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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!

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!

 

 

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

 

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….

Day 342: Voila! It's Vino Volo!

Vino Volo Bethesda Row

Vino Volo Bethesda Row

Voila!  There it is!  The perfect place in Bethesda to share some wine and good eating with friends.  Like Goldilocks seeking the perfect bed, I have sought the perfect place to tip a glass of red or white that doesn’t come with sports TV blaring in the background or in a cramped, standing-room-only wine shop.   Vino Volo is just right for any type of gathering.

Meeting a friend for happy hour and a small bite?  Perfect!  Try sampling their wine flights while seated at the bar.  Looking to create a wine tasting event for friends or special clients?  Vino Volo’s wine tasting room evokes the feeling of a rustic winery in the heart of Bethesda Row.  Meeting a small group of friends for lunch or a business meeting?  Look no further.  Vino Volo has plenty of room to seat your group comfortably in their restaurant and they offer a delectable menu to accompany their unique wine selections.

Tasting Room Bethesda

Tasting Room Bethesda

Vino Volo has won a place in the hearts of many a weary traveler who found solace in their airport retreats throughout the US.  In fact all of their other locations are situated on concourses.  Their airport wine bars offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of travel and a place to relax and refresh your spirits.

The new Bethesda location is their first departure from the gates of the airport halls.  Someone must have known that Bethesda was a safe bet for their first “baggage-free” location, as we are lovers of good food and drinks in this town.

The wine list at Vino Volo is quite unique -a refreshing change from the same ‘ole wine list I have noticed elsewhere.  The food choices are intriguing with menu options at this location that are more extensive than what their airport shops can offer.

Sample their creatively named wine flights during your visit or opt for wines by the glass or bottle.  The staff is helpful and friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed and warm.  Vino Volo is an exciting addition to our Bethesda restaurant and bar scene.  For more details about Vino Volo check out their website at www.vinovolobethesdarow.com.

Cheers,  Amy

Vino Volo Bethesda

Vino Volo Bethesda

Day 108: Spring Restaurant Week in Bethesda…Accessorize your Palate

It’s time again to enjoy the airy pleasures of an outdoor evening meal or an afternoon sandwich in the sun with friends.  Bethesda’s restaurant week is a great excuse to do so!  Restaurant Week is happening NOW, April 16th – 22nd, 2012 at participating restaurants including:

Bethesda's Restaurant Week, April 2012

Assaggi Mozzarella Bar

Cafe Deluxe

Jaleo

Le Pain Quotidien

 Lebanese Taverna

Redwood

Mon Ami Gabi

Vapiano

Raku

Tandoori Nights

Parker’s Classic American

Three course lunches are $15 and three-course dinners are $30.  Reservations are highly recommended, especially for dinner.

You can check out their menus for the week (makes my mouth water to read them!) and also sign up to win a $200 dining certificate at www.BethesdaRow.com.

Buen Provecho!     ~Amy

Day 359: Merry Christmas Bethesda

Merry Christmas Bethesda.  Enjoy the sights and sounds of this holiday season.

Bethesda Row Christmas Tree

Holiday Cheer Bethesda Row

Holiday Decorations at Barnes & Noble

Day 350: The North Face of Bethesda

The North Face at Bethesda Row

When my daughter was getting ready for her first day of high school some years ago, the most absolute of all necessities on her school supply list was not paper, pens, or binders but a backpack from The North Face store!  At the time, we lived in Seattle and The North Face was all the rage.  Coats and backpacks emblazoned with the logo were paraded around by every teen.  Interestingly, it was not just the teens who got hooked on the look – adults of all ages could be seen with their coat of choice around town too.  With plenty of color and style options, it became something of a personality statement to don your apparel of choice and “be seen” wearing The North Face.

C’mon, if I looked in your closet right now, wouldn’t I find at least ONE item with The North Face logo stitched on it? But why not, their stuff is great!  Plus, the store appeals to the “greenie” in me with their efforts to strive towards environmental responsibility and sustainability in all their business practices.  Their written commitment “to protecting and preserving our outdoor playground” speaks to any nature lover or outdoor sports enthusiast.  In fact, the November 29th post on their official blog site includes their first public sustainability report and some other interesting material.  Check it out at NeverStopExploring.com.

The North Face has now brought their technical, innovative gear and apparel to our very own Bethesda Row with a brand spanking new store located at 4848 Bethesda Ave.  So if you or your honey have a wish list that includes a little something with that well-recognized logo neatly stitched upon it, you can just head on down to the heart of Bethesda.  The store is larger than it appears from the street and I love the fitness gear section in the back (I have a few items on my wish list  from that part of the store).  My now college-age daughter who wanted the school backpack all those years ago (and by the way continued getting a new one each year of high school) is getting a pair of gloves this year with special tips on the fingers so you can still use a Smart phone while wearing them.  Innovation baby.

Clothes4Souls Coat Donation

If you plan to pop into the Bethesda Row store by December 24th, bring your gently-used coat for Clothes4Souls and replace it with a great new puffy, fluffy or shiny one!  If you plan instead to shop on-line, today happens to be their last day for ground shipping before Christmas.  You can always ship to the store for pickup there at no charge though.  I’m glad to see that Bethesda has a new face – The North Face!     ~Amy

Day 282: Classic Toys in Bethesda – tugooh toys & Yiro

tugooh toys & Yiro

When my girls were little, I made a dress-up trunk for them.  In went old Halloween costumes, high heel shoes that weren’t in fashion anymore, old purses, aprons, dresses and costume jewelry.  The girls would spend hours dressing up and pretending to “go to work” or acting like models on the fashion runway.  Their dress up trunk offered hours of fun and laughter and I have the pictures today to enjoy forever.

Recently I visited tugooh toys & Yiro  located at 4823 Bethesda Ave. for a walk down memory lane with my eldest daughter – now 22 – who was visiting Bethesda from Seattle.  They had all kinds of great toys from her youth and mine – classics like wooden train sets, doll houses, Lamb Chomp puppets, Rubik’s Cube and lots of dresses and costumes that brought back those dress up trunk memories for both of us.  tugooh toys & Yiro also offers new favorites as well, so every kid from 4 to 40 would be pleased.  I still have no idea what tugooh means but the toys are well-made in appearance, many of which are educational in nature.  There is also a nice selection of books available.  Yiro is the upscale, eco-friendly organic clothing line you’ll find displayed in the back of the boutique.

Ahhh, the memories of dress up!

Our Mad Libs!

Our Mad Libs!

We spent a long time browsing through the store, laughing and playing with toys – old and new – on display.  No one hassled us and we received prompt service when the time came to check out with our goodies.  One of the things we selected was Mad Libs – a word game that’s always a raucous good time on a long car or airplane ride with family or friends.  If you have never tried them, check them out!  tugooh toys & Yiro is a great shop for browsing with your kids, to find unique and classic gifts and for a walk down memory lane!    ~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 23: Let's Get Eating Bethesda!

Bethesda Restaurant

In 1992, the Democratic National Convention was coming to New York City.  In anticipation of the big event, some clever restaurant owners in New York City partnered with the convention bureau to offer the attendees a special welcome in the form of “Restaurant Week.”  They banded together to share the promotional and advertising costs for the event, offering a fixed price meal at any of the participating locations to entice the attendees to try their culinary delights.

Restaurant week was a huge hit not only with the convention attendees but with New Yorkers themselves and as a result, the tradition has continued and expanded to this day.  Now you can experience the phenomenon in many cities throughout the U.S. – including Bethesda of course.  This week, January 24 – 30th, is restaurant week in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area.

With almost 200 restaurants in our town, Bethesda is known for its diverse array of culinary experiences.  People come from all over the greater DC area to dine here (one of the reasons our parking garages are absolutely nuts in the evening, especially on Friday and Saturday nights).  Bethesda restaurants reflect the mixing pot of cultures you find in its residents and you can have some truly unique food experiences here.

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Brian and I enjoy eating – perhaps far too much!  So restaurant week is a great excuse for us to try a new restaurant or to frequent one of our regular haunts.  As such, we plan to feature a restaurant a day this week on Bethesda365.com - bringing you our tips, reviews and thoughts on some of our favorites amongst those participating.  Please feel free to add your comments or suggestions too!

In 2011, over 35 Bethesda restaurants are offering a 2-course lunch menu for $12 - $15 and a 3-course dinner for $30 – not including beverage, tax or tip.  Don’t forget to make a reservation AND check on whether your meal of choice has a fixed price meal option available.  Some restaurants only offer the pre fixe meal option for either lunch OR dinner, but not both.  For a complete list of restaurants visit the BUP (Bethesda Urban Partnership) website.

Bon Appetite Bethesda!      ~Amy

Day 5: For Best Theater, The Award Goes To…

Bethesda Row Cinema

When it comes to watching a great flick Landmark Theatres Bethesda Row Cinema is the place to go “hands-down.”  Landmark Theatres has 56 theaters nationwide and specializes in bringing diverse and entertaining films to a sophisticated viewing audience (oooh I feel sophisticated already…). Bethesda Row Cinema showcases a wide variety of films — ranging from Independent and Foreign film to 3-D movies and intelligent films from Hollywood. According to Landmark Theatres, it is the nation’s largest theatre chain dedicated to exhibiting and marketing independent film. In honor of Earth Day 2010, Landmark Theatres launched new EcoSelect popcorn bags in all of its theatres across the country (this made the Greenie in Amy very happy!).  The theater is underground so it’s super quiet and a dead-zone for cells phones (whoo hoo).  The concession stand is top-notch and features items you won’t see at the big chain theaters (lots of chocolate!).  We especially like the Peet’s Coffee & Teas flavored with all the options available from Torani Syrups that are inspired by Italian recipes.

Amy and I recently really enjoyed The King’s Speech now playing at Bethesda Row Cinema.  We had to wait a bit as the show time we wanted was sold out!  Nominated for 7 Golden Globe awards, including Best Picture of the Year, Best Director, Best Actor Male (Colin Firth), Best Supporting Actor Male (Geoffrey Rush) , Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), Best Screenplay, & Best Speech (just kidding) —the movie is superb. We agree with the critics, The King’s Speech is “The Best Film of 2010” (The New York Observer) and the best place to watch it is Bethesda Row Cinema located at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Bethesda Avenue in downtown Bethesda.   ~Brian

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