Saturday, September 20, 2014


Say goodbye to the moon bounce spot at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. It's been replaced in short order by a new formalwear boutique called Allure by Fashion Queen. The boutique offers dresses and gowns for formal occasions ranging from First Communion to quinceñeras to proms to weddings. There is another location of Allure at Montgomery County's other Westfield-operated mall, Wheaton Plaza.


Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on September 17, according to crime data:

Theft. 7500 block Woodmont Avenue.

Theft. 4900 block St. Elmo Avenue.

Theft. 7100 block Bethesda Lane (Bethesda Row).

Theft. 4400 block East-West Highway.

Vehicle burglary. 6800 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Vehicle burglary. 5800 block Sonoma Road.

Vehicle burglary. 5100 block Saratoga Avenue (Glen Cove).

Theft. Unit block of Pooks Hill Road.

Burglary. 10200 block Grosvenor Place.

Theft. 10200 block Old Georgetown Road (Wildwood Shopping Center area).

Vehicle burglary. 4600 block Creek Shore Drive (Randolph Hills).

Liquor arrest. 5000 block Nicholson Lane (White Flint).

Theft. Macy's at Westfield Montgomery Mall.


Charley's Philly Steaks is the latest addition to the new Dining Terrace at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The Columbus, Ohio-based cheesesteak chain previously had a spin-off Charley's Grilled Subs restaurant at the mall.

Besides Philly cheesesteaks, Charley's will also offer "gourmet fries," which can be ordered with various combinations of cheddar cheese, bacon and ranch sauce. Chicken cheesesteaks, grilled chicken salads, and the chain's famous lemonades will round out the menu.

This will be the first Charley's Philly Steaks to open in Montgomery County; the chain has Charley's Grilled Subs locations at Westfield Wheaton Plaza and Lakeforest Mall.

In other Dining Terrace news, Cava Grill and Lobster ME have coming soon signage over their spaces.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Single-family homes that once lined the lower part of Hampden Lane near Arlington Road began to fall yesterday, clearing room for Hampden Row, an ultra-luxury condo development by Toll Brothers City Living.


Apple fans coveting the new iPhone 6 were out in force early last evening on Bethesda Avenue. The line grew as the night went on, wrapping around the building and extending into the alleyway between the store and Uncle Julio's. The man at the head of the line came prepared with a camping hammock he found at Costco. One person lined up for the $199-starting-price phone said he was currently unemployed, after being laid off recently. The iPhone 6 (and plus model in particular) is expected to be hard to get in the weeks ahead.
Pass me a margarita

Costco hammock

Best seat in the house

Those further back in
line found themselves
in Old México

But that didn't stop them
from firing up their
iPhones and MacBooks

Mild weather turned
out to be a blessing
for iPhone 6 seekers


Del Frisco's Grille gave a crowd of VIPs a preview of the first restaurant opening at Pike & Rose last night. Signage had been attached to the facade of the restaurant, which is scheduled to open next Thursday, September 25.
General Manager Rahsaan Stone (L)
greets VIP guests at the tented
entryway erected outside the
restaurant's entrance
Attendees made a red carpet entrance, greeted by General Manager Rahsaan Stone and a free cocktail. Each party posed for photos before a Del Frisco's Grille logo red carpet backdrop. Inside, the spacious restaurant was packed, even with the standalone tables removed from the floor. An open bar finished what the martini glass at the door started, and uniformed servers made the rounds with a selection of appetizers and small plates from Executive Chef Cody Lynch's forthcoming menu.
A mixologist sends another
Apt. 5-D martini
down the ice luge
In many ways, the event had the feel of one held in the District more than in staid Montgomery County. Strawberry martinis with Tito's Vodka, lemon sour, simple syrup, a dash of balsamic, and cracked black pepper - called the Apt. 5-D, and quite good, I must add - gushed down a large cocktail luge, before arriving in their appointed glasses. The spectacle easily commanded the most cellphone photos of the evening, with shots of the frozen sculpture popping up on Instagram. Millennials hammed it up at an electronic photo machine throughout the night, and made up a large portion of the crowd in general. A raw bar with another ice sculpture served up oysters and shrimp just in front of the restaurant's open kitchen.
Striking a pose at
the electronic
photo "booth"

The finished product,
ready to print

The restaurant's main,
wraparound bar was
abuzz with activity all night
So was another kind of
bar - the raw bar

Raw oysters were the
main attraction here
The circulating appetizers got favorable reviews from everyone I spoke to. Dominated in sheer numbers by the restaurant's signature Ahi Tuna Tacos, it featured inventive twists on some popular small plates. My favorite was the crab fritters. Not to be confused with the crab cake sliders, which were pretty good themselves, the fritters have a far-lighter texture than you would expect from a fried dish. Inside the crispy exterior were bits of sweet peppers, tender corn, and - of course - crab. A drizzle of sriracha mayonnaise added a spicy finish to the top.
Cheesesteak Eggrolls
Crabcake on toast
Tomato and mozzarella skewers
Pork and cabbage taco
A fantastic crab fritter
Del Frisco's signature
Ahi Tuna Tacos
Grille Prime Cheeseburger
After pursuing another Del Frisco's signature item, the Cheesesteak Eggrolls, without success, I spotted Chef Cody Lynch, who brought out a plate of 4 fresh from the kitchen for me. These were another winner, with the flavors of a fresh Philly Cheesesteak sandwich somehow jammed into an eggroll-like shell. Other good choices were the Grille Prime Cheeseburger, Pork Tacos with cabbage, and a veggie burger. Later in the evening, some selections from the dessert menu began to appear, including Coconut Cream Pie. Beers currently on tap are Stella Artois, Allagash White, Samuel Adams seasonal Oktoberfest, Yuengling and Blue Moon. I'm looking forward to trying some of the full entrees after the opening, because there are quite a few on the menu that sound great.
What's currently on tap;
GM Rahsaan Stone says
the selections will alternate
All in all, the evening was a brief taste of what nights at Pike & Rose could be like in the future. Federal Realty Development Associate Jay Corbalis said that the company is positioning Pike & Rose as an entertainment-centered development, with the AMP by Strathmore live music venue and iPic cineplex both on-site. With similar movie theaters canceled at JBG's North Bethesda Market II, and possibly at Lerner's White Flint Mall site redevelopment, Pike & Rose is primed to become the nightlife activity hub of the "new" White Flint. You need to get dinner with that movie, or a bar to meet up with friends before the show, and Del Frisco's seems poised to fit the bill.

Stay tuned for video from the event! Here are more photos; click to enlarge for greater detail:

This artwork hangs behind the wall
that separates the host stand from
bar area

Warmer installed on the
outdoor patio

The patio was packed
last night

Looking toward Executive Blvd.

A successful evening for
Executive Chef Cody Lynch
GM Rahsaan Stone

Oenophiles weren't left out
at the bar

"Do right and feed every man" is
the motto over the kitchen - and
on the back of staff uniforms

Valets line up the VIP vehicles
after the party