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

Day 23: Two Great Reasons to Celebrate Food This Week in Bethesda!

It’s cold and dank outside but if you can brave the cruddy weather and plan a night out for dinner you will be rewarded!  This week happens to be Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant week, my favorite excuse to enjoy a new restaurant in town! 

There are 33 participating establishments who will offer two and three-course lunches for $13 or $16 and dinners for $33 from today through January 29th, 2012.  It’s a great time to try something new or visit an old favorite.  For a complete list of participating restaurants and a link to their websites to make reservations, you can visit the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) web page.

Happy Year of the Dragon!

Today also happens to be the first day of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year!  It’s the lucky Year of the Dragon, year 4710 on the Chinese calendar.  Perhaps some celebratory dumplings and fortune cookies are in order? 

No matter what tasty dish you choose this week – cheeseburgers, chow mein, chalupas or chicken, enjoy the opportunity to share some good eats with family and friends.  May this New Year be filled with good fortune and blessings for you all.     ~Amy

Day 203: Bethesda Outdoor Movies

BUP logo 2011

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 26th to Saturday, July 30th to enjoy movies under the stars!  Bethesda Outdoor Movies, hosted by Bethesda Urban Partnership, has a terrific lineup for its 2011 summer movie series.  Here is the schedule for a this fun and FREE event:

Tuesday, July 26:  The Breakfast Club – This one is a true 80’s cult classic.  It’s rated R (sorry kids), but anyone who wore shoulder pads and big hair in the 80’s will appreciate this flick!  Too much fun!

Wednesday, July 27:  Bye, Bye Birdie – All I know of this one is that it’s a 60’s era film.  An oldie but a goodie.  NR

Thursday, July 28:  The King’s Speech – One of my favorite modern movies!  If you didn’t see it in the theater earlier this year, it would be a great choice for your Bethesda Outdoor Movie selection!  (Rated R)

Friday: July 29:  Rocky – A feel-good boxing classic.  The theme music is ringing in my head now!  Rated PG

Saturday, July 30:  The Social Network – Surprisingly a really great film in my opinion.  Who knew that Justin Timberlake could act?!  And quite well, I might add.  The movie is entertaining, interesting and fun.  Rated PG-13.

So bring your lawn chairs and your honey to Woodmont Triangle at the corner of Norfolk & Auburn Aves. The shows begin at 9 PM sharp and I have no idea what they do if it’s raining.  Might be fun to find out though.  The seating area is actually on the street so a blanket won’t do much for you on the ground.   Chairs are definitely recommended.  You might also think about some bug spray too.  There are quite a few restaurants around so food and drinks are all taken care of.  Enjoy a romantic night under the stars at the 7th annual Bethesda Outdoor Movie Series.   ~Amy

Day 200: Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant Week…again!

BUP logo 2011

It’s that time again, time for Bethesda Restaurant Week.  It’s a great excuse to get out and enjoy a good meal at an affordable price.  Try a new dish at one of your favorite restaurants or give a restaurant a try that you have never experienced before.  The 28 participating Bethesda and Chevy Chase restaurants are listed on the Bethesda Urban Partnership website.  Lunches are $12 – $15 and dinners are $30…well except for Le Vieux Logis who is offering $29 dinners just to really shake things up!

Some of our favorite participating restaurants include:

Assagi Mozzarella Bar

Food, Wine & Co

The Irish Inn at Glen Echo


Le Vieux Logis

Mon Ami Gabi


and Redwood Restaurant

But we have yet to try some of the places on the BUP list.  Perhaps this will be our chance to find a new favorite!  Any suggestions?


Day 179: Events in Bethesda this Weekend

BUP logo

Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) is a great resource for planning your weekend activities in Bethesda.  They offer a comprehensive calendar of events and keep things happening in our quaint little town, including festivals, concerts, farmers markets and even outdoor movies.  If you’re looking for fun things to do this weekend, there’s quite a lot to choose from before the 4th of July holiday rolls around.  Here are some highlights of events starting tomorrow, June 30th:

Thursday, 6/30: Dance the night away at the Summer Concert Series at Veteran’s Park featuring the jazz and soulful sounds of LaRue Boogaloo from 6 PM – 8 PM.  Veteran’s Park is located at the corners of Woodmont Ave. and Norfolk and thanks to BUP, the concert is FREE!

Veteran's Park

Friday, 7/1: Enjoy live music and an outdoor Dance Concert at Bethesda Metro Center at the corner of Wisconsin Ave. & Old Georgetown Rd. from 6 PM – 9 PM.  This event is also FREE.

Saturday, 7/2: Laugh til you cry at Laugh Riot at the Hyatt.  This live standup comedy show will feature engineers, government employees and IRS agents who moonlight as local comics.  Actually, I’m just kidding about that but the comics are actually locals so it wouldn’t surprise me if you did have the garden variety Housewife of Bethesda up there!  (Check out our blog from Day 53 for details.)  The Hyatt Regency Hotel is located  at 7400 Wisconsin Ave.  The show costs $10 and begins at 8 PM.


Farm Market Veggies

Sunday, 7/3: Pop in to visit the local farm markets and enjoy the chance to meet the farmers themselves and take home some of the freshest fruits and veggies of the season.  The Bethesda FRESHFARM Market is located at Norfolk Ave. between Fairmont & St. Elmo Aves. The market is open from 9am-1pm and FREE to attend.  The Bethesda Central Farm Market is on Elm St. between Woodmont & Wisconsin also from 9am-1pm and also FREE…well, that is, until you buy something.  And I promise you will buy something.  🙂

We plan to feature details in a future blog about 4th of July events in our area, but in the meantime, enjoy the beautiful weekend ahead!     ~Amy

Day 151: Bethesda Painting Awards – And the winner is….

June 1st - 25th

After careful consideration, the finalists have been selected and their work is now on display at the Bethesda Painting Awards – Exhibition from June 1st -25th at the Artery Plaza Gallery at 7200 Wisconsin Ave.  The exhibition is open from 12 PM – 6 PM Wednesday – Saturday.

And don’t miss your opportunity to meet the artists!  A public reception will be offered on June 10th from 6 PM – 9 PM during Bethesda Art Walk. The finalists, all local artists from Maryland, Virginia and DC, will be available to discuss their work at the reception.  More information about each finalist is available on the Bethesda Urban Partnership website.

And the winners are…

               Alison Hall, Roanoke, VA- $10,000 award
James Adkins, Ellicot City, MD – $2000 award

              Emma Steinkraus, Washington, D.C.- $1,000 award
Lisa Gostev, Reisterstown, MD – $1,000 Young Artist award 

It a great excuse to get dressed up and go out for a nice evening while you support the arts!  This event is free, so it’s the cheapest date around and sure to be a good time!     ~Amy   

Day 146: Bethesda Fresh Farm Market

The event logo from BUP

Located on Norfolk Avenue at Veteran’s Park between Fairmont and St. Elmo Avenues, the Bethesda Freshfarm Market is open every Saturday from 9 AM – 1 PM through October 29, 2011 – rain or shine!  The first Freshfarm Market was begun in 1997 at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. as a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture in our local area. Their slogan is Promoting Food with a face, a place and a taste in the Chesapeake Bay region

According to the Freshfarm Market website, “all markets open and close with the ringing of a market bell and feature Chef at Market demos by renowned chefs, cookbook authors and passionate home cooks, who celebrate cooking with the seasonal foods in our region.”  Demonstrations tastings and book signings are common.

Chef from Freshfarm website

There are currently 11 markets in the region.  This year marks the second season for the Bethesda Freshfarm Market.  The market offers wonderful opportunities to get the freshest and best veggies, fruits, herbs, baked goods, meats, eggs, flowers and plants all grown or produced by the farmers within a 150 mile radius of the area.  Enjoy the opportunity to sample the seasonal varieties available within our region at their best.  When you want to check out specifically what’s available at the market at different times of year, visit the Freshfarm website or download the attached brochure.

There is another wonderful feature on the Freshfarm Market website that you may want to check out – a recipe finder.  You check off the ingredients you like and then click “search” and the site will respond with recipes using those ingredients.  But not only do you get the recipe, you also get information about the name and background of the chef who created it!  Very cool!  Try it on-line right here.

Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) is the sponsor of the Freshfarm Market in our town.  If BUP is involved, you can rest assured that no detail is missed.  They have put together a terrific group of vendors for our local market including:

Atwaters Bakery

Black Rock Orchard

Four Seasons Nursery

Garden Path Farm

Gunpowder Bison

Knouse Fruitlands

Mock’s Greenhouse

Praline Bakery

Spiral Path Farm

Sunset Valley Farm

Zahradka Farm and others.

The best part about the market is the cost – it’s FREE.  Well, at least until you find that special somethin’ that you can’t resist taking home with you!      ~Amy

Day 133: The Finest Fine Art Show in Maryland!

It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet. 

~Kojiro Tomita

This weekend, May 14th – May 15th, is the annual Bethesda Fine Art Festival.  Held from 10 Am – 6 PM on Saturday and 10 Am – 5 PM on Sunday, the show features art works from 140 artisans plus live entertainment including rock, jazz, reggae and more.  No event is complete without delicious food and the fine art festival is no exception!  Local restaurants will be serving as food vendors on Del Ray Ave (“food row”) with some tasty treats to enjoy while you check out the works of art.  I am keenly interested in having some of the crab cake sliders offered by Blackfinn American Saloon. 

BUP Map of Fine Art Festival 2011

The event is FREE and there is FREE parking available at parking garages in the area – the closest one is on Auburn.  You can’t beat that, however, keep in mind that parking in Bethesda on the weekend is a bear, so if you can walk, bike or bus into town, that’s a better option.  The METRO is another good choice; it’s about 6 blocks away.  While the art event will be held on Auburn and Norfolk Aves., the food vendors and live bands will be enticing you over to Del Ray Ave.  The map shows you the lay of land, courtesy of BUP.

Our fine art festival is held RAIN or SHINE which is a good thing since the weather this weekend looks more like a day in Seattle than Bethesda…drizzle, drizzle, drizzle.  With that said, all your other outdoor festivities are botched so why not stop by and enjoy the treasures to be found?  Bring your bumbershoot!  The festival artists from 25 states in our nation plus Canada are showcasing one-of-a-kind original fine ceramics, glass works, furniture, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, wood crafts, mixed media, clothing, jewelry and more. 

According to the Bethesda Urban Partnership website, the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival was ranked #78 on the 200 Best Shows by Sunshine Artist Magazine in September 2008, making it the highest ranked fine art show in Maryland!  Of course, it could be the ONLY fine art show in Maryland for all I know!  (But I doubt that.)  I hope to check it out for myself tomorrow.      ~Amy

Day 130: Play that Funky Music Thursdays

Photo courtesy of BUP website

The arts are an integral part of the Bethesda city scene and as we are now beginning to enjoy warmer weather, we also have the opportunity to enjoy outdoor music at our FREE Summer Concert Series courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership.  Every Thursday evening a new band and music genre is featured.  This Thursday, May 12th, enjoy the big band sounds of the 18-piece Swing Shift Big Band.  Their rich, full sound is sure to please and to get you up and dancing!

The Summer Concert Series is hosted at Veteran’s Park on the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Aves. from 6 PM – 8 PM every Thursday evening through July 21st.  Check out our recent blog about Veteran’s Park on Day 109.  The concert series is held there each week and organized by BUP (Bethesda Urban Partnership).  The full 2011 concert series calendar is available at their website

In the coming weeks, Bethesda can look forward to hearing the sounds of rock, blues, West African funk, reggae, dance variety, soul and jazz.  The price is right for this wonderful local event.  It’s a great way to enjoy a nice warm spring or summer evening in our town.  You can grab an awesome burger right there next to Veteran’s Park at The Burger Joint or a coffee at Starbuck’s right at the corner and relax while enjoying the free concert.  I hope to see you there!     ~Amy

Day 99: The 12th Annual Bethesda Literary Festival

Logo from Bethesda Magazine, A Festival Sponsor

Mark your calendars now for April 15th.  No, not just because good ole’ Uncle Sam will have his palm out awaiting your tax returns (and of course any payments that may be due) but this date also marks the beginning of the Bethesda Literary Festival

Beginning at 7 PM on April 15th and continuing on through Sunday the 17th at 2 PM, the Bethesda Literary Festival will offer over 20 events at various locations within our town.  The event was organized by Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. and highlights the works of journalists, authors, poets and essay contest winners.

Remember the essay and short story contest whose deadline was mentioned on Day 46 of Bethesda365?  The winners will be presented at the Hyatt Recency on Friday, the 15th at 7 PM at which time they will read their award-winning works. 

Kids stories on Sat. at the Library

On Saturday, events will begin at 9:30 AM and continue on until 8 PM at various locations around the city including the Bethesda Library, Barnes and Noble, Imagination Stage, The Writers Center and Waverly Gallery among others.  Many of Saturday’s events will include readings by well-known authors for children, teens and adults.  For a full list of events, authors, literary works and locations, visit the BUP website.  Plan your schedule as some of the events are running concurrently.

Sunday will mark the final day of the Festival.  One of the highlights is an Author’s Reception at 11 AM at Barnes and Noble as well as an opportunity to hear from Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News and senior news analyst for National Public Radio and her husband Steve Roberts, a political analyst on ABC Radio and National Public Radio at 12:30 PM at the Hyatt Regency.  They will discuss their latest book, Our Haggadah: Uniting Traditions for Interfaith Families.  Check the BUP calendar for additional events of the day.

Here is a list of addresses for the various event locations:

Author Reception on Sat. at Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble, 4801 Bethesda Ave
Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd
Doubletree Bethesda, 8120 Wisconsin Ave
Hilton Garden Inn, 7301 Waverly St
Hyatt Regency Bethesda, 7400 Wisconsin Ave
Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave
Writer’s Center, 4508 Walsh St
Waverly Street Gallery, 4600 East-West Hwy

Bring your families and enjoy an opportunity to experience the arts through literature.  Meet the authors and hear about the inspiration for their work.  We are lucky to live in a city that appreciates and honors the lost art of writing.   ~Amy

Day 50: Let's Dance Bethesda!

Dance Bethesda

Did you get out last night and learn a few new dance moves – or perhaps brush up on some old favorites?  After last’s night’s free dance lessons and parties at local studios, Dance Bethesda culminates this evening at the Imagination Stage (4908 Auburn Ave.) with a dance concert that you don’t want to miss.  This year’s concert will feature modern dance, flamenco, African street dancing, ballroom, Haitian folklore and hip hop performances.  Details are available at  Tickets are on sale for $15 at the door starting at 7 PM.   The show begins at 8 PM.

I attended Dance Bethesda with my daughter in 2009 and we thoroughly enjoyed the range of performances across such a wide spectrum of styles so much so that we were sad when the show ended.  If you have not yet made plans for this evening, groove on down the Imagination Stage and enjoy a dance show extraordinaire!     ~Amy

Day 49: So you think you can dance?

When I was a young girl, I would put on my favorite records (yes, I am showing my age when I admit to listening to records made of vinyl) and I would dance and dance for hours.  There was never an audience, never a mirror and never a purpose to it all.  I just loved to dance and how it made me feel.

I don’t do that anymore but maybe I should.  Somehow when we get older, it feels silly or something.  But when I watch people dance on stage, that little girl in me remembers how it felt to dance without inhibition. 

Photos and logo courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership web site

Beginning today, our town is celebrating the art and love of dance with Dance Bethesda, February 18 – 19th.  This annual event begins TONIGHT with free dance lessons and dance parties open to the public at local dance studios and wraps up Saturday evening with a dance concert that you don’t want to miss (more on that tomorrow!).  

So you think you can dance Bethesda?  If the answer is no, it’s never too late to learn!  Take some free lessons tonight.  If you answer yes, this is a great time to cut a rug at a local dance party.  So that means, whether you answer yes or no (that’s everyone!), Dance Bethesda has something for you.   FREE lessons (waltz, cha cha, tango, salsa and more) and dance parties are offered at the following studios from 7 PM – 10 PM (singles are welcome!):

There is also a Youth Dance Party (ages 10-17) courtesy of three local dance studios being hosted at Imagination Stage at 4908 Auburn Ave. from 7 – 9:30 PM.  Their party will include lessons on hip hop, modern and jazz styles of dance.  Get more details on the BUP website.

So let your hair down and Dance Bethesda!     ~Amy

Day 46: Calling All Writers…

Calling all Bethesda Writers!

Writing seems to be a lost art.  These days we all text, e-mail, Facebook or call on the good ole’ cell phone before we would dare sit down and craft a personal, handwritten letter to a friend or loved one.  But have you ever found an old letter from someone you cared about – perhaps a grandparent or your sweetheart?  As you read the pages, their personality is expressed not just by what they wrote but through the style of their handwriting and the feeling of the paper in your hands that they selected and once touched and perhaps carefully folded to send through the mail to you.  It’s a special gift.

I wonder if many young people these days (I sound very old) have ever written a letter or created story just for the fun of it?  If you or your young adult have a love of the written word, please consider participating in Bethesda’s essay and short story contest for our local Literary Festival.  Although the festival will be held April 15-17th the deadline for writing submissions is in exactly 10 days, February 25th. So you still have time!  Bethesda Magazine and Bethesda Urban Partnership are sponsoring this wonderful event and the winners of the contest will be published in Bethesda magazine and win a $500 cash prize.  There are prizes for second and third place and honorable mention too.  You can write either a short story or an essay.  Young adults in grades 9-12 are judged separately from adults (ages 18+).  All the details are available on the BUP website – just click here.  I have encouraged my daughter, a Senior at Walt Whitman High School, to participate.  Whether or not she wins is not so important to me but I will  certainly forever cherish her thoughts expressed through her written words.    ~Amy

Day 42: Bethesda Art Walk

Art Walk Locations

Every second Friday of the month from 6 – 9 PM, the galleries and art studios of downtown Bethesda open their doors and showcase the fine works of their artists for Bethesda Art Walk.  The featured works were created locally, nationally and internationally and offer an array of unique pieces through a variety of media including photography, paintings, sculpture, and mixed media.

Teke bottle

According to Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP), there are currently 6 galleries participating.  Their map is posted here and on their website.  For your convenience, the free Bethesda circulator (see our blog of January 6th for details) stops just a few steps from each of the galleries and runs throughout the event.

Support the arts and enjoy a wonderful and enriching evening visiting our local galleries and studios.  ~Amy

Day 24: Jaleo – The Uproar in Bethesda

Jaleo Bethesda

One of Bethesda’s most unique restaurants is Jaleo.  For restaurant week – January 24 – 30th – we felt it was only fitting to begin with one of our town’s most popular sensations.  Inspired by the John Singer Sargent painting “El Jaleo” whose mural graces the walls inside, this Spanish tapas restaurant is now located in 4 cities: Bethesda, DC, Crystal City and now its new location in Las Vegas.  Jaleo which means “revelry” or “uproar” in Spanish is located at 7271 Woodmont Ave.  You can’t miss the brightly colored building right on the corner of Elm and Woodmont.  Reservations are accepted and encouraged at this popular restaurant that offers a relaxed but lively atmosphere.

If you have never tried Jaleo because you are unsure what to expect from the seasonings and sauces your taste buds may have never experienced, just let down your guard and give it a try!  I promise you will be glad you did.  It is a taste sensation you will not soon forget.  Restaurant week is your perfect opportunity to try something new at an affordable price.  They are offering a 2-course lunch PLUS dessert for $20.11 and a 4-course dinner plus dessert for $35.11.  I suppose the $0.11 is for 2011?

One important thing to note is that if you wish to select from the restaurant week menu, they require the entire table to participate. There are quite a lot of menu options though, so unless you have a picky eater in your group, you should be fine.  If not, you can always send that picky person across the street to the American Tap Room for a burger if necessary!

Jaleo is the first critically acclaimed tapas restaurant in the country!  Tapas simply refers to the traditional cuisines of Spain served in a small-plate style called “tapas.”  The selections they are offering for restaurant week are listed on their website and include such tasty sensations as seared piquillo peppers filled with goat cheese, tapa of shrimp sautéed with garlic, seared salmon over sautéed vegetables, pork loin with roasted onion and cabrales sauce, among many other items.  Although the food is reason enough to check it out, I must suggest you also take some time to enjoy the drink menu – offering unique wines, sherries and sangrias from Spain.  Stop by during Jaleo hour (4:30 – 7 PM Tues-Sat) in the bar for $4 wine, sangria and beer.  Another interesting option is the brunch menu offered Sat & Sun until 3 PM.  The menu looks absolutely divine!  Visit their website for details.

OK Bethesda, this is only Day 1 of restaurant week.  Get eating and don’t forget to make reservations!  See you at the gym next week!     ~Amy

P.S. If you try Jaleo, we hope you will share your experience and leave some comments here.

Day 7: Need something to do this weekend? Check out BUP!

Amy Anderson at the BUP kiosk

I have to admit, Bethesda is pretty cool.  They seem to have thought of everything here.  As a newer resident (I moved here in 2008), I was struck immediately by the fact that community members are very involved here in many ways – both as participants and as caretakers.

The pulse of the city feels a bit like Norman Rockwell meets avant-garde.  It’s quaint and hip all at the same time.  I like that.  There is a certain pride that is evident but not off-putting. “Outsiders” are welcomed and quickly integrated.  Being so close to D.C. there are many who move here from other states and nations, but you hear that once you arrive, most people tend to stay put.  Perhaps that’s because you are made to feel so at home and accepted in this diverse and thriving city.

The BUP logo

As a newer resident, I have found that there are many helpful resources to guide you to whatever your needs may be, but perhaps the most useful – whether a native or a newbie – is the Bethesda Urban Partnership (known as BUP).  Established in 1994, this organization is dedicated to making this city something special and to helping everyone know what it has to offer.  Their web site is truly THE resource for information about all things Bethesda.

If you walk about town you will notice people wearing red “Ask Me” shirts.  I always thought, “Ask me what?”  Well, it turns out that the “Ask Me Team” is available Wed-Sat 1:30 – 10 PM and Sun 11:30 – 8 to help anyone navigate the city, field questions, escort you to your car and to offer first aid, if needed.  That gives me a warm fuzzy feeling actually.

Speaking of mobile, BUP also offers free WiFi in the hub of the city near Bethesda Ave and Bethesda Row.  You can see the WiFi map and access service on their website.

The BUP website is chock full of great information – local events, locations & dates for farmers markets, brochures, parking maps, city demographics and more.  And if you’re looking to volunteer to help with community events, you can find opportunities for that on their site too.

Did you know that they even have a mobile web service?  So if you’re out and about and looking to find a good restaurant or local event, just visit the mobile BUP site on your smart phone for advice.  Thanks BUP!   I might just stick around this little ole’ town.    ~Amy