Pennsylvania Day Three: The Lehigh Valley

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

At the end of that fun day in Philly, around midnight, we drove up toward the Poconos for a close family member's graduation shindig the next night at the Sands Casino.

Lehigh University, where said family member (who's off to an Ivy League law school) played lacrosse and got an A in every single class he took but one (B+), is located in Bethlehem, home of the eponymous steel company. But the steel industry being what it is these days--or rather isn't-- means huge buildings now lie broken and vacant, like rusting leviathans. In an attempt to rejuvenate the area, some of the factory sections are lit up at night like mammoth, surreal sculptures.

And a rambling new casino--which structurally riffs on the steel mills--has recently opened. (Crazy looking inside, don't you think?) Anyway, it was in one of the casino's restaurants where the grad's celebratory five-course beer dinner was held. The food was likely much cheffier than you might expect, and in fact was very, very good!

The Amuse: Galantine of Organic Chicken with Guinness-Cashel Bleu Cheese spread, Grilled Sourdough (served with Harp)

First course: Duck and Pearl Barley Risotto, aged Tipperary Cheddar Cheese, Duck Consumme and Brunoise Vegetables (served with Smithwick's)

Second course: Lager Brined Rainbow Trout with Irish Bacon and Leeks, Served on Red Velvet Hash and Sorrel Butter (served with Yuengling Lager)

(not pictured: dessert--a super-moist, multilayered Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Whiskey Anglaise)

The grad's mom--in her workaday life, she's a hot-shot cancer researcher and med school professor--is just another nutty family member standing in front of a Funhouse to me.