Discover Bethesda, Maryland...365 Days a Year!

Author Archive

Day 312: Graffiti Art on Bethesda Avenue

Kilmany-Jo Liversage Street Art

If you’ve been down Bethesda Avenue lately you know that one Chicken is OUT and another is IN –Nando’s Peri~Peri!  OK I admit the Chicken Out reference was pretty bad but today Amy and I enjoyed our first visit to Nando’s Peri~Peri restaurant.  We’ll talk more about that visit in the days to come but I wanted to pass along some cool photos of the outside Grafitti (a.k.a. Street) artwork that adorns the new location.

Kilmany-Jo Liversage Street Art

Created by South African artist, Kilmany-Jo Liversage – aka Orda, the murals are a bit edgy (just what some of the 1% in Bethesda go for!) and beautiful all at the same time. Kilmany-Jo Liversage uses aerosol spray paint to create large colorful paintings that are clearly part of the “street art” genre but are also sophisticated and highly artistic. For more on her amazing work check out her blogspot at  Nando’s Peri~Peri has a corporate tradition of infusing their locations with artwork form artists around the globe and it’s really what gives the restaurants their signature style.  Enjoy the new street scape (and the artwork within) and look for our blog on Nando’s soon.  ~Brian

Day 310: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

It’s Sunday, November 6th, 2011 and a great day to check out open houses in our Bethesda and Chevy Chase communities.  Most homes are open from 1-4 PM.  This Sunday there are 97 open houses scheduled, according to MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information System)!  That’s quite a selection! To see them all, an excellent website to visit is, powered directly by our local MLS (Multiple Listing System), MRIS.

Of those 97 open houses today, 73 of them are single family homes ranging in price from $515,000- $2,450,000.  The lowest price home is located at 8417 Donneybrook Dr., Chevy Chase in the neighborhood of Rock Creek Forest just off of East-West Highway.   At $2,450,000, the highest price home open today is located at 6017 Cairn Terrace in Bethesda, near Mass Ave.  It’s a sleek, interesting contemporary with a sauna, a built-in aquarium and many unique architectural features that only a contemporary home can embody!

There are 20+ condos that will be open ranging in price from $199,000  – $1,499,000.  The lowest price condo is located at 7400 Lakeview Dr. in a community called West Spring which is close to Montgomery Mall.  The highest priced condo open today is located in the sleek Lionsgate building in Bethesda at 7710 Woodmont Ave.  It will absolutely knock your socks off!  Don’t miss the rooftop terrace!  When comparing condos, keep in mind that in order to compare apples to apples on price, you should consider the not only the purchase price but also review the monthly condo fee and what it includes.  Some condo fees include all utilities and many amenities while others include only selected utilities and/or perhaps none at all.

Brian & Amy:

The Bethesda Real Estate market has managed to remain fairly healthy as compared to rest of the country even throughout the toughest times in the recession.  Great schools, higher employment rates and fewer foreclosures and short sales than most cities have all helped to buoy our real estate market above national averages.

As of September 30th of this year, the average price of a detached home in Bethesda was roughly $985,000, an increase of 3.6% over 2010.  The median price was $849,000 representing an increase of 3.4% over 2010 figures.  The average number of days it is taking a single family home to sell is 59 days in that same period – a slight improvement over 2010.  With our area showing year-over-year improvements and interest rates at record lows, this is a great time to consider buying or investing in real estate in our area.  Enjoy house hunting and give us a call if we can be of service.

For more Bethesda Real Estate market updates, follow #BethesdaBrian on Twitter and check back here, every Sunday for our new weekly Bethesda Real Estate – Sunday Snapshot.    ~Brian & Amy

Day 293: Green Home Expo at Bethesda Green

Green Home Expo - Oct. 22nd, 2011

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 22nd, Bethesda Green located at 4825 Cordell Ave will host the Green Home Expo.

The Green Home Expo is a free educational event.  Attendees will learn more about the many ways to make your home more energy efficient and how to become a more effective environmental steward in the community.  Presentations will occur throughout the day from 10 AM – 4 PM.

You can learn more about Bethesda Green and RSVP to attend the Green Home Expo event by visiting their website at  Or check out our previous blog about Bethesda Green from Day 34: It Ain’t Easy Being Green.

RE/MAX Green Agent

Sometimes the best way to make a positive stride towards environmental sustainability is to just take one step or make one small change in your routine or habits.  Perhaps the Green Home Expo would be a great way to decide what that one step might be.     ~Amy

Day 287: Bethesda Row Arts Festival Oct 15-16, 2011

Bethesda Row Arts Festival 2011 - Oct 15-16

Other than the occasional wind gust today, the weather was absolutely perfect for the 14th Annual Bethesda Row Arts Festival.  The fall leaves bursting with color created a wonderful backdrop for this outdoor gallery of sorts feauring over 185 artists from around the country.  Live music played and visitors strolled through with their canine companions – so many furry friends in fact that one may have mistaken this for Strut Your Mutt!

The show features paintings, ceramics, jewelry, fashion, sculpture, metalwork, glass art, drawings, woodwork and more. The festival also includes an art sale benefitting the NIH Children’s Charities, live music and street vendors.  As always, you will find some good eatin’.

Sherri's Crab Cakes

Today, Brian and I indulged in Sherri’s Crab Cakes with some sweet tea!  They were a tasty little delight – even though they come from Pennsylvania and not Maryland!  Sherri’s is an interesting concept – only selling their crab cakes and crab soup at festivals and on-line as uncooked frozen goods.

If you missed the Bethesda Row Arts Festival today, don’t worry.  They will be there again tomorrow, Sunday, October 16th from 11 AM – 5 PM, rain or shine.  “Shine” is predicted!  Stop by and enjoy a stroll yourself.  I may have to go back tomorrow and select something fun to take home with me.  A must admit to a certain feeling of longing for a little tree frog I met today.  Check it out at

Here are some photos from our day:

Bethesda Ave where the fall leaves frame the Art Festival

Sculptures on Woodmont Ave.

Elm Street, Bethesda

Steve, Editor of Bethesda Magazine with Brian

Day 285: Grand Opening of the NEW Safeway in Bethesda

The Old Safeway (

The NEW Safeway! (Right now) Photo:

Today marked the first day of operations for the new Safeway located in Bethesda at 5000 Bradley Blvd.  OK so “technically” this new “Bethesda Safeway” actually has a Chevy Chase address – but who’s checking!  Don’t worry if you didn’t make it today though – the Grand Opening extends through tomorrow, Friday, October 14th when there will be a 12-hour sale from 8 AM – 8 PM.

I couldn’t help but head out today and brave the crowds, the crazy 2-level underground parking lot and even the Montgomery County tornado watch this afternoon to check out the new digs!

After watching the building come to life over many months, the store’s opening has been much anticipated in our area.  The dilapidated old, one-story and dare we say it “dumpy” Safeway store that once occupied the corner of Bradley Blvd and Arlington has now been replaced by a new, sleek, attractive 3-story structure that even has up-lighting at night that gradually changes colors.  It’s pretty cool actually!

You can see the total transformation of the structure on an OxBlue time lapse web cam from Roche Constructors, Inc.  Click on any day of the site’s calendar to see the construction progress day-by-day.

The store has a pharmacy, dry cleaning service, Starbucks kiosk, antipasti bar, cafe where you can get sushi, sandwiches and other food made ready-to-eat and a nice floral department.  The wood fire oven in the back where they were baking loaves of fresh bread was my favorite discovery though!  Here are some pictures of what I found at the new Safeway this evening:

Gift wrapped platters for entertaining or gifts

Enjoy something from the cafe & look over the town

A Refrigerator Section in the Pet Aisle? Yep!

The Produce Section

Interesting spices and roots for international cooking

Fresh baked bread from the oven! They will slice it for you too!

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 273: Taste of Rainy Bethesda!

Taste of Bethesda - Mussels

One of Bethesda’s most well-known events, Taste of Bethesda, was held today in the Woodmont Triangle.  In years past the event has drawn over 40,000 people and today, in spite of the raw, cold, rainy weather, the 22nd annual food fest was well attended.  The “tastes” did not disappoint as thousands enjoyed the smaller portioned sizes and offerings as the many vendors were out “rain or shine” to satisfy the throngs of people who braved unusually chilly weather (with the wind it felt like mid 40’s) to sample the best that Bethesda has to offer.

These girls huddled to brave the chilly weather!

Pan Seared Scallops

I of course sampled several of the vendors to ensure “quality control.”  I admit I had to repeatedly purchase more tickets!  My favorites included pan seared scallops with Risotto from Chef Tony (4926 St. Elmo) and petite Filet Mignon sandwiches from Morton’s for just 2 tickets (or about $2).  There was plenty to eat and some real delicacies being prepared at some of the vendor tents.  I’ll be sure not to miss this event next year.  Tonight’s dinner will definitely be a salad as the grilled items, desserts, and enticing entrees sang a siren song to me this afternoon! ~ Brian

Day 269: Bethesda Row Fountain to Re-open

Bethesda Row Fountain

On Saturday October 1 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Häagen-Dazs and My Eye Dr. are sponsoring an Ice Cream Social to commemorate the re-opening of the Bethesda Row Fountain located in front of Barnes & Noble.  Häagen-Dazs will be offering free ice cream samples and My Eye Dr. will be giving away free sunglasses for children and offering discounts at their new store nearby.

For many months we have been strolling past the large wooden enclosure in front of Barnes & Noble curiously awaiting the new fountain.  Originally scheduled to re-open this past summer, construction was delayed by a change in plans regarding the huge water tank that holds the fountain’s water beneath the fountain.  While we waited I enjoyed some of the artwork that was on the construction wall including this phrase that got me to thinking, “The Earth is a closed system, so the amount of moisture on our planet has not changed.  The water you drink today is the same water the dinosaurs drank millions of years ago.”  I never thought about water in that way and now it seems every time I drink some I can’t help but think about sharing a drink with a T-Rex! ~ Brian

Day 267: Dinner and a Movie for $35 in Bethesda

Jaleo Restaurant

Yep, that’s right, you can get dinner and a movie for under $50 in Bethesda.  Jaleo and Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema have joined forces to offer this date night treat.

Stop by Jaleo and enjoy a tapas dinner anytime Sunday – Thursday 4:30 – 7:30 PM and mention to your server that you are there for the “Dinner and a Movie” special.  Magically, movie vouchers will be brought to your table for any movie Sunday through Thursday at Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema.

I don’t know how long this treat will last but perhaps check it out before October 2nd while Jaleo is celebrating the Eighth Annual La Tomatina Festival.  The Festival pays “tribute to the famous tomato battle that takes place in Buñol, Spain [and] Jaleo will feature a variety of tomato specials using the ripest and juiciest tomatoes plus tasty tomato-based cocktails.”

La Tomatina Festival!

The famous tomato battle???  Never heard of it, but it sounds like a good excuse to eat out to me!  And why not when you can also get a free movie too!

To enjoy your dinner and a movie deal, contact Jaleo for reservations: (301) 913-0003.  Jaleo is located at 7271 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda.   ~Amy

Day 247: The Perfect End to Summer: Bethesda Crab House

Bethesda Crab House

For the past 50-years, the Bethesda Crab House located at 4958 Bethesda Ave has been serving up the iconic and tasty Maryland steamed crabs to local patrons.  Although they are open 365 days a year, the hard and soft-shell crabs are at their peak in summertime!  The perfect way to end the hot days of summer is to indulge in this Maryland crab-picking tradition!

The atmosphere of the Bethesda Crab House is as casual as you can get, so don’t come in wearing your fancy duds.  Plus, this crab-eating business is a messy operation!  This is a shorts and T-shirt kind of place with a relaxed, beachy kind of feel.  You can sit inside or outside at their open air tables cooled by fans circulating overhead.  It is strongly recommended that you call ahead to order your crabs so they are ready for you and not sold out when you arrive.  We recommend you order the large or X-tra large crabs!  In addition to steamed crabs, we also thoroughly enjoy the jumbo spiced shrimp.  Huge and mouth-watering!

Today's Crabs!

Another tip for your visit that will maximize your enjoyment is to bring an experienced crab-eater with you to guide you through the process of how to properly “pick and eat” a Maryland Blue Crab.  If you don’t have a guide, it can be a very frustrating experience – kind of like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube that contains your dinner!  But no matter what, be prepared to “work for food” when you pick apart a crab.  But remember, all that good work just makes the reward that much sweeter!  If you are thinking about going out for crabs and you don’t have an experienced crab-eating guide to accompany you, check out this YouTube video for instructions (don’t let the guts freak you out, it’s all good):

Lastly, be sure you enjoy your crabs with some Old Bay Seasoning and a nice cold beer.  Your crab-eating experience will stay with you for some time – it’s rather unforgettable.  Heck, the smell of the seasonings will stay on your hands and under your nails for at least 24 hours!  Some lemon often helps to diminish the aroma.  The Bethesda Crab House is a wonderful and fun dinner experience that is truly a Maryland tradition.  Enjoy!  Let us know if you have any crab-eating stories or tips to share!   ~Amy & Brian

Day 245: Nordstrom Cafe

Nordstrom Cafe

One of my favorite restaurants is in Montgomery Mall, a.k.a. Westfield Montgomery.  That’s right.  With the plethora of restaurant choices available in our town I like to go to the Mall and eat.  Where?  Nordstrom Marketplace Cafe.

Tucked in the corner of the lower level near the woman’s shoe department is one of the best kept secrets to a great meal.  C’mon you say, “Can you really get decent food at a department store?”  You bet.  Tired of the “food court” thing? Check out what you could be having like Grilled Chicken & Strawberry Salad made with organic baby greens and spinach, chicken, goat cheese, strawberries, marinated red onions, candied pecans, and dark cherry balsamic vinaigrette for under 10 bucks.  Or how about one of Amy’s favorites the Shrimp & Asparagus Risotto made with carnaroli rice, roasted asparagus, petite tomatoes, wild shrimp, white wine, and parmesan cheese for $11 and change.  They have soups, salads, pizza, sandwiches and Panini, pasta, and “Cafe Specialties.”  I like the Grilled Skirt Steak Chimichurri made with grilled skirt steak, roasted asparagus, carrots and yukon gold potatoes, and a wonderful spicy cilantro lime vinaigrette.  The food here is really good!  They also have a decent healthy selection for the kids as well with fresh fruit and even “Buttered Noodles.”

The service here is really great too and they give you these awesome little chocolate covered mints at the end of your meal.  Remember to bring some cash to tip your server as it is not included in the price of the meal.  The decor here is casual but very comfortable with a larger than expected number of comfy booths to sit in.  It’s a classy place that reflects the whole Nordstrom atmosphere very well.  The sounds of the piano keys gently playing in the distance is not too bad either in terms of ambiance.

Photo courtesy of Blog FoodiePopJourney

The “Greenies” among us are pleased that the Cafe is committed to bringing you local, sustainable, natural and organic foods and environmentally friendly products as well like milk that’s free from BGH, cage free eggs, organic produce, organic iced tea, organic and fair trade coffee as well as products that are free from hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated fats or oils.  They also are committed to reducing, reusing and recycling by using recyclable and biodegradable water bottles, compostable hot paper cups, napkins from paper made with 100% post-consumer waste, and carry out packaging made with 100% recycled paperboard.

The bottom-line is they care about the food, you and the environment here and the food is simply wonderful all at a reasonable price (certainly by Bethesda standards)! ~Brian

Day 243: Bethesda Fall Bar Tour

Bethesda Fall Bar Tour

On Saturday September 10th, from 1-9 p.m., Lindy Promotions and Coors Light present the 5th annual Bethesda Fall Bar Tour.

Here’s the deal.  You bring two cans of food with you to the event and that will be donated to Manna Food Center (Manna is the main food bank in Montgomery County and, yes, we do have poor  hungry people right here in the County – in fact over 3,300 families each month are served).  The cost is is $10 if you bring some cans and $13 if you don’t.  Either way Manna gets benefit.  If you want you can get advance tickets online through Lindy Promotions by clicking here.

From 1-9 p.m. you can enjoy $2 Coors Lights & $3 Blue Moons plus great food and drink specials offered by some of our favorite drinking holes:

  • Parker’s American Bistro
  • BlackFinn
  • Hard Times Cafe
  • Union Jack’s
  • Tommy Joe’s
  • Steamers
  • Wing Hub
  • Saphire Cafe
  • Ri Ra Irish Pub
  • Caddies on Cordell

Walk up registration is available 1-6 p.m. at Caddies on Cordell at 4922 Cordell Avenue.  Come join us for a good cause and remember to not drink and drive.  Put this into your phone as “Ride Home.”  Barwood Taxi at 301-984-1900.  I just found a= really cool app for your mobile phone called Taxi Magic.  If you need a taxi just text your pickup address to 862442.  For example “4922 Cordell Avenue, 20814” and a taxi pickup confirmation will be sent to your phone.  You can also download an application to your smartphone (I’m Mac, Amy’s PC/Blackberry – poor child).   Check it out and enjoy the “bar crawl” and don’t forget to bring some canned food for the needy.  ~Brian

Day 241: Secret Tuesday Open Houses in Bethesda

Open House at 6725 Hillandale Road

Did you know that real estate open houses are not just for the weekends?  When I first became an agent back in the early 1990’s I was surprised to find out that REALTORS® (pronounced REAL TOUR not REAL I TUR) host open houses for each other (almost secretly) on Tuesdays.  In our local area Tuesday is the day that most real estate offices have their weekly “Sales Meetings” and hence it’s also a great time to go out after the meeting and see the new inventory of available homes for sale.  Of course the internet has changed this wonderful custom.  What used to be a widely attended event, filled with great food (supplied by agents and “hungry” loan officers), conversation, and collegiate cordiality amongst our peers, has sadly grown less popular.  I suspect the internet is at work here because now with the incorporation of high quality photography into the MLS system, the real estate community can sit at home and quickly browse through the new listings without ever taking off their bunny slippers.  I guess I’m an old-timer now because I still feel their is great value in putting your “boots on the ground.”

Here’s how you can get in on this event both on Tuesdays and during the weekends.  Depending on how an agent has coded the open house in our system (“Broker” vs. “Public”) you can see which houses are open by going to is our official MLS service available to the general public online.  That’s right!  The latest and greatest information the REALTOR community uses is NOW available to the average citizen. is superior in my opinion because the contract status of the property is more up-to-date then many of the other web sites.  I often get calls, weeks after a property is under contract, from people looking at outdated information from some other website online. Down in the bottom of the main screen is a Open House icon with balloons.  To the right (remember we still want to keep this stuff secret) is the link “+search all.”   This is a great tool if you want to plan your open house tours on the weekends as well or see if a particular home will be open so you can send mom and dad over to take a peek at something you like.  Other websites like Trulia have similar functions.  When you go to the open house (even if you just see an odd open sign on a Tuesday in front of a house you are driving by) tell the agent who you are, that you are not an agent, but “Brian Maury” suggested you stop by to see the house!  If you’re interested in the house this is no different than if you were a curious neighbor visiting on any other open house on a Sunday.

Renovated Kitchen

Speaking of open houses, this Sunday, from 1-4 p.m., Amy and I will be hosting an open house at our newest offering located at 6725 Hillandale Road in the Kenwood Forest community.  The totally renovated one bedroom condo is just steps from downtown Bethesda and would make a great home or investment property.  To see a virtual tour of the property visit our website at  See you this weekend (or maybe even today) at the open house! ~ Brian

Day 240: Maryland's First Solar Power Pole

Solar Pole in Bethesda

I was getting gas recently at the Exxon Station near the Wildwood Shopping Center this month when I noticed something peculiar that I had not seen before.  The strange device looked like a gas pump that was powered by solar panels.  Turns out I was looking at Maryland’s first “Sun-Tracking Electric Vehicle Charger”- the Solar Pole.  I’m a techie at heart and this thing is cool.

Governor Martin O’Malley and County Executive Isiah Leggett were on hand August 8th to unveil the Solar Power Pole, Maryland’s first high-efficiency, sun-tracking electric vehicle (EV) solar charging station.  Advanced Technology & Research Corp. (ATR), based in Columbia, Maryland developed the device that tracks the sun as the earth rotates to capture clean solar power.  The solar power is converted into electric power and then stored in the utility grid.

Standing at 18′ tall the Solar Pole has six solar panels on top of the pole and features a very small footprint designed for urban environments.  The Solar Pole can charge two electric vehicles at a time and an hour’s charge on the Solar Pole will translate into about 20 miles of vehicle driving.

A local commercial real estate owner, “Tripp” Aubinoe, installed the Solar Pole in the parking lot of his medical office building at 10401 Old Georgetown Road to provide service to his tenants and their customers.  He said that he installed the device in anticipation of a “flood of electric cars” to soon enter the market.  Last July ATR was awarded an $1.1 million dollar grant from the Maryland Energy Administration as part of Maryland’s effort to develop a green energy economy in the state. ~Brian

Day 237: Pre-hurricane Show at Parker's


Come on “Irene”, oh I swear….

At this moment, you mean everything….

Here she comes, good old Irene, heading to Bethesda!  In the spirit of fun and good cheer, Parker’s Bistro is inviting us out for a pre-hurricane show tonight starting at 9 PM with the 19th Street Band – one of my favorite local performers!  Here is an excerpt from their website:

The 19th Street Band

The 19th Street Band is a Washington D.C. based group best known for their enthusiasm and ability to entertain any crowd!   Whether you’re young or maybe just young-at-heart, The 19th Street Band serves up an eclectic mix of both modern and classic tunes that is sure to please the masses!   Their style can best be described as an acoustic mix of popular Rock, Country, Celtic, and Bluegrass songs.   Moreover, each member of the band is classically trained in music and offers their vocal talents to create a great mix of styles and perfectly blended harmonies!

Yea, I know we talk about Parker’s a lot in this blog but, as we mentioned before, it’s our local Cheers bar – where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came!  Come on down tonight and sing, dance, drink and be merry before Irene blows in and ruins our fun.  Parkers is located at 4824 Bethesda Ave.  Check out their Facebook page for tonight’s gig.     ~Amy