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I packed a lot into my weekend (as usual), so come Sunday evening I was ready to just relax and have someone fetch me large quantities of food and alcohol. Thanks to the slight break in the heat wave, I blissfully anticipated sitting at one of Sette Luna’s sidewalk tables and sipping Nero d’Avola until closing time. Then we drove down to 3rd Street…

People everywhere! No place to park! Roads blocked! And cafés packed!

This was not good for my state of mind. I have a bad habit of setting up expectations and wigging out when things don’t go according to plan. Especially when it comes to food. I get grumpy when I’m hungry – most people do it seems. My wife worked as a hostess at a diner when she was in her teens and vividly recalls the contrasting moods between arriving and departing customers.

We swung around Ferry Street to see the crowd at Sette Luna and ended up parking in the circle near Valenca. We headed over to Ferry, past Pearly Bakers and saw signs for Heritage Day – that explained it! Then I felt bad about living in such a bubble. We get our info on Easton current events from the newsletter that accompanies the monthly utility bill. Not exactly “current.”

As expected, there was a long wait for a patio table but there was an indoor table for 2 ready immediately so we snagged it. Some Belgian beer, a little Italian wine and awesome food as usual. My wife had the pasta special – fettucini with their fantastic shrimp and fresh cherry tomatoes. And I had the pizza special – bianca with figs, goat cheese and shaved prosciutto. (I highly recommend you try sweet fruits/veggies on pizza – figs, squash, grapes. Caramelized apples and onions with gorgonzola is one of my faves.)

We heard some murmurings about fireworks and looked around to find that most of the packed dining room was suddenly empty. We quickly paid as we heard the first few explosions. To our good fortune, the corner of Ferry St. by the Post Office a few feet away was a perfect spot to watch the show. I’m guessing they launched from a barge in the river or along its banks. You can see how close we were from the huge wall of smoke.

We hadn’t gotten dessert at Sette Luna, but this ice cream truck looked a little (or a lot) too sketchy to risk the botulism. And I’m sure Marvel wouldn’t be thrilled with Spidey’s implied endorsement…as tastefully executed as it was.

It turned out to be a pretty good night. Maybe I don’t have to have everything go according to plan.

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We got together with a couple friends to attend the Jim Gaffigan show at Easton’s State Theater on Saturday night. It was a 9:30 show which gave us plenty of time to gorge ourselves at Ocean. Neither of our guests had ever eaten at Ocean so we thought it would be fun to start with an assortment of tapas. We ordered 5 of our faves starting with the filo wrapped goat cheese with pumpkin seeds and honey plus 2 plates of “hot wings.” The chicken bone handles have been replaced by skewers for some reason – not as unique but maybe aesthetically more appealing to some customers. Or maybe  bones were just a pain in the ass for the chefs to deal with.

The we rocked a seafood triumvirate: calamari, tuna tartare, and lobster mac ‘n cheese. All great.

Our friends were still craving a bit more so we advised they split the burger and fries. One of the best burgers you’ll ever have. And I love their fresh cut fries.

Even after all the food and many beers (mostly Delirium Tremens), dessert was still beckoning to us. Crème brulée, cheesecake springrolls, and pear/cranberry cobbler with sweet cream ice cream. It was one course too many, really.

And the Gaffigan show was fantastic if you were curious. His set was maybe an hour and a half – 98% new material plus an encore of his infamous assault on Hot Pockets. Definitely check him out. But don’t let his tight jeans distract you from his continued paleness.

We dropped by Ocean, one our Easton faves, on a recent Saturday evening sans reservation. It seems we’ve built up some cred with the manager as he overruled the hostess to give us a better table than the one she’d found for us. (I’m sure it was that he recognized us as semi-frequent patrons – not that he’s aware of the vast influence of The Fork City.) His gesture made me feel a little bad that we hadn’t visited since March, but we’d tried most of the menu by that point and wanted to branch out a bit for the blog.

We immediately noticed a bunch of new dishes (maybe 20% of the menu?) and were excited to check them out. They’ve also changed up the complimentary dish from hummus and crackers to a black bean dip and tricolor nacho chips – a bit less premium but tastier I thought.

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For my appetizer, I had the phyllo-wrapped herbed goat cheese with honey and pine nuts and my wife had the stuffed scallop with braised cabbage and red beet cream. Both were great. I’ve been in love with the combination of honey and goat cheese ever since i encountered it maybe 5 years ago in Bermuda.

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I combined two tapas dishes for my dinner. I sometimes attempt to combine complementary dishes but i failed this time. English pea soup with lobster and potato hash and Korean braised pork belly with house-made kimchee. The portions were more generous than i was ready for. And even though the flavors didn’t work very well together, the sweet soup help put out a bit of the fire from the kimchee.

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My wife had the fish special on a bed of root vegetables and lobster. We can’t recall the kind of fish, but it was great as usual.

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We barely had room for dessert but we had to try the new stuff. I had the mini carrot cake with cream cheese ice cream. My wife had the dessert special which she wanted mainly for the honey gelato (which in fact is the only part that i can recall – we think the garnish was a peanut brittle but the type of cake escapes us). The cakes were rather dry – almost like someone kept them in a warm oven too long to reheat them before serving.

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We can’t wait to go back and try some of the other new dishes. I have my eye on the panko fried prosciutto wrapped mozzarella salad, the lemon risotto, and the shortbread & blueberry napoleon.

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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We just had our 3rd wedding anniversary and wanted a known quantity when it came to choosing a place for dinner. It had to be Bolete. Since i just posted about Bolete from our Mothers Day visit, I’ll keep it brief and let the pics do the talking. Actually, i was scolded not to take pictures since it kinda interrupted our special occasion. But then everything looked so great that my wife gave me the green light without my having to say one word.

Apps: Black angel hair pasta with mushrooms and caviar. And asparagus salad with a panko-crusted egg. That egg was so cool.

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Entrées: Seared scallops with linguini and mushrooms. And seared Sockeye salmon with spaetzle and roasted beets.

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Dessert: Goat cheese cheesecake with strawberry preserves and micro-basil surrounded by strawberry-rhubarb consumée. My wife had the lemon sorbet but it actually wasn’t that interesting to look at and the pic turned out poorly in the low light.

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My mom’s birthday falls within a week of Mothers Day so I usually use that as an excuse to only give her one gift. Parents are impossible to shop for, so we tend to just go out for a nice “meal of food.” I’ve been raving about Bolete since last fall and finally had the perfect occasion to take her there. Bolete is in a great building with a strange location, at the intersection of Seidersville Rd and Emmaus Ave in the Fountain Hill section of Bethlehem. Frankly, the historic farmhouse looks like it was just plopped into its suburban neighborhood. That uniqueness is reflected in the food – an innovative (though short) menu utilizing as many locally sourced, seasonal ingredients as possible. Note: Take the menu on their website as an indication of Bolete’s typical range – not what they will be serving on a particular evening.

Saturday’s menu had a number of compelling choices. Tough to decide. For the first course, my wife went with the mixed green salad with goat cheese and blueberries, my mom chose the calamari (not local obviously, but it’s amazing), and i had to choose between the steak tartare and the roasted quail. Since I was leaning toward beef for my entrée, I went with the quail. Plus, I’d never had quail and I was curious to see what the dish would look like.

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We convinced my wife to go for the softshell crab with fingerling potatoes for her entrée. My mom chose the house-smoked pork chop with polenta cakes and I had the braised beef shank with grit croquettes and oyster mushrooms. I ended up eating the body of the crab. The guts freaked my wife out a little. Totally understandable. There’s no way I would eat that junk out of a steamed crab, but somehow i trusted that Bolete’s chefs wouldn’t feed me anything that would taste bad. Their smoked pork chop is great. You really gotta brine and smoke pork to keep it moist – farmers are breeding them way too lean nowadays. Bolete seems to offer the chop year-round. They just change the prep and the side dishes seasonally. My beef shank was tender and tasty. And i loved the grit croquettes – crispy and creamy and perfect for soaking up sauce.

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We were stuffed but i made a strong case that we absolutely needed dessert. Seeing the dessert menu sealed the deal. Some sharing was considered but quickly abandoned. Fresh doughnuts filled with lemon custard, coated with lemon sugar with a scoop of blueberry sorbet. Lime custard in a macadamia nut pastry shell with spearmint sorbet. Chocolate hazelnut ice cream with white chocolate cream and grapefruit. We appreciated the plating for about half a second before we attacked. Too good.

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Oh, and i forgot to mention the drinks. Bolete has an excellent wine list and some nice beer choices but we went with the mixed drink specials. My wife had the strawberry sangria and i went for the berry margarita with cucumber juice. My mom loves Corona but it wasn’t on the menu – at least not as a stand-alone drink. The Lehigh Valley Lemonade blended Corona, fresh squeezed lemonade and Ketel One vodka. It might be my mom’s new favorite drink.

Needless to say, we had a great time and my mom was really impressed with the food. Can’t wait to go back. Fathers Day is comin’ up right?

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