Thursday, September 27, 2012

Maxim's 22: A French Bistro in Easton brought you by the owners of Sette Luna

I received an email a while back from one of the owners of Sette Luna, which is definitely among my favorite restaurants in the Lehigh Valley. The restaurant's inspired northern Italian menu, ambiance and service keep me coming back for brunch, business lunches, and delicious dinners. It's one of the places on my short list for special nights out, especially when friends and family are visiting from out of town.

Naturally I was excited to hear that the team was bringing a new restaurant concept to downtown Easton: a true French bistro, called Maxim's 22 Bistro and Brasserie. It is opening in a space on the ground floor of the former Pomeroy's building (322 Northampton St., Easton).

According to Maxim's 22 Owner Josh:
We are planning an October 2nd open date.  The theme and concept is a traditional French Bistro & Brasserie.  This is overall casual fare at an affordable price point.  The menu features everything from oysters to burgers to steak frites to half roast chicken to pates and steaks.  It will offer Easton's, if not the Valley's largest specialty draft beer selection and an affordable, extensive wine selection.  And certainly kid friendly! 

Yum. Since it's not open yet... what next?

Sincere best wishes to Josh and his team on this new and exciting venture - if anyone knows how to make a restaurant a success in downtown Easton, it's them. (And also hooray for their new baby, expected to arrive just days after the restaurant opens!)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Peak - a new show about health and life in the Lehigh Valley

There's a new TV show that's perfect for transplants and curious natives alike - The Peak will begin airing Sundays @ 6:30pm following the local news on WFMZ – Channel 69 starting September 30. (What? You don't watch our local news? The next thing you're going to tell me is that you don't read either the Express-Times or Morning Call newspapers!)

The PEAK is the region’s first thirty-minute newsmagazine show dedicated to the interesting people, places, and things that make the Lehigh Valley a wonderful place to live and work. If you watch, you'll learn about the latest medical news, healthy recipes, ways to stay fit, financial wellness, giving back through volunteering, and more. The show's goal is to share stories and information to help you live your life to the fullest, and in the process, become your best self through the many amazing services offered right here in our region.

Congratulations and best wishes to Rocky, Ashley, and the rest of the team!

Monday, September 17, 2012

How can I meet people in the Lehigh Valley?

Despite the thousands of events listed in every week's Go Guide and Exposed, the Lehigh Valley is not the easiest place to meet new people. 

I received an email from a loyal reader who has a common - the most common - challenge among Lehigh Valley Transplant readers. She moved back to the area a few years ago, has two college-aged kids, and wants to make new friends. 

I thought about how to reply to this reader's request for information. My best recommendation would be to volunteer! I have found it to be a rewarding way to make meaningful friendships while making an impact in our community. 

When I first moved to the area, I connected with the alumnae association of my sorority, and advised a group of students at Lehigh University. After a few years, I sought a bigger challenge, and did some research. I joined a committee of a nonprofit I identified that matched my interests and values: Community Services for Children. I  served on the development committee and later joined the organization's capital campaign committee. Soon after, I was invited by the Junior League of the Lehigh Valley, a group of women dedicated to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. I love the group's mix of service and social activities, and the chance to spend time with other like-minded women.

I would recommend that you reach out to organizations that match your own style and values, too. Maybe that's an organization that your place of worship works with, or a nonprofit group that helps animals, kids or the environment. If you're not sure where to start, the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley is a great resource. Their searchable database of volunteer opportunities could connect you with an ongoing opportunity or one-time gig. 

I'd also recommend checking out - I checked it today and saw local meetups for wine lovers, aspiring gourmet cooks, bookworms, scrapbookers, people who want to practice their rusty Spanish, and much more. 

Readers - any other ideas? What would you tell our comrade? What's worked for you?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wine bar on Bethlehem's Main Street

I have all my fingers and toes crossed that the efforts to open a wine bar on Main Street in Bethlehem are not in vain. A sophisticated wine bar is a concept that has yet to take root in the Lehigh Valley, whose time has come.

Despite some blog hate out there (you know who you are), I think there will be tremendous support for the new restaurant, no matter when it finally opens and what it's called. Even though there are relatively few sommeliers in the Lehigh Valley (and the distinction is sort of like calling yourself "chef," anyway - you're only as good as your training), and that most locals haven't been exposed to a good variety of wines, there are already some beautiful wine lists and some very experienced wine drinkers locally.

Rebecca Pichetto, Vintage Bar and Restaurant's co-owner and sommelier, has assembled a stunning array of wines for guests to enjoy at the Easton-area restaurant. Sette Luna's Italian varieties are unmatched in the area. Edge Restaurant, Blue Grillhouse, Grille 3501, and Melt at the Promenade Shops have all developed wine lists for discriminating wine drinkers. And patrons at Emeril's two restaurants at The Sands benefit from the celebrity chef's passion for wine. I know the gang at Starter's Riverport's Wine Scool will be all over it.,

I have high hopes for this new wine bar's success, since the owner already operates two successful local restaurants (Roma Ristorante and Taste of Italy, both near the airport) and obviously knows how to run a business. I breathe a sigh of relief that the previous owner's mobster-themed cigar bar concept is now sleepin' with the fishes.

To read more, check out the:
Express-Times story
Bethlehem Patch story
The Morning Call story

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Youth Ice Hockey, Basketball Signups and more

I'm not as connected to school-age kid stuff here in the Lehigh Valley as some of my readers would like for me to be. Some of my Facebook pals have asked about soccer signups and other opportunities to get their kids involved in community activities. Since many of these organizations are small-time and probably don't have much in the way of marketing dollars, they fill up with kids using word of mouth alone. This doesn't make it easy on families that are new to the area or send their kids to charter or cyber schools.

The Bethlehem School District Superintendent is doing his best to corral this kind of information in one place. Thanks to Steve Esack from Valley 610 for bringing this list to light:
Community Signups and Events

 Posted September 7, 2012

The Hurricane Youth Basketball Club will be having its registration for the 2012-2013 season on the following dates and times:
SaturdaySeptember 22, 201210 AM-12 PMLiberty HS
TuesdaySeptember 25, 20126 PM - 8 PMLiberty HS
SaturdaySeptember 29, 201210 AM-12 PMLiberty HS
TuesdayOctober 2, 20126 PM - 8 PMLiberty HS
Please enter through the Athletic Entrance to the Memorial Gym Lobby. For more information contact Jeremy Shuler at 484-542-0438 or by email at

Sign-ups - Mon. Sept. 17th, Wed. Sept. 19th, Tues. Sept. 25th, and Thurs. Sept. 27th
Bethlehem Township Community Center - 6:30 pm. – 8:30 pm. in lower lobby
$85 for first child, $60 for second child, $40 for third child or $185 maximum per family
Online registration and additional info available at
Basketball info: Boys and Girls teams ages 6 – 15
All recreational, competitive girls and boys teams ~ Bethlehem Area Basketball League (BABL), including 6th, 7th and 8th grade boys and girls Pates traveling teams, as available.
Also 6, 7 and 8 year old girls and boys – Instructional skills and drills clinic
Wrestling info: Boys Grades K – 6 (Cannot reach age 13 prior to 9/1)
Season runs from the beginning of Nov. to mid Feb. Practices M -T -Th, 6:00–7:45; matches one day each weekend
For more info. email

All Boys in 1st through 5th grades are invited to join Cub Scouts. Cub Scouting is learning by discovery and discovery by doing. It's fun, friends, and families … where skills are learned, confidence built, and stories born. For more information on how you can join Cub Scouts contact 610-465-8558 or visit to find a sign up location near you.

Hanover Township is having an Electronic and Universal recycling Event on Saturday, September 29, 2012 from 9 am to Noon. FREE Electronics, Universal and Freon Recycling.
Any questions please contact 610-866-1140 ext. 223 or visit the website at

Liberty Ice Hockey will be having a Youth Program for Grades 3, 4, and 5. Boys and girls are welcome. Coaches are certified by USA Hockey. Contact 610-317-6122 or or visit the website

Prepare for the winter season. Clinic is for boys and girls grades 3 thru 12. 6 hrs/week -- 4 hrs of drills and 2 hrs of open gym. Tuesdays and Saturdays for 6 weeks. Top A.A.U coaches will be in attendance alongside local varsity high school coaches, and some of areas top high school players throughout the valley. Cost $60 per child for 12 sessions; $5 for single sessions; discounts available for multiple child families.
Tuesdays --- Sept 11, 18, 25, Oct 2, 9, 15 --- 5:30-8:30pm
Saturdays --- Sept 15, 22, 29, Oct 6, 13, 20 --- 3:30-6:30pm
Featured Instructors: Scott Coval, Desales University Mens Basketball Head Coach; Scott McClary, Muhlenberg College Mens Basketball Head Coach; Mike Irio & Thor Schaffer, LCCC Mens Basketball Coaches
Phone: 610-842-1606

The City of Bethlehem Southside Recreation and Northampton Community College proudly present SAT Prep classes to meet your needs in MATH and VERBAL. Class is Saturday, September 29 – November 17, 2012 from 1-3:30 pm at the Fowler Family Southside 527 location. For registration contact Mark Atkinson at 610-997-7971.

The Youth Enrichment Center at The Salvation Army in Bethlehem is offering a program that is open to all children and youth ages 6-12. The will provide tutoring services, as well as activities that encourage social, physical, and spiritual development; these include arts and crafts, games and sports, cooking, science experiments, and Bible lessons. They also have a music program every Wednesday at no additional cost. There is a registration fee of $15 per child and $10 for each additional child. The weekly fee is $20. They provide transportation from Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Marvine Elementary Schools to their building. The program starts on September 10. For more information contact: Nicole Mernagh, 610-867-4681 or

September 9 from 11 am-1 pm
72 W. Laurel Street, Bethlehem, PA 18018
You are invited to join your neighbors at College Hill Moravian Church for a fun day of fellowship. Bounce House/Petting Zoo/Games/Lunch/Moravian Sugar Cake. For more information call 610-867-8291 or visit:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you?

It's been 11 years since 9-11-01, and the question I still hear every year is - where were you?

I've never answered it here before. On 9/11, I lived in DC. I worked on the National Mall, between the Capitol and the Washington Monument. And my boyfriend at the time was working as a contractor in the Pentagon.

That morning, my three roommates and I got up as usual, took turns in the bathroom (we had a dry-erase board and signed in for shower time slots the night before), and commuted to our respective workplaces all over the city. I took the Metrobus, a special commuter route that only operated during rush hour, from near our house to a stop outside the IRS building on Constitution Avenue. Then I walked across the National Mall to the entrance to the underground facility where I worked in public relations for the Smithsonian's membership programs.

When I arrived, my colleagues were already buzzing about the internet news of a plane that hit one of the Twin Towers. Our director of PR fired up the only TV in the building just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower. Shortly after 9:30 a.m., we begin to hear reports that a plane had hit the Pentagon. Then the rumors began - There are fires on the National Mall... The National Guard ordered us to stay in our underground "bunker" of a building... The Metro was shut down... Since phones were jammed, it was hard to know what was true. But at the same time as I was wondering what might happen to me and my co-workers, I couldn't stop wondering whether Paul was okay over at the Pentagon. His environmental consulting company had been hired to oversee the removal of asbestos and other materials during a major renovation in the building, and he'd been working at the Pentagon for weeks. Around noon, Smithsonian employees were ordered to leave, so I sent off an email to my parents and roommates, letting them know I was leaving work and might not be back at the house we rented uptown for a while, if I had to walk home.

As it turned out, the Metro was not shut down, but I couldn't take my regular commuter bus. I hopped on the Metrorail at Smithsonian station, transferred to the red line at Metro Center, then took the red line to Tenleytown. I thought I might have to walk from there, but I caught a bus heading down Wisconsin Avenue. A pretty typical trip, except for the eerie silence throughout the city. At our house on Garfield Street, I found my roommates huddled together in our living room, watching the news in silence. A couple of them wanted to give blood. It was a beautiful day, so I sat outside on a lawn chair and tried to read to get my mind off the day's events. After dark, I finally got in touch with Paul's aunt, who let me know that she'd heard from his roommate that he was okay. He had walked from the Pentagon to a bar in Crystal City, drank himself into a stupor, and had passed out.

We went back to work at the Smithsonian the next day. So did Paul. His experiences on 9/11 and in the months that followed affected him deeply. He made the decision to move to Wilmington, NC, shortly after, and we broke up before he moved. It affected me, too. When I moved to Pennsylvania in 2006, I left behind   the people I spent that day with. Every year, even this year, 11 years later, I get an email, a text message or a Facebook message from them - we are forever linked by our shared experience. I am still incredibly moved by personal stories of people who lost loved ones on 9/11, and I can't imagine their pain and loss, even these years later.

Where were you? If you were in the Lehigh Valley on 9/11, what was it like here?