Tapas is a local, Spanish Restaurant. For this Happy Hour, Brian Panella wanted to really light the place up for the evening!!!
I have walked past Tapas countless times when I am in Bethlehem. It has been on my list of places to check out. The happy hour gave me a perfect reason to stop by. I am very glad I did. I really didn't know what to expect.
When I walked in, the place was busy. Tapas is split into two sections, a dining room and main bar area. I was in the main bar area.
Atmosphere: Tapas is a very relaxing place to go. It has a cross between an upscale restaurant and slightly historical feel. When I say upscale, I mean low light, low key feel. In comparison to a sports bar / typical family restaurant.
Food: I admit to never trying or hearing of tapas before I stopped by here. They had a few on the specials menu, figured why Not? I am always open to trying new things. If you want to know what I had, see the photo. Yes, the food is very high quality and excellent taste!
Service: Sitting at the bar, I had a great view to observe the service level customers were receiving. The entire staff works hard to provide an excellent level of service. Bartenders, waitresses and manager were checking on customers, serving food and answering any questions. Yes, I did have a few. They were very helpful with suggestions on food. Like I said, first time for everything! There was not lag time in service, even though the bar was busy.
Employee Interaction: No complaints here. The staff joked around with each other. Bartenders were not bumping into another. I did not observe any attitudes or tension between the staff.
Overall Recommendation: Even if you have never heard of tapas (food), stop in here! You will find the combination of food / atmosphere / service, a welcome break and escape from your day. Place Tapas (restaurant), high on your list if you are in the Lehigh Valley. Stop in. Say hi. Try the drinks (alcohol / non-alcohol). Try some new food. You never know, this may become a regular stop.
Will I be back: Yes! For all the reasons I have stated. Thanks to Brian and the staff at Tapas. To the staff: You made a great / first-time impression on this journalist.
Last night, for the second time, I was on a TV show. The first was earlier this year: an interview on RCN's Community Spotlight. This one was different. Internet TV and live.
The Lehigh Valley Coffee Party has a weekly show from Prolifick Studios in Allentown, Pa. Robert Trotner and Lou Shupe are the show's co-hosts. I had an idea to interview them about the Coffee Party. So much for that idea. After Robert's opening comments, I could not resist making a few.
Along with my original plan of doing the interview, I figured to be on for about 1/2 hour. They had no problem with me sticking around. So, I naturally joined in the conversations.
I have had a lifelong case of stage phobia. Always staying back in the shadows. This helps with being a journalist / author / writer. Naturally observing people and what is going on. I have found out that experiencing what you write about, from the 1st person, is the best way to write.
If you do have a case of stage fright, the best thing to do is get up in front of an audience. I don't care if it is karaoke or radio / tv show. Live, recorded / internet or local, it does not matter. Forget there are people watching. Just do what you are there to accomplish. Talk, sing, act, speak or whatever. Remember: everyone watching / listening to you are just people. You have the guts to do what a lot of people do not.
Thanks to Robert and Lou for the chance to co-host. I really had a great time!
Check out how I did and the other Lehigh Valley Coffee Party shows. The topics are not limited to the Lehigh Valley, Pa area:http://www.ustream.tv/channel/lehigh-valley-coffee-party
Misunderstood, a benefit for Pitbull awareness.
Place: Pitcher's sports bar / Allentown, Pa
Most benefits are for people. This one is about a different kind of person: our best friends. The ones who love us, no matter what.
Pitbulls are in this category. One breed that has received so much bad press. From attending this benefit, time to reverse the image. speaking from personal experience.
Heavy metal band, MindMaze performed a rare acoustic show on 04/20/13. The place was Compact Disc Center in Bethlehem, Pa. It was also national Record Store Day.t.
Three shows / 3 different venues
MindMaze was one of the many bands on my list. The first time I saw them was at the Damsels of Darkness tour in March 2013. The place: Gin Mill / Northampton, Pa.
MindMaze is one of the few bands I became I fan of after the first show. The next show I caught the band was the Funhouse in Bethlehem, Pa. Gin Mill and Funhouse are two, completely, different venues. Gin Mill is a larger venue, Funhouse is a small bar with little to no dance floor.
Taking to their latest show: Compact Disc Center.
Hard Rock / Metal in acoustic?
Yes, you heard me right. The first 2 shows were flat out hard rock / heavy metal. When I saw MindMaze doing the acoustic, no way I was going to miss it. I had to see if they could pull it off.
Not every song / genre can translate into another. Try listening to most songs by Ozzy or even AC/DC and then try picturing them in a stripped down, acoustic version. Get my point?
MindMaze announced this would be a rare show. I agreed for two reasons: acoustic and a local record store. Yes, they still do exist!
Oh, I forgot to mention: On the date: 04/20/13 it was also national Record Store Day.
How good did MindMaze do? If the video did not convince you, the next sections will.
A more low key setting
The Compact Disc Center was a perfect setting for this show. It was low key and (for lack of a better word), intimate. You could get close to the band. The music level was lower than a bar / club. You could have a conversation without screaming. The band was relaxed and really showed what they are capable of. The music flowed smoothly.
Like I said: Main Question: How did their music translate? Answer: read on!
In a few areas of my criteria
Due to only MindMaze doing one set. I can not do a full review. I require at least 2 sets. Here is a quick, overall, review.
Crowd Interaction: Here is one area where the band excelled. In between songs, Sarah talked to the crowd. She joked about sitting down and trying to figure out what to do while performing vs. a metal show. The band made jokes with each other. Jeff, dedicating Remember to Boston took it beyond my scale.
Crowd Response: The crowd picked up on the jokes. In between songs, applauded and a few cheers were heard. Everyone watching was focused on the band. Other than people asking questions about records / Cd's, there was little conversation.
Music: In answer the question: Yes, they did a great job on it. I know, they had time to practice and it was their music. What should a person expect? Some music just does not translate well into other forms, no matter what a band does. Main highlight: watch the video. My favorite song off their album: Mask of Lies.
Overall: Doing the acoustic show, Mindmaze proved one thing above all. They are a very real band. They do not need the electronic sounds / equalizers / synthesizers to sound good. The acoustic side carries as much power and passion vs. their metal side.
Strange decision I made
A few years ago, I switched over to mp3. After the show, I did a rare thing: picked up their Cd, Mask of Lies. After 3 shows, I was that impressed with the band!
Add MindMaze to your list of great bands in the Lehigh Valley, Pa area. Place them very close to the top, especially if you are a hard rock / metal fan. On my list, they rank up with Psych (personal favorite).
Remember, just because you do not live in the area, you can check out most bands online. If you can check out one of their shows, do it! Metal or acoustic, MindMaze will leave you wanting more, easily.
More about MindMaze and the Compact Disc Center:
Left: Michael Clark (VP / GM), Center: Adam, Right: Tammy Santiago (Director of Performance Partnerships)
Date: April 24, 2013
Place: P.J. Whelihan's / Bethlehem, Pa
On Wed. April 24 2013, The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks organization once again showed how much they care about the community.
The Steelhawks partnered with a local restaurant and held a 2 hour benefit. From 6 - 8 p.m., 15% of a person's bill went to Race for Adam. In the past few years, I have seen benefits for Adam in the Lehigh Valley, Pa area. After finding out about this one, on Facebook, I decided to stop by.
My knowledge of the Steelhawks organization began by attending a uniform unveiling. Followed by Interviewing Michael Clark before the season began. Curious if his words about what the organization does for the fans / community, I attended the home opener. I was satisfied the organizations actions backed up his words at a game. I wanted to find out if their actions backed up words off the field. They do.
I arrived around 7. I didn't want anyone to know I was there right away. Sat down at the bar, ordered a beer and started to observe the crowd. This was my first time at P.J. Whelihan's.
The Steelhawks were very social. Everyone was very approachable. Smiling, talking having a good time. Just like they are after a game. Requests for photos were gladly accepted. Not just for the promotional end. Everyone was genuine and sincere. I could tell Adam was having a great time!
When I was ready to leave, I walked over and said hi to Tammy and Michael. They were glad I showed up. I was introduced to Adam. A very special person who does not look for the spotlight, but enjoys life. He spreads that love of life simply through his smile.
The Steelhawks answered the last question this journalist had. Are they genuine and real off the field as they are on it? Answer: Yes. This organization takes the game very seriously. More important, They take the community and making a difference in our world / lives even more seriously.
Michael Clark, the actions of the team and organization have proved the words you spoke in the interview. You and the entire organization have something to be very proud of.
More information on Race for Adam / Lehigh Valley Steelhawks:
Author Emily Guido is having a major event to celebrate the new edition of her book: Charmeine, the first book in the Light-Bearer Series.
I have known Emily for over a year. She is a great writer who is constantly evolving. Emily is also one of the may authors who take time and give support to others.
I will be reviewing Charmeine in the next two days. An interview with Emily is planned after the review.
On Friday, 04/19/13, the new edition of Charmeine will be free. Even before reading this book, I can tell Emily has her heart and soul in it. Suggestion: give this one a chance. Check out Emily and her books:http://emilyguido.com/http://www.facebook.com/emily.guido
Here is some more information on Charmeine thanks to Emily:
Place: Log Cabin
I wanted to do a quick mention of this. This was special and different. Scott Marshall with Dave Arey performed before the karaoke.
I arrived after they started. The entire show was a highlight. Covers like Drift Away and Amy really got the crowd involved. Originals, including These Wheels were mixed in and only added to overall feel and mood.
The main highlight for me was the original, Make Time. I first heard this song last year at their Musikfest performance. The acoustic show was a nice break for me. Scott Marshall really knows how to put the emotion into any song.
The karaoke did have some great singers. Overall, the event was a success that drew a nice size crowd.
Baseball and Music
Place: Coca Cola Park / Lehigh Valley Ironpigs Stadium
The Ironpigs had a home game. Kinetic Blu had a set before the game. Slightly unusual combination. Another one that shows the American spirit. For the low ticket price: arrive early, instead of just sitting down / walking around, check out some local music.
I know Brian Kibler and Jordan White from other bands they have. Brian informed me their band, Kinetic Blu, was re-formed and this would be their first show. No way in hell was I going to miss it! I have been to several Ironpigs games last year. First one for the 2014 season.
Due to the show only being one set, I will not use the normal criteria. I will give you a quick rundown of the layout / music / crowd interaction / crowd response / technical.
The stage is set perfectly, right at the main entrance just off to the right. When people walk in, the first thing noticed is the band. Second thing, food!
Overall, the band was above average. Especially with the consistent technical problems they faced.
Music was average with a good variety including: Walk This Way, Mr. Jones, Beat It, Knockin' On Heaven's Door. The pace ranged from fast to slower. High Points included: Walk This Way, Another One Bites The Dust. Lowest Point: The completely killed Beat It. The song was the lowest point of the show.
Crowd Interaction was good. The band played to the crowd and people walking in. A few jokes were made about the occasional bubble clouds floating past and the weather. Clouds were starting to replace the sun.
Crowd Response was good at first. Hey, people were there to see a baseball game. The closer to game time it was, the less people paid attention to the band. I looked around several times. Even some people standing in line for food were paying attention.
Technical was a serious problem. Feedback and other problems were a major issue. Here is where band showed they could overcome problems. They played and sang through everything. Adjustments made during the show did not affect their performance. Frustration was seen on their faces at times. I really do not blame them for it. I would not hold that against any band dealing with a constant technical headache. Like I said, they played through it, made adjustments and did their best.
On 04/0/13, State Representative Mike Schlossberg did an interview with Robert Trotner of the Lehigh Valley Coffee Party Movement. The interview was part of the Coffee Party's weekly show: East Meets West 2.0.
The place was Hava Java on 19th st. in Allentown, Pa. The show airs live on internet radio.
I did not attend as a member of the Coffee Party. I attended as a journalist curious about the show. I am not a political expert or intend to be a political journalist. The show and Coffee Party has my curiosity.
What I found interesting about the event was the public was invited to attend. A few people did show up.
I, initially, thought people would only be able to observe the interview. Turned out, I was wrong. In addition to people online, everyone was invited to participate. A few, myself included, accepted the invitation.
This was the first time I met a state representative. I was surprised. Mike was very friendly and relaxed. He welcomed questions and answered them in a friendly / professional manner. A few, I could tell he was not able to comment on. The main topic was about voting, but, the questions did stray. Danielle, the owner of Hava Java, challenged Mike on a few issues. Both were very respectful towards the other.
Normally, I just stay back and observe. I could not resist this one. I asked Mike what reason people would have to believe in politicians again. I realize a lot of people do believe in them. The number who do not is greater. Mike did answer the question to a point.
The impressive thing about this event was the relaxed atmosphere. It was not a standard, formal setting. Mike was dressed casual / formal. Mike made a very good impression on this journalist who is considering writing about politics.
Robert did a very good job on the interview. Asking questions while allowing others to interrupt. A personal Thank You to representative Schlossberg for taking his time. I am glad to have been there.
Hava Java provided sandwiches at the interview's end. The food was excellent!
Note: I did refer to the video for a quick memory refresh.Check the video: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/31124881
Lehigh Valley Coffee Party Movement: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lehigh-Valley-Coffee-Party-Movement/283056258424856
Mike Schlossberg: http://www.facebook.com/RepSchlossberg?fref=ts
Hava Java: http://www.facebook.com/havajcafe
I wanted to do a quick mention here. The diner closes at 2 a.m. on Saturday nights.
Walking back from the Maingate, I was hungry. Forgetting that almost everything on the east side was either closed or closing, including Wawa; I ended up at Top Diner. I want to mention a stupid attempt at walking through Wendy's drive through.
I arrived at 1:45. When I walked in, I asked the manager if it was too late, I just wanted a quick breakfast. With a friendly greeting he informed me they were closing in 10 minutes, but it would not be a problem.
I sat at the counter and the order was taken: 2 eggs, homefries and toast. Due to not wanting to hold them up from closing, I declined coffee.
The service was excellent and very friendly. I could tell they were closing but was not rushed to leave.
Excellent job to everyone tonight! My compliments. :)