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by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 11:35 am 3 Comments

Bethesda Cares Executive Director Sue Kirk (left) accepts a donation from Bold Bite's Maria Roche on ThursdayThe nonprofit helping to find permanent housing for Bethesda’s homeless got a holiday gift from a local business on Thursday.

Bold Bite, the hot dog, hamburger and breakfast place at 4901 Fairmont Avenue, raised $110 for homeless prevention nonprofit Bethesda Cares by dedicating 30 percent of its sales on one night last week.

Thanks to a connection to one of Bethesda Cares’ board members, Bold Bite’s Maria Roche and husband Alonso Roche came up with the idea.

She said the partnership made sense, considering Bethesda Cares (7728 Woodmont Avenue) is right around the corner. Sue Kirk, the nonprofit’s executive director, and Amy Freeman, its development director, also happen to be regular customers.

On Monday, Bold Bite kept the giving going by donating 30 percent of its dinner sales to nonprofit DC Central Kitchen.

Thursday was also the annual Goodwill Dinner at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad. The county’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce and the Bethesda Hyatt helped cook and serve meals for almost 400 in-need individuals and their families in the Bethesda area.

All who attended, including some Bethesda Cares clients, got winter hats, gloves and scarves. Children got toys and a chance to get photos with Santa.

Interested in donating or helping out Bethesda Cares this holiday season?

Contact Freeman at amy[at]bethesdacares[dot]org. Bethesda Cares will also host a special holiday meal program on Saturday at Bethesda Presbyterian Church (7611 Clarendon Road), complete with volunteer carol singers.

by Aaron Kraut — December 19, 2014 at 10:55 am 0

Montgomery County sealAll county government buildings and offices will be closed for Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 25 and New Year’s Day on Thursday, Jan. 1.

For restaurants that will be open on Christmas Day, check out our list here. For New Year’s Eve events, check out our list here.

Now, for details on the holiday closings and schedule changes:

County Offices — Closed

Libraries — Closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; all branches will close at 6 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 31

County liquor stores — Closed

Recreation — All facilities closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1; senior centers, community and neighborhood recreation centers will be closed Dec. 25 through Jan. 1; aquatics programs operating on a modified schedule, contact each facility directly

Montgomery Parks — All Parks facilities are closed both days. For operating schedules during the holidays, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org.

Ride On, Metrobus and Metrorail — Sunday schedule; more Metrorail details here.

TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) — Closed

Refuse/recycling pickup – No collection. Regular Thursday collections will be provided on Friday and regular Friday collections will be provided on Saturday.

Shady Grove Transfer Station — Closed; Transfer Station will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters — Free. County government wants to remind those who leave their cars in county lots while out of town to double-check that they are parking in a long-term space. Montgomery County also says it’s not liable for theft or vandalism that may occur.

MCPS Administrative Offices — Closed

State offices and courts — Closed

by BethesdaNow.com — December 19, 2014 at 10:25 am 1 Comment

Gift Local BethesdaToday’s prize in our inaugural Gift Local contest comes from us.

That’s right, the winner of our drawing in just a few hours will get an Apple iPad Air (a $399 value) from BethesdaNow.com just in time for the holidays.

All you have to do to be eligible is sign up for our daily email newsletter. The free newsletter delivers Bethesda Now headlines to your inbox on weekday (and some weekend) afternoons.

If you’re one of our more than 1,300 existing newsletter subscribers, you’re automatically eligible to win. See our official contest rules for an alternate means of entry and other sweepstakes details.

Next Friday, we’ll award our last prize, five free fitness classes from Next Phase Group Ex.

Please join us in supporting this new local business and other local businesses when doing your last-second holiday shopping and making New Year’s resolutions.

Good luck and happy holidays from Bethesda Now!

by Aaron Kraut — December 18, 2014 at 11:50 am 1,243 6 Comments

Bainbridge Bethesda, via Bainbridge Bethesda

The marketing team at a new apartment building in Woodmont Triangle put together a short quiz meant to gauge “just how ‘Bethesda’” one might be.

The quiz, from Bainbridge Bethesda, asks how often you exercise on the Capital Crescent Trail, the greatest number of times you’ve eaten at Bethesda Row restaurant Raku in a week, and others about where you buy bread and coffee.

Answer a locally-owned shop rather than a corporate chain, and your “Bethesda-ness” goes up.

“The town of Bethesda, MD is one of the most affluent and educated communities in the United States. Though small, there is a lot of personality stuffed into this DC suburb. Longtime community residents most fully embody the culture of the city. Take this quiz to see where you fall in the range of true Bethesda-ness (whatever THAT means)!”

If you stray toward local businesses and using mass transit, you’ll probably achieve a “Bethesda to the MAX!” rating.

According to the quiz, that makes you so Bethesda that you could hold a mayoral position that doesn’t even exist for the unincorporated area: “Your skin oozes pure Bethesda. When someone looks up ‘Bethesda’ in the dictionary, they’ll see a picture of your face. You’re so Bethesda, you could be the town mayor.”

Ratings also include “Borderline Bethesda,” and “Basic Bethesda,” meaning “you know a bit about the town of Bethesda, but you’re probably not from there. Study up and you’ll be so much more than basic.”

Photo via Bainbridge Bethesda

by Aaron Kraut — December 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm 567 3 Comments

Menorah and Christmas tree display on Bethesda Row

There will be no shortage of Bethesda restaurants open on Christmas.

Know of any others? Drop us an email at news[at]bethesdanow[dot]com or leave a comment below:

Bangkok Garden (4906 St. Elmo Avenue)

Benihana (7935 Wisconsin Avenue)

Bethesda Crab House (4958 Bethesda Avenue)

City Perch (11830 Grand Park Avenue) A special five-course Christmas menu at $45 for adults and $20 for children 12 or younger.

Golden House (8100 Wisconsin Avenue)

MayFlower Chinese (7925 Norfolk Avenue)

North China Restaurant (7814 Old Georgetown Road)

Passage to India (4931 Cordell Avenue)

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by Aaron Kraut — December 17, 2014 at 10:15 am 586 0

It’s safe to say Bethesda chef and restaurant owner Ashish Alfred has never before had to cook on a balance beam or dig through a slop trough of baked beans for ingredients.

Alfred did both those things as part of Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” episode that first aired Sunday night.

The chef and owner of 4935 Bar and Kitchen (a BethesdaNow.com advertiser) made it to the second round of the competition, which consists of three elimination rounds and various “sabotages” involving ingredients, cooking tools and other challenges.

Chef Ashish Alfred, photo via 4935 Bar and KitchenAlfred, who’s Indian, got eliminated from the contest on a curry challenge. Judge and chef Jet Tila felt his curry had more of a soupy consistency.

“I should’ve paid a lot more attention to my mom and my dad when making curry growing up,” Alfred said during the show. “But I didn’t, so now I’m the Indian guy getting sent home from Cutthroat Kitchen on a curry.”

It didn’t help that Alfred had to cook the curry on a balance beam, the sabotage meant to represent the importance of balance in any curry dish. Alfred’s ingredients — seared scallops and mussels — turned out well, according to the judge.

But he dropped his first plate of scallops on the floor during the 30-minute cooking challenge, which meant he had to cook a second batch and was short on time.

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by Aaron Kraut — December 16, 2014 at 12:05 pm 168 0

Santa arrives in Bethesda on his motorcycle as part of MCP's 2012 "Santa Ride" to benefit the Children's Inn at NIH

Santa and members of his police escort will make their annual ride through Bethesda on Wednesday.

Montgomery County Police motor officers will lead a motorcycle-riding Santa through the county, to Woodmont Triangle and finally to the Children’s Inn at NIH to deliver gift bags to children who live there.

The Santa Ride will start at 10 a.m. in Germantown before stopping at a number of places including police headquarters in Gaithersburg, the Mamma Lucia in Rockville for lunch, Olney and Silver Spring.

As is tradition, the motorcade will make its next-to-last stop in Veterans Park at the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Avenues. Santa and his motorcycle motorcade are expected to stop by at around 5 p.m.

The group will then head back up Old Georgetown Road to the Children’s Inn, where they will distribute the gift bags and hang out with children undergoing treatment at NIH.

All six police districts, area businesses and residents have purchased gift cards from stores for the gift bags.

“These gift cards will assist families in purchasing food and supplies during their stay at The Children’s Inn at NIH. The funds also provide gifts for the children staying at The Children’s Inn at NIH while receiving treatment at NIH,” police said.

To provide a financial donation online, visit The Children’s Inn at NIH website.

by Aaron Kraut — December 16, 2014 at 10:15 am 419 5 Comments

Chopped down trees last week along River Road and Kenwood Country Club in BethesdaRecent tree cutting work along a section of River Road in Bethesda left many wondering what was going on.

Pepco says it’s responsible for the work, which consisted of cutting down dozens of trees along the east side of River Road just north of the entrance to Kenwood Country Club.

The tree cutting is part of Pepco’s tree maintenance plan around power lines that are susceptible to damage from trees during severe storms, according to a company spokesperson.

Cutting down these particular trees was required by regulations establishing minimum clearances between trees and power lines, according to a statement from the company:

“Pepco’s necessary work along River Road is part of our ongoing tree maintenance plan to ensure safe and reliable service to our customers. The trimming and tree removal on this state highway is required by regulations that mandate minimum clearances between trees and power lines. Pepco worked with government agencies to get approval for the work and will be replanting close to 100 trees.”

The trees had reached the level of a power line that runs alongside River Road and the fence outside the Kenwood Country Club golf course.

by Aaron Kraut — December 15, 2014 at 4:10 pm 1,095 9 Comments

Newton's Table (4917 Elm Street) will become Bethesda Barbecue Company early next year

Owner and chef Dennis Friedman says transforming Newton’s Table from fine dining spot to barbecue joint is the right response to the customers who make up Bethesda’s dining scene.

Friedman, a Walt Whitman High School grad who started Netown’s Table more than four years ago, is ditching the white table cloths and fancy chairs at his 4917 Elm Street space and starting anew as the “more inclusive” Bethesda Barbecue Company.

He said it became apparent that despite a strong local following, Newton’s Table had become permanently branded as a “special event restaurant” catering to “the 1 percent.”

That meant a lot of people who perceived the restaurant as too expensive.

Via Bethesda Barbecue Company Facebook“There would be multiple times when people would come in because they had heard that this is the best restaurant. They’d walk in, see the table cloths and the big chairs and look at the menu and say, ‘This is too expensive. We’re not eating here,’” Friedman said. “You go online and read reviews of customers who say, ‘We live in Bethesda and go to D.C. for fine dining.’

“If you’re not willing to change, then you get left behind,” he said.

So with friend David Smelson, who will serve as barbecue consultant, Friedman is bit-by-bit inserting the new concept into the Newton’s Table location.

Over the weekend, some customers got a sneak peek into the slow-cooked pulled pork, ribs, pulled chicken, brisket and other items that will make up the menu. Friedman called it “an expanded type of barbecue concept,” which will mean rotisserie chicken, wings, a selection of grilled flatbreads, as well as shrimp and grits, a grilled fish of the day and hamburgers.

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by Aaron Kraut — December 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm 0

Christmas tree on Bethesda LaneMontgomery County wants its residents to avoid scams when picking out charities to donate to this holiday season.

The county’s Office of Consumer Protection on Monday released a list of tips for carefully researching and choosing which charities to help out.

“It is important to know the difference between a charitable contribution and a donation. Charities are considered non-profit organizations and must be registered with the Office of the Secretary of State (SOS) if they solicit contributions from Maryland residents or are located in Maryland,” according to Consumer Protection. “Most consumers are very familiar with these types of charities which include commonly known ones such as the American Red Cross, Disabled American Veterans, and UNICEF.”

More tips:

* Verify a charity’s non-profit status

* Review how money is spent by the charity. How much money is used for administrative costs?

* Know the difference between “tax exempt” and “tax deductible.”

* Be careful of similar sounding names. A scammer may use a familiar name or generic name such as Police Fund to trick you into donating.

* Donate only to users that you know and trust. It is easy to verify a relative’s fundraising request; however, responding to a local tragedy or catastrophe may take some research on your part. Verify that the donation is going to a legitimate source.

* Be careful about bogus websites claiming to be donation centers

* Be aware of any fees associated with a platform. Always read the fine print and be aware that the method of payment may involve additional fees.

* Verify requests from people that you know. Scammers often hack personal email accounts and use the information to steal money.

by Aaron Kraut — December 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm 2,113 7 Comments

Car attempts to reach woodmont Avenue via sidewalk, via Montgomery County Police Police arrest driver of the vehicle, via Montgomery County Police

Police on Saturday night arrested a woman who apparently tried to drive over a sidewalk to reach Woodmont Avenue on Saturday night.

Police tweeted out a photo of the driver’s vehicle, lodged on a grassy strip between a parking lot and Woodmont Avenue near its intersection with St Elmo Avenue.

“Intoxicated driver tried to take shortcut to road but took long way home via police station,” read the tweet. “Choose a sober driver.”

Police said the department’s holiday alcohol task force arrested 29 people countywide for driving under the influence over the weekend.

On Friday, officers provided a motorcade for “SoberWoman” an anti-drunk driving promotional campaign from a regional program meant to curb drunk driving.

Photos via MCP

by Aaron Kraut — December 15, 2014 at 11:35 am 1,491 4 Comments

In April, we took a look at a dozen downtown Bethesda construction projects.

Two of those projects (Bainbridge Bethesda and 4500 East West) have been completed and most of the rest have progressed significantly.

See the photo gallery above for more.

8300 Wisconsin

What was there: Vacant lot

What’s coming: 360-residential units and a 55,000-square foot Harris Teeter grocery store at Wisconsin Avenue and Battery Lane.

Developer: StonebridgeCarras

Estimated completion date: Summer of 2015

7770 Norfolk

What was there: Restaurants and retail, including Foong Lin and Haandi

What’s coming: 17-story, 250-unit apartment building with 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

Developer: JBG Companies

Estimated completion date: 2015

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by BethesdaNow.com — December 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm 0

ArcLight Bethesda at Westfield Montgomery malThere are a few more hours to enter our inaugural Gift Local contest before we select our second winner.

Today’s prize includes two movie passes and a gift card from ArcLight Cinemas Bethesda (7101 Democracy Boulevard). The prize is valued at $75 and should serve as a great gift for you or others over the holiday movie season.

All you have to do to be eligible is sign up for our daily email newsletter. The newsletter delivers Bethesda Now headlines to your inbox on weekday (and some weekend) afternoons.

If you’re one of our more than 1,300 existing newsletter subscribers, you’re automatically eligible to win. See our official contest rules for an alternate means of entry and other sweepstakes details.

Prizes remaining after today include:

Please join us in supporting these and other local businesses when making your holiday shopping plans and New Year’s resolutions.

Good luck and happy holidays from Bethesda Now!

by Aaron Kraut — December 12, 2014 at 10:00 am 260 4 Comments

Amy Ginsburg, new Friends of White Flint executive director, via Amy GinsburgAn influential group of developers, business owners and residents in White Flint has hired a new executive director.

The Friends of White Flint announced on Thursday that Amy Ginsburg, an area resident and veteran of local nonprofit groups, will take over for Lindsay Hoffman. Hoffman left the role to take a staff job for new County Councilmember Sidney Katz.

The group’s stated objective is to advocate for the implementation of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, the landmark master plan for the area that will allow wholesale redevelopment of its many strip commercial centers into mixed-use retail and residential properties.

Recently, that meant pushing the county to reconsider its working design for a stretch of Old Georgetown Road near Rockville Pike. Hoffman wrote a post on the group’s website in September criticizing the county’s transportation department for considering a wider design than recommended in the sector plan.

After a flurry of advocacy over the last few months, the county and state have said they’re working on a potential road swap in the area that would allow for a narrower, more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly road.

“We want to fulfill the vision of the Pike District being that pedestrian- and bike-friendly place,” Ginsburg said. “Right now, it’s in its transition phase. I think the new development that has happened thus far really shows what’s possible.”

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