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BOLETE

  • By
  • April 17, 2019
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Bolete Dinner

Indulge In Unhurried Dining

Bolete James Beard Foundation Semifinalist Nominee for "Outstanding Restaurant."
It’s no secret Bolete is a popular dining spot in Bethlehem. It’s time for you to carve out time from your hurried life to experience this James Beard Foundation semifinalist nominee for “Outstanding Restaurant.”

In the kitchen of a former stagecoach inn, Chef Lee Chizmar gets down to business preparing stocks, pasta, and sauces and planning his daily menu. The chef and his team prepare everything on-site and that personal touch is reflected in every morsel that appears on your plate.

View the menu here.

If you live in the Lehigh Valley region, you’re close enough to Bethlehem to plan an impromptu dinner date at Bolete [bo-leet], 1740 Seidersville Road but don’t let an hour or two drive stop you from experiencing one of the best meals you’ll have. When your travels lead you to Allentown, Bethlehem, or Easton, add Bolete to your itinerary. My meal was superb.

Bolete Dinner Chef Lee Chizmar
You won’t be rushed through your meal so be sure to take time to appreciate the artful presentation before you pick up your fork. Photo courtesy of Bolete Restaurant

My evening with the staff at Bolete evolved while I was a guest at The Sayre Mansion. I arrived in Bethlehem in the early afternoon and immediately, my thoughts turned to planning my coverage of this magnificent inn. But food also crossed my mind. It always does when I arrive in a city or town for a travel assignment. You might have experienced the confusion that comes with narrowing your dining options in a city with so many options. I’ve literally spent hours sifting through online menus. Who wants to do that, particularly when your day is jam-packed with sightseeing or business meetings?

Fortunately, the management at The Sayer Mansion recommends Bolete and I made my reservation for 7 p.m. so the remainder of my day I could set up my tripod and camera gear, interview staff, or walk around town.

Bolete Restaurant
Many thanks to my server for taking my photo as I savored every bite of my meal.

Prepare to be dazzled

If you haven’t dined at Bolete, allow me to paint a picture of what you can expect to find. Imagine a cozy family-owned restaurant housed in a former stagecoach inn on the outskirts of town, owned and managed by an accomplished chef and his wife, who has spent her life dreaming of opening a restaurant. A solid plan and diligence have helped the couple build a business that caught the attention of the culinary world and landed them a spot in the running for one of the top awards. Chef Lee Chizmar and his wife, Erin Chizmar, were selected as semifinalists in the James Beard Foundation, “Outstanding Restaurant” category.

Chef Lee commented,

“It was remarkable for our whole team to hear of the nomination. They each work tirelessly to make each guest’s experience great. And it was such an honor to be considered among those other industry titans.”

Paying HOMAGE to the Mushroom

Bolete Bethlehem James Beard Award Nominee
Do you love the flavor mushrooms impart? Chef Lee Chizmar incorporates mushrooms into many of his menu items. Photo provided courtesy of Bolete.

Bolete, or mushrooms, are one of the key ingredients Chef Lee adds to many of dishes. If you’re not a fungi fan, you can always request your meal without them.

Why mushrooms? Aside from the fact that Pennsylvania is the “Mushroom Capital of the World,” and an abundance of varieties make them a convenient choice, Chef Lee and mushrooms have had a long and interesting career.

“Mushrooms have been an integral part of each restaurant I’ve worked at in my career, so when we moved to PA (Pennsylvania) to open Bolete, it was a natural fit,” Chef Lee said.

If you’re on the edge of your seat wondering what I ordered, I began my dining with a first course: The menu description reads, “Liberty Gardens Mixed Greens (Salad) WITH 12 pickled local mushrooms, parmesan, sunflower seeds, cipollini, garlic sourdough crouton, mushroom “Caesar” vinaigrette” but I asked my server to hold the croutons because I limit my gluten intake. I didn’t leave so much as a sunflower seed on my plate and the subtle mushroom taste, combined the shaved parmesan is the perfect prelude to all of the second-course options. I decided on the Cast Iron Seared Day Boat Sea Scallops 36 hand-rolled gnocchi, local mushrooms, bacon, swiss chard, Burgundian snails, parsley, and porcini puree.

The Decor: A Meeting of Rustic and Romantic

The former Stagecoach Inn sits at the crossroads of a busy intersection so, after sunset, passers-by can catch a glimpse of the soft glow of romantic lighting coming from the windows. My first reaction, as I found my parking spot in the on-site lot, was “Oh, this is perfect.”

You, on the other hand, might wonder why you’ve never dined at Bolete. Once you’re inside, the history and the unpretentious antiquity speak to you. Anyone with an affinity for history will appreciate Chef Lee and Erin’s choice of casual seating in the bar area or the dining room and their collection of carved wooden mushrooms in each of the windowsills. Softly candle-lit dining areas and a memorable meal awaits you at Bolete.

Bolete Restaurant Celebrates Mushrooms
The woodsy flavor of mushrooms are an integral part of Chef Lee’s menu.

Make your reservation online.

Disclaimer:

My meal was comped but my opinions are my own and based on my experience.

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DOWN BY THE RIVER

  • By
  • March 8, 2019
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Down By The River

An Interview With Andrew Weiner, Author

When is the best time to teach your children and grandchildren to fly fish?

My answer is ANYTIME your child expresses an interest.

Read my interview with Andrew Weiner, the author of “DOWN BY THE RIVER, A Family Fly Fishing Story.” Andrew crafted the perfect Young Reader tale about one family’s fly-fishing trip.

“Art,” the main character watches and listens as trout dart by in the riverbed as his mother, perhaps, unknowingly, demonstrates her perfect cast. Meanwhile, Grandpa tells stories about fishing and family that enhance an already perfect day.

DOWN BY THE RIVER CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOK ANDREW WEINER
Andrew Weiner learned to fish at a very young age. His life-long love of fishing eventually led him to author “DOWN BY THE RIVER: A Family Fly Fishing Story.”

A few weeks ago, Andrew reached out to me to introduce his book “DOWN BY THE RIVER: A Family Fly Fishing Story.”

What led him to create DOWN BY THE RIVER? He explains in our interview.

How closely do the characters relate to your evolution as an angler?

They don’t specifically. I grew up in NY originally, and we would take family vacations to Maine, staying in a cabin at The Five Kezar Lakes in North Waterford. We would fish every day as a family–my dad, mom, and two sisters. It wasn’t fly fishing. When we moved to California my father and I continued fishing–deep sea fishing and some lake fishing, and then eventually some stream fishing as well. I didn’t start fly fishing until probably the early 90’s, and though I continued fishing with my dad until a few years ago, until about two years before he died in 2017, we only fly fished together once. The story evolved from when I first started writing it 15 years ago, where it was a boy who wanted to go fish with his parents, to a story about fishing with his mom and grandfather. Part of what has generated so much support for the book is the mother being such an important part of the story as an angler. Orvis’s #5050onthewater movement coincided with the lead up to publication. Women fly anglers, particularly on Instagram, have been huge fans and promoters of the book.

What led you to tell this particular story?

It was a combination of things. Part of it is my love of fly fishing, part of it is my love for children’s books. I’ve worked in publishing since 1977, and even four years prior when I worked at the local public library my last two years of high school. I also felt that there was an opportunity to engage kids in the sport and the outdoors and conservation through the story. The story evolved from what I described above, but it was my editor Susan Van Metre who helped craft it into a publishable story. Funny story–today is International Women’s Day, and last year I posted a photo of myself with my two sisters in a boat in Maine. I mentioned where we were and Susan saw the post, and it ends up that it’s where she goes fishing with her family now. It was meant to be.

To what extent is fly fishing a part of your life?

I am passionate about the sport and the places it takes me. Basically, all of my vacations for the last 20 years or so have either been fully focused on fly fishing or have at least had a small opportunity to fish. It has been interesting to reach out via Instagram and Linkedin to the fly fishing community. After years of being part of the publishing community it’s been rewarding to become a member of the fly fishing world, known and appreciated by many folks because of the book and my commitment to the sport and conservation.

What do you hope young readers will learn from your book?

Several things. First is the joy of actually fishing and catching a fish. Second is how wonderful it is to share the activity with family and loved ones. Third is the value of the places where we fish and the importance of preserving those places across the generations. My ex-wife’s sister-in-law is a teacher and she shared the book with her second grade class, and then they all did a project answering her questions about the book. One question was what is the lesson of the book, or what they most got out of it, and so many of them talked about Art not giving up after he didn’t catch a fish right away, so I guess that’s something kids will learn from the book, too.

Did you know the book would follow a particular format/plan?

I did have a clear view of the format of the book as a picture book, and even did a version of the text with suggested illustrations. Susan told me I should just let April Chu (I was so lucky she agreed to do the book) have her way with the illustrations, and the fact is it came out almost exactly as I’d anticipated. I did always plan to have the informational backmatter. It’s something that is common in Abrams kids picture books that adds value and depth. The flies on the endpapers grew from the original concept. I gave April 24 critical flies, but she got so engaged that she ended up with almost 80 unique flies in the front and back.

Author "Down By The River"Andrew Weiner
Andrew Weiner holding “Down By The River” in At City Lights bookstore

What role does conservation play in your life and how can we teach children to responsibly enjoy our natural resources?

I’m deeply committed to conservation. These are very difficult times with so many critical environmental regulations being obliterated. I think kids being in the outdoors is vital to the conservation and environmental movements, and I’m heartened by how many are already active. I support a couple of dozen environmental organizations myself. It’s one of the most important issues for me. Bottom line–getting kids into nature will make them stewards themselves.

Author "Down By The River"Andrew Weiner
“Down By The River” author Andrew Weiner

Author Bio

Andrew Weiner is a longtime publishing professional and an avid fly-fisher. He lives in Albany, California.

Buy a Copy – Down By the River

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A River Trilogy book review Adventures Authors book Book Review book reviews Fishing Fishing Destinations Fly Fishing Books Fly Fishing Stories and Tales Lifestyle Travel Product Links W.D. Wetherell Author

Outright Fishing Tales: A River Trilogy

  • By
  • May 3, 2018
New England Fishing

New England Fishing
A naturalist’s account of the Vermont River, One River More, and Upland Stream

 

“Vermont River,” “Upland Stream,” and “One River More” are all books by acclaimed author W.D. Wetherell. He combined those three classics into entertaining and descriptive reflections of his most endearing fly fishing moments. A “Word at the Start,” hooks you and then reels you in as you read one tale after another.

“I had fallen in love with fly fishing as a teenager, thanks to my parents buying a summer house on a bassy Connecticut lake,” Wetherell wrote. “This led me to fly-fishing, and then a passionate reader as a kid-to the literature fly-fishing boasts of, the ‘fishing in print.”

Wetherell is an award-winning novelist with more than 20 books to his credit. A few of his other titles are “The Writing on the Wall,” “North of Now,” “Soccer Dad,” and “Summer of the Bass.” Vermont River is the first book in his fishing collection and a requiem to his love for fly fishing in Vermont. Trout Magazine deemed this selection as one of the 30 finest works about fly fishing. You won’t be disappointed, even if you’re not an angler – each of these works are indicative of Wetherell’s love of nature and family.

A River Trilogy is a fluid, gentle, and entertaining literary work that will leave you yearning for more stories. It’s truly a work of literary art. I encourage you to travel along on his journeys through New England, Montana, and Scotland’s most treasured waterways.

You can purchase the book here by clicking on this link. .

Learn more about W.D. Wetherell at wdwetherell.com.

DISCLOSURE:

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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