Where to Eat This Weekend: Finding Comfort Where We Can

Fried chicken, blood pudding, congee, ramen and Sunday Gravy on a Monday night — because Philly has something to comfort us all, no matter what we love.

Spaghetti and meatballs at Little Nonna’s

Look, with the holidays coming up, things are going to be getting…weird. Family, friends, commitments to work parties and office parties and visiting with the relations. This weekend might be the last time you have for yourself until the new year.

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So you should take advantage of it, right? You should go somewhere that you love — that serves the kind of food you want to eat when you don’t have to worry about your brother’s girlfriend’s imaginary lamb allergy, Aunt Mabel’s diabetes, or the fact that Grandpa hasn’t yet forgiven the Japanese for Pearl Harbor so won’t let anyone eat sushi in his presence.

This week, it’s all about comfort food — the things you want to eat when you don’t really want to think about what to eat. And we’re going to begin with…

Sunday gravy every day

Little Nonna’s is almost always a good choice when you’re looking for a little bit of comfort. But two things make it extra-special this week. First, the kitchen does their Sunday Gravy every night of the week – offering platters of the pasta of the day with warm marinara, and a side dish of assorted meats like meatballs stuffed with cheese, braised short rib and fennel sausage. Second, because this kind of weather is just begging for a dinner like this. One thing though — keep in mind that the Sunday Gravy is only available until it sells out each night, so maybe don’t save this one for a late night snack.

A different kind of noodle

On Monday, December 11th, the Instagram-famous Neighborhood Ramen is coming to Garage Fishtown for a non-secret pop-up dinner. Usually you’ve got to get the time and location via DM. This time? Well, I just told you the time and place. It starts at 5 p.m. They’ll be serving until they run out. And there are just six items on the menu and nothing is more than $10. You can check out all the details (plus a picture of one of Neighborhood Ramen’s delicious, photo-ready bowls) right here.

Blood, brains and beer

Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time), you just want something simple. You want a place with a good burger, some interesting beers, and a chef in the kitchen who knows his way around the red meat. For those moments, Watkins Drinkery should absolutely be on your list. Granted, the kitchen has been through some ups and downs, but it is now firmly in command of chef Ari Miller, who is doing everything from a burger topped with shaved pumpkin and whipped bleu cheese to a black pudding and egg sandwich with coffee aioli. There’s also an excellent scotch egg, beef hearts, a surprising amount of vegan options, and a bar. What more do you need? Except maybe…

Also fried chicken

Oh, that’s right. Maybe you need some fried chicken. Because who doesn’t need fried chicken? Lucky for us, Hatch & Coop just opened in University City, offering two kinds of fried chicken sandwich, a fried chicken salad (for you health nuts), some fries (for the vegetarians), and a homemade ice cream sandwich rolled in Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal (for you stoners). Boom.

Dim sum for everyone

Philly has a lot of dim sum options these days, but if you’re looking for a seriously delicious and old school experience, you gotta check out Ocean City. Right down in that weird corner of Chinatown (near Terrakawa and Sang Kee), it’s a big, white room filled with tables, TV’s and women pushing around carts full of every kind of Chinese small plate imaginable. And sure, the dumplings and buns are excellent and the water chestnut cakes as weird as they always are, but they also serve a really good bowl of congee here. I’m pretty sure you have to ask for it, but it’s worth it because when it comes to cold-weather comfort food, nothing beats congee. Except maybe a bowl of pork soondubu from Dae Bak a couple blocks away