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Dharma Kitchen

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When Cooks Don't Cook: Chefs Talk Take-Out

carrie

Bolete Restaurant in Bethlehem, Pa. Photo by Ryan Hulvat

Bolete Restaurant in Bethlehem, Pa. Photo by Ryan Hulvat

We've all been there. Wiped out from work and life in general. When there's just no energy for cooking or cleaning up. My friend, ordering takeout is no shame. It happens to everyone, including—and especially—those who cook for a living. I always want to know what chefs eat when they're not cooking, whether for work, their own families or friends. Don't you? What do they order and why? In the first installment, we'll start with husband and wife team Chef Lee Chizmar and manager Erin Shea, from Bolete. And please: if there's someone you want me to approach, let me know. I've got a few others in mind, but I want to hear your suggestions, too.

I'm basically just going to relay my dialogue with Erin here, with minor editing. She tells us where they order from regularly, and who orders what. (Colton is their young daughter.)

First response? Asia Oriental Cuisine, a great Chinese spot in Allentown that in January won an award for being in the top 100 Chinese restaurants in the United States in 2013.

"Asia is awesome, owned by an amazing couple, Alex and May Zhong. She runs the front and he is always in the kitchen. While you can get all the Chinese take-out favorites there is so much more to offer on the menu. Lee cannot get enough of the hot and sour soup and Colton is addicted to the pork dumplings. I am an egg foo yung lady myself and theirs is the best. There are also great sit-in options including fish and off-the-menu Chinese classics that Alex whips up for his regular guests. Arlene's eggplant is a staple on the menu that is wonderful as well. They are awesome and so is their food." (Asia is located at 1102 E. Susquehanna Street, Allentown; 610/798-7777. Open daily except for Sunday; BYOB with no fees. Dine in or take out.)

Erin Shea, Bolete. Photo by Ryan Hulvat. 

Erin Shea, Bolete. Photo by Ryan Hulvat. 

Other thoughts? They dig the pho at Loan's Authentic Vietnamese Bistro at the Allentown Farmers' Market and the specials the place often runs, along with White Orchid Thai Cuisine at the Promenade and Lee's Hoagies (no relation), a Philly institution with an Allentown-bordering-on-Emmaus location.

Maybe none of this sounds good (Doubtful.) How about we just dig these lovely photos, just 'cause, from my amazing friend Ryan Hulvat, who shot these for a story I wrote about Bolete for the Elucidator? We didn't get to use all of them. Erin Shea is pictured left, behind the scenes and Chef Lee is below. Maybe you'd rather have the oysters (like Ryan did, below left), or something else delicious from Bolete (pssst: their tavern is a hidden gem during the week). You can't go wrong, take-out or Bolete.

Oysters at the bar. Bolete. Photo by Ryan Hulvat. 

Oysters at the bar. Bolete. Photo by Ryan Hulvat. 

Chef Lee Chizmar, Bolete. Photo by Ryan Hulvat. 

Chef Lee Chizmar, Bolete. Photo by Ryan Hulvat.