Way back at the beginning of August (seems like ages ago – we’ve had lots to deal with since then) we headed for NYC. We could have driven the whole way in one day, but we were on Vacation, baby, and didn’t want to be hitting NYC/Long Island traffic after driving all day.
We stopped overnight in Bethlehem, PA. We had been there before, to tour Lehigh University. This time, it was just Husband, Younger Daughter, and I. We checked into the hotel, searched for a restaurant online, and found this:
216 E Broad Street, Bethlehem, PA.
We drove across the river, parked, and walked in the restaurant, feeling tentative. An employee approached us and said, in these exact words, “Hello, Family!” It was as if they had not seen this combination of adults + child ever before. A family! How quaint!
They seated us at a table already set for three – just perfect for us.
The waiter was quite friendly and chatty. I ordered a glass of moscato (vacation!) and the waiter approved. This restaurant was inventively quirky: instead of bread they served a huge ceramic teacup full of popcorn, with a hint of chocolate drizzled on it. The owner of the restaurant came up to us, asked us how we had heard of the restaurant, and made us feel like celebrities.
I ordered bacon-wrapped scallops with mango salsa (vacation!) – a trifecta of deliciousness. YD had a bacon cheeseburger and my husband had a mushroom panini. All quite tasty.
The waiter came up to chat some more. “How did you hear of us?” YD said, “This is déjà vu!” Where are we from; where are we headed to? They were so excited and pleased to host us travelers from another galaxy – all the way from the western part of the state. And yet, they made us feel that we were part of their family. You can’t get that cozy feeling at a chain restaurant.
For dessert we got a brownie with a blob of peanut butter on top. We left the restaurant feeling good, and decided to walk around the neighborhood. There were some huge beautiful houses, some of which had been converted to businesses. There were also some run-down houses. Bethlehem has been in a long-term economic downturn, with the decline of the steel industry. On the left we saw the casino (with the sign for it posted on an old freight crane). Down the river on the right, we saw the abandoned steel mills. But we didn’t let it leave us downhearted, because we had experienced a Sweet Indulgence.