It was an almost perfect afternoon in Bethlehem. The part that kept it from being completely perfect was the fact that I had to pay a parking ticket at the Bethlehem Parking Authority. I figured I would save a stamp and hand-deliver my payment, since I was already shelling out 10 bucks for an expired meter.

After paying my fee, things improved when I popped in to La Petite Provence, a shop I had noticed before but had never ventured. It's obvious the moment you walk in that it's not like any other store in Lehigh Valley. The owner, Pat, personally selects quality European table linen and gifts for her shop, including table linen with napkins to match, runners and placemats in a variety of fabrics, custom French Macrame curtains, cookware and flatware, and pottery from France, Italy and Mexico. Pat and I had a great conversation about the area, and it turns out, she grew up in the neighborhood where we live now. I picked out two tablecloths I loved, but I couldn't decide, so I promised to return after lunch.

I then met up with my friend Moe and we walked over to my favorite little Mediterranean/Middle Eastern spot, Petra Mediterranean. They no longer have the lunch buffet, but the full menu was available. I ordered a green salad and a mixed platter of mezze - tabbouleh, muhamarrah, hummus, and a couple of others - and was in heaven with the mixture of flavors and freshness of ingredients. The food, the conversation, and the atmosphere hit the spot. And our two lunches and drinks came to less than $25.

After lunch, I returned to La Petite Provence as promised. Pat encouraged me to take both tablecloths home to see how they looked on the table. (We ended up with a beautiful green cloth with olives and olive trees on it.) With a find that like, it almost made up for the parking ticket.

This post was written by Lehigh Valley InSite guest blogger Megan Santucci, who also writes the Lehigh Valley Transplant blog.