April 19, 2014

Table Talk

September-October 2010

Trick or Treat at the Farmer's Market

10/29/10

Trick or Treat at the Farmer's Market

So what do farmers give out on Halloween? Carrots or Kit Kats? Find out this Sunday, October 31 when the Bethesda Central Farm Market hosts a costume parade for kids at 11 a.m. Children will receive a treat from each of the market’s vendors, and they’ll also have the chance to make their own apple cider using an antique press. There’s a costume parade for dogs at noon, but no word on whether they get treats, too. The market is located in the parking lot on Elm Street behind Jaleo Restaurant in Bethesda. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Posted at 03:37 PM | Permalink | Comments

Spare Us, Salahis

10/28/10

Spare Us, Salahis

As surreal as it may sound, Tuesday night’s “exclusive tasting” of the new menu at Bowlmor Lanes on Westbard Avenue (formerly Strike Bethesda) was hosted by alleged White House party crashers/former Real Housewives of D.C. reality stars Michaele and Tareq Salahi. And surreal it was: The couple posed and preened for the paparazzi (yes, even in Bethesda), and Michaele bowled in spike heels and a gold, glittery mini dress. “This is a very glamorous place!” the very tall, thin and blond Salahi gushed at one point. As for the new menu, it’s the brainchild of New York chef David Burke, who, like the Salahis, has appeared on a Bravo reality show (Top Chef). Burke wasn’t there, but the food at the event was actually pretty good—mini...

Posted at 04:43 PM | Permalink | Comments

Frank's Quality Kraut and 2,499 Other New Products

10/25/10

Frank's Quality Kraut and 2,499 Other New Products

There isn’t a trend, gimmick or innovation that Chevy Chase Supermarket hasn’t tried. The family-owned store at 8531 Connecticut Ave. is constantly reinventing itself, and its latest six-week project is no exception: By mid-November, there will be 2,500 new products on the shelves. “We like to tell everybody that for a little independent store, we try to remain current, remain with the times,” says Kevin Kirsch, who co-owns the store with his brother Jason. Their father Walter Kirsch, a fixture in the community for years, passed away last year. Remaining current means stocking more organic items; gluten-free products; K-Cup coffees and machines; locally-made salad dressings, condiments and wines; energy bars; new brands of yogurt, and popular...

Posted at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Comments

Founding Farmers Planting a Place in Potomac

10/20/10

Founding Farmers Planting a Place in Potomac

Founding Farmers, the popular Foggy Bottom restaurant with a sister eatery at Georgetown Harbor called Farmers & Fishers, will be opening a new location in Potomac, hopefully by spring or early summer 2011. The restaurant promotes sustainable farming practices and purchases ingredients from family farmers whenever possible—concepts that will be copied at the Potomac site, according to spokeswoman Jennifer Motruk Loy. However, the North Dakota Farmers Union, which owns the two downtown restaurants, will not be the proprietor of the latest incarnation, located at 12505 Park Potomac Ave. Who will? “That’s not public information yet,” says Loy. Founding Farmers joins the recent spate of downtown eateries that are sowing their oats in the Maryland...

Posted at 03:05 PM | Permalink | Comments

Matchbox to Ignite Rockville Pike

10/15/10

Matchbox to Ignite Rockville Pike

In the March/April issue of the magazine, I wrote about the upcoming Rockville outpost of matchbox Vintage Pizza Bistro, the hip pizza restaurant with locations in Washington’s Chinatown and Capitol Hill (plus Palm Springs, Cali.). Anyway, things are proceeding nicely with the construction, and the picture above shows how it’ll all look when it’s done. “It’s going to be very, very dramatic,” says matchbox partner Perry Smith, about the new building adjacent to Rockville Pike’s Congressional Plaza—the site of a parade of other eateries, most recently PGA Tour Grill. The restaurant, slated to open in late fall, will have an eight-foot diameter fire pit in front, an outdoor patio on the second floor, hearty palm trees around the...

Posted at 02:17 PM | Permalink | Comments

Tepid Towards the Tap Room

10/13/10

Tepid Towards the Tap Room

Bethesda’s new American Tap Room at 7278 Woodmont Ave. is a flashy place alright—backlit menus, cool double-decker iced tea decanters, a neon American flag on the side of the building, gas-fired urns on the top of the building. But after one lunch there, I’d say it’s a lot of show and not much substance. The Tap Room Steak Salad, designated as a ‘signature’ item, should be a star. Yet its sliced beef was flabby and flavor-zapped, particularly surprising for meat described as marinated and grilled. The blackened fish sandwich with Cajun seasoning was similarly short on pizzazz. The fried zucchini appetizer showed glimmers of culinary hope, but its Greek yogurt and dill sauce was blah; ditto for the salad dressing and the remoulade sauce for...

Posted at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Comments

Itsy Bitsy Bakery Big on Flavor

10/06/10

Itsy Bitsy Bakery Big on Flavor

In my August 9 posting, I wrote about Bethesda-Chevy Chase graduate Maria Forline (class of ’02), who was planning to open a bakery in Kensington. Two Saturdays ago was the grand opening of Itsy Bitsy Bakery at 10419 Armory Ave., and while the space (and Forline) are indeed small, the 26-year-old is turning out assertive, unique-tasting confections.Made with mostly all-organic ingredients, the cake and cupcakes have a dense crumb; my teenage daughter really liked that, but the strawberry shortcake verged on heavy to me. I loved the rich, molasses-like kick to the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin, however, which Forline attributes to the flavorful organic brown sugar. Also thumbs up to the mini pecan pie and cranberry and white chocolate oatmeal cookie, both are worth every single...

Posted at 03:27 PM | Permalink | Comments

New Tastes of Bethesda

10/04/10

New Tastes of Bethesda

The Taste of Bethesda provides a great meet-and-greet for politicians, particularly during an election year. And there were plenty of them at Saturday’s event—and plenty of potential voters, too—a record attendance of between 46,000 and 48,000! But do any of the pols ever eat?“They don’t,” says Stephanie Coppula, director of marketing and communications for the Bethesda Urban Partnership, which produces the food and music festival. Too bad for them, since they miss out on some fun grub; 56 stalls in all this year.As for me, I never have an eating strategy for the event, so I always end up indiscriminately pigging out. This time around, however, I decided to eat only at the new tents in town (of course, I still ended up pigging out).Here are my...

Posted at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments

From One Kabob to Another

09/30/10

From One Kabob to Another

Javan, the short-lived Bethesda restaurant formerly owned by a teenage wunderkind, is being replaced with a more experienced Persian establishment. Kabob Bazaar, with a 17-year track record on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, is opening another location in the Javan space at 7710 Wisconsin Ave.When I dropped in on Tuesday, owner Bruce Sarvghadi was in the midst of overseeing the renovation, which will include a walk-up counter for lunch time patrons. Sarvghadi says he hadn’t been actively seeking a new locale, but was contacted by an agent regarding the spot. He’s shooting for an October opening.The menu will be the same as the one at his Virginia restaurant, which not surprisingly features lots of kabob choices (lamb, beef, Cornish hen, chicken, swordfish, salmon) plus other...

Posted at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments

09/27/10

First a Persimmon, Now a Tomato

Damian Salvatore, chef and owner of Bethesda’s top-rated Persimmon Restaurant at 7003 Wisconsin Ave., is branching out with a new fruit! Wild Tomato, slated to open in mid-October at 7945 MacArthur Blvd. in Cabin John, will be a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant serving pizza, sandwiches, big salads and entrees under $24, according to Salvatore. The kind of place where people can “come in a few nights of the week and not dread their credit card statement at the end of the month,” says the chef. Salvatore will be overseeing the operation from the start, and then hopes to travel back and forth between the two restaurants. He’ll also be depending on longtime staff from Persimmon. Says Salvatore, “it was either let them go or let them move...

Posted at 01:09 PM | Permalink | Comments

Satsuma Picks up the Ramen Slack

09/17/10

Satsuma Picks up the Ramen Slack

Fans of Ren’s Ramen on 6931 Arlington Road in Bethesda undoubtedly know this already, but for those who sip soup less often, the Japanese noodle shop closed its doors on September 3. The reason: the space it sub-leased in the defunct Daruma grocery is being used for a new tenant. Fear not, owners Yoko and Eiji Nakamura are in the process of scouting out another location. In the meantime, Satsuma restaurant on 8003 Norfolk Ave. in Bethesda has been using its noodle by offering a new ramen menu (four varieties—soy sauce, miso, pork broth and cold soy sauce, $10 each).

Posted at 12:03 PM | Permalink | Comments

Coming Soon: Cassoulet

09/15/10

Coming Soon: Cassoulet

Just in time for fall, a new bistro with good-for-chilly-weather food is opening—Annie’s Bistro Francais, on 4823 St. Elmo Ave. in Bethesda. Carole Robert and Mark Manly, who owned a restaurant with the same name in Middleburg, Va., relocated here after the roof of their eatery collapsed during last winter’s Snowmageddon and the space was condemned. Carole Robert, who was born and raised in Paris and spent time with her grandparents on their farm in the Loire Valley, will source ingredients from local farmers for her French country dishes. Aside from cassoulet, she’ll be turning out rabbit stew, white bean soup, French onion soup and more. Robert is no stranger to Bethesda; she co-owned a cell phone store and grooming business here, and she and Manly...

Posted at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments

Pizza Puzzle

09/15/10

Pizza Puzzle

What’s the big secret? The sign on the door identifies a Pizzeria DaMarco as the applicant for an alcohol license, but Greenhill Realty, the landlord of the new building on 4834 Cordell Ave. with the very cool, faux brick mural on the side that faces Woodmont Avenue, didn’t return four phone calls inquiring about the new restaurant. So I called my trusty contacts at Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control and they steered me to the applicant, who was similarly hush-hush. Here’s all I could extract from her: It’s going to be a Neapolitan-style pizzeria with a wood-burning oven. Planned opening is before the end of the year. Details (hopefully) to come.

Posted at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments

Food, Wine & Co. Opens

09/10/10

Food, Wine & Co. Opens

After months of construction delays and other assorted disasters, Food, Wine & Co., the American bistro at 7272 Wisconsin Ave., finally opened yesterday (Sept. 9). Even opening day had a soggy saga—owner Francis Namin arrived in the morning to find a flood in the restroom area, caused by someone stuffing hand towels down the toilet. It was quickly repaired, but not without first removing the toilet from the wall. Bathroom issues aside, the dining room is stunning—and its mellow atmosphere is a welcome respite from many of Bethesda’s noisy and claustrophobic eateries. Look for salads, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, mussels and entrees, a raw bar and charcuterie, plus cheeses from local Stonyman Gourmet Farmer. For appetizers, the fried calamari and sweet corn...

Posted at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments

09/09/10

Deli Delay

Uptown Deli, the New York-style delicatessen at 7905 Norfolk Ave. in Bethesda that was supposed to open in July, then August, is still waiting to receive its use and occupancy permit from Montgomery County. So no brisket this Rosh Hashanah. “Sorry we missed the holiday,” says general manager Howard Wasserman. “What can we do?” In the meantime, Wasserman is happy to respond to questions about the deli, the food, or whatever. E-mail him at howardw@uptowndelibethesda.com.

Posted at 02:12 AM | Permalink | Comments

VIP Night at Vapiano

09/08/10

VIP Night at Vapiano

Who are these people? Last night (Sept. 7) was the invitation-only grand opening party for Vapiano on 4900 Hampden Lane, and the place was full of women in tiny dresses and big heels. Along with the swarthy men in expensive suits, they looked like VIP props. The casual Italian chain restaurant, one of three places to open on Bethesda Row last week, offers reasonably-priced versions of the three p’s—pizza, pasta and Panini. The service is cafeteria-style, and there are lots of stools and interesting seating nooks (including tables with a tree sprouting out of the middle). As for the food, I liked the fact that it’s not heavy or laden with olive oil, as in the thin-crusted, lightly-topped pizza, which is addictively easy to eat. The two pasta dishes I tried...

Posted at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments

Sky High With Pies

09/07/10

Sky High With Pies

It’s a tough job, but somebody had to do it, and so I gladly accepted the offer to be a judge at the first “Bake Bethesda a Pie” contest, sponsored by the Bethesda Central Farm Market, and held on Sunday, Sept. 5. Washington Post Deputy Food Editor Bonnie Benwick and I tasted our way through 27 entries baked by local residents, and what a varied selection they were! Ratatouille, heirloom tomato, grasshopper, key lime, shoo fly, peach, pecan, pawpaw, apple—you name it. All manner of crusts, too—single, double, lattice, graham cracker, chocolate, gluten-free. We rated the pies from one to 10 in four categories—appearance, crust, filling and originality, and then tallied up the scores. The grand prize went to Cathy Barrow of Chevy Chase-D.C.,...

Posted at 08:56 AM | Permalink | Comments

Mediterranean Meal Deal

09/02/10

Mediterranean Meal Deal

In Arabic, “lazeez” means “delicious,” and after my first meal at Bistro LaZeez at 8009 Norfolk Ave. in Bethesda, I’d have to say the food is true to its namesake. Opened in late July, the Mediterranean restaurant features co-owner and local Arabic teacher Reda Asaad’s chicken kebabs, which are major league moist, and his beef kafta, a beautifully-seasoned take on ground beef. Both dishes had a really nice grilled flavor, and are an amazing deal to boot; all entrees come with a side salad, terrific grilled pita bread, rice, plus grilled zucchini and peppers—for $10.99! As for appetizers, I tried four on the BLZ Sampler, and while it’s hard to quibble with any of them, my favorite was the cilantro-and-garlic dressed fava bean...

Posted at 12:22 AM | Permalink | Comments

 

About This Blog

Welcome to Table Talk, the blog version of the column in Bethesda Magazine. Be one of the first to find out about new restaurants and food shops, and join in the lively discussion about first bites, snipes and recommendations.

Before becoming Food Editor of Bethesda Magazine, Carole Sugarman was an award-winning food reporter for The Washington Post for 20 years. She has also written for national food magazines and a food policy newsletter, as well as judged cookbook and cooking contests. She lives in Chevy Chase where she eats PB&J for lunch when she’s not working.

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