As promised last week, this Sunday's column continues the restaurant-watch theme.
Let's start with a piece of Allentown history that has shifted to south Bethlehem.
Downtown Allentown's long-standing Chinese restaurant House of Chen occasionally hosted Malaysian Night, honoring the culture with a series of dishes like Malaysian spring rolls and mango chicken.
House of Chen closed earlier this year, prompting longtime worker Jenny Lim to open a restaurant of her own with Malaysian fare: Jenny's Kuali at 102 E. Fourth St.
Jenny's Kuali, which replaces Flama Tropical, specializes in noodles, dumplings, vegetarian and Malaysian dishes. That includes fare like wonton soup, Malaysian spring rolls, dim sum, bean curd with bean sprouts, Malaysian curry chicken and Mee Goreng, an Indian-style egg noodles stir fry in a tomato base and made with a choice of either chicken, shrimp or vegetarian ingredients.
Lim owns the restaurant with her husband, Roy. Lim said she offers healthier options and a contrast from House of Chen, largely known for its popular all-you-can-eat buffet.
Jenny's Kuali is decorated with some House of Chen furniture, including chairs, tables and some artwork on the walls.
The Valley's soul food menu is even heartier since My Weekend Kitchen Soul Food Seafood & Caribbean Restaurant opened at 805 E. Fourth St., Bethlehem.
The space returns chef TR Burns to the kitchen after shuttering a similar restaurant in Allentown a few years ago.
My Weekend Kitchen's menu includes dishes like honey-dipped fried chicken, jerk chicken, mac & cheese waffles, curry popers, fried pork chops, baked turkey wings, fish, cajun crab legs, and sides such as fried corn, collard greens, yams and yellow rice.
This newbie comes just weeks after I mentioned a dearth of soul food eateries in the Valley ... well that was until downtown Allentown's The Caring Coffee Café recently changed to Taste of Soul at The Caring Coffee Cafe.
My Weekend Kitchen's website: http://www.myweekendkitchen.com.
I broke the news days ago that the long-vacant former Morning Call bureau on Bethlehem's Main Street is planned to be CORKED Wine Bar.
Owner and chef Giuseppe "Joe" Grisafi plans to turn one of downtown Bethlehem's most visible vacant properties into a wine bar and restaurant featuring 40 different kinds of vino and continental cuisine.
The place is slated to open in February, boasting a wine bar, lounge and 175-seat restaurant. Wines will be retrieved by a self-serve kiosk and the place will employ a sommelier.
Grisafi has been eager to crank his culinary and business know-how up a notch, but not quite ready to move to Philly or Manhattan.
So, he chose downtown Bethlehem's popular restaurant row, which is chock-full of other eateries, boutiques and a retailer's lifeblood: foot traffic.
A cigar bar was originally planned for the location, but that didn't come to fruition and the 6,200-square-foot space was put back on the market late last year.
Grisafi, who owns CORKED with two silent partners, also operates Roma Ristorante and Taste of Italy Ristorante in Hanover Township, Lehigh County.