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The Christmas season arrives faster each year. Since M. had some other matters to see to today and since I still had a lot of holiday shopping to do, I decided to set out alone this Saturday morning.  I left home early.  That way, I’d have time to stop for a quick breakfast at the Bethlehem Diner before the stores opened.  The diner is central in the Lehigh Valley, a convenient spot no matter which direction a person is traveling.

As I walked in the front door, I was greeted by a glass dessert case filled with assorted delectable pastries.   I took a single longing glance then asked the cashier for a booth next to a window.  In a friendly voice, she said to choose one.  Simple red and green garlands of tinsel looped through the restaurant adding a festive touch to the rooms.  Sunlight streamed through the large windows.  Around me several couples talked quietly, enjoying their morning meals together.

A tallish dark-haired waitress brought me a menu and soon returned with my requested coffee and glass of water.  The menu features standard breakfast fare — egg dishes, omelets, French Toast, pancakes, and a few specialities.   Since I planned to shop much of the day, I wanted something wholesome, a food that would stay with me.   I chose a favorite, heart-healthy oatmeal and toast.

While I waited for my food, I took out my Kodak and scrolled through some pictures.   For Christmas, I plan to use some of them in creative ways for a few special people.   Last night I had reviewed the website for Dan’s Camera City.  Dan’s has many such items — photo mugs, personalized calendars, photos artistically reproduced on canvas, and even cutting boards with photos printed onto them.  I pulled some note paper from my purse and began jotting down ideas.  After breakfast, I would drive to Dan’s.  Other scheduled stops included The Christmas Tree Shop, Best Buy, and a few other assorted stores.  A full day of shopping waited!

My oatmeal arrived quickly and was followed by the toast a minute or two later.  The oatmeal was thick, tasty and definitely homemade.  The toast was made with fresh wheat bread, and still hot from the toaster.  Spread thinly with blackberry jam it, too, was delicious.  During my meal the waitress kept my cup filled with fresh black coffee.

The total amount of my bill was under $5.00 (excluding tip) for a large bowl of oatmeal, an order of wheat toast, and plenty of coffee.  Reasonable.   Overall the atmosphere in the Bethlehem Diner was pleasant, tables were cleared quickly and efficiently, and the service was friendly.   A good place to stop for a bite to eat when you’re out shopping, after a movie, or anytime.  I plan to return.

Bethlehem Diner is located at 1881 Catasauqua Road, Allentown, PA 18109.  It’s just south of ABE Airport and Highway 22, on the east side of Airport Road.   (610) 266-9235.

Sara

Bethlehem Diner on Urbanspoon

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The winter of 2010 seemed endless. Life grew more complicated when illness struck.  Weeks flew by.  I wondered when things would return to normal.  But then the snows started to melt.  Seasonal rains and warming temperatures coaxed leaf buds and flowers into bloom.  Spring arrived, in all its glorious beauty.

This morning M. announced that it had been too long since we’d been on one of our diner dates.  My improved health was reason to celebrate.  He asked where I wanted to go.  I pulled out my wish list of Lehigh Valley Restaurants.  “You choose,” I said.  He glanced at the list then said “the Queen City Diner.”  We’d first heard of it from a friend who raves over their warm service and yummy pancakes.  Just the ticket on this drizzling spring morn.

Queen City Diner is about a half hour drive from our home.  Highway 78 to Exit 57 then north on Lehigh Street.  Strangely, I felt almost giddy on our drive.  Nothing like a lingering illness to make one appreciate the little things in life.  The diner sits across the road from a CVS Pharmacy, just north of the Queen City Airport.   We took one of the last parking spots near the back of the building. Inside, the restaurant was packed but our wait was short.  Our cordial hostess quickly showed us to a booth next to the front window.   The staff bustled through the crowded dining room, taking orders, serving food, clearing tables and counter.

Our waitress delivered a carafe of coffee with two cups, and glasses of water.  She gave special instructions on using the carafe.  We browsed through the extensive breakfast menu and specials.  Assorted omelets and other egg dishes, stuffed waffles and French Toast and, of course, pancakes.  So much to choose from, and all of it looked GOOD!  I almost ordered the sweet potato pancakes, our friend’s favorite, but decided the blueberry pancakes had more appeal this morning.  M. chose a bowl of oatmeal, followed by eggs, bacon, and hash browns.

As we sipped on our coffee, we glanced around the 50’s style diner decorated in the traditional diner colors of dark pink and turquoisy-green.  The roomy booths each held a small table top juke box.  We resisted the urge to plop in some coins for music; the aisles weren’t big enough to dance.   The room was filled with patrons of all ages.  Families and couples sat comfortably enjoying their morning out.  The delicious aroma of fresh cooked breakfasts drifted from the kitchen.

Our friendly waitress delivered M.’s oatmeal first, as he’d requested.  It was a large bowl, hot and steaming. He poured on a little milk and began to eat.  Soon the rest of our food arrived.  My short stack of blueberry pancakes looked very good, and tasted even better.  While the blueberries were only faintly apparent from the top, when I cut into them I found they were each packed with delectable juicy blue.  Perfect!

M.’s hash brown patties were browned and crisp.  The picture seems to show only one hash brown, but two patties were stacked — thick, and delicious.   His poached eggs were slightly over cooked for his taste, but the inside yolk was still runny and a rich yellow.  I pinched an end from his bacon and found it wonderfully crisp and salty.

Our total bill (excluding tip) came to just over $11 for a short stack of blueberry pancakes, a large bowl of oatmeal, two eggs, two hash brown patties, three large pieces of bacon, two slices of toast, and two cups of coffee with carafe.  All prices on the menu were most reasonable, among the best we’ve seen in the Valley.   Service was cordial and efficient.   Definitely a place to visit again, and again!

The Queen City Diner is located at 1801 Lehigh Street, Allentown, PA 18103.  Telephone 610-791-0240.  They are open 24 hours a day.   Propietors are Ody & George Draklellis.  I hope you’ll try them soon!

Sara

Queens City Diner on Urbanspoon

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A thought

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?" ........... "What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?" ...... "I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet. ... Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.” ...... ― A.A. Milne
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