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When people talk about food “value” they’re usually referring to a fast food menu or discount grocery store – low price and low quality. Sorry, but I don’t see how paying an appropriate price for the quality you receive is the definition of a good deal. Real value comes from getting high quality food for a great price. And considering the huge financial costs incurred later in life by consuming low quality ingredients year after year, finding food value can help your future bank account even more than your current one. Personally, I find value in organic milk and eggs which are proven to be dramatically more nutritious than their conventionally-produced versions. I also make my own wine, grow a garden, can the garden surplus, and grind quality cuts of meat for hamburgers and sausages. Recently, I’ve collected and cleaned a few hundred black walnuts for winter eating and baking. Part of the value in home food production is due to the fact that you don’t pay for the labor. So when you go out to eat it’s a challenge to find an all-around good experience without spending at least $50 per person.

This summer, we were excited to find a great dining value in the Lehigh Valley. Northampton Community College’s Hampton Winds restaurant offers a fantastic prix fixe dinner for $30 per person. The entire meal is prepared by students in the school’s culinary arts program which is supported in part by the restaurant’s earnings. The menu changes seasonally and includes a broad variety of choices. For example the June/July menu had 7 appetizers, 4 soups, 3 salads, 10 entrées, and a dozen desserts. The following pics are from our July visit.

Fresh rolls

Beef Tip Tostada

Grilled Salmon

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup

Watermelon Gazpacho

Fresh Peach, Apple and Watermelon Salad

Spinach Blueberry Salad

Citrus Granita (palate cleanser)

Seared Diver Scallops

Ratatouille and Goat Cheese Tart

And then when you’re completely exhausted – they wheel out the dessert cart. It has two tiers and is covered in way too many mouthwatering options. I had the cheesecake and my wife went with a dark chocolate tart. Both amazing.

The Hampton Winds is open Monday through Friday for lunch from 11-1 and dinner from 5-7:30. It’s BYOB and reservations are required for dinner.

Two quick reviews from this past weekend:

Looper’s Grille & Bar in southside Bethlehem
We checked out the First Friday festivities in Bethlehem and the top item on the agenda was dinner. Looper’s on 3rd caught our eye with a huge white tent out back and a big specials board visible just inside the front door. We were disappointed to find out that there was a one hour wait but we spotted 2 seats at the bar and quickly grabbed them. I grabbed a Shock Top and my wife got the excellent house margarita. There were a half-dozen entrée specials which all sounded great. My wife ordered the fish tacos and I had the pulled pork tacos. The fish tacos were topped with purple cabbage slaw and came with chips and salsa. The pork tacos were topped with diced watermelon and had cornbread on the side. It was all great – and watermelon is my new favorite bbq pork accompaniment.

On The Border in the Airport Center shopping plaza off Rt.22
We were starving on our way back from a visit to the Lehigh Valley Mall and decided to try On The Border for a quick bite. The crowd was spilling out the door and my hopes for a speedy meal were dashed. Luckily most of the parties were 4 or larger and they had a table for 2 readily available. The menu wasn’t too different from Don Pablo’s or Chili’s and the quality was about the same as well. I had a combo platter of a pulled chicken taco, a pork tamale, and a guacamole tostada with rice and beans for only $9. Our server, Cory, was really on top of things so we were able to get in and out as quickly as I’d hoped. Nothing amazing but it worked for what we needed.

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  • best hot fudge sauce
    There are a lot of good reasons to put two small jars of homemade hot fudge sauce in your fridge in approximately 10 minutes and possibly forever: • Hot fudge sauce is the easiest thing on earth to make, and absolutely nothing from a squeeze bottle compares. Not even the stuff at local ice cream parlors, even the kinds that boast about ingredient origins and […]

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