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Food and Drink Category

Chase Away the Winter Blues in Bethesda

Lemon Almond Cake at Praline Bakery

Lemon Almond Cake at Praline Bakery

After the epic blizzard, Snowzilla, last weekend many Bethesda residents are experiencing cabin fever!  We found today that a delectable dessert like Lemon Almond Cake at Praline Bakery in Bethesda chased the blues away!

Sick of the melting snow everywhere?  There’s nothing like a sunny slice of heaven melting in your mouth to make your day a little brighter.  We highly recommend a slice…or maybe the whole cake!

 

Praline Bakery is located at 4611 Sangamore Rd, Bethesda, MD 20816 in The Shops at Sumner Place.

Nom Nom…Taste of Bethesda is here!

Taste of Bethesda 2013

Taste of Bethesda 2013

This weekend you can snack to your heart’s delight at the 25th Annual Taste of Bethesda this Saturday, October 11th, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.  Tickets cost $5 for a bundle of 4 and each taste can range from 1-4 tickets.  (Ticket sales will end at 3:30 PM.)

Although there will be over 60 restaurants available to tickle your taste buds, you can delight other senses too as you enjoy live music on any of the five (5) stages that will offer performances throughout the day.  The experience is always a favorite among Bethesda locals and visitors alike with tens of thousands in attendance.  Walk, bike or ride the Metro which is only 3 blocks away as parking will be a bear.  But it’s worth it!   The event takes place over several blocks around the Woodmont Triangle including Del Ray, Norfolk, Auburn and Cordell.  Come hungry!

Fine Fun at Bethesda Fine Arts Festival 2014

Bethesda Fine Arts Fest 2014

Bethesda Fine Arts Fest 2014

Calling all art enthusiasts!  Don’t miss the last day of the 11th Annual Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.  With over 120 booths featuring jewelry, fine art, hand-crafted furniture and more, this annual tradition is one of my personal favorites in our town.

This year the festival is located at Auburn & Norfolk Avenues at Woodmont Triangle.  It’s open Saturday, May 10th from 10 AM – 6 PM and Sunday, May 11th from 10 AM to 5 PM.  FREE parking everywhere – all meters and public garages on Sunday.  Live bands are featured throughout the day including one of our favorites, The 19th Street Band who is playing today from 12:30 – 2:30 PM.  The Fine Arts Festival is produced by Bethesda Urban Partnership and the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District.  

P.S. A little tip we can give you from our visit yesterday – the chili dog at the Hard Times Cafe booth is absolutely irresistible!  If you do not intend to eat a chili dog, don’t even go near there!  Even though we had just had lunch, we caved and HAD to indulge in a chili dog.  Frankly, I can’t say I regret it!

So take Mom out today and enjoy the art, the music and perhaps some mouth-watering fun at the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival!

Spring Has Arrived in Bethesda!

Rita's Crepes on Woodmont in Bethesda

Rita’s Crepes on Woodmont in Bethesda

As the sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar wafted around me this evening on Woodmont Avenue, I realized that spring has indeed finally arrived in Bethesda!  Rita’s Crepes is open for business!  Now the hard part…how to choose just one!

Smashburger…Honestly a Better Burger

BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger...to die for!

BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger…to die for!

My mother always said to me, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.”  Smashburger is Bethesda’s newest burger joint and I must say, they are doing burgers well!

They offer all the things you’ve come to love in a burger place, juicy burgers, great fries, milkshakes and even beer!  But this burger joint is something different as well.  They are truly smashing the notion of the same old traditional burger experience we have all come to accept, if not love.  Smashburger offers some inventive burger and side-dish creations and has really thought about what the customer wants.  For example, they offer moist vegetarian burgers (with a serious kick!), juicy chicken burgers, great salads and quality ingredients such as the 100% fresh, never frozen Angus beef patties smashed on a 400 degree grill to sear in the flavor.  Their sides are decidedly fun too including rosemary-garlic “Smashfries”, Haystack Onions, Sweet Potato Fries and Veggie Frites.  And the fact that they offer root beer floats with Haagen Dazs ice cream is reason enough for a visit!

For those “in the know” Smashburger has a few Secret Menu items you can order anytime!  We suggest the fried pickles – a tasty surprise but I warn you!  They are addicting!

Seth Goldman, Co-founder and TeaEO, Honest Tea

Seth Goldman, Co-founder and TeaEO, Honest Tea

In addition to all that yummy goodness, they are smashing the convention of consuming burgers with sugary soft drinks by partnering with Honest Tea, the nation’s top-selling organic bottled tea company headquartered in Bethesda, MD.  Honest Tea will be brewed on-location at Smashburger restaurants and pairing suggestions will be offered for the various burgers.  Admittedly, I confess to some skepticism towards the idea of tea with burgers but was pleasantly surprised at the experience!

Bethesda resident, Seth Goldman, Honest Tea’s co-founder and TeaEO states, “We are thrilled to have Smashburger as our first national partner for our freshly brewed organic teas.  Both companies view high-quality ingredients as an integral part of the tasting experience….”  While he may deny having a favorite, I hear that Seth’s secret favorite is the Lemon Herbal Tea offered at Smashburger – a caffeine-free blend of organic Indian tulsi (a unique kind of basil) with lemongrass, lemon peel and lemon myrtle.

While Smashburger definitely offers a tasty Classic burger what I found most exciting were the innovative creations such as the Capital Burger (our Regional Burger with baby arugula among other ingredients) and the unbelievable Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger…a must-have for any truffle enthusiast.  HINT: order some truffle mayo on the side for your fries!  The BBQ Bacon & Cheddar Burger was another favorite with its applewood-smoked bacon and haystack onions!  Try pairing with the Honest Tea 1/2 and 1/2.

Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

Smashburger Bethesda opens today, December 11, 2013 and is located at 4903 Cordell Ave.  Hours are 10 AM – 10 PM although they really should consider longer weekend hours for those crawling out of Caddies in need of a late-night binge!

 

A Taste of Latin Fusion in Bethesda

If you are looking for a unique place to grab lunch in Bethesda you should check out Panas Gourmet Empanadas.  They have 14 different flavors of empanadas to choose from including a nice selection of vegetarian options.  These tasty pastries are served nice and hot along with a collection of sauces and plantain chips (which I couldn’t get enough of!).  We ordered the Parranda combo for two for $14. You can pick a selection of eight Empanadas along with four of their sauces and those irresistible chips all served on a fun wooden ‘boat’.

empanada tray

Parranda Combo

They have an afternoon happy hour with half price carafes of Sangria and cheap beer as well as live music on Thursday and Saturday nights from 6 PM – 9 PM.  The dining area’s comfy chairs seated at low tables allow you to really sink in and relax.

If you are looking for something sweet to finish of your meal a Jamundi looks delicious.  It’s a mix of fruit, syrup and condensed milk and looks irresistible!

Panas Gourmet Empanadasis located at 4731-A Elm St in Bethesda right near The Barking Dog.  If you are looking for a break from the monotony of sandwiches and bagels that fill your work week, stop in for a delectable treat.

cholados-jamundi

Jamundi – Photo from panasgourmet.com

Top 5 Things to do in Bethesda in October

Capital Crescent Trail

Capital Crescent Trail

October is, in my opinion, the most wonderful time of the year.  It started at a young age for me…my birthday is in October.  At my current age however, that is no longer a good thing.  Yet the month remains my favorite of the year!  Football season is in full swing, the weather is wonderful, the leaves are changing color, Oktoberfests abound, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie and all things pumpkin are aplenty.  What’s not to love?!

Bethesda has some great October fun to offer as well.  Here is our TOP 5 things to do in Bethesda in October:

1.  Taste of Bethesda is usually the first Saturday of the month; this year it’s Saturday, October 5th from 11 AM – 4 PM.  Ticket sales end at 3:30 PM.  Over 60 restaurants will offer samples of some of their best treats while music lovers can enjoy live performances on five stages.  Kids have face painting and art & crafts to look forward to as well.  The event is held across several streets at the Woodmont Triangle area.

2. The Bethesda Row Arts Festival is being held this year from October 19-20th, 2013.  With over 190 artists from around the world featuring works ranging from the sublime to the surprising, you can’t beat a stroll through the streets of Bethesda for this amazing show.  Of course, no event in Bethesda is complete without food, music and fun, and this Festival is no exception!  Admission is free; however, bring your checkbook or credit card.  It’s awfully tough to leave empty handed when you can find some fantastic art to fill your hallowed halls.

3.  A walk on the Capital Crescent Trail in the month of October is different every week as the leaves change color and alight upon your path.  Walk, run, bike or stroll and enjoy the fresh, fall air as you appreciate one of the great features our town has to offer!  One of our personal favorite spots ranges from Little Falls Parkway (mile marker 4.0) down through the Dalecarlia Tunnel at Mile marker 6.5 just before the DC line.

4.  Bethesda abounds with cuisines from around the world!  One of our favorite activities in October is eating lunch or dinner outdoors at one of the 180+ restaurants in downtown Bethesda.  Bethesda Row offers an array of outdoor eating establishments including Mon Ami Gabi, The Mussel Bar, Assagi, Redwood, American Tap Room, Raku and many others!  And if you don’t want to eat outdoors, you can always just enjoy a nice drink at happy hour!

5. Halloween in Bethesda is an event!  From school festivals to neighborhood parties to late-night parties for the big kids, there is something spooky around every corner!  If you want to dress up and let off some steam, try a bar crawl to Union Jack’s, The Barking Dog, Tommy Joe’s or any of the other dozens of sports bars and pubs who are sure to be offering some freaky fun. Hitch a FREE ride around town on the Bethesda Circulator!

October in Bethesda is definitely the most wonderful time of the year!  What do you enjoy most?

~Amy

 

Date Night at Whole Foods Bethesda

Have you ever tried to find a parking spot in Bethesda at 7 PM on a Friday night?  You may have better luck with the lottery!  After an unsuccessful double pass around the garage on Bethesda Ave and a precarious pass up and down a few streets weaving around pedestrians, we decided this evening to set out for less dense surroundings and an alternative plan for dinner.

Date Night at Whole Foods Bethesda

Date Night at Whole Foods Bethesda

We found ourselves on River Road and on a lark decided to share a meal at Whole Foods Market in Bethesda!  They have many freshly prepared options available: pizzas by the slice, a sushi bar, an extensive soup and salad bar and of course fresh fruits and veggies.

We opted for sushi, selecting some of our favorites including spicy tuna crunch roll and salmon nigiri roll combo.  The picture only shows the last few bites!  We dove in before the picture idea came to mind.  For accompaniments we selected shrimp summer rolls with sweet chili sauce (so fresh and tasty!) and edamame.  The sushi bar even offers free chopsticks and small packets of organic soy souce and wasabi – a must-have for any sushi excursion!  As chocoholics we finished with chewy mini chocolate chip cookies. Ahhh!  After making our purchase ($41) we camped out at the tables up front and chowed down.  Who knew that a Friday night date at Whole Foods could be so much fun?!  And the free parking was the bomb!

Belly Up to the Chocolate Bar in Bethesda

Store front of the new Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

Store front of the new Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

Looking for a fun date night idea or a unique venue for a birthday party?  A new and original bar coming to Bethesda Row has the solution.  Unlike Max Brenner’s other restaurants in Philadelphia and New York, this new location has been dubbed a chocolate bar and will be serving just dessert all day long.  A little piece of heaven may have just arrived in our town!

The menu includes everything from cocktails topped with marshmallows to a chocolate chunks pizza.  The french fries come dusted in cocoa and they even have a chocolate syringe if you are in need of a quick fix.  As a chocoholic, I am intrigued!

Located at 7263 Woodmont Avenue it was originally planned to open in mid to late June, but has hit a few delays and as of early July we are still waiting..and drooling in anticipation.  We could see doors opening as early as next week. Open! Open! Open! Open!

POST SCRIPT: Max Brenner Bethesda is open as of July 31, 2013!  Check out pictures of some of their delectable treats on this recent article from the Washington Post: Max Brenner Chocolate Bar Opens….

Top 5 Reasons to BowlMor Bethesda!

Bowlmor Bethesda is a great place to enjoy some family time or a ladies night out!  We recently brought our son (a kindergartener at the time) for his first bowling experience!   When he heard that we were going bowling, you would have thought he won the lottery!  He was so excited he nearly cried.

Bowlmor Bethesda

Bowlmor Bethesda

We rolled into the parking lot at 5353 Westbard Ave and embarked upon on an evening of lights and sounds like he could never have imagined.  And of course it didn’t hurt that Bowlmor offers tasty treats too – sliders, nachos, mozzarella sticks and more.  For the grown ups, they have some nice drinks options as well!  Bowlmor Bethesda was named “Best Place to Hold a Kid’s Birthday Party” by Bethesda Magazine.  With it’s glow-in-dark bowling and 12-foot flat screen TV’s you can see why the kiddos are enthralled!  We will be sure to return soon with our new little bowling fan.

Here are our TOP 5 reasons to Bowlmor Bethesda!

1. You can’t help but smile just putting those silly bowling shoes on and watching your friends and family act like a kid!

2. You can drink and eat to your hearts delight! Leave your calorie-counting friends at home!  (Just kidding of course – Bowlmor offers water too.)

3.  Parking is FREE!  Now that is refreshing in Bethesda!

4.  You can bowl (of course) but there are lots of other games to play too like air hockey and arcade games.

5.  It’s a great way to beat the heat in the summer!

Insiders Tip:

Thursday nights from 9 – Close get unlimited bowling and shoe rentals for $16, plus drink and appetizer specials.  Get your Bowl on Bethesda!

Bowlmor Bethesda can be reached at 301-652-0955.

40th Annual Strawberry Festival and Silent Auction

June 8th, 2013 Festival  Photo from redeemerbethesda.org

June 8th, 2013 Festival Photo from redeemerbethesda.org

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 8, 2013 to enjoy some good eats and fun and games at the 40th Annual Strawberry Festival at Glen Echo.  The event will be held from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  In addition to all the freshly-picked strawberries that can be had, the event includes grilled lunch, a book and plant sale and kids can enjoy the moon bounce and face painting.  Plus, the exciting silent auction will feature artwork, business services and even vacation packages, among other great items.

This event is the largest annual fundraiser for The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and they welcome visitors from the community to attend and enjoy the food and festivities. Personally, I am looking forward to some amazing homemade strawberry shortcake!

The Best Beer, Band and Bluegrass in Bethesda!

When one of our favorite places combines with one of our favorite entertainers in the Bethesda area, we are compelled to share the news!

19th Street Band at the Irish Inn Wed Nights

19th Street Band at the Irish Inn Wed Nights

Tonight (and every other Wednesday night) the 19th Street Band is playing at The Irish Inn at Glen Echo beginning at 8 PM.  The 19th Street Band trio includes Caolaidhe on guitar, Meghan on the fiddle and Mike on the upright bass.  The three bring the house down at every performance with a variety of songs including popular country, Celtic, rock and even some bluegrass music!  They get the crowd on their feet and having fun with their impressive acoustic performances and engaging personalities.  You can’t help singing and smiling after attending one of their shows!

The Irish Inn adds the warm, inviting pub atmosphere to the experience and of course, the good beer!  My personal favorite is Kilkenny, an Irish cream beer that originated in Kilkenny, Ireland.  Another little “must have” at the Irish Inn at Glen Echo is their calamari, believe it or not.  It’s pretty fantastic – or at least I thought so last time I was there…of course I had consumed a couple beers and sang a few good songs with the band so the mood was highly elevated!

If you’re looking for a great way to relax, unwind and have some fun, I highly recommend a visit to The Irish Inn on any Wednesday night that the 19th Street Band is playing!  Perhaps we will see you there on the dance floor, clapping your hands and singing along!  Cheers!

FREE Cone Day at Haagen-Dazs Bethesda!

Calling all ice cream lovers!  Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 14th is free cone day (4 oz.) at Haagen-Dazs Bethesda.  Yep, that’s right, you don’t have to pay for your little scoop of  ice cream, gelato, sorbet or frozen yogurt…but come prepared because you know you’ll want more!  The deal is limited to one per customer and is only available from 4 – 8 PM. Cheers!Haagen-Dazs Bethesda

Azalea Festival at Landon School May 3-5th, 2013

Azaleas in full bloom

Azaleas in full bloom

It’s the 60th Annual Azalea Garden Festival at Landon School this year!  The event is a time-honored tradition to help raise funds for student financial assistance and faculty enrichment at Landon School.

The festival runs from 10 AM – 5 PM each day, May 3rd – 5th, 2013 and is located at 6101 Wilson Lane.  Parking and general admission are free.  The event offers more than just gorgeous blooming plants.  You will also find entertainment in the form of music, art and even Funland for the kids!  Oh, and of course, yummy treats too.

60th Annual Azalea Garden Festival

60th Annual Azalea Garden Festival

Click here to check out the pictures and an article from our 2011 visit to Funland at the Azalea Festival.  Perfect for all ages, the festival is wonderful time for the whole family.

Here is a link to the 2013 Landon Azalea Festival Garden booklet for this year’s event details.

 

The Best Kept Cookie Secret in Bethesda

Potbelly Cookie Display...my mouth is watering

Potbelly Cookie Display

On occasion one can have a killer craving for good, soft chewy cookies and a tall glass of milk.  In Bethesda, my favorite cookie can be found not at a bakery nor at any sweet shop but rather at PotBelly Sandwich Shop located at 4731 Elm Street in Bethesda.

Sure you may all know that Potbelly is great for soups, sandwiches, chips and even milkshakes but did you know that their oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are to die for?!  I never could understand why someone would put a raisin in an oatmeal cookie when you can add a chip of something wonderfully chocolate into every bite.  To the Potbelly person who decided it would be better to add chocolate chips than raisins, I say “thank you!”

Potbelly is open until 10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays and until 8 PM Sundays – Thursdays to satisfy your cravings.  I cannot guarantee they will have any oatmeal chocolate chip cookies left because I may beat you to the punch!  But they also offer sugar cookies and chocolate brownie cookies too!