Archive for the 'Restaurants' Category

Brunch in the Windy City

I had the good fortune of spending the last four days in Chicago, one of my favorite cities.  Among other things, I managed to fit in two (2!) trips to the Handlebar Cafe, my favorite of the Chicagoland vegetarian restaurants.  I wrote about it last time I was in Chicago, in case you want to get caught up.  I got a buffalo “chicken” wrap and it was everything I could have dreamed of, and more!  The more was a side of aged cheddar grits that were, in quite un-grit-like fashion, super fluffy and light, and delicious.

On Sunday morning, Claudia and I went in search of brunch (my favorite meal of the week).   Continue reading ‘Brunch in the Windy City’

The Good, The Bad, and The Garlic: Sette Luna

Many local food bloggers (or general purpose bloggers) have previously sung the praises of Sette Luna, and I myself have enjoyed some delicious meals here previously, but this weekend a unique opportunity presented itself, and I decided to use the opportunity to blog about my experience.  I’ll provide links to other blog posts on Sette Luna (that I’m aware of) at the end of this post, so you can feel free to get several opinions, if you are thinking of making dinner plans.

Continue reading ‘The Good, The Bad, and The Garlic: Sette Luna’

Washington DC: Restaurant Nora

This weekend, BD and I went to Washington D.C.  It was a surprise trip, that I planned for a while, so that we could go see the William Eggleston retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery.  BD loved it!  So, as far as I was conerned, our trip was a success regardless of anything else we did over the weekend.  But as it turns out, we had a delightful meal in store at Restaurant Nora.

We opted for the $60 vegetarian tasting menu, which is decidedly a major splurge for us – but I think at the end of the meal we both felt that it had been worth the money, and that it did make our evening very special, so I don’t think it was money ill spent.

Continue reading ‘Washington DC: Restaurant Nora’

Tonight I ate the valley’s best pizza!

I’ll keep this brief.  Tonight I went to see my grandmother, and she took me to dinner at a restaurant called Paese Mio.  She has been there before, and had hyped it up to a point that I didn’t really know what to expect.  The hype was true!   Continue reading ‘Tonight I ate the valley’s best pizza!’

Breakfast in New York: Bar Americain and Norma’s

I’ll be perfectly honest, the days when I miss living in New York are few and far between.  Mostly I love “country living,” but also as time has passed many of my friends have moved out of the city.  On top of that, now that I’m no longer single, crashing at someone else’s place is a bit more of an imposition than when I could just climb into bed with one of my girlfriends at the end of a night on the town, or fall asleep on a recliner in someone’s cramped apartment.  But every once in a while I go in to visit a pal, or see a concert, or just to have a really nice meal.  This weekend, BD and I went to New York to celebrate our anniversary.   Continue reading ‘Breakfast in New York: Bar Americain and Norma’s’

Eating Well and Walking it Off in Portland Maine: The Porthole and The Blue Spoon


I’m back from my weekend in Portland Maine.  Claudia and I managed to really get the most out of the weekend, taking panel discussions from the New England Political Science Association conference and hitting the streets to unpack the details of why there wasn’t (and isn’t) more protest of the war in Iraq and how inappropriate and depressing it is to hear political science professors talk about legislative subcommittees such as Education and Health and Human Services as “women’s interest committees” in a presentation on women’s role in legislature. !  Continue reading ‘Eating Well and Walking it Off in Portland Maine: The Porthole and The Blue Spoon’

Vignola: Eating Local in Portland Maine

I’m in Portland for a long weekend of political science and exploring the furthest point northeast I’ve been in the US. I’ve never traveled to Maine before, and as you can maybe tell from previous posts – I love to go places!    

Claudia and I drove a long 7 hours and finally arrived in this lovely coastal town.  After a brief rest in the hotel room, we hit the cobblestone streets and explored for the early part of the evening before finally settling on Vignola for our dinner.  One of my main requirements when I look for a place to eat in a new city (other than something vegetarian on the menu) is an obvious incorporation of seasonal local ingredients.  The menu at Vignola beckoned us with a “cheese menu” and sealed the deal with a listing of the local farms which provide the ingredients to over half the dishes on the menu.  We had a grand dinner, and I’ll give the highlights here. Continue reading ‘Vignola: Eating Local in Portland Maine’

in regards to eating out…

In his April 15th blog post, Frank Bruni writes, “Hold Tight to Your Favorites”

I have been thinking about it quite a bit lately.  After having been unemployed or undermployed for the better part of a year, I can safely say that I am a part of the strain on restaurants to meet their bottom lines.  I just don’t really go out to eat as much, and when I do, I don’t order appetizers or desserts usually, and my bill stays relatively low.

But as readers of this blog know, I *do* go out sometimes, and presumably when I have a disposable income, I’ll be returning to a multiple-times a month schedule of dining out, because as much as I love to cook – I also hate to cook ALL the time.  And when I go back to that, there are a handful of restaurants that I would like to still be there.  

The Aladdin on Union Boulevard in Allentown is one of them.  It would be an understatement to say that The Aladdin has been a big part of my life in terms of eating out.  I don’t think there existed a time in my life that my family did not eat food from “Eddie’s.”  I don’t know when my dad and Eddie Eunis struck up a friendship, but it was sometime before I was born, and as a result, as a child, I don’t believe more than a week or two went by that we did not either take out food or go eat in for dinner in their small but comfortable restaurant on 2nd Street – their family lived upstairs and the restaurant was on the first floor.  For my parents, who were trying to come to grips with their four year old (me) declaring “I don’t eat animals,” a restaurant serving vegetarian specialties such as hummus and falafel and arnabit must have been a godsend.

When Aladdin moved to their current location on Union Blvd, it took us quite some time to adjust to the new flashy decor and christmas lights in the ceiling, but the food remained delicious as ever.  Eddie passed away when I was a teenager, but his wife Violet picked up the business and she and her daughters have kept it going since then.

I met my dad and his girlfriend there tonight for dinner, and although it is never particularly long between visits, realized that it has been probably two months or so since I last had dinner there, and was reminded that as a customer, my role is not only to enjoy the delicious meal.  These days, we all have a finite number of dollars to spend on things like meals out.  In choosing which businesses get mine, I will definitely be considering the impact that each dollar has on the businesses and business owners I wish to support most.   Aladdin is one of them.  I’m not the first in the LV Blogosphere to blog about Aladdin, so I’ll spare you a long description of my meal.  Sarina over at Lehigh Lexicon also gave a shout out, and last month LVInsite wrote about a fulfilling Aladdin meal, as well.  The short version is:

delicious hummus, delicious salad, delicious smeed, delicious arnabit, delicious rice, delicious baklava.  (thanks dad)

So yeah, the point of this post is really twofold: 

One: Aladdin!  Go there!  

Two: whatever your favorite local restaurant is – go there.  Find a way to budget $20 to go on Friday night and get dinner.  Skip the drinks, skip the dessert – but give your business to the restaurants whose appetizers and drinks and desserts will make your tummy smile when your pockets aren’t so light.

Thai Thai II: A Mixed Bag

We went to Thai Thai II the other night, its the new thai restaurant on Main Street in Bethlehem.  I am all for thai food, it is probably my favorite ethnic cuisine, and I was looking forward to trying a new place.  

Let me start by saying the food was pretty good.  Additionally, the service was great and the room is lovely.   Continue reading ‘Thai Thai II: A Mixed Bag’

Warm Mineral Springs: A Taste of Eastern Europe in Southwest Florida

BD and I have been enjoying a few glorious days in Florida.  The sun has been shining and the temperature has been in the mid 80s, and the humidity is low.  My dad’s house here is a wonderful refuge from the depression and stress of the last few months, and I’m glad that BD and I have been able to come.  The house is adjacent to a magnificent pond (pictured here) which is home to lots of lily pads, fishes, an Anhanga, a Great Blue Heron, a Great Egret, some super endangered species called a Scrub Jay, a couple of cool ducks, a gazillion turtles (see one, below), a romp of otters, and a few alligators (seriously).  I could probably come down here and just spend a week gazing out at the wildlife on the pond and watching the birds fish. Continue reading ‘Warm Mineral Springs: A Taste of Eastern Europe in Southwest Florida’

Give me Liberty or Give me Beer

Actually, I’m not really much of a drinker, but when I do drink, I like specialty beers from small breweries such as Southern Tier.  The image above is for one of my very favorite beers, Pumpking.  They also make a great wheat beer called “Heavy Weizen.”  

I’m getting off track already…. This post is really about the Liberty Street Tavern, in Allentown’s west end.   Continue reading ‘Give me Liberty or Give me Beer’

A Day in Chicago: Chicago Diner and The Handlebar

So, I am on a trip to the midwest in which I am seeing a few of my long lost ladyfriends (perhaps a post for another day).  I’m staying in South Bend, Indiana, with my brilliant and entertaining friend Claudia – who is in the process of getting her PhD here at Notre Dame.  Yes, I’m envious also…. 

Anyway, yesterday we went on a little trip into Chicago to visit another amazing lady friend, Linette.  Other than the weather, Chicago is my favorite city that I’ve been to.  I love how beautiful it is, I love the way the city is laid out, I love the neighborhoods, and especially, I love the food.  Luckily, every time I’ve come to this town, I have had Linette and her boyfriend Bucky to show me to all the great vegan eateries here, and there are MANY.  Yesterday, we managed to fit in two in one day!  Continue reading ‘A Day in Chicago: Chicago Diner and The Handlebar’

What good fortune: Dinner at the Farmhouse

I must be doing something right, because tonight BD and I had an amazing dinner at The Farmhouse.  With the exception of a few top notch gourmet vegan restaurants in big cities, I often am reluctant to plunk down a big chunk of change for a meal because as vegetarians our options are often pathetic and insulting.  I’ve been to The Farmhouse before, so I knew that wouldn’t be the case, but was still surprised at how great our meal was.  Thanks to Rodney, the sous chef at The Farmhouse, and to Briana, our friend and Farmhouse waiter extraordinaire for accommodating our dietary restrictions.   Continue reading ‘What good fortune: Dinner at the Farmhouse’