Sunday, November 23, 2014

E-Z Bagels: NY-style Bagels meet Coopersurg

E-Z Bagels
Fairmount Village Shopping Center
7001 Route 309 
Coopersburg, PA  18036
Hours: Mon-Sun 6:30a-6:30p

Every town needs a good bagel shop.  This was confirmed during our time living in one of New York City's boroughs.  There was no lack of deli or store to complete a morning routine of coffee and a bagel and cream cheese or egg sandwich.   We have missed this since returning to Pennyslvania 10 years ago.  It is like a dream come true to have a bagel shop in our own small town!

This is not just any bagel shop.   Easy to miss nestled in one of the Coop's shopping centers, it sells bagels, New York style, hand rolled and boiled in water.  There is a difference.  This is the secret to a superior bagel.  E-Z Bagels is a second location for its owner, also operating one in Bethlehem.  Previously working under one of the Lehigh Valley's best and most popular bagel shops, Johnny's Bagels, he started his own business in 2011 and is now enhancing Coopersburg with a new option for breakfast, lunch or an early dinner.

Bagel selections are classic, such as pumpernickel, plain, egg, cinnamon raisin, everything, and a tasty honey wheat option.  Menu items include bagel and cream cheese (intriguing flavored options: honey walnut, veggie, herb garlic, bacon scallion, olive, jalapeno) or a variety of breakfast sandwiches ($3.50-$4.50) and omelettes ($5.99-$6.99). 

E-Z bagels expands beyond bagels.   The wide menu appeals to a basic American appetite (Philly cheesesteak, Reuben, "The Mike," "The Coopersburg" $5.99-6.99) or adventurous customers who enjoy a Mediterranean flare.   I look forward to an opportunity to return to experience their grilled kabobs ($6.99), gyro ($6.99), falafel ($6.99) or fava bean pita ($5.99) 

Not only do we have a new lunch location right in town, but we look forward to many more morning routines of bagels & coffee to enjoy in the clean, peaceful atmosphere or to take home and share with friends.  

E-Z Bagel on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dessert Dining: Cafe Erica

Cafe Erica
637 Main Street
Hellertown, PA  18055
Hours:  Sun 8a-8p; Mon 8a-3p; 
T, W, Th 8a-9p; F & Sat 8a-10

Spoon Rate: 

On a recent evening out with friends, we were on the hunt for a decent dessert location in the LV&B.  When wanting to take a break from the classic ice cream treat, where does one go to have a nice dessert over coffee?

We were in Hellertown, so we checked out the menu of Cafe Erica.   It looked promising and was open until 10.  We had a delightful experience.  

Adjacent to Bella's Ristorante ,  (which I have yet to try, but was busy serving tantalizing plates of Italian cuisine), Cafe Erica serves more than just desserts.  It offers a basic breakfast and lunch menu, along with a full coffee bar.  Its inviting aesthetics provide the kind of meeting and eating spot every small town should   include.  

Our party enjoyed a variety of warm beverages including coffee, tea and an americano, charmingly served in a variety of mugs.   We ordered a variety of desserts--chocolate-toffee lace cookies came from the case at Cafe Erica.  The others came from Bella's, including a chocolate cream puff, carrot cake, and blueberry cheesecake.  I can't yet speak for what they serve for breakfast and lunch, but it proved to be an ideal atmosphere and after-dinner ending.

Where do YOU like to go for an evening dessert?  Leave a comment to share your suggestions!

Cafe Erica on Urbanspoon        

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Daddy's Place

Daddy's Place
650 Northampton St.
Easton, PA 18042
Hours:  Sun 12p-9p; M-Th 7a-9p; 7a-10p

Spoon Rate:   

A highlight since starting this blog is having friends and family make recommendations for local restaurants to review.  A friend invited me to join her at Daddy's Place.  It could be because she knew the owner that we received such honorable treatment.  However, the hospitality we received is a true depiction of the pride and love that encompass this family-owned restaurant in downtown Easton.  Relatively new to this city, it has much to offer the Lehigh Valley & Beyond.
An unexpected asset noticed upon arrival is ample parking in their lot.  The signs, outdoor and indoor renovations are artistic, modern and clean.  Outdoor tables for eating is to be expected upon warmer temperatures.  Inside, the open, bright atmosphere is energizing, with an at-home feel.  The owners and employees were working hard in the kitchen, already starting to prepare an appetizer sampler for us. A case is full of treats ranging from spinach pie to slices of cheesecake.  I hear wonderful things about the homemade cheesecake and baklava--which must be popular because they were out of stock that day. 
The name Daddy's place lovingly came from one of the daughters of the owners.  With a Lebanese heritage, the menu includes Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern Cuisine.  Their menu is vast, including a variety of American options for breakfast, lunch, & dinner.  We chose to have the authentic Lebanese experience.  

The impeccable service started us with 2 mini-pie sampler ($5.99).  This variety of pastry pies were stuffed with cheeses, spinach, meats and flavor.  To follow, we requested the fava bean salad and a sampler of hummus, baba ganouj, tabouli, and grape leaves.  Accompanied by their delicious thin flatbread, we experienced the robust flavors of these classic dishes.  Their hummus was exceptionally smooth with a distinct hint of lemon.

We tried to pace ourselves so we could enjoy an entree.  All entrees are accompanied by a choice of 2 sides (salad, soup, rice and grilled veggies.)  We were recommended to try the lamb ($18.95).  My friend enjoyed the unique rice, tender lamb with an accompanying, flavorful sauce.  She commented on the authenticity of each recipe.  In her words, "Most middle eastern places serve the lamb kabobs a bit too chewy but the lamb there had the perfect balance of being char-grilled on the outside and tender on the inside. The rice was made with a roasted traditional Lebanese noodle, which gave it a comfort food flavor to it."  I chose the falafel with grilled veggies ($13.99).  Large portions and plenty of food left us beyond satisfied with many leftovers to enjoy the next day.  Our meal ended with a delicious cup of Turkish coffee.($1.50)

Not only does Daddy's place provide cuisine that makes you feel at home, it also serves as a beer distributor.  Said to have the largest selection of beer in the Lehigh Valley (over 600), it provides both imported and local brews to drink in-house or take home.  

An enjoyable addition to the city of Easton, I look forward to sharing the hospitable, delicious experience with my friends and family!

 Daddy's Place on Urbanspoon    

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 in Review:

The end of 2013 brought time for reflection & thanksgiving...the Lehigh Valley really does have a lot to offer the food scene--our year of eating included Mexican, Turkish, Middle-Eastern, French, Southern BBQ, Jamaican, Spanish/Portuguese--to name just a few.   Locally grown products, health-friendly, comfort food--old and new spots include it all.  While we have our favorite spots we continually return, we want to share just a few categories to reflect some of our favorite eating in 2013.  What have been your most memorable meals? We'd love to read your comments!

Favorite Mexican:  Fiesta Habanero

Favorite BBQ:  Tex's Smoking BBQ

Favorite Ice Cream:  milkshakes at MOO

Noteworthy addition to the Lehigh Valley & Beyond:  Full of Crepe

Favorite Thai:  Charly's

Favorite Find:  Damascus

Favorite Comfort Food:  Paprika's

Most Memorable Meal:  Europa Barbeque

Sunday, December 15, 2013

619 N. 7th Street
Allentown, PA  18102
Hours:  M-Sat 11a-9p; Sun 11a-7p
Credit Card:  Accepted
Spoon Rate: 

Winston's brought us to a part of Allentown we might not normally visit or travel.  The online reviews were supportive that it was worth a visit.  To my knowledge, Winston (the personable owner), has a niche in the LV serving Jamaican or "West Indian & American" cuisine.   A no-frills ambience, reggae music playing in the background and authentic-looking, friendly employees greet you as you enter.  
We asked, "What's good here?  What do you recommend?"  He looked at us with confusion at our question and responded "ALL of it!"  His enthusiasm overshadowed his lack of assistance in understanding the simple menu.  Here it is: (see photo)  No paper menu.  No explanations...but the steady stream of customers, almost all getting take-out, all seemed to know exactly what to order.  We graciously accepted some free samples of the curry goat and oxtail.  He explained rice, beans, mixed vegetables and plantains come with every order (selections of fish, chicken or beef).  I like that.   Not to  mention, he guessed what I would order--jerk chicken ($8), a safe and standard option, for sure.  My husband ordered the curry goat ($10).   Now that we know the system--ordering would be a breeze.   

We dined in at one of the few tables--to get the full experience.  We enjoyed observing the friendly, neighborhood vibe.  The customers know a reasonable we were soon amazed by the portions.   The curry goat was tender--curry taste was not too overpowering.  Jerk chicken had a mild bite to it, but combined beautifully with the sides.  Definitely delicious, flavorful comfort food, with plenty of leftovers to take home. 
Our leftovers

Winston's West Indian & American Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Europa Restaurant & Barbecue
954 Pembrook Road
Freemansburg, PA  18017
Hours:  T-Th 10a-9p; F-Sat 10a-10p; Sun 10a-7p
Spoon Rate:
 We stumbled upon this restaurant one evening.  While we were skeptical of the exterior (that reminded me of an American Legion Hall), the sign stating "churrasqueira" was intriguing.  It's always a good sign when you look in to see other customers.

Our choice to stay was affirmed by the extraordinary meal that we continue to talk about and recommend to others.  Serving a combination of Portuguese and Spanish cuisine, it is a family-friendly, modest-sized and decorated dining room.  While many chose take-out, its coziness gives it a homey feel as diners wait.  

Complimentary fresh Portuguese bread and black olives start off the meal.  We also shared a simple tossed salad ($6) for an appetizer.  The menu offers a variety of appetizers, sandwiches, meats and fish.  We decided to choose from the barbecue options, which included chicken, shrimp, ribs, pork or steak and some combos.  We chose the chicken and ribs combo ($14) which came with a side of fries and the chicken and shrimp combo ($15), which came with a side of rice.  We also ordered a side of black beans for the full experience.

Each bite was bursting with seasoned flavor and left you fascinated by how they made such a simple meal so delectable. As you can see by the pictures, the portions were large enough for more than 2 meals.  

 A satisfying meal and quiet dining experience. 

Europa Barbeque on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mueller's Too Restaurant
3205 South Delaware Drive
Easton, PA  18042
Hours:  Mon-Sun 6a-9p
No Credit Cards Accepted
Spoon Rate: 

Mueller's came recommended by a friend whose family has a weekly routine of going each Sunday on their way home from church.  After she blessed me with a gift certificate, I was thankful for the opportunity to try it.  Located on the scenic Delaware River, it is off the beaten path of our normal routine, but a perfect destination for a Labor Day brunch.  In spite of the rain, we enjoyed the beautiful drive.  

As we walked in, we were greeted by a room full of people, definitely filled with locals who seemed to know each other and their servers.  Cozy, country decor and friendly servers lead you to feeling right at home.  The front room has a typical small-town diner feel.  We sat in the back room, providing more seating for larger parties.
Due to it being a holiday with an early close, they were only serving breakfast that day-which was perfect since their breakfasts came with the recommendation.  A classic breakfast menu provides plenty of options, along with a few specials.  

I was most intrigued by the breakfast scramblers--a variety of options of vegetables, meats, cheeses, scrambled with eggs and breakfast potatoes.   I created a scrambler with spinach, tomatoes, mushroom and feta cheese.  A delicious form of breakfast potatoes and sturdy toast accompanied our scrambler and omelet, tasting like it was prepared in love.

With its local charm and tasty, fresh breakfast, I can only imagine the wait for a table on the weekends.  
Mueller's Too Restaurant on Urbanspoon