Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"THE NEW 52"

Today is the big day - DC Comics "reboots" every character and every title.

Bethesda and the DC Metro area were excluded from the special midnight opening events, according to the DC Comics website.

Fear not, Big Planet Comics on Fairmont Avenue will open at 11 AM this morning!

I'm not too fond of what is all too often a gimmick to boost sales at the cost of long-established heroes. "The Death of Superman," "The Death of Captain America." Come on. My Captain America's still alive, sorry about yours.

Superman has taken a tremendous amount of abuse on the page and screen in recent decades. Is there something wrong with having a reliably upstanding hero? Are there people who feel threatened by a decent, nice-guy Superman who is indestructable?

So it will be interesting to hear the discussions once people get their hands on the new comics today. DC has a lot riding on this stunt, as their heroes have made disastrous leaps to the big screen over the past decade (Batman excepted, of course).

Let the debate begin! But get there early, as the books will go out the door as fast as Barry Allen!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Movies Under the Stars Goes
Out with a Bang - and Chicken Livers?!

Finally, a movie that women AND men can enjoy! After a month's worth of chick flicks, Bethesda Row is screening "Iron Man" on Bethesda Lane tonight! Don't miss it, because this is the last movie of the summer at Bethesda Row's August "Movies Under the Stars" film festival.

You've probably seen the movie already, but refresh your memory ahead of Iron Man's appearance in next summer's "Avengers" movie.

Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark in an Academy Award-worthy performance. Speaking of Oscars, you also get one of the top 5 actors of all time - Jeff Bridges - as the villain.

This is arguably the best superhero movie ever, and it's FREE tonight at Bethesda Row.

Once again, Redwood is the best seat in the house, with an Iron Man-inspired menu. They surprised me this week. I had thought they could offer a Redwood version of Tony Stark's "American cheeseburger" he ate in the movie.

Instead, Redwood's more eccentric offering is...

...Chicken Liver Mousse with pickled red and yellow vegetables, and crostinis! I can't imagine Tony Stark ordering this in a restaurant, but he certainly would appreciate the upscale atmosphere and expensive cars of Bethesda.

Something else he'd appreciate is Redwood's special spirits menu tonight.

Start with a Stark-worthy Absolut Dirty Martini. Or enjoy other Stark favorites: Premium Scotches! Choose from Glenlivet 12 ($12) or Macallan 12 ($15).

Don't forget Lebanese Taverna will have Lebanese donuts, as well!

It's Men's AND Ladies' night tonight at Bethesda Row. Fine film, fine food and adult beverages, and a fine end to the summer in downtown Bethesda.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Larry Layton was right! As Hurricane Irene progressed on its collision course with the Delmarva Peninsula early Saturday morning, the Ocean City restauranteur made his defiant last stand. Defying Governor Martin O'Malley's mandatory evacuation order, Layton swore to ride the storm out in the Blue Marlin Capital of the World.

Quite a gamble, but Layton now seems like a man with a sixth sense. Irene has come and gone, and both Ocean City and Bethesda dodged a bullet Saturday night.

Varying levels of tenacity in our town meant that some restaurants stayed open as Irene approached - Redwood, BlackFinn, Mussel Bar, Union Jack's, Chef Tony's, Jiffy Shoppes, Grapeseed... to name a few.

When Irene hit, winds and rain were all it had in its arsenal. And those winds didn't gust to 50+mph many times here. With few trees in the central business district, downtown Bethesda was hardly scratched by the time the sun rose. Virtually every restaurant was open for business as usual Sunday morning. Residential areas just outside of town had some outages and fallen trees. Overall, this turned out to be one of the weakest hurricanes to hit Montgomery County ever.

Irene didn't live up to its billing, and I don't think anyone is complaining! Bradley Hills ES and Chevy Chase ES are closed due to power outages - another day of summer vacation! That never happened when I was in school.

Bethesda survived a Category 2 hurricane and a 5.8 earthquake - in the same week!

Our city is up to the future challenges to come, but let's hope we can get through an uneventful week in the days ahead!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Batten down the hatches! Bethesda, Maryland is in the path of every model trajectory of Hurricane Irene, currently moving along the southeast coast at 14 MPH, with winds upwards of 110 MPH. In other words, Irene is one nasty storm heading our way!

What to expect? Torrential downpours, flash flooding, wind gusts of 50-70+ MPH, and widespread power outages. Aside from a miraculous blowing out to sea, that's probably the best case scenario.

The worst case would be if Irene turns up the Chesapeake Bay, and/or spawns tornados that would be very destructive. Who's got it worst? North Carolina, followed by Ocean City.

Governor Martin O'Malley has taken the unprecedented step of ordering a mandatory evacuation of Ocean City. If this turns out to be the long-fabled Big One - the feared killer storm that many scientists have warned could be catastrophic in Ocean City - Governor O'Malley will get a lot of credit for this decision.

But for us here in Bethesda, the main thing is to take precautions and prepare your emergency supplies as I outlined in yesterday's post. Have the Pepco number ready to report outages and downed powerlines.

Watch out for standing water in places like Montgomery Lane and 355, and Arlington Road at Bradley Blvd. Little Falls Parkway has several potential flash flood spots, so avoid it if flood conditions exist. But almost any place can flood under certain conditions, so drive cautiously.

Stay tuned to @BethesdaRow on Twitter for the latest Bethesda news and events this weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Did you feel it? A 4.5 aftershock shook Bethesda at 1:07 AM this morning, the strongest one yet since Tuesday's 5.8 earthquake in Mineral, Virginia.

Aftershocks are most likely within 10 days of a quake event, so we could be in for more!

Hurricane Irene is on the way this weekend, and some forecasters are predicting it will hit the east coast hard. You never know if the hurricanes will just affect Ocean City, or turn left and come up the Chesapeake Bay, when they pass Maryland.

It may be a good idea to assemble a first aid kit, bottled water, canned food (Van Kamp Beenie Weenie can be eaten hot or cold out of the can if you lose power, for example), weather and/or AM/FM radio and flashlight while you have a couple of days to prepare. Also, make sure you have at least a half-tank of gas in your car or truck.

You'll be ready for Irene AND any potential strong aftershocks in the days ahead.

Stay tuned to @BethesdaRow on Twitter for aftershock and earthquake coverage. It pays to do so, because I had the aftershock report live this morning - when it happened!

It's been entertaining to follow the posts of TV stations and newspapers who slept through the tremors. They actually have the audacity to claim an event that occurred 5 hours ago is "Breaking News!"

Stick with @BethesdaRow for the real coverage of the Bethesda earthquake(s)!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Another Exclusive!!!

Yesterday's 5.9 earthquake in Virginia was felt violently here in Bethesda. Contrary to some assertions that this was a "typical East Coast earthquake," I can assure those new to Bethesda that such events are simply unprecedented in this area.

Before last year's quake, there had never before been a tremor of any note in Bethesda. This one was worse than that.

Four aftershocks have been reported, but only two of them were felt in Bethesda. The 8:05 PM aftershock was fairly strong, but few people in Bethesda reported feeling it. Besides myself, I heard from 3 other fellow residents who confirmed it. That aftershock was also felt not only in Bowie, but as far away as Syracuse, NY and Myrtle Beach, SC (world capital of miniature golf, by the way).

The second, just before 1:00 AM this morning, was heard rather than felt. The epicenter was near Louisa, VA.

There may be additional aftershocks, but not necessarily felt here.

It's clear that something new is happening, but the science suggests no reason to panic about 2012 theories or apocalypses. Earth's continents and the plates below them have been moving for ages. There's strong evidence that they were all once united in one landmass. So they will keep moving. The Earth has many "built-in" systems that help regulate its health, and, frankly, we don't yet understand how or why those systems are working.

So stay prepared, but don't get stressed about it.

But if this keeps happening, Bethesda bartenders will have their hands full inventing new Earthquake cocktails such as those that were a big hit at Union Jack's and Lebanese Taverna!

Metro is back on schedule, but some schools are closed today. Most importantly, no one was hurt, and this is a good wake up call for future disasters, because it's now clear that cell phones will be down, and traffic will be jammed.

We survived this Bethesda Earthquake, but we didn't even get a T-shirt.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Park Patrol Officer Foils
National Mall Attack,
Nabs Suspect in Cabin John Park

Remember when some Montgomery County politicians said they wanted to eliminate the Park Police force to "save money?"

They planned to put the added burden of park safety onto our already-overtaxed county police. With so many cuts to the police budget in recent years, that would surely have meant reduced park patrols. Or taking county officers off their regular beats.

Today's news that a Park Police officer has apparently foiled a potential terror attack on the National Mall by nabbing the suspect as he readied his vehicle in Bethesda's Cabin John Regional Park has vindicated the Park officers and their supporters in the county.

Not only could some officers have lost their jobs under that proposed "merger" with county police, but there might not have been the manpower necessary at that hour last night to patrol Cabin John. Hence, lives were saved.

Here in Bethesda, we are certainly grateful to have our county and Park police on duty. Both forces are doing a great job even as their budgets, salaries and benefits have been cut in consecutive years.

And there has been an ongoing attempt to reduce retirement benefits for disabled officers despite all investigations showing no illegal abuse of the current disability system.

We'll be hearing more details about this heroic action by Park Police as the day goes on. But the lesson is clear: Bethesda and Montgomery County's safety - and that of the DC region - depends on our Park Police and county police. Let's not put the public at risk - saving lives outweighs saving money any day of the week.

Team Edward? Team Jacob? How about Team Bethesda Row!

After all, where else in town can you watch the latest chapter of the Twilight saga on the big screen FREE and enjoy a special, movie-inspired cocktail, hot buttered popcorn and maybe even win a prize?

Only at Bethesda Row, and with the best seats in the house on Bethesda Lane at Redwood.

Order one (or more) Twilight cocktail on Redwood's patio, and you could win a Redwood gift certificate! You'll know you've won if your drink arrives with... fangs! This is definitely a big night in Bethesda for Twilight fans. You can declare your allegiance to Team Edward with a Blood Orange Martini. A Team Jacob Dark and Stormy will put hair on your chest. Bella fans of all ages can partake of Redwood's Bella's Virgin Punch ($4).

Now if you're just having to sit-through-another-chick-flick-at-Bethesda-Row, order the Vampire Martini.

Are you a Twilight fanatic? Or do you just enjoy outdoor movies with great weather and unique adult beverages?

Don't hide behind your cape! The movie begins after dusk tonight at Bethesda Row!

Monday, August 22, 2011


One of my favorite foods from Mexico is carnitas. Now California Pizza Kitchen in Montgomery Mall has two new menu items featuring this Mexican specialty.

Habanero Carnitas Pizza is topped with pork carnitas, cilantro pesto and spicy habanero salsa.

Carnitas Tacos serve pork with avocado salsa verde, Romaine lettuce, shredded Napa cabbage and roasted tomato salsa.

Eat at the restaurant or have your carnitas brought to you via online ordering and delivery!

Friday, August 19, 2011



This Saturday is the "official" Grand Opening of the new Haagen-Dazs at Bethesda Row.

They are giving away FREE ice cream Saturday!!!

The new store is a great location, right next to the Bethesda Row Cinema. By the way, did I mention free ice cream?

Free ice cream! You can't beat that!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

AWAY $100 IN

Bethesda Row salon Bella Bethesda will award one winner $100 in hair products during an online chat this morning at 11:00. Join in for your chance to win at Click on News & Events, then click on Curly Qs to access the chat and a chance at the prize.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The King of DC area food trucks - the Red Hook Lobster Truck - will be back in downtown Bethesda for lunch today!

They're usually in the vicinity of Bethesda Row starting around 11:30 AM, but you can track them on Twitter at @LobsterTruckDC.

Your mission this morning is to decide if you want a Maine or Connecticut-style Lobster Roll. Either way, it will be a great lunch in Bethesda today!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


"Movies Under the Stars" continues tonight at dusk on Bethesda Lane. Unleash your inner Bridezilla vicariously through Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson on the outdoor big screen in "Bride Wars."

Yes, it's another chick flick (as is "Twilight" next week). Sorry, guys, we have to wait until "Iron Man" in two weeks.

Don't worry, Redwood has a menu EVERYONE can agree on!

It is a wedding-themed Bride Wars Menu. Start of with a $5 glass of sparkling wine.

Who doesn't like Macaroni and Cheese? Redwood's comes in starter and entree sizes. As a long-standing favorite, they're calling it "Something Old."

What's "Something New" at Redwood? Picnic salad.

"Something borrowed?" Fresh sashimi!

And soft shell BLUE crabs are... well, you get the idea.

The best part? Some lucky diners will find a wedding ring with their order from the above items. It means you've won!

Winners receive a $20 gift certificate to Redwood or Sonoma!

So, get the best seat in the house at Bethesda Row tonight at Redwood!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week begins today! And downtown Bethesda is joining in the celebration and savings.

Jaleo and Redwood at Bethesda Row are participating in DC Restaurant Week starting at lunch today.

Here's a preview of Redwood's special menu:


First Course: Seasonal soup, Picnic Salad or Salt Cod Fritters

Second Course: Gourmet Pulled Chicken Salad Sandwich, Crispy Polenta or Grilled Pocono Trout

Dessert Course: Steamed Chocolate Pudding, Fresh Summer Peaches with tarragon, creme fraiche, brandied cherries and pastry; or Ice Cream


First Course: Seasonal soup, Picnic Salad or Watermelon and Tiny Heirloom Tomato Salad

Second Course: Crispy Polenta, Market Fish or Braised Beef Brisket

Dessert: same as lunch (above)

Enjoy DC Restaurant Week - in Bethesda!

Friday, August 12, 2011





Exclusive Video!

Another Exclusive!!!

Last Thursday, I was invited by BlackFinn to come in and try their new menu. It has new appetizers, entrees and desserts, ranging from a crab flatbread pizza to steak frites.

BlackFinn is one of the most popular nightspots in Bethesda. Earlier in the day, it is also a good place to have lunch or to go for Happy Hour.

Since they opened a few years ago, my impression has been that their menu is more upscale than the typical bar fare. But the new menu is an attempt to go further than that, and - as you will see in this exclusive video - it aspires to fine dining standards, in both the recipes and the presentation.

The service was great, and my cocktail and food arrived very soon after they were ordered. I started with a bowl of French Onion soup fresh out of the oven. Watch the steam rising out of it in the video!

For the main course, I chose Shrimp and Grits. This had a gravy with Tasso ham (similar to Boston Butt but Cajun-style with cayenne pepper and garlic). Shrimp and grits is one of my favorite entrees, so the bar was set high. They're usually great when I order them in the South. But I've had some disappointing ones here in the Washington area. The best I've had around here in the past were at the now-closed PGA Grill in Congressional Plaza on Rockville Pike.

How did BlackFinn's shrimp and grits rate? Watch the video and find out!

You'll also see the detail in the presentation of the Peach Cobbler I ordered for dessert. The ice cream was rich, not just an afterthought.

Stop in and try the new menu today. The Bethesda location is the only BlackFinn that has this new menu. If the feedback is positive, it will become the standard menu at all of the BlackFinn locations in America. So we in Bethesda are going to determine the future menu for a whole chain.

I'm looking forward to going back and trying some of the other new menu items soon.


4901 Fairmont Avenue

Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 951-5681

Thursday, August 11, 2011






What is most important to you in life, the Washington Redskins or FREE beer? Why not both tonight at Hard Times Cafe in Bethesda!

Hogs Haven, a popular website for Redskins fans is having an event there tonight at 7 PM. There will be a special Redskins-related guest, a Q & A panel, and that aforementioned FREE Budweiser.

The economy is crumbling away, and that FREE price point is just what you need at a time like this!

Mostly the event is going to be a celebration of the soon-to-begin season - even if the Redskins don't know who the quarterback is yet!

Hard Times Cafe Bethesda

4920 Del Ray Avenue

Bethesda, MD 20814

Public Parking Garage nearby

Wednesday, August 10, 2011




Tonight the mechanical bull returns to Union Jack's at 9 PM! Can you last 8 seconds? That's the challenge Union Jack's and the bull are offering tonight.

They're also offering 50 cent wings, $2 Bud Lights and $2 Coronas from 4pm-close! But the bull rides are FREE!

If you survive the bull, don't forget that this British Pub will have half-price Fish and Chips for lunch on Friday!

Union Jack's Bethesda

4915 Saint Elmo Ave.

Bethesda, MD 20814

(301) 652-2561

Tuesday, August 09, 2011





Tonight's Feature:

Toy Story 3

Show Begins at Dusk!

Is there really a chance of rain tonight? Let's hope not!

Tonight is Week 2 of Movies Under the Stars outdoors on Bethesda Lane at Bethesda Row!

Toy Story 3 will be the feature presentation on the big outdoor screen, and Redwood Bethesda is not only providing a theme menu, but is pulling out all the stops this time.

Who is your favorite character - Woody or Buzz Lightyear? Be prepared to order accordingly!

That's right, Redwood has a meal fit for a cowboy: marinated Cowboy Steak sliced up with a side of roasted potatoes and finished off with a garlic-chili aioli.

Well, hold it right there, pilgrim. Wait, you say you're a spacefaring adventurer and man (or woman) of action? Pass that Redwood Rocket Greens Salad over there, then.

This salad has greens, crispy prosciutto, grilled peaches, and feta cheese, refreshing for a summer evening.

Since Toy Story is a movie for the whole family, Redwood is offering the kids menu, with standards like chicken fingers and mac and cheese. Kid's Lemonade is $3, but Kid's Popcorn is FREE! Now that's a stock-market-collapsing price point!

What about the adults whose portfolios may have taken another hit by showtime tonight? They may be ready for the Adult "Bethesda Lemonade" Redwood's bartenders will be mixing up tonight: lemon, mint, sugar, citrus vodka, and soda water.

Why "Bring Your Own Chair" when Redwood has the best seat in the house?

Until next time, the balcony is closed.

Redwood Restaurant and Bar

7121 Bethesda Lane

Bethesda, MD 20814

Reservations: (301) 656-5515

Movie showtime approximately 8:30 PM



The Barking Dog is offering Salsa dance lessons tonight: 7:30 for beginners, 8:15 for intermediate level. Put your new or existing skills to work at 9:00 with DJ Mike "El Sonero" Morales.

The Barking Dog

4723 Elm Street

Bethesda, MD 20814

Classes & dance - $10, Dance only - $5

Monday, August 08, 2011


Yesterday, Bethesda residents had a rare opportunity to test drive the car of the future: the all-electric Nissan Leaf. At Nissan's Montgomery Mall event, attendees learned the future could soon be theirs. Maryland is now one of the states where you can place an order for your very own Leaf!

Of course, with the Leaf's limited range, you need places to charge it. This morning at 10, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will dedicate a new electric vehicle charging station at 10401 Old Georgetown Road, right here in Bethesda.

The charger is solar-tracking. For electric car enthusiasts in Bethesda, it has been an exciting couple of days.

Friday, August 05, 2011


Lots of special offers and events around downtown Bethesda tonight.

BlackFinn has a special menu item tonight: Fried Shrimp.

Union Jack's presents the Amstel Light Summer Acoustic tour from 5-7pm.

Hanaro offers Bang on the Bar Fridays: From 4-9pm, get 2-for-1 Sake Bombs, and 20% off appetizers. But wait! From 9-10, get 3-for-1 Sake Bombs and 50% off select bottles of sake!

The Sports Junkies host a late happy hour from 8-10pm at Caddies on Cordell.

Thursday, August 04, 2011




Another Exclusive!!!

Enjoy 2 new Tuna sandwiches at Dunkin' Donuts on Bethesda Avenue! The Tuna Sandwich comes with mayonnaise, celery, herbs and spices on a fresh bagel. The Tuna Melt adds melted American cheese, and is served on a fresh croissant.

You can see the posters for the new sandwiches around the store, and on the counter, in my Dunkin' Donuts video:

Stop by Dunkin' Donuts on Bethesda Row for a tuna sandwich today!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011



Shark Week is being celebrated around Bethesda, which is appropriate given that the Discovery Channel used to be located here.

Did you save your shark hat from California Tortilla last week? If so, wear it at California Tortilla today, and receive a FREE Taco with any purchase! What if you don't have a shark hat? You can still get a FREE Taco by saying the password, "shark," to the cashier.

Meanwhile, Olazzo is offering a Shark Attack Martini.



Carmen's Italian Ice to Join

Red Hook Lobster Truck Near

Bethesda Row around 11:30am

The Lobster Truck is coming back to Bethesda for lunch today around 11:30am! This time, the Carmen's Italian Ice cart will be tagging along with frozen desserts while you wait in line!

Spend your morning at the office productively, by pondering which type of lobster roll you will order. To help you out, here is the link to the menu:

Here is the link to the Carmen's website, as well:

The Lobster Truck usually stops somewhere around Bethesda Row, but the exact location will be given closer to lunchtime. Check their website and you will find live updates of the truck's whereabouts.

Speaking of lobster, there is some sad news: the neon lobster in the first floor window of the Newlands Building is no more! McCormick and Schmick's has closed, and the lobster has vanished. Let's hope another great restaurant can fill this prime space on Woodmont Avenue!

By the way, it's Wednesday again, and that means a FREE glass of wine in the Hyatt Bethesda lobby after 5pm for Welcome Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011






Fine Films Meet Fine Cuisine at

Outdoor Movies on Bethesda Lane

Just when you thought the outdoor movies were over in downtown Bethesda... A month of outdoor movies begins tonight at Bethesda Row!

Bethesda Row's "movies under the stars" starts off tonight with Vicky Cristina Barcelona, on the big screen on Bethesda Lane. You know the drill: there's "limited seating provided," and, otherwise, you should BYOC = Bring Your Own Chair. I'm never sure what that means. People duke it out for the "limited seats," and the losers run home and bring back chairs?

I've got a better idea - watch the movie from one of the best seats in the house - at Redwood, right on Bethesda Lane!

Not only is it better than lugging a chair from the parking garage (?!) but you also get to enjoy the food and drinks Redwood has to offer.

For each movie, Redwood will be offering special menu items.

The Spanish setting of tonight's movie has inspired a menu of paella ($20) and a refreshing white sangria ($8).

But wait, if you're a cinema purist, Redwood is also setting up an outdoor popcorn machine! That's right, fresh-popped popcorn for $3! Filling your expensive handbag you purchased earlier at one of the boutiques around Bethesda Row with the popcorn (as suggested by the photo of the fashionista Federal Realty is promoting the series with) is strictly optional!

So make plans for movies under the stars tonight at dusk on Bethesda Lane.

I'm not really the target audience for tonight's movie. I'm more of an Iron Man man (which, coincidentally, is on the Bethesda Row schedule for August 30!!). Scarlett Johansson was great in The Island, and very good in a small part in Iron Man 2, but Vicky Cristina Barcelona never really came across my radar. Sorry.

That's where Redwood comes in! With outstanding food and drinks, the great setting of a summer night on Bethesda Lane (forecast: Partly cloudy, low 70s), and the ticket price (FREE!), you will have an enjoyable evening, even if the particular film is not your genre of choice.

P.S. I'm looking forward to the August 30 menu Redwood will create, inspired by Iron Man! Contemplating a cocktail inspired by Tony Stark! And a Redwood version of his "American cheeseburger" from the movie?

Redwood Restaurant and Bar

7121 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814

Reservations: 301-656-5515

Monday, August 01, 2011





Exclusive Video!

Another Exclusive!!!

I visited Dunkin' Donuts on Bethesda Avenue last week in search of the Captain America Donut and Captain America collectible Tri-Cup Coolatta drink.

Was my mission successful?

Watch the video and find out! You'll also get the grand tour of Dunkin' Donuts.

Captain America was definitely the best movie of the summer, and may end up being the best of the year. Just make sure you wait through the credits at the end, or you will miss out on something!




Jiffy Shoppes Also Begins

Welcoming Customers

Another Exclusive!!!

The Perfect Pita at 4520 East West Hwy. in Bethesda has its Grand Opening today!

Visit their website to see the menu:

They also offer a number of vegan items.

Breakfast is served, so I'm assuming you can head over right now for that. In addition to pitas, they also have two kinds of pizza.

Many more grand openings to come, and Jiffy Shoppes has already had a semi-opening over the weekend on St. Elmo Avenue (across from Union Jack's). Expect the full menu and hours at Jiffy Shoppes to be in place as early as today!