Ready or not, the holidays are coming quick. The days are bound to be filled with family dinners, weekend brunches and cocktail parties. And, for those of us who don’t exactly take after Martha Stewart, we need a little extra help when it comes to menu planning or choosing the perfect dessert. So I’m telling you now, before you hit the holiday wall and have no spare time: Order your desserts sooner rather than later. A few local bakeries are ready to take orders for your fête.
For super-special treats, Aux Petits Delices in Wayne has decadent options that aren’t your everyday apple pie (not that there’s anything wrong with apple pie). Choose from a raspberry, triple-chocolate or hazelnut mocha Yule Log, which comes in four different sizes, or go over-the-top with the traditional French croquembouche, a gorgeous tower of caramelized cream puffs decorated for the holiday. If you want something a little simpler, the holiday cookie tray is to die for and includes almost 2 pounds of specialty cookies, from macaroons and palmiers to tuiles and, of course, chocolate chip. Order online at auxpetits.com or call (610) 971-0300. 162 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne.
Another delicious option is the quaint Narberth bakery, Le Petit Mitron, where you’ll find beautiful fruit tarts and cakes like the St. Honoré, an indulgent dessert made of puff pastry and caramel-coated cream puffs. 207 Haverford Ave., Narberth; (484) 562-0500, narberthpa.com/lepetitmitron.
If you prefer a more classic and homey dish, Sweet Jazmines in Berwyn has just about everything for even the biggest sweet tooth. Try the eggnog cheesecake, crème de menthe brownies, or an assortment of cookies like pecan sables, butter or white chocolate macadamia nut cranberry. Expecting family for a few days or brunch guests? The bakery offers plenty of muffins to mix and match, including sweet potato, that you can bake yourself at home (we won’t tell). Online orders are being taken until Dec. 10 and store orders until Dec. 17. 15 Bridge Ave., Berwyn; (610) 644-1868, sweetjazmines.com.
On certain days, parking at the Ardmore Farmers Market and Trader Joe’s is enough to turn even the most patient driver into the worst kind. (I’ve actually witnessed a few full-fledged fights break out over parking spots.) And let’s not even get started on the Whole Foods lot.
Thankfully, Manayunk has provided Main Line shoppers with a quick and easy alternative to our own version of Parking Wars. Open for business since Oct. 8, the Main Street Market is the best thing to happen to Manayunk’s ever-changing storefronts in months! Part butcher shop, part farmers’ market, part bakery and grocery store, it boasts fresh local ingredients, from milk and eggs to fruits and veggies. An impressive assortment of specialty coffee and items like canned San Marzano tomatoes line the shelves, along with your basic cupboard staples. The market even sells fresh-baked breads and pastries from Agiato Bread Company—located right down the street!
A great selection of prepared foods are also available. Shoppers can choose from sandwiches made with Boar’s Head meats and cheeses straight from the deli, or fresh green and fruit salads for a healthy, on-the-go lunch or snack.
4345 Main St., Philadelphia; (215) 482-9500, mainstreetmarketmanayunk.com.
It took co-owners Brad Craig and Bob Storti four years to transform the old Toad’s Tavern into what has become their labor of love, 8 East. The duo worked nights and weekends to completely gut and renovate the space. The result? An unpretentious restaurant and bar that’s a welcome culinary addition to the Boathouse and Great American Pub scenes, which tend to draw the college-aged crowds.
Chef German Gonzalez cooks up hearty pub classics with a refined twist—it’s a little more upscale but not at all fancy. The menu has a great selection of burgers and sandwiches like the filet tip sandwich with melted Provolone and caramelized onions. plus the Bacon Bleu Sliders with applewood-smoked bacon and blue cheese. If a hearty meal is what you’re after, choose from a small but well-rounded selection of dishes, ranging from $17 to $29. On the lighter side, choose from plenty of salads and meal-worthy appetizers. There are also 20 types of beer on draft and even more by the bottle.
If you’re more of a night owl, 8 East opens its upstairs on Friday and Saturday nights for a DJ and dancing. And don’t miss the Sunday brunch and Bloody Mary bar. I can’t think of a better way to roll into Sunday football …
8 E. First Ave., Conshohocken, (484) 351-8452.