Thursday, October 06, 2011

Restaurants near South Bethlehem: Advice to a chef visiting this weekend for Oktoberfest

My friend Lori works for Revel in Atlantic City – the newest and most fabulous casino resort at the shore. Her friend, the executive chef at LaSalle University recently asked her:

I'm thinking about visiting Chris in Bethlehem this weekend and seeing his new kitchen and checking out the Oktoberfest thing going on… Are there any places to eat worth visiting while I'm up there? I don't think that Chris is the right guy to ask, as he doesn't really live there, and his idea of a great restaurant is someplace with large portions of meat. (he loves those Brazilian places) Any thoughts? Sunday brunch would be worthwhile.
Since she knows I love food and the Lehigh Valley, she asked my opinion, which I will share with you, too:
Dear Chef,

Welcome to the Lehigh Valley! This weekend’s weather is supposed to be perfect for Oktoberfest, fall harvest activities and general outdoor merriment. Yes, the weather is always this beautiful!

Knowing you are only in town for one weekend and are based in South Bethlehem, I’d recommend you visit a couple of places that we love, not too far from the ‘Fest:

Lunch – Maybe you’ll eat lunch at Oktoberfest – traditional German fare. If you’re in the mood for something else, I’d recommend the not-so-best-kept-secret of West Bethlehem (<5 minute drive), The Mint. Sit at the bar, order the wasabi pea soup or the Bank Burger, and enjoy 127+ domestic microbrews and craft cocktails. (610-419-3810, 1233 W. Broad St., Bethlehem).

Dinner – If you need a break from the ‘Fest, or if you’re done for the night, visit Horns, just six blocks away. The vibe is local, organic, sustainable, eco-friendly, compostable, vegetarian friendly and casual. Your meat-loving friend might not find piles of steak there, but there’s a lot to love. BTW, it is BYOB. You can pick up a bottle of wine or liquor at the Wine and Spirits store one block south of the restaurant, get a six pack to go from JP MacGrady’s, or dry out from your day of wild Oktoberfest antics. You can walk there in <15 minutes. (610-867-5818, 123 W. 4th St, Bethlehem)

Brunch – Go all out at Bolete, with a fancy brunch menu including oysters, lobster, duck eggs, seasonal regional produce, and “(Soon to Be Famous) Ghost of Mary Martinis.” It’s only 10-minute drive from the Oktoberfest grounds. (610-868-6505, 1740 Seidersville Rd. Bethlehem
Enjoy – and let us know what you think!
Readers, how did I do?

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