods so rich that patrons are compelled to lick dripping chocolate off their fingers. 1317 Walnut Street,
(215) 735-7310,www.nakedchocolatecafe.com .
At Miel Patisserie, only the finest and freshest ingredients in the world will do. Fresh-baked chocolate croissants; the Miel Gateau, made of devil's food cake soaked in rum, chocolate mousse, vanilla Bavarian cream and a chocolate glaze; and 17 varieties of hand-crafted chocolates are available to eat on site or to carry out.
204 S. 17th Street, (215) 731-9191, www.mielpastry.com
The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia. On Thursday nights, it's all-you-can-eat chocolate in The Rotunda, where chefs prepare a table piled with 20-25 types of desserts: chocolate-covered strawberries, a chocolate fountain, crepes, cakes and much more.
10 Avenue of the Arts, (215) 523-8000, www.ritzcarlton.com/hotels/philadelphia.
Bleu Martini The menu at this hip lounge/restaurant lists such options as Raspberry Truffle, Milkshake Martini and Mint Chocolate Chip. 24 S. 2nd Street,
(215) 940-7900, www.bleumartinionline.com.
Dolce When a dessert order of Godiva Soup (a bowl of chocolate blended with hazelnut and pistachio) just isn't enough, diners at Old City's Dolce can wash it down with a selection of cocoa specialty drinks that include a Mocha Carameltini, Raspberry Dream and Creamy Praline. 241 Chestnut Street, (215) 238-9983, www.dolcerestaurant.com .