Art & Food

How do you like to get excited about going to a show? Do you think about what to wear? What about dinner or drink plans before or after? For our season opener last week, Silagh White (Director of Arts Engagement and Community Cultural Affairs) shared how she got ready to fully enjoy Sheila E. Read here how she tapped into local retailers and a smart Lehigh Alum food blogger.


Michelle Rittler – Taste As You Go Food Blogger, Lehigh University, ’02

Or if you don’t want to read that post, here’s what you should know. Lehigh alum, Michelle Rittler (’02) is a successful food blogger who has done her research on the Zoellner Guest Artist season to share great food/cocktail pairings for the shows. She’s come up with inspiring recipes that are kitchen tested and presented with techniques beautifully photographed for the experienced and novice cook.

We are hoping to share her ideas with you, and encourage you to sign up for Michelle’s newsletter, right on the top of her blog. Here are Michelle’s ideas for this weekend:

Potato Gratin

Potato Gratin


Friday night – Morgan James.
Potato Gratin. Recipe here.
WHY? Morgan James is from Idaho!

Local dining alternative: Try the tater tots at Molly’s. Always crispy, always delicious. They also have a “loaded” version of tater tots worth experimenting.

Melon Ball Cocktails

Saturday night – Bill Warfield & the Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra; Mercy, Mercy, Mercy
Melon Ball Cocktails. Recipe here.
WHY? Hard bop has its origins in the 1950s. This was a popular cocktail during this time.

Local dining alternative. Try any of these five establishments highlighted by another Lehigh Valley blogger (Cheryl Doll) on her “5 Best Cocktail Bars in Bethlehem” list. Two on the list are within walking distance of Zoellner Arts Center (hint: Social Still and Bookstore Speakeasy), We also suggest trying Molinari’s: tell them Zoellner sent you!


Sunday afternoon – Faculty Recital: Paul Salerni – Music from Three Continents
Rugelach (a popular Jewish dessert) – Sign up for Michelle’s newsletter to get the recipe
WHY? The program includes works by Israeli-American composer Ofer Ben-Amots. And this concert is in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. (Happy Sweet New Year)

Local dining alternative: Head to Molinari’s for some great Italian dining. Paul Salerni proudly celebrates his Italian heritage.

Got any plans for Saturday?

No? Good. Let us be your South Bethlehem Activity Director.

Starting at 8am, enjoy a serene walk along the Greenway. Notice the blossoming trees, the blooming daffodils and take in the fresh grass emerging from the long winter’s nap. Find your way to any number of breakfast spots for some important fueling:
Blue Sky Cafe, Cafe the Lodge, Alexandra’s Bistro, Johnny’s Bagels in Campus Square, Full of Crepe, even Molly’s Irish Grille & Sports Pub is open at 9am for breakfast…(did we miss anyone?). All of these places have links to their websites or Facebook pages. If you haven’t tried them yet, now would be a good time to start.

You’ll want to eat a good breakfast to get you through a full day of walking to the four (count them, FOUR) festivals happening on the same day, all within walking distance from campus. If you have Lehigh parking pass, leave your car on campus. You may be surprised at how close everything is when you give yourself the time to explore.

wh_Celebration_2010Cops & Kids Celebration of Reading.
This will be a good place to visit first. Make your way to the Northampton Community College Fowler Family Center (511 East 3rd street) – or follow the colorful ribbons on the historic lamps, or (even better), follow the Liberty High School Bag Pipe and Drum Corp and the Broughal Middle School Marching Band lead you.  The event officially begins at 11am. Take a look at the schedule of performers, authors and stations. Some of the activities happen inside the building, some of it under tents. Hundreds of volunteers from all over the community support this gathering of joy. It’s tremendous! This event runs 11am-3pm

Lehigh Valley MiniMaker Faire
After you’ve walked through the event, take the pathway from the east end of the LehighValley_MMF_logos_logoparking lot, near the [not yet functional, but that’s another story] Industrial History Museum that is a secret shortcut to the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. There you will explore various demonstrations of the first annual Lehigh Valley Maker Faire. That’s right, you won’t need to travel to New York City or to the Bay Area of California to experience the amazing talent right under our noses in the Lehigh Valley. Thanks to the bold vision of Mark de Vinck (Professor of Practice in Creativity) and Lisa Getlzer-Linn (Senior Director, Programs and Operations) of Lehigh University’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation. The Baker Institute is partnering with PBS39, Lehigh Valley Tech, ArtsQuest, The DaVinci Center, PPL, Molex, Roblox and Alvin A. Butz, Inc. The event is to bring together innovative folks to celebrate making, hacking, brewing, cooking, arts, culture, creativity and technology. This event runs 10am-6pm.

10264689_480659938728238_8113279449097206515_nSpring on 4th / What’s on 3rd?
The 19th annual celebration of the Shopping and Cultural District brings the party on the sidewalks. Boutiques, retail stores, restaurants and service industries will be welcoming customers new and familiar. There’s also a chili contest happening with more that 25 stations. Fourteen of the area restaurants will be selling chili to those who didn’t buy a passport before they sold out. Take a few tastes, vote for your favorite and stop by the corner of 3rd and New streets to take in the musical entertainment provided by a great line up of local musicians who frequent Godfrey Daniels.


The 3rd Annual Eastern Pennsylvania Wellness Expo
Your path leads you next to the Banana Factory for an “explosive day of life saving medical screenings, information, food, activities and fun for the entire family. If you want to know all the details and updates, here’s the Facebook page link. The event runs 9am-3pm and it’s all free.

Of course, one doesn’t have to follow this plan of action. There’s plenty of time to take it all in and delight in the community we all call come: South Bethlehem



Our friends at Discover Lehigh Valley have recently launched a new social media love fest, and you can join in the fun! It’s not too difficult. Just imagine all of the great times you are about to have as the weather gets warmer. Adventure awaits you in the Lehigh Valley. We know the seniors are about to be checking off those items on their bucket lists.

“#LVme is a 24/7 social media promotion that will not only highlight some fun Lehigh Valley photos, but give you the chance to win some great prizes including concert tickets, overnight hotel stays, gift certificates to local restaurants, and so much more.” (That’s totally copied form the Discover Lehigh Valley website; and why we referenced it. Because we’re good curators.)

We’ve looked at the prizes. Just imagine winning a chunk off your fancy dinner check, or a chance to experience a new adventure!

#LVme frames now available!

Entering is the contest is super easy. Just hold the #LVme picture frame while you capture your favorite Lehigh Valley scene, place, person or experience. Upload it using #LVme on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. If you need a few ideas – check out the bottom of this page.

There are a few South Bethlehem locations to pick up the frame: The Broadway Social, The Bethlehem Visitor’s Center at Steelstacks Campus, The Sands Event Center, and Sayre Mansion. But if you’re out and about beyond South Bethlehem, there’s many more places to pick up the frame if you find inspiration.

The contest runs until December 2014 – so you have spring, summer and fall to catch some of the evolving beauty of the seasons. C’mon, you know this campus is gorgeous. Let’s brag a little!

Winners will be drawn each month randomly, announced on their Facebook and Twitter pages, and notified through your social media accounts. Please make sure to follow Discover Lehigh Valley on Twitter (@LehighValleyPA), Instagram (LehighValley), and Facebook. Follow the #LVme tag to view all the photos.

Christmas is a big deal in Bethlehem

This year, Bethlehem marks the 75th anniversary of its designation as “Christmas City.” This designation was introduced in 1938 as a marketing effort by the Chamber of Commerce.

On behalf of the Citizens of the City of Bethlehem, it gives me much pleasure to welcome you to our historical City, of which we are justly proud. It is our sincere wish that you will enjoy the many places of interest as designated by this guide pamphlet and that your visit will be one which you will recall with many pleasant memories.

The above quote comes from a website created by the current Downtown Bethlehem Association. On this link, one can find a digital copy of the guide pamphlet mentioned in Mayor Pfeifle’s quote. In this 8-page pamphlet, readers can quickly learn a bit more about the Christmas City history, Bethlehem history, Cultural Centers [of 1938], Points of Interest [many of which remain today], facts & figures of 1938 City data, and regional information. The last bit of interest is the interpretation of the City of Bethlehem Seal; no doubt the makings for a fine trivia question. Check out this page for other fun facts.

In the next two weeks, if our readers have a moment to steal away from the last week of classes or the business of life, there’s plenty of holiday atmosphere to soak in.

The local shopping district is all decked out with a holiday theme. Shoppers can vote on their favorite door for a chance to win a $1,000 gift certificate to all of the Doors of Bethlehem participants (north and south side merchants!)

Starting this Saturday, the Live Advent Calendar returns after a fabulous series last year.

Now that the inlaid star is complete on Main street, take a quick trip over the river and through the woods… (oops, sorry – that holiday is over).

If you have any questions about Bethlehem Christmas traditions, please let us know. We’ll be happy to dig up (or make up!) the answers.

What the heck… we’ll start with one question for our readers.

Why are the lights on the north side white, and the south side multi-colored? Submit your answers in the comments below. (Be nice. Santa reads our blog, too!)

Bethlehem Restaurant Week is coming!!!!

Is that your stomach growling? Then, we begin with an apology for the torture of this post which is all about food.

Have you ever made a really, really good meal? Have you ever played with food? Have you ever tried to impress your date with your culinary genius? Do you watch cooking shows? Or do you just like to be impressed with the skills of an expert cook, or seasoned chef? If you’ve answered, “yes” to any of these questions, we encourage you to check out Bethlehem’s Restaurant Week. If you do, make plans for some great meals – and go easy on the grocery list this week.

Presented by the Downtown Bethlehem Association, this week-long event features 32 (that’s right – THIRTY TWO) restaurants offering fixed menues for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Breakfast price points: $5, $10
  • Lunch price points: $5, $10, $15
  • Dinner price points: $10, $20, $25, $30, $35
No passes, tickets or coupons are required. Instead, diners may simply visit their favorite participating restaurants throughout the week to enjoy the special prix fixe breakfast, lunch or dinner menus. It is strongly recommended that diners make reservations in advance. To make reservations, diners should contact the restaurants directly. This is your chance to revisit a favorite restaurant, or try a new destination. Most of the restaurants are within a reasonable walking distance from campus; some in South Bethlehem, some in Historic North Bethlehem.

For a list of participating restaurants, check out this website. Or enlarge the image you see here.

But wait, there’s more! There is also a contest during Restaurant Week. You could win $2,000 of gift certificates from the participating restaurants. Each time you dine on a restaurant week menu, the server will hand you a contest slip. You can fill in up to three contest slips a day – a total of 21 entries for the week. More Restaurant Week contest details and rules here.

As one of our favorite foodies likes to say, “We bid you, good eating!” (~Alton Brown)

Farmer’s Market is back (and better) at Campus Square

I took a quick walk through on my lunch break today. There was a fair amount of product vendors, and a few food vendors. The product vendors sell soaps, handmade jewelry, other small items. One nice produce stand sold apples, lettuce, scallions, rhubarb and other seasonal produce. They also sold a wickedly delicious applesauce that I could have sworn was a miss labeled apple butter. But no, the vendor insisted it was their apple sauce. Next week I’m going to get there early so I can grab a jar.

There were THREE really cool (to me) things I saw when I was there, aside from saying “hi” to work colleagues and local friends. As soon as the Holy Infancy School heard that Dave Fry was singing in front of the fountain, the kindergarten teacher grabbed her entire class and walked them over to dance and sing a few songs with him. See, every time Dave Fry comes into town, if he can swing by Holy Infancy, he’ll just pop into the school for a spontaneous assembly. The kids love it. As a parent, I’m happy to see an artist with such affection for a school. As an administrator, I can appreciate the relationship between principals and artist for be able to just stop by for a little art engagement. Yet another special, extraordinary thing here in South Bethlehem

The other cool thing was related to Twitter. Yes, I engage with folks on twitter. I follow @backdoorbakeshop. Last night, they tweeted a secret word for get a 2 for 1 cookie deal. So I said it. And got two ridiculously delicious cookies that I might (or might not) share with my kids.

The last cool things was the beautiful window coverings that the Campus Square managers hung in the vacant store (formerly known as “Market on the Square”. Lauren Sammeck (Marketing and Communications specialist at Lehigh University) worked with the designers in the Lehigh University Art Galleries to produce these LOVELY screens that not only inform visitors to the space about the summer long market, but also add a touch of beauty to the environment. I tried to catch a few shots of this – but a vendor was set up in front. Next time you stop by for an ice cream break, take a look. It’s a really great idea. And if you know any building owners with current vacancy (ahem, Goodman building) – consider this option. It looks so much better than an empty store or a half-baked effort.

Celtic Classic Weekend – it’s not just another music festival.

Did you know that today more than 44 million Americans claim Irish heritage? The first Celtic immigrants, who were of Scottish and Irish decent, arrived in the Lehigh Valley circa 1728 from the northern providence of Ulster. Today the Scottish, Irish, Welsh and Cornish remain a dominant force, comprising nearly 30% of the Lehigh Valley population.

This weekend marks the 23rd annual Celtic Classic presented by the Celtic Cultural Alliance. Music, food, dance, athletes, piping bands, theatre, film, contests are all part of a variety of activities to explore over the weekend. I hear that this year, the athletes may be breaking some world records. If you’ve never seen a caber toss; it’s kind of like throwing a telephone pole for distance. But it only counts if the pole is flipped. And… the men compete in kilts.

News for local tech freaks: the first ever mobile app for an area festival was developed and launched last week. This can be uploaded for free for all iPhone and Android users by typing on your mobile browser. If you’re a geek like me, you’ll love to see how this helps you plan your Celtic Classic experience. If you don’t have one of the phones, check out the bands listed and give them a little listen. The music ranges from traditional to outrageous. Don’t miss the closing act – the  No, that’s not a typo.

The festival grounds are just over the river. You’ll see the tents from either Hill to Hill or Fahy bridge. If walking is too far for you, Lehigh students can also purchase a Loop Bus pass and ride all day for just $3. Here’s a map to show you where to hop on the bus. If you want to really get inside the festival, they are still looking for volunteers. Each 4 hour volunteer shift gets you a t-shirt and $5 of food and beverage tickets. They also have a special request for anyone able to lift 30lbs – if you want to be close to the action, give me a call.

What’s all this I hear about a “LOOPapalooza?” *

According to the info-PACKED LOOPapalooza website, participants:

“[On Saturday, Sept 18th from 2-8 pm] Ride The LOOP [bus] through Bethlehem’s two downtowns during this unique, hop-on, hop-off festival! 10 stops with food, live music, refreshments, discounts at stores and restaurants, kids activities and more!”

So it’s a local community event….
And why would Lehigh University students be interested in this? Well, all one has to do is poke around the website to see NINE different themed areas of fun spread out over north side and south side Bethlehem. The website even has a map that shows where the fun is along the regular Loop Bus route.

AND…, there’s more!
Live Music = SEVEN bands lined up. And if you want to know what they sound like, the website offers links to each of the bands so you can preview for pleasure planning. BTW, this is a good time to get a sense for the local music scene. So unplug your ipod and feel the vibrations on your whole body.

Activities from 2 to 8pm. Finale concerts from 8 to 10pm.

But wait,…, there’s still more!
LOOPapalooza College Challenge pits school against school as students complete a scavenger hunt through Bethlehem’s two great downtowns. Answer questions at each of LOOPapalooza Towns to earn points. The college with the most points wins.

How it works: LOOPapalooza will host the first ever College Challenge: LEHIGH vs. MORAVIAN. Remember the Orientation scavenger hunt? This challenge shouldn’t be too hard – but did you cross the river yet? Here’s some more incentive for you…
*IF LEHIGH WINS: Each [participating] student will receive a FREE drink or appetizer from Molly’s Irish Pub & Grill on 4th Street.

And if you act now!
Tickets are only $10, if you buy online. Day of the event, tickets go up to $15. What does a ticket get you? Check here. I can tell you that unlimited access to all the bouncy rides is worth it for me.

*this post is respectfully written in homage to the legendary SNL commercial parodies, and my favorite all time character, Miss Emily Litella.

And so begins the summer.

In response to last week’s email newsletter reader requests, we’ll be featuring some local finds you’re your summer explorations. As luck would have it, The Lehigh University Art Galleries just published a beautiful brochure on the campus sculptures.

This weekend has a lot in store. The SouthSide Initiative is hosting a potluck at the Maze Garden during First Friday. Stop by for a chat to catch up on their progress in community garden efforts. In addition to the First Friday event, Saturday brings the great South Side Sale. We hope you’ll visit, shop or maybe volunteer for a little time. Sign up here:  Please specify  the shift you would like to volunteer: All Day (6:30 AM-5 PM); 6:30-9:30 AM; 9:00 AM-12 Noon; 12 Noon-3 PM OR 3:00-5:00 PM.

Holy Infancy Church is also doing their annual street party on Friday night (5-10 PM) and Saturday (Noon-10 PM). For anyone interested in eating local ethnic food, you’ll satisfy your appetite on the corner of Webster and 4th Street. I’ve eaten some of the best Tacos of my life here. Don’t forget to try a Portuguese donut. They’re wickedly tasty. Finally, if you’re walking about South Bethlehem on Sunday afternoon, you might catch a large gathering of Kilt walkers. It’s not the invasion of the Scotts! It’s the Kilted Celtic Crawl fundraiser for the Celtic Classic festival.