Friday, January 28, 2011

Lehigh Valley Neighbors and Snow

In DC hardly anyone even owns a snow shovel, so during the Blizzard of '03, people were stealing them off of porches and out of garages. There was a run on all things scoop-shaped at Logan Hardware - including garden tools (e.g. rakes, buckets, trowels). No one was saving parking spaces in Glover Park because everyone knows you could lose your life doing that. The federal government was shut down and Metro was only running to underground stations. On a positive note there was an epic snowball fight on the National Mall and the local news finally focused on something other than who was killing who in PG County.

The 10" of snow we got yesterday in Bethlehem was beautiful, but it was a pain in the neck to deal with, even with an awesome new (to me) SUV. Except when you have a team of neighbors to help you clear your driveway and sidewalks with shovels, brooms and a snowblower. And in the Lehigh Valley, most of us have at least one neighbor with a plow on his truck. Mine cleared the whole block before the Bethlehem Public Works trucks made it back a second time. I saw them roll by on our wide street around 3 p.m., awestruck. I did have to dig out the end of the driveway again but I had a smile on my face while I shoveled, because his kids were having an epic snowball fight of their own (complete with snow mounds to hide behind).

How is snow removal going in your neighborhood?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vegan in the Valley

Let's get this out of the way first, I eat meat, dairy, eggs, and wear leather and wool. I always have, and likely, always will. But living in a big city exposed me to a whole new food culture - one where things like tofu, tempeh, and organic grains were readily available at a market two blocks from my apartment, at Whole Foods and at... wait for it... my beloved Trader Joe's. Lots of meat-eaters like me don't bat an eyelash at ordering meat-free dishes at restaurants, so a lot of restaurants responded by featuring them on their menus. People choose a vegan lifestyle for health, environmental and ethical reasons, and I admire their commitment and hearts. I have a few vegan friends and am a sucker for a tasty meal, regardless of whether it features meat or a substitute.

I imagine that living a vegan lifestyle in DC was fairly easy compared to doing it in the Lehigh Valley - lots of options, wide acceptance and understanding, and a large community of fellow vegans for support. In the Lehigh Valley, there are a few organizations, writers and businesses that bring veggies and vegans together and making all of us more educated eaters, shoppers and cooks:

1. Businesses (other than restaurants)
  • Vegan Treats - the inspiration for this blog post because they're planning to expand their operations from a space at 1444 Linden Street in north Bethlehem to a large production facility in Hanover Township at 310 Stoke Park Road - specifically, next-door to Patrick McIvor Salon and Dave's Deli, two other great local businesses. Thanks to Bernie for the tip. Their products are sold in cafes and restaurants in the Washington, DC, area, New York, and Philadelphia, and taste like heaven, even if you're used to the eggs-and-butter varieties. Vegans drive hundreds to miles to make a pilgrimage to VT's tiny HQ for the freshest vegan doughnuts, cupcakes and cookies anywhere.
  • Trainer Barry Lovelace is vegan and a serious fitness professional.
"It is interesting, to say the least, to be a fitness professional and a vegan. So much of the industry is over run with the myth of athletes needing to overload on protein to gain muscle and strength. Visions of muscle-encased men chugging raw eggs is never far from the minds of many people. The flip side of people’s misconceptions is the idea of vegans being pale, emaciated and weak. Barry enjoys dispelling all of these myths by being a man who is very strong, energetic and fit and also a vegan.

2. Bloggers/writers:

  • Save the Kales - Writer and cook Jaimie Karpovich has made quite a name for herself in the Lehigh Valley blogosphere and vegan community. She chronologues her adventures in vegan cooking and baking, enthusiastically shares the things she's passionate about, and blogs about vegan food, inspiration and compassion. If you don't get inspired by her online cooking videos, live cooking demo classes, nutrition consultations and catering, you should start your own blog.
  • Veronika Galvez - This Lehigh Valley mom writes and tweets about vegan life in the Valley (and lots of other stuff, too). In her Examiner piece she profiles a few local vegan-friendly food sources. To that list I'd add Kow Thai in Allentown, Hello Burrito and Petra Mediterranean in Bethlehem, and Balasia at the Allentown Farmers Market.
  • Vegan Jill - Who else do you know that dedicates vegan recipes to musicians?
  • Louzilla Lovegood - Lou's a leader of the vegetarian initiatives on Kutztown University's campus and is a very creative writer and passionate vegan advocate (even in her own home). She put together a list of the Top 10 vegan-friendly restaurants in the Lehigh Valley.
  • Cooking with Anne - Anne is one of my blogging heroes, and in between developing recipes for Disney, raising 7 kids, and teaching cooking classes, she put together a great piece on vegetarianism in the Lehigh Valley, resources, recipes, a list of farmers markets and natural food stores, farms, and more.
  • Sara Hodon wrote a great piece in Lehigh Valley Marketplace about health food stores and other healthy options, filled with great recommendations for vegans and non-vegans alike.
  • LV Eggplant is no longer actively writing since three of the four authors have moved on and the remaining writer moved to Doylestown. Their blog is a great archive of writing about veggie cooking and eating in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.

3. Organizations/Groups

  • Lehigh Valley Vegetarians, led by tireless volunteer Len Frankel, meets monthly for pot-luck dinners and social events, and lists veggie-friendly restaurants and links to vegan and vegetarian resources.
  • The Lehigh Valley Food Co-Op offers many vegan options to its members. Members can buy and sell locally-grown food, and buy a wide-range of bulk foods, and staple foods and household goods that are not produced locally.
As always, please share your thoughts, suggestions and what I missed, for the good of other LVTransplant readers.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bethlehem hair salons

TC Salon in Bethlehem (61 W Walnut St. Bethlehem) is closed during unexpected renovations. There wasn't any heat in the building for a little while, or hot water, so closing was probably a good move. There are rumors that the Bethlehem location is actually closed for good, and unfortunately, the building's other tenants, Twisted Tulip Florist, Retro Deli and Catering, Daddy Groman's Moravian Bake Shop and Wilson Black Photography, are out of the building for the moment, too. Retro gave an update in this weekend's MCall Retail Watch.

If you have a gift certificate or you're a loyal client, you'll need to drive to the salon's Allentown location (621 North 19th St. - in the building where the former Shanty Restaurant was). I heard from a reliable source that the spa amenities in Allentown aren't nearly as luxe as Bethlehem's, but the services themselves are consistent with what you're used to. The salon moved to the building last year from its spot on West Tilghman Street. Its 19th Street location is definitely hip - stop in for a cup of at Hava Java before your appointment, and afterwards, show off your coif at a Civic Theatre show or inside two of my favorite places to shop, Step in 4 Mor and Boutique to Go.

Or, if you're not down for the trip to Allentown, I'd recommend checking out a few Bethlehem salons:

South Side
Apotheca Salon & Boutique 101 E 3rd St. (484) 821-1497
Eskandalo 12 W 4th St. (610) 625-9100

North Side
Gadzooks (3303 Bath Pike/Route 512 at Route 22)
Lux the Eco Friendly Salon 648 N New St. (610) 625-4600
Blown 597 Main St. (inside Main Street Commons) (610) 694-8989
American Hairlines 77 W Broad St. (610) 882-9848

Monday, January 24, 2011

Perfect weekend

Perfect weekend =

Friday happy hour after work, wine and apps at Edge Restaurant with friends. No Coors Light girls or loud music, always a cozy place to sit, a tasty 50% off appetizer menu, and a vibe just right for a low-key Friday night. + Validated parking -> sweet.

Saturday, Corinne and her girls visited, I saw my sister and my parents, and we cheered on Tristen in a youth soccer game inside the Iron Lakes Sports Dome in North Whitehall Township (it looks like a huge igloo from the outside!). After a stop at Westgate Pizza and Abe's Six Pack, we settled in for a laid back night with friends at home.

Sunday, a good workout at West End Yoga in Allentown with Lindsay - thanks, Leah! Then this hockey/football widow spent the afternoon in Bethlehem with Molly. After lunch at Brew Works, we browsed at Sophistikate, Shuze and Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Tap Room, all on Main Street. At Seasons, Molly picked up a loaf of French bread for $3 from The Flour Shop - thus ending my search for fresh bread in Bethlehem. They also have some new entertaining goodies, including a brie baker and baked brie topping that I'll keep in mind for gifts. After we parted ways, I stopped in at Aardvark Sports to get some good wool running socks, on the recommendation of my friend Nancy, who I saw last Friday at the Lehigh Valley Running Scene happy hour. And finally, I visited Bone Appetit Bakery, a tiny store inside Main Street Commons with yummy dog treats and gifts. I met Rugby, the owners' adorable Australian shepherd and gave him a good scratch, then got a funny look from Stella, my Aussie mix, when I got home. Wish I'd taken a picture - you'll just have to visit to meet Rugby for yourself!

After the weekly chores and household bill-paying were finished, I booked a trip to California to visit two dear family friends - it is 70 degrees and sunny where they live today. Since it was five degrees in my car this morning, I am happy to have something to look forward to!

How was your weekend? Did you discover anything awesome in the Lehigh Valley?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

LV Beerrun Club Update

Here's an update on the LV Beerrun Club from its founder, Cara:

We are now running every Wednesday night. Except special occasions (holidays, etc), we do the same run each time- Meet in the hall outside Aardvark Sport Center for a 7:30 pm departure, run thru downtown Bethlehem, crossing over the Fahy Bridge to the South side, and returning on the Hill to Hill Bridge (I have to say, after being here 6 months, I'm pretty proud of myself for knowing the names of those bridges! ha!). After the run, we have beers at Brew Works, more accurately, Steel Garden... where we play their Wednesday night Trivia. It's turned out to be so much fun, more than I ever imagined when I started this. There's about 12-15 runners who come occasionally, with a core group of about 6. Recently, BrewWorks started sending out emails promoting us, which has resulted in some new interest. Here are answers to some FAQ:
  • Yes, we run in the snow- the "polar bear group" is smaller, but a few of us do brave the weather. The rest still join for drinks after, even if they don't feel like getting cold and wet! :)
  • No, we don't stop at bars DURING the run. It's run first, drink second.
  • Yes, we would love to have you even if you are faster/ slower/ marathoner/ walker/ whatever. We truly welcome everyone who wants to join us in some outdoor exercise and camaraderie.
  • Yes, we are (FINALLY) on Facebook! This is where announcements, run reminders, schedule changes, etc. may be found. Just search "LV BeerRun Club" on facebook. Our blog is still up and running with the details of what we're about.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sam Adams Brew Pub

I picked up the January 19-25 edition of The Mix last night when I was at Bethlehem Brew Works. Inside, there are always photos of local people partying at bars.

Some people look like they're having a great time.

Some might be having too good a time.

Others look like maybe they were caught in the act of doing something or being somewhere with someone they shouldn't be.

This week's The Mix "NightCrawler" featured a page of pictures "On the scene at Sam Adams Brew Pub." There are even more photos online.

I'd never heard of this place, so I did a little research. In case you were wondering like I was, it's located inside the Holiday Inn Lehigh Valley (7736 Adrienne Drive, Breinigsville) - which locals call the Holiday Inn Fogelsville. FYI:

"Join us for a beer at the Samuel Adams Brew Pub at the Holiday Inn Conference Center Lehigh Valley. The Samuel Adams Brew Pub offers plenty of fun, food and drinks, with more than four distinctive Samuel Adams brews and six other top
beers always on tap."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Arts and Crafts and a Half Pipe in Easton

If you didn't get enough of the snow this morning, join the 2nd Annual Snowflakes for Easton Community Art Project. The group's goal is to fill the windows of downtown Easton with 25,000 hand cut paper snowflakes by its big Snow Day event on Saturday, February 12th!

Join other random snow-lovers, Easton lovers, and people who love a party at a Mercantile Home (140 Northampton Street, Easton) Snowflake Cutting Party on Sunday, January 30th, 2 - 6pm. If you bring the scissors & paper, Mercantile Home will provide the party atmosphere. Visit the Mercantile Home site for a refresher on how to cut paper snowflakes, information on the project, and other ways you can be involved.

If you complain that you never meet anyone new, this is a great way to break out of your circle, meet new people, and do something nice for Easton, at no cost, in a non-alcoholic, no-pressure setting. Get out there and make a snowflake or 20!

Check out the video below to see how it went down last year, the program's first year! This year's event will be even bigger, with Red Bull bringing a half pipe to Centre Square.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Winter's Walk on the Towpath

If you aren't following the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor blog, you're missing out on some really interesting content. I smiled when I watched this brief man-and-his dog adventure/music video/documentary piece of a walk on the towpath in the snow. For those of you who haven't explored the towpath, now is a great time to do so. It's very quiet and if you give yourself enough time, you might think you've taken a step back in time. All you'll see is nature and somewhat ancient bridges, and maybe a train on the other side of the canal.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (1923)

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Maybe I'll take Stella for a snowy walk.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"News flash: Generation Yers don't want what has generally passed for the American Dream since the 1920s."

Ryan Champlin, a friend, fellow urbanist and Bethlehem transplant, writes about the Wall Street Journal's "Developments" blog post, "No McMansions for Millennials," by S. Mitra Kalita and Robbie Whelan (Jan. 12, 2011).

I hadn't seen the article before the post in Ryan's blog, Bethlehem by Foot, popped up in my RSS feed. He makes some excellent observations about walkable cities, TV culture and new home design (you should read it - seriously).

But the point that stood out to me was the fact that Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000, roughly - I'm on the cusp) may need to turn to traditional housing development and public transit because "The Great Recession and its effects on young people’s wages will affect how much home they can buy or rent for years to come."

Many Lehigh Valleyian Gen Xers want to live "where it's at"/in cities until they have kids, then move to the suburbs (where they grew up) to raise their kids. They explain to me that schools are better, houses are larger and newer, and they can afford a nice yard with a fence and a 2-car garage. The suburbs are safer, taxes are (sometimes) lower, and they want to raise their family in a neighborhood with lots of other kids. Some of you might have ended up in the Lehigh Valley for this very reason.

Some members of Gen Y are beginning to have kids. So, Generation Y Lehigh Valley residents, weigh in - what do you think? What's important to you? (And members of other generations... listen up!)

What is co-working and why should I care?

There was recently an update on Allentown Good News blog on something I'm calling The Little Project That Could (Be a Really Big Deal): Hive 4A.

Matt invited me to the first open house but I had a scheduling conflict. Wish I could have been there to see the smiling faces of the pioneer hipsters who said yeah, we are open to new ideas, we might be willing to invest a little dough in a project that could benefit me and other young professionals, the city, and the regional entrepreneurial community.

Even if this doesn't describe you (or describe your situation right now), you'd be wise to learn about it. If "working from home" was the work/life trend in the 2000's, co-working is what's going to be hot in our next decade, and one project is already developing in Allentown.

Coworking is a movement to create a community of cafe-like collaboration spaces
for developers, writers and independents." - source: co-working community blog

So Lehigh Valley Starbucks fans, lucky you. There might be more places to sit once this thing gets off the ground.

If you're not hip to co-working, I wasn't either. I'd encourage you to follow @allentownedc on Twitter and/or the Allentown Good News Blog and stay in the loop.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Get a Hobby - Join an adult soccer league

If you reminisce about your days in tube socks and shin guards, and fondly remember your days of youth or scholastic soccer, LV Out of Shape Soccer or Lehigh Valley Old-Timers Soccer (LVOT) might offer fellowship and the right level of competitive futbol for your interest.

The Out of Shape League has 250+ male and female adult members who split up in teams of 11 and play 2-4 pickup games per week. Some athletes play more than once a week; others drop in occasionally. All games are free unless they are played under the lights (then each player chips in $2). Pickup games range from a "beginners/easy (and those really out-of-shape)" (their words) game about every other week, a game for those over age 38, a monthly intermediate game, and a pickup game for experienced players 2-3 times a week. More skilled players can join competitive teams.

LVOT is a recreational adult league that has offered Over-30 and Over-40 programs since 1988. Currently the League's 14 teams play each Saturday afternoon in the fall and spring. There are ten teams in the Over-40 group that typically plays on Tuesday nights.

Both leagues are welcoming to new participants who play at all levels of the sport. Contact one of the league organizers to find out more.

Do you play in adult soccer league? Is it fun or does it make you long for the days when you could easily bend it like Beckham?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reader looking for restaurant recommendation in Allentown

I received this email:
I was hoping to get you cut on a good place to try for an early dinner tonite with [the girls]. I know you know... with my gang, it's about the food, not ambiance. Whatever you think - we eat like anything international or other.
Here's what I replied:
Good morning! This is a fun assignment. I will post it on the blog and see what the readers say. But I can tell you from personal experience that we LOVE Kow Thai at 12th & Linden. You can eat in but it's mostly take-out. I also dig Sweet Italian (535 N 7th St. - both Italian and South American cuisines) and Winston's, (619 N. 7th St). I have heard good things about Island in the Sun (921 W. Hamilton St.) but have not been there yet. Hope that helps - let me know where you end up!
What would you have said?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A few of my favorite Lehigh Valley brands

When Alyssa went left for Syracuse University, email was not as common as it is today. Nor was Internet shopping. Texting and Facebook didn't exist. All we had was AIM, and it was good enough. We were both missing home, and we'd IM, reminiscing about high school and commiserating about roommates and hard classes, getting a little taste of home on our respective far-flung campuses.

Except that you can't IM a Tastykake, so I ordered a care packages of those yummy baked confections and had them shipped directly to her residence hall in upstate New York (probably surrounded by 6' snow drifts).

It's my first memory of making an online transaction, and one of the first times I recognized that the things (especially food items) that I grew up loving and enjoying on a regular basis, were not available just anywhere in the universe.

When I first went away to college, Yuengling wasn't available out of state. It's not that we thought it was the most amazing beer on earth, but it was sort of a taste of home for exports like me and my friend Mike. So we always made sure we'd grab a case before returning after holiday breaks (yes - I transported beer across state lines - I hope the statute of limitations has passed). This made us very popular on the fourth floor of Anderson Hall. Yuengling's distribution widened a few years later, and then we could buy it at our beloved Tenley Liquor anytime.

Mayur Kabab House, a Indian restaurant in a Tudor-style building on K Street, NW, near 11th Street, serves up a tasty and cheap lunch buffet enjoyed by nonprofiteers like myself. They also, inexplicably, stock A-TREAT beverages in their cooler. When I worked downtown, I cherished my A-TREAT birch beer, red cream or black cherry soda alongside my curried cauliflower and lentils.

How I miss you, Mayur Kabab House. But now I can get fresh A-TREAT 24/7.

I have heard stories of out-of-towners who order up Yocco's Doggie Pacs from inlaws visiting from the Lehigh Valley. I remember going to Cosi to pick up a loaf of bread for Becky on my way to the airport. The smell of the freshly-baked bread was positively intoxicating from DCA to PVD - I cannot imagine the smell of Yocco's Doggie Sauce wafting from the trunk.

Boomerangs (those of you who, like me, grew up in PA, moved somewhere else for a while, then returned), are there any Lehigh Valley products you missed while you were away? Any restaurants or goods that you are happy to have back in your life? And transplants, are there any products you can't get in the Lehigh Valley and miss like crazy?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sunny came home... to Bethlehem

My heart is singing. Singer-songwriter, and old fave of mine, Shawn Colvin, is one of the first acts booked at the new SteelStacks Center in Bethlehem. Tickets for all their shows will go on sale to the public on Feb. 18 (ArtsQuest members, Feb. 16). I know what I'm doing on June 4!

Here are the rest of the shows that have been announced to date:
Steve Miller Band - April 30
Jon Anderson - May 2
Dr. Dog - May 6
Leo Kottke - May 7
Mike Doughty - May 14
The Last Roundup: The Radiators Farewell Tour - May 18
dala - May 20
Scythian - May 21
Leon Redbone - May 27
Béla Fleck & The Original Flecktones - June 1
Ana Popovic & Guitar Shorty - June 2
"ShowDown at SteelStacks" with David Parker and The Bang Group - June 11
The Machine - July 8

New Year's Resolution: Get some culture

Craving a little culture? Need a cheap date, or a grown-up night out?

There's a new exhibition in Center Valley: "Artists Who Teach at Penn State Lehigh Valley."
You can celebrate the opening on Thursday, January 20, 5–7 p.m. at the campus at 2809 Saucon Valley Road, Center Valley. Escape the cold, meet the artists, and stroll the gallery for the night. The exhibition runs through February 15.

This exhibition will include drawing, painting, sculpture, jewelry, and photography by Penn State Lehigh Valley professors who teach courses in the visual arts, psychology, biology, and information technology.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spot-saving: A time-honored Lehigh Valley tradition

Transplants, especially those of you from warmer climes, if this is your first winter in the Lehigh Valley, you might be wondering why all the recycling bins and folding chairs are sitting in the parking lane on your street.

It's because in the Lehigh Valley, if someone cleared that space of snow and ice, they probably think they are entitled to park there until the snow melts.

I can see both points of view:

POV 1: I dug out my car, carefully removed the ice and snow even between the curb and the passenger's side and was late for work because of it. I put my recycling bin there so nobody would park there because I got dibs. And when I came home after a long day of work (or the grocery store), you, he who did not shovel 5" of snow at dawn, is parked in MY SPACE. Because of your lack of consideration, I have to park up the block, in an inferior space, one that may not have been cleared of ice and snow, maybe one that is not really a whole space at all since there is a huge pile of snow at the end of the block, instead of the nice space I cleared for myself in front of my house. And I have to carry my groceries through ice and snow to get to my porch, which has a dead Christmas tree, four sleds and seven snow shovels on it.

POV 2: I am looking for a parking space near my doctor's office/hair salon/friend's house and all up and down the street are these folding chairs and recycling bins in spots where cars should go. It's as if the people who live nearby think they own that spot, and want to prevent people from parking on a public street. I don't care whether you cleared the spot - you moved, now I need a place to park and there aren't any spaces, because the open spaces look like an abandoned tailgate party and the snow boulders between each space are taking up half the block. I either have to get out and move your folding chair before I back into the space (and risk you keying my car), or park three blocks away and climb over snow piles to get to my destination.

This blogger is fortunate to have a driveway, which is definitely a privilege in a city neighborhood. I do have a hard time finding parking near some friends' houses when it snows, but usually, if I wear appropriate footwear, my options increase. But I know lots of people who face this challenge daily, both at home and at their place of business. One PA township has banned the practice of saving spaces. Local blogger "Ugly Easton" weighs in. What do you think?
PS - Check out Chicago's solution to "space saving" chairs - a citizen's awareness campaign!

"It's long been a Chicago tradition that if you clear your parking spot of snow,
you can save it with chairs or other sundry items. It's also long been a Chicago
tradition that people here are nice to each other. It’s time the second tradition trumps the first. By ordering Chair-Free Chicago signs, you can declare the front of your building, or your block, or your whole neighborhood a Chair-Free Zone. A Chair-Free Zone is a place where neighbors act like neighbors. A place where we all hope our shoveled-out parking space is available when we return, but we aren’t selfish enough to try and save the spot."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another way to find out what's going on in the Lehigh Valley

I received an email from Apollo Grill this weekend, which reminded me of one of the secrets to figuring out what's happening in the Lehigh Valley: don't just read "traditional media," get your news straight from the source. Some businesses have Facebook pages. Others are active on Twitter (@blackforestdeli is a good one to follow). Some have an e-newsletter (Step in 4 Mor's and Shuze's always let me know when the sale is on). Some just send an old-fashioned email. And some do a combination of these, and more. Apollo's tipped me off to an upcoming dining event in Bethlehem:
Bethlehem’s Winter Restaurant Week is right around the corner Jan. 30 through Feb. 5th! Enjoy a three course prix fixe menu for lunch at $15.11 and a 4 course prix fixe menu at dinner for $30.11. Apollo’s regular menu will also be offered that week! We would recommend calling for reservations since it is a busy week! We will post the Restaurant Week menus on our website and Facebook a week before, so check it out.
Each time you dine at a participating Restaurant Week restaurant you will receive a contest slip, which you can use to enter a drawing to win a gift certificate for a breakfast, lunch or dinner for two from EACH participating restaurant (a $2,000 value). Receive another entry when you spend $10 at participating retail locations during Restaurant Week. I usually hear about upcoming events from participating businesses that I follow online or when I stop by to shop or eat... they are planning way ahead and always have the inside scoop on whether something is worth going to. And by the way, Apollo is ABSOLUTELY worth going to anytime, but I second their recommendation... always make a reservation. In my opinion, it is the toughest table to get in town. (Although if you can't get a seat, Starfish Brasserie and Edge Restaurant, 1/2 a block away in either direction, are awesome.) The food is phenomenal, the service is outstanding, and it is one of the best places to see-and-be-seen in the Valley. Here's a full list of participating Restaurant Week restaurants. Enjoy! 1741 On The Terrace (at Hotel Bethlehem) 437 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-625-2226 Lunch: n/a Dinner: $30 Apollo Grill 85 W. Broad Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-865-9600 Lunch: $15 Dinner: $30 Blue Grillhouse & Winebar 4431 Easton Avenue Bethlehem, PA 18020 610-691-8400 Lunch: n/a Dinner: $30 Cactus Blue Mexican Restaurant 2915 Schoenersville Road Bethlehem, PA 18017 610-814-3000 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 Confetti Cafe 462 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-861-7484 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 Emeril's Chop House (at the Sands Casino) 77 Sands Boulevard Bethlehem, PA 18015 484-777-7777 Lunch: n/a Dinner: $30 Loopers Grille & Bar 313 East 3rd St Bethlehem, PA 18015 610-882-2424 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 Mama Nina's Foccacheria 546 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-867-9802 Lunch: $15 Dinner: $30 The Melting Pot 1 East Broad Street, Suite 100 Bethlehem, PA 18018 484-241-4939 Lunch: n/a Dinner: $30 Petra Mediterranean 81 West Broad Street 610-866-3901 Lunch: $15 Dinner: $20 St. James Gate (at the Sands Casino) 77 Sands Boulevard Bethlehem, PA 18015 484-777-7777 All day: $20 Starters Riverport 17 W. 2nd Street Bethlehem, PA 18015 610-625-2300 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 Tika's Restaurant & Lounge 500 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-868-8903 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 Alando (inside Wired Cafe) 520 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-317-2009 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 Bethlehem Brew Works 569 Main Street Commons Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-882-1300 Lunch: $15 Dinner: $20 Burgers And More (at the Sands Casino) 77 Sands Boulevard Bethlehem, PA 18015 484-777-7777 All day: $20 Carnegie Deli (at the Sands Casino) 77 Sands Boulevard Bethlehem, PA 18015 484-777-7777 All day: $20 Edge 74 W. Broad Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-814-0100 Lunch: n/a Dinner: $30 Hello Burrito 38 West Broad St Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-882-2124 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $10 Jumbar's 1342 Chelsea Avenue Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-866-1661 Breakfast: $10 Lunch: $15 Molly's Irish Pub & Grill (formerly Lehigh Pub, formerly Bridgeworks) 6 E. Fourth Street Bethlehem, PA 18015 610-868-1313 Lunch: $5 Dinner: $10 Olio Ristorante 555 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-625-4949 Lunch: $15 Dinner: $30 Sotto Santi Pizzeria 10 W. Fourth Street Bethlehem, PA 18015 484-895-3111 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 Starfish Brasserie 51 W. Broad Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-332-8888 Lunch: n/a Dinner: $30 Thai Kitchen 347 Broadway Bethlehem, PA 18015 610-814-2670 Lunch: $10 Dinner: $20 The Tap Room (at Hotel Bethlehem) 437 Main Street Bethlehem, PA 18018 610-625-2226 Lunch: n/a Dinner: $30

Friday, January 07, 2011

Holiday Decor in the Lehigh Valley

There are varying levels of taste, and commitment, to holiday decorating in the Lehigh Valley. Some people go all out, with blinking lights, inflatable snowmen and multiple displays. Others keep it simple with a few bushes netted with white lights and a wreath.

Most houses and businesses in my neighborhood are at least decorated with a simple white candle in each window facing the street, and sometimes a Moravian Star.

Our front porch light is a lit Moravian star that looks a little like this.

Do not confuse the Moravian Star with the Star of Bethlehem, which looks more like this - long and pointy:

Nearly everyone has those little white candles in their windows, but most don't know the origin of the tradition. I did a little research, and discovered that the 26-point Moravian Star originated in the Moravian school handcraft sessions in Niesky, Germany around 1850, and is usually seen hanging and lighted at night. The Moravian Church in North America calls this tradition Illumination. It refers to the German custom of putting a lighted candle in each window after dark, and is also common in the Moravian settlements of Salem and Lititz, too.

Our candles are battery-operated, and each has a light sensor, so I don't need to remember to turn them on every night and off in the morning. Once I seal them inside the double-pane window well on Black Friday, I kind of forget about them until after the new year. The informal rule for taking down holiday decorations is 12 days after Christmas (NBC's Today Show viewers concur). That would be, uh... yesterday. But our candles are still up. So the question is - is this candle tradition a holiday decoration, or is it acceptable to leave them up all year round?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Exercise and Meet People

If your goals for 2011 include exercising more and meeting new people (either friends with shared interests, friends with an interest you want to cultivate, or potential exercise buddies), tomorrow night's free Beerrun might be just the ticket to kick-start your New Year's Resolution.
Wednesday, January 5, 7:30 SHARP - unless you enjoy sprinting to catch up - meet outside Aardvark Sports Shop (571 Main St., Bethlehem inside Main Street Commons). Metered parking is available in the Main Street Commons parking lot (access from Broad Street), on Broad Street, or at one of the nearby municipal parking lots. After the 2.5-mile run/walk/jog (at your own pace), enjoy beers and trivia together at Bethlehem Brew Works. Wear reflective gear if you've got it!

New Year's Resolution: Learn Something

Kudos to Ed Sieger at ( for his review of Fegley's Brew Works' Rude Elf Reserve, a beer I look forward to all year. I enjoyed one this New Year's Eve at Bethlehem Brew Works. I like it so much I was pictured with it in my first Lehigh Valley Style column last year! I learned something new: that the Brew Works is expanding its bottling operations.
"The addition of the new bottling line means everything Brew Works currently
offers in 750 ml bottles will eventually appear on the shelves in 12-ounce
bottles, including the spring seasonal Space Monkey and the fall seasonal
Devious Imperial Pumpkin Ale."
Devious Pumpkin too? Sweet. Just nine more months 'til I can enjoy that bad boy. (And by bad, I mean insidiously good.)

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Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year's Resolution: Get Organized

Thanks to Lehigh Valley Style's Life in the Valley blog, I have a new piece of furniture to covet:
The locker/hairstylist station/storage mirror! Pottery Barn Teen's Display-It Storage Mirror a useful piece, especially for apartment dwellers or those who have plaster walls and fear drilling into them (like me). You can order online (save 15% using coupon code: SaveAdditional15) or at the Pottery Barn store at the Lehigh Valley Mall ($599 + shipping).