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Deck Your Pet and Visit Santa at Bethesda Lane

This weekend pack up your pets, head to Bethesda Lane and grab an adorable photo with Santa for only $10.  No reservation needed.  The event is going on from 12 PM – 2 PM on Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, December Spotty8th, 2013.  All of the proceeds from this event go to the Montgomery County Humane Society.  Costumes are encouraged! For details, visit BethesdaRow.com

They will be accepting supply donations as well so be sure to grab any gently used bedding or towels as well as unopened food, treats of toys to help out pets in need.  They will also have a few furry friends on site that are looking for warm homes this holiday season.  Grab the whole family and head down to Bethesda Lane to create a fun memory this holiday season.  Ho Ho Ho…Yip Yip Yip!

 

 

Day 325: Fresh EATS for Thanksgiving: SPECIAL Bethesda Central Farm Market

BCFM on Bethesda Lane

This Wednesday, November 23rd from 10:00 AM – 2 :00 PM the Bethesda Central Farm Market will hold a SPECIAL THANKSGIVING MARKET on Bethesda Lane!  What a wonderful place to pick up some last-minute fresh additions to your big meal.

The market is located on Bethesda Lane between Elm Street and Bethesda Ave.  The whole area is decorated for the holidays and even the most ardent Scrooge can’t help but feel a tinge of the holiday spirit walking past it’s lavishly decorated boughs of holly.

Fresh Bread! Yum!

The special market on Wednesday will feature vendors offering salamis, organic beef jerky, sausage for your stuffing, dressings for your salads, honey-sweetened cranberry-orange relish, fresh breads and of course pies!  The vendor Wollam Gardens will also offer beautiful pumpkin centerpieces and bouquets many around $30.

If you’re like me and often wait until the last minute to buy for the big day, the Bethesda Central Farm Market on Wednesday just might save your turkey butt!  Let’s get into the holiday spirit and support our local farmers.    ~Amy

Day 70: This Friday Night in Bethesda

Apple iPad2 Craze in Bethesda

It has been a long, hard week so Friday night started early for us this evening – around 4 PM.  With our stomachs growling we headed out for some sushi.  Word to wise, in Bethesda, every sushi shop seems to be closed between roughly 3 PM – 5 PM.  So don’t bother.  I guess they’re out catching fish!  We were too hungry to wait so we went on to Plan B.  We parked in the parking lot opposite Barnes & Noble on Bethesda Ave and of course used Pay-By-Cell to pay for our space – no quarters needed! 

After crossing the road on this cool, crisp evening we decided to share a long, relaxed early dinner at Mon Ami Gabi – one of our favorites in Bethesda.  It is tough to find a table on a Friday evening at Mon Ami Gabi but if you show up around 4:15 PM it’s no problem!  We sat down and checked out the appetizer menu and selected a bowl of their Onion Soup and a plate of Warm Brie Cheese.  We also selected a fabulous bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in France which has some nice nuances of lime, grapefruit, green apple and kiwi (so says the website for the winery).  To us, it just tasted darn good!

The onion soup was delivered in a big crock with a layer of Gruyère Cheese so thick that Brian had to use a knife to eat it.  I enjoyed the roasted garlic cloves smeared on french toasted bread with the warm Brie cheese – it was heaven on Earth.  At some point we got around to ordering entrees (in between some good belly laughs with our server Alex!).  Although Brian’s meal was quite nice, the Friday night special Dover Sole blew us away!  In fact, Alex said that people actually call ahead to reserve their Dover Sole on Fridays because it’s so popular that it often sells out!  Wow, don’t I feel lucky to snag one early.  It was amazing – delicate, tasty and flaky and paired perfectly with our Sauvignon Blanc called “Attitude” mentioned earlier.

After emptying the bottle and clearing our plates, we decided we couldn’t help but re-visit the Spring Mill Bread Company for another yummy brownie experience.  We stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts for a Milk Chug – the perfect brownie pairing!  By the way, when Brian got the milk he learned that Dunkin’ Donuts is offering FREE iced coffees on March 21st (with a coupon) – just FYI.

But what really knocked our socks off this evening was what we observed after we emerged from Bethesda Lane – a line of people waiting to enter the Apple Store that would put Georgetown Cupcakes to shame… stretching all the way down the street past Parkers!  What the heck?!  We then realized that today is the release of the iPAD2 and there are a LOT of Bethesda folk that just can’t wait to get their hands on it. 

So now we have popped up to our RE/MAX office at 4825 Bethesda Ave. Suite 200 to share this blog with you, our faithful readers, before we head to Bethesda Row Cinema for a great flick and delicious Peet’s Coffee that they serve at their snack bar.  I highly recommend the raspberry latte!  If we are able to keep going after this, we may head over to Union Jacks for a game of billiards and a beer!  Happy Friday Bethesda.   ~Amy & Brian

Day 60: I'm A Chocoholic

My name is Brian Maury and I’m a chocoholic.  Seriously, I’m eating a Hershey’s milk chocolate with almonds as I write this (with a glass of milk of course!).  I love chocolate so it’s no surprise that a store, dedicated to the fine art of making chocolate, caught my attention on Bethesda Lane.  Cacao Fine European Chocolates and Pastries was founded by Frenchman Jacques Poulain, a former Executive Pastry chef with the Ritz-Carlton where his last assignment was making sinful delights for the four-star guests on the island of Maui.   Well of course Maui is no match for Bethesda and that’s why he left all that perfect weather, palm trees, tropical breezes and beautifully tanned bodies to come here to open his latest store.

The store’s name Cacao is derived from the name of the plant Theobroma Cacao, a small evergreen tree native to the Andes in South America.  Theobroma is derived from the Greek phrase “food of the Gods” and nothing more aptly describes a tree whose seeds are used to produce Cocoa and Chocolate.  Poulain chose the name to remind us that quality chocolate always begins at the source with the quality of the ingredients used to produce it.

Located at 7129 Bethesda Lane the store is small on space but big on great tasting chocolate!  The store features hand-made European chocolates, truffles, Parisian macaroons, chocolate bars, deserts, cakes and pastries.  There are even some treats for breakfast including brioche, Danish, and muffins.  I’ve visited the store today (for research purposes of course) and sampled the chocolate chip cookies.  They are some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had.  They were the perfect combination of chewy and soft while maintaining a firm exterior crust without being crunchy.  Wow!  The store is open 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. weekdays and until 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights for all your late night cravings.

Chocolate Heaven

When Amy and I visit stores or businesses we like to ask the staff or owner, “what makes your establishment unique?”  It helps us distill the essence of the business down to one main idea.  Today I posed the question to Cruz, a young vibrant girl with classic Latin American good looks, working behind the counter.  Her answer surprised me.  She said the best part of working for Cacao was the way the owner and her manager treat her.  “They don’t treat me like I’m just an employee,” she replied seriously.  “They treat me like a friend.”  Cacao is a real delight to experience,  not only as a customer savoring fine chocolate in front of the counter, but also from the perspective of an employee who works behind the counter as well. ~Brian

Day 54: Bethesda Lane is in my ears . . .

Bethesda Lane

In 1992 my father and my oldest brother Matthew decided to move Stuart & Maury, Realtors Inc., the real estate company my father co-founded in 1956, from DC to Bethesda, Md.  They wisely chose their new digs in a relatively new office building managed by Federal Realty at 4833 Bethesda Avenue.  Across the street was a long defunct cement mixer factory (now the site of Uncle Julio’s and the Apple Store).  My father had an office on the corner of the second floor and from his office we had an unobstructed view of Bethesda Avenue and the rooftop of a sad-looking Giant Food store and large parking lot located on the corner at Arlington Road.  In 2008 all this changed and today this location is the site nearly two dozen retail establishments, restaurants, Upstairs at Bethesda Row, the chic downtown Bethesda apartments, and today’s blog Bethesda Lane.

In the last 20 years Federal Realty has helped transform Bethesda Avenue into the unofficial “Main Street” of Bethesda and Bethesda Lane is a beautiful compliment to the ongoing process of urbanizing Bethesda.  Walkability is the hallmark of sustainable urban design and Bethesda Lane exemplifies the concept.  Bethesda Lane is a wide walkway linking Bethesda Avenue to Elm Street and is completely closed to automobile traffic.  Each side of the lane features restaurants and specialty retail establishments as well as access to the 180 luxury residential apartments above the ground floor retail.  One of my favorite spots to eat outdoors in Bethesda is on Bethesda Lane at Le Pain Quotidien (see blog Feb. 16) or at Redwood Restaurant (see blog Jan. 27).  I haven’t tried the Italian gelato at Dolcezza Gelato but my daughter says it’s divine.  I’ve also enjoyed the treats, cheese, and assorted farm goods available at the outdoor Farmer’s market that is held on the Lane periodically as well.  But most of all I’ve just enjoyed walking down the Lane or having a cup of coffee and watching the people stroll by.  My boys love to race back and forth from one end of the Lane to the other (that’s gonna have to stop pretty soon as I’m certain my youngest is destined to be a linebacker!).

Bethesda Lane

Beneath Bethesda Lane is one of Bethesda’s best kept public parking secrets!  You can actually find a place to park in the area in this underground garage, featuring 244 spaces, which is easily accessible from Elm Street.  Once parked underneath you can exit using the elevator which conveniently deposits you in the middle of Bethesda Lane or you can use the stairs which lead you to a walkway connecting the public parking garage next door to Bethesda Lane.  Either way, when you leave you can pay using a credit card at the no-hassle pay stations located near the exits.  One tip.  Be careful exiting the garage as the exit crosses the busy pedestrian sidewalk on Elm Street.  Vehicular manslaughter will really kill a relaxing evening in Bethesda every time!  Parking is difficult in this area and Federal Realty has tried to respond by offering valet parking services.  For a brief time Federal Realty used Bethesda Lane for this purpose but the term “walkable” and the resulting image of rows of parked cars and scrambling parking attendants, reminiscent of a night at the Playboy Mansion, just wasn’t working.  Wisely, Federal Realty has quickly discontinued the practice of parking cars on Bethesda Lane but will have valet service at this location with the cars being parked off-site.  Like the Beatles song Penny Lane, Bethesda Lane is in my ears and in my eyes…..There beneath the blue suburban skies…. I sit.  Bethesda Lane.      ~Brian