You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2009.

Just found some pics we took a few weeks back. We took my pops out for a belated Father’s Day dinner and decided to meet up at the new Sands Casino in Bethlehem. My folks had just been to Vegas and had eaten at an Emeril’s restaurant out there (“too salty” my mom declared) so we chose St. James Gate for a little Irish fare.

We approached the casino complex from Rt 412 and were guided directly into the parking garage so we didn’t get much perspective on the entire steelworks complex. But based on a 3D mockup in one corner of the casino, it looks like the plans are pretty ambitious. I haven’t studied the socio-economic pros and cons or the politics involved but it looks damn cool.

Our timing was spot-on and we ran into my folks in the parking garage. We made our way to the casino floor and walked the perimeter to the restaurant at the opposite corner. On the way we passed by Emeril’s which looked impressive – though I heard from a Lehigh Valley restaurant-junkie that the food’s not so hot. We’ll give it a chance though. St. James Gate doesn’t take reservations so we put our named down – “45 minutes.” Super! Just enough time to lose $40 in the slots. After 45 minutes our wait was magically reduced to 20 minutes. Wuh?

Jump ahead to the food. My dad started with the seafood chowder and my wife and i planned to share the stuffed mushroom which turned out to be kinda small. The chowder was good and the portion was generous.

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It took forever for us to get our entrées. My dad had the fish ‘n chips, my mom had the prime rib sandwich special, my wife went for the salmon, and i had the corned beef and cabbage – though they brought me a reuben by mistake. In hindsight, I should have kept it. My beef and cabbage was kinda blah. Same goes for my wife’s salmon. You can tell by the plating that their style is no-frills. If the food was amazing, I wouldn’t care about the lack of flair. My beef was rubbery and the cabbage-in-a-warm-bath added little flavor to the dish. Thank jeebus for the mustard. The pic below looks like it tasted.

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We skipped dessert. I think we got to the casino starving at 5:30 and didn’t finish eating till around 9. We were tired of the whole eating process. Dropped a few more bucks in the casino before parting ways. We’ll try Emeril’s some time soon – thankfully they take reservations.

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We finally got our butts outta bed a couple Saturdays ago to hit the Easton Farmers’ Market for the first time this season. It’s a nice walk down College Hill for us and the dog and it’s a great opportunity to buy locally produced foods. We generally try to grab breakfast on the way to the market – either at the Quadrant Book Mart or the Third Street Café. As good as the food is at the Quadrant, it can be a bit chaotic and tough to get a table. Third Street Café’s food is great and the service is tight. Plus, compared to the Quadrant, the sidewalk seating is more generous and gets full shade on hot summer days – two good things when we have our pup with us.

Their menu is a bit more gourmet than your standard breakfast fare, but don’t worry – there’s nothing too exotic and the portions are great. And they have a number of specials in addition to the core menu. My wife had an artichoke and cheddar omelet and I had tender scrambled eggs with sausage and sausage gravy on biscuits. Both dishes came with sides of soft breakfast potatoes flavored with a peppery sauce. I’m used to a crispier, greasier style of homefries, but these were a nice change of pace (though I still prefer crispier potatoes as a contrast to soft eggs). It was all great. And filling – we could barely finish everything.

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To drink, my wife enjoyed some coffee while i had a strawberry smoothie – a good one, not a syrupy premixed sugar shake. They have an assortment of fruit and will mix you up whatever combo you like. I think they have music every Saturday for breakfast. On this day there was a guitarist – really pleasant and not obtrusive.

All in all, it was a really nice way to start our Saturday. We headed over to the farmers’ market and grabbed a local wine, some cookies and a cherry pie, and a pork loin roast before the hike back up the hill. Then… nap time.

It’s been a while since we’ve been to Sette Luna down on Ferry Street – maybe 2 months? The problem with having favorite restaurants is that you can get bored with the menu really quickly. Their daily menu hasn’t yet changed, but we can always count on Sette Luna for some decent seasonal specials. Some massive shrimp and pasta for my wife, while i enjoyed another great pizza with figs, goat cheese, and prosciutto (added after it was taken out of the oven).

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Their pizza crust is seasoned perfectly, with just the right amount of chewy and crunchy, and is thin enough to let you appreciate the delicate combination of flavors. And even after i devoured the entire thing, i still had room (barely) for dessert. My wife was just going to have coffee, but i convinced her to go for the chocolate mousse. She was glad she did.

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I opted for the special: a blend of ricotta, whipped cream, orange zest and mint (it had a technical name but i couldn’t really comprehend the pronunciation) set in a pool of chilled rhubarb soup. Damn, this picture looks disgusting, but i’m a sucker for anything rhubarb. It was OK – some nice flavors but the textures weren’t that pleasing. Bolete’s goat cheesecake with strawberry-rhubarb consumée was much more successful.

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