George Wyle was right when he wrote "It's the most wonderful time of the year." A time devoted to family and to friends. A time to reflect on the past while simultaneously looking ahead to the future. Now that I've moved back to the Christmas City, I've gained a more substantial appreciation for the holidays. Admiring the beauty of the historic buildings in downtown Bethlehem, trimmed with the traditional holiday decorations, while listening to the sound of Christmas carols playing lights me up inside.
I absolutely love the holidays.
What I love most about the holidays are the opportunities they bring to bring people together. This past weekend, I reunited with several of my sorority sisters who live in and around the Lehigh Valley over lunch at the Tap Room at the Hotel Bethlehem. Our original plan was to take advantage of their Holiday Lunch Buffet, but we exercised our collective right to change our minds at the last minute and ordered off the Christmas Lunch Menu instead. Although we couldn't quite determine what made that menu so Christmassy, we were pleased with the variety of dishes offered.
Since our table was right by the door, we were hit with sporadic blasts of chilly air bursting in from the outside. To keep myself from turning into an icicle, I ordered a cup of the Butternut Squash Bisque to start. Smooth, creamy, and lusciously rich. I had to pace myself as I ate the soup to make it last for as long as possible. The subtle sweetness from the squash was sheer perfection and didn't overpower the underlying flavors.
Had I not also ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Sandwich, served with French fries and coleslaw, as well, I would have been content with the just bisque. A much bigger bowl of it, that is.
Now let's talk about this sandwich. Of the seven of us, five of us ordered it. Look closely. Do you see how gorgeous it is?
The barest minimum of binder allowed the crab to truly shine here. Generously-sized, the crab cake was plump and moist and, in my opinion, worthy enough to stand alone on the plate without further embellishment, with the exception being a wedge of fresh lemon. While some dolloped their sandwiches with tartar sauce, I draped a leaf of Romaine lettuce and a slice of tomato across the top of mine to add a bit of texture.
Now I know why the restaurant describes their crab cakes as "peerless". Because they're seriously amazing. One of the best crab cakes in the Lehigh Valley.
If you're looking for a place to get together with family or friends to celebrate the holidays with a delicious meal, then head over to the Tap Room at the Hotel Bethlehem. And once you've stuffed yourself with food and drink, you can walk it off by visiting the local businesses that line either side of Main Street or visit the Christmas City Village to get a taste of a traditional German Weihnachtsmarkt.
Quick! Before the holidays are over!