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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 100: Unlimited Indulgence!

 

Breads Unlimited

Breads Unlimited is located in the Bradley Shopping Center on Arlington Blvd near Bradley Blvd.  Steve Raab followed in his father George Rabb’s footsteps when he expanded the bakery his father founded called New Yorker Bakery in DC with a new location in Bethesda in 1981.  Steve was determined to continue the traditions of his father in making old-fashioned pastries, breads, and treats, and his Bethesda bakery will not disappoint you.

Yummy Marble Cake

Cakes are Breads Unlimited’s real specialty.  I stopped by today to pickup a birthday cake for my son Logan.  I chose a beautifully decorated chocolate marble cake (I’m adding my own custom message – something to do with Lego Batman!).  The marble cake features “layers of delicious chocolate and vanilla cake smother in vanilla butter cream and smooth chocolate fudge.” Another cake that caught my attention was the Mocha described as “Chocolate and vanilla cake are layered with mocha butter cream in this sinful treat.  Surrounded by white and dark chocolate shavings and topped with chocolate coffee beans this cake is the perfect pick to accompany an after dinner coffee.” While browsing the cake selections I asked if I could “make sure” the chocolate chip cookies were as delicious as I remembered –of course they were!

Here’s what else you will find from Breads Unlimited (try these):

So many choices, so little time.

  • Bagels (Cinnamon & Six Grain Raisin)
  • Breads (Pumpernickel and Rye)
  • Croissants (Chocolate of course and Almond)
  • Danish (Blueberry and Coconut Cream)
  • Donuts (Cinnamon Twist and  Sugared)
  • Muffins (Banana Nut and Zucchini Carrot)
  • Cookies and Treats (Chocolate Chip and Gingerbread)
  • Old Fashioned Treats (Pecan Sticky Bun and Chocolate Chip Coffeecake)
  • Pastries (Éclairs and Petite Fours)
  • Rolls (Double Twist and Salt Sticks)

Stop by and find out why they tout themselves as “Bethesda’s Favorite Bakery since 1981”, you may just agree. The word chocolate appears 10 times in this blog.  Can you guess who wrote it?  That’s right…. – Brian

Day 86: Warm up by the Cosi Campfire

Così (checkout the dude in the window waving)

I’m a self-confessed chocoholic so imagine my delight when I spotted S’mores on the menu at Così located at 7251 Woodmont Avenue.  Do you remember S’mores?  You know the chocolate and roasted marshmallow concoction you made as a kid by a campfire.  Chocolate infused with a melted marshmallow between two graham crackers.  Remember in your drooling state you would burn the living sh*t out of your tongue on the hot marshmallow?  Or better yet you would leave the marshmallow in the fire too long and the damn thing would catch on fire and you’d get that black crust you’d have to somehow remove?  Così’s slogan, “Life should be delicious” could not more aptly describe the S’mores experience here.

S'more Campfire

Here’s what you get when you place your order.  Your S’more ingredients arrive on a heavy, custom-made wood serving platter with hollowed out sections for your private stash of marshmallows, two Hershey’s chocolate bars, wood skewers, and private Hibachi sterno stove.  With your micro campfire ablaze you skewer your marshmallow and roast to perfection.  Then combine with chocolate (I wish they gave you four bars vs. two) and graham crackers and enjoy.  Where else can you do that in downtown Bethesda?  For those of you who want to bring the Così S’more campfire experience home you can order the S’more Kit for $34.99 online at Shop Così.com (sterno fuel sold separately :)). ~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