Monday, December 12, 2011

Lehigh Valley restaurant blog roundup

How was your weekend? See any camels? I did!

Coffee Shop Month #3: Re-Wired Cafe/Alando's Kenyan Cuisine
from Evans Eats: Lehigh Valley & Beyond by Heather Evans
Heather's quest to explore the area's coffee shops is a lot of fun. And I know most of you have never visited this restaurant or had Kenyan food, so read her blog.

Nights at The Roxyfrom By Gabriella Lee/Lehigh Valley Style
Gabriella gives a history of the independent, second-run, beautiful theater in downtown Northampton. If you haven't been... put it on your 2012 LV Bucket List!

Restaurant Profile: Chimpun Peru Restaurantfrom Lehigh Valley Food by Kelly Huth The Express-Times
See above re: Kenyan food - you probably haven't had this, either. Stop by Chimpun when you're downtown shopping at Boutique Easton, which is open Saturdays until 8.

Bethlehem to get two new Italian restaurantsfrom Lehigh Valley Food by Lynn Olanoff The Express-Times
For those who identify businesses based on what was once there, Molto Pazzo is on Main Street where Olio was after Bonte Wafflerie. Molinari's is where the Lucky Duck Diner and Steel City Bar and Grill were.

Art Museum Cafe Opening Tomorrow!from Allentown Good News by Matthew Tuerk
Everyone's favorite high-end caterer, Karen Hunter, enters the cafe scene and we can FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY get her delicious brown sugar chocolate cookies every day of the week. A Christmas miracle! While you're getting a panini and a cookie, visit the museum shop or even - since you're there - the newly-refurbished art galleries.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Feast of the Seven Fishes at Starfish Brasserie – Dec. 11th

Feast of the Seven Fishes at Starfish Brasserie – Dec. 11th from What's Cooking, Lehigh Valley? by Matty If you love this tradition, as I do, but don't want to prepare seven separate fish dishes in your own home, as I have, you may want to visit this great Bethlehem restaurant tomorrow. Yelling at your relatives in Italian is optional.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Bethlehem Christmas celebrations

Bethlehem and your adorable holiday traditions!! I love you.

No tickets required, no cost, no paid parking, lots of singing, REAL CAMELS, (no kidding!):
33rd Annual Live Bethlehem Christmas PageantDec 10 & 11, 2 p.m.
Bethlehem Rose Garden Band Shell, off Eighth Avenue between W. Broad Street and Union Blvd. Info: 610-865-0274

One of my favorite *new* traditions in Bethlehem is Saturday's luminaria night, in which thousands of area residents light luminaries (white bags with sand and a votive candle) along the front of their homes.
14th Annual Luminaria Night
The fundraiser benefits New Bethany Ministries.
December 10, after dark
All over the City of Bethlehem and some surrounding areas - drive around, you won't believe how beautiful it is.

Having volunteered at a mall gift wrap fundraising event on the day before Christmas Eve, I can tell you: December 17 may be too early to hold this event. Most men are unapologetically procrastinators. But this is a very festive idea.
Men's Shopping Night in Bethlehem's Two Downtowns
Dec 17 5pm-9pm
During this event, the stores and restaurants of Bethlehem’s Historic District and SouthSide offer discounts on merchandise, free gift wrapping, refreshments and drinks (beer and scotch are on the menu at several locations), as well as personal shoppers offering advice for men looking to pick up the perfect gift for loved ones!
Info: 610-751-4979

Bethlehem is beautiful at night, but for visitors who are unfamiliar with the area, you may miss some of the "good stuff" without a guide. Great for anyone with mobility issues or kids in the "sweet spot" - old enough to sit still, young enough not to be texting the whole time:
Bethlehem by Night Bus Tour
Tours depart from Historic Bethlehem Visitor Center at 505 Main St.
Info: 610-332-3378 or online
$12 for adults; $6 for ages 6-12; Ages 5 and under free
A guide in period dress takes you back in time on a 45-50 minute tour of the Christmas City. Highlights include the unique religious heritage of the town under the guiding influence of its early Moravian founders and the progression of power and innovation that marked the city's later entrepreneurial and industrial spirit.

Check out everything that's happening in the Christmas City here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Best deals on Christmas shopping in the Lehigh Valley

Recently, I received a question via Twitter:

@RobRiveraPA: @LVtransplant where are the best deals to go Xmas shopping in
your opinion?

I am probably the worst person to answer this question, since I pretty much don't shop for Christmas gifts. I've given up exchanging gifts with my parents in lieu of a night at the theatre together. This year we're going to Pennsylvania Playhouse in Bethlehem to see "Broadway Christmas Carol." I usually find a couple of things for FH without looking and the rest of my gift giving is consists of one gift exchange with FH's family. I picked FH's cousin who wanted an iTunes gift card, which I got at the pharmacy. Done.

My reply, though, was this:

@RobRiveraPA I like shopping local: downtown Easton, Bethlehem(s). And
getting tix for local events and food from local producers as gifts.

I appreciate the brevity of Twitter Q&A's - gets right to the point. But I still didn't answer the poor guy's question. Any suggestions for great "deals?"

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Chipotle in the Lehigh Valley

Next year, I will celebrate my sixth year as a Lehigh Valley resident. There are so many things I appreciate about my new home. And a lot has changed in these six years. Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Coach, and Banana Republic arrived. But there are still a few things that I miss about Washington, DC.

Trader Joe's is one. Chipotle is another.

The wait is over for one of them. Chipotle is coming.

Yes, I love Cali Burrito. Lots. But Chipotle has some sort of weird hold on me. White Castle lovers say they feel something similar for the chain's sliders. Maybe it's because when I was newly-graduated and living on a really limited budget, a Chipotle burrito could feed me for two days for $10. Or that the one in Tenleytown had a liquor license. (I doubt the Lehigh Valley Mall location will.) I'd wait in line for 20 minutes to get one. On Halloween, people dress up like burritos to get a free one. Music playing inside is hip and the vibe is chill. Food memories are silly but powerful.

In the absence of our favorites, we muddle through, find substitutes or make them ourselves.

Now that Corner Bakery's closed its Lehigh Valley location, I miss their ham and cheese sandwich on pretzel bread - an indulgence I allowed myself when things got stressful at my fundraising job on K Street. But now I can buy pretzel bread at Wegman's, or order up the ham and bechamel on brioche sandwich at The Mint.

What stores or restaurants is the Lehigh Valley missing, in your opinion? And what do you do to get by?