Our Favorite Things 2015
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photo by Alison Conklin
Seasons’ staffers Maggie Sober and Conor Sheridan-McAndrew
The Cheese Shop at Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom
Seasons was a groundbreaker in the first place for getting us to think differently about options when it comes to making a salad, bruschetta or even a simply delicious veggie dip. Offering gourmet oils and vinegars that you could sample in their tasteful boutique-like shop that conjures culinary inspiration from the moment you step inside Seasons, turned us from robots at the supermarket into educated consumers and then even connoisseurs with their premium quality olive oils and aged vinegars infused with flavors like blood orange, lemon and fig.
Since expanding to its Main Street location, Seasons has continued to set the bar high with the addition of a gourmet cheese shop last year. You definitely have the feeling you might be somewhere in Europe while you’re in the friendly store where they cater to all palates. If you’re a cheese novice, the knowledgeable staff is happy to make recommendations. “Seasoned” cheese lovers will be thrilled to find varieties here that you won’t find anywhere else.
508 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.866.2615 | seasonstaproom.com
Photo Courtesy of Subarashii Kudamono
Subarashii Kudamono Gourmet Asian Pears
For the love of a pear. Not just any pear in any produce department, mind you, but a rarer pear of an Asian variety. That’s why the Subarashii Kudamono pear is even here in the Lehigh Valley at all: someone fell in love with Asian pears after being given some as a gift while on a business trip to Japan. The late founder of Lutron Electronics, Joel Spira (a physicist who is also credited with inventing the dimmer switch), was that someone. The texture and shape was like that of an apple, crisp and round. The taste was that of the sweetest, juiciest pear ever, and unlike anything Spira had ever tasted. He struggled, however, to find a similar pear locally.
That’s where having a wife with a botany degree really came in handy. Ruth Rodale Spira and her husband worked with experts from Asia and the US to develop and grow the pears here in the Valley. Never daunted by a challenge, the Spiras did just that and now this pear is grown and thrives on land in our backyard.
7200 Suter Rd., Coopersburg | 610.282.7588 | wonderfulfruit.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
The Avgolemono Soup at Copperhead Grille
Trust us. There’s more to this simple looking bowl of soup than meets the eye—and then the palate! What makes this classic Greek soup so delectable is its combo of creamy and slightly tangy elements. This is THE go-to soup when you have had a bad day—or long night out, the sniffles, need comfort food, want to eat light or generally just want to appease your hungry stomach monster. It’s on the appetizer menu so it comes out fast, fresh and piping hot.
Owner Mike Dontas, Jr., says our assumption that its secret lies in the way its primary ingredient, the chicken, is cooked, is right on the money! “The chicken is juicy because we season it with 'Copper-spice,' which consists of 14 different spices, then we roast it in our state of the art convection oven,” Dontas says. “Once the soup is done, we dice the chicken and add it in.”
That chicken joins a savory house-made chicken stock, freshly chopped carrots, onion, celery, orzo pasta, some heavy cream, freshly-squeezed lemon juice and a few other ingredients, all simmered together like a great family recipe should be.
Try a big bowl as a meal, or enjoy it as an appetizer as Dontas suggests, and entrée it up with their New York strip steak or Chimmi sirloin or the Cajun Jambalaya. Yum, yum—yummy!
5737 Rte. 378, Bethlehem | 610.282.4600
1731 Airport Rd., Allentown | 610.403.4600 | copperheadgrille.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
The Hula Pie at blue grillhouse
Unless you have a trip to Maui planned, you’ll need to get to blue grillhouse in Bethlehem to try this exotic dessert made popular on the Hawaiian Islands.
From the minute your Hula Pie arrives at your table, you will know you are in for a treat that you’re going to remember long after that last bite. First of all, it looks impressive—like a mound of luscious fudge. Once the outer layer of that dark chocolate fudge is pierced with a knife, it reveals several sumptuous inches of its rich, vanilla ice cream base beneath. What puts the “hula” in the pie is its sweet yet slightly salty macadamia nut cookie crust. That blend of fudge, nuts and ice cream make this treat similar to a supreme fudge sundae—in a pie! We could go on, but we’ve teased you enough now.
This dessert is a party waiting to happen for sure! So bring some friends and cut one up, as a slice of Hula Pie is a cut above when it comes to dessert menu items!
4431 Easton Ave., Bethlehem | 610.691.8400 | bluegrillhouse.com