I had never been to what is called “Historic Bethlehem” until recently. My cousin Carolyn and I were passing through the area and the description of downtown—specifically the restaurants—caught my eye. So after a quick stop at Shangy’s, The Beer Authority in Emmaus to pick up my husband’s favorite Polish beer, I set my GPS for Main Street in Bethlehem.
Lesson learned: once you set your GPS, you should really read all the directions before setting out, just to see if they make sense. I knew full well that the highway was only a mile away and if we went that way, it wouldn’t take long at all. However, the GPS didn’t send me that way. It sent me through neighborhood after neighborhood, stop sign, stop light, stop sign. My GPS said 7 miles, Carolyn’s said 11 miles. I’m guessing hers took the highway. But I was in my car and she was in hers and so we couldn’t compare.
All those neighborhoods—and stop signs—later we crossed the river and entered downtown. Parking was a breeze (it was a chilly, drizzly day, which definitely helped). We walked up the street looking at menus and restaurants, passing unique little shops along the way. Some places bustled, others were quiet. Italian, Spanish, Chinese, American . . . even Kenyan. It’s never a bad thing when you have that kind of selection and our final choice in no way reflects on the other restaurants we didn’t go into.
We chose Tapas on Main. I like small plates because you can sample more than one item. When Carolyn—who lives in a very small town—travels, she tries to get food she can’t get at home so this worked for her, too.
Once we were seated, we quickly decided on the Bandeja Mixta, a cheese and meat plate—manchego, queso, and chorizo. I don’t usually order wine at lunch, but this meal called for it and so I had a Malbec and Carolyn a Cabernet. We also selected the Ensalada de Pollo (spinach, tomato, red onion, Milanese-style chicken with a spicy charred tomato vinaigrette) to share. I will confess, I played it safe--I did not order the octopus or the salmon tartare!
I have had the cheeses and chorizo in other places but at Tapas they were a new experience, thinly sliced and accompanied with a fig spread, an apple spread, and some small breads. I enjoyed them enough that I wondered if I would still want the salad. But it was so beautiful I could not turn it away. The dressing turned out to be sweet chili pepper instead of tomato vinaigrette; the sweet and hot went together very nicely.
I would like to return to Bethlehem and spend more time in the little shops on Main Street. I know that even as I was thinking I should try a different restaurant, I would want to come back to Tapas on Main. On-line reviews recommend the sangria, which is always a temptation as long as someone else is driving. (For me, however, octopus is not.) But I would not hesitate to try nearly anything else on the varied, out-of-the-ordinary menu.
Remember: if you like this post, please "like" this post!