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The Best Thing About Chevy Chase Is…

FroZenYo. They got me with three little words: “Free Hot Fudge.”

On a stroll back from the Metro on a warm, humid pre-summer night? Heaven.

Beware, it melts fast.

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Thanks to Alex

My recent Booeymonger post inspired me to dedicate my last blog post of the semester to Alex. Specifically, to round up the tricks I’ve learned from my sandwich-loving, pie-obsessed, New Jersey-born husband. Here goes.

–Under no circumstances do you buy packaged lunch meat. Always order fresh at the deli counter. Even if the line is 10 deep and your meter is about to expire. It’s worth it.

–Toasted rye is the bread of choice for all sandwiches—even grilled cheese.

–When dining out, order what you really want to eat. To Alex, my most irksome habit is what we call my “diner’s remorse.” I hem and haw and inevitably order something adventurous, or healthy, or a special of the day…and then hate it and eat off Alex’s plate. What I learned from him is simply: Go with your gut.

–Finally—and shockingly—I learned the benefits of healthy eating. For someone who, in his college days, guzzled beer, fried Twinkies and “fat sandwiches” on breaks at Rutgers, Alex has developed a health-conscious routine as an adult. It’s not uncommon to find him eating an avocado in the kitchen, or making a chicken-and-veggie wrap for dinner, or cooking his own ground-turkey burritos to freeze and eat for lunch at work.

The only place where we still disagree is in the validity of fruit pies. I’m not a fan, and dare say I never will be. (I live by the credo: If it’s not chocolate, it’s not worth it). Alex believes his mother’s apple pie is God-given. To each their own.

So, thank you, Alex, for sharing your food wisdom with me. How have I repaid the favor? In coffee, which I drink by the gallon (Alex asks for a cup o’joe from time to time) and in my love of cheese. Now that we live across the street from Whole Foods, I plan to have a constant supply of Robusto.

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Love Naked Pizza

I had the pleasure of organizing a work lunch today—normally a task I hate—but one that I enjoyed in this case since I got to use a long-awaited LivingSocial deal for Bethesda’s relatively new Naked Pizza on Del Ray Ave.

I’ve said before I’m not the biggest pizza fan, but I somehow continue to contradict that. First Haven Pizzeria, then Pete’s New Haven Apizza. Now this.

Let me be clear: I Heart Naked Pizza.

It’s just delicious. I love the wheat crust, the healthy ingredients, and the general idea—however real it may be—that it’s somehow good for me.

My favorites, which were present today to rave reviews, include the Mediterranean pizza; the Smokehouse; and the Sonoran. The Smokehouse was particularly good, but honestly, you just can’t go wrong with any of them.

The guys running the shop also couldn’t have been nicer; one helped me carry all the boxes to my car. And there were a lot. I got a bunch of spinach salads, too—not bad.

PS. Bethesda magazine reports today that Green Papaya has closed. Never got a chance to try it, but can’t say I’m surprised—it’s a super-prime location (read: $$$ lease) and never seemed terribly crowded.

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Friday Night Bite: Booey

We hemmed and hawed last night and finally headed to Booeymonger deli to grab a fast bite to eat before our boring Friday night got underway (grocery shopping and homework. The glamorous life of grad students).

I used to swing by Booey all the time when I worked at WMAL radio in college (’04). The station is just down Jenifer Street, a block away. I think the menu has improved slightly since. One item I strongly considered was a ‘gyro salad’ – with gyro chicken meat and strips of pita bread – which I don’t remember being offered before (and it’s still not on the online version of the menu).

I settled on a more carb-rich option: the Ace sandwich on toasted rye. Ordering a sandwich on toasted rye is a trick I learned from my New Jersey-born husband, who was raised on high-quality deli sandwiches. Toasted rye is always better.

For my money, Booey is an easy and affordable option. I got a large, tasty sandwich and a raspberry iced tea for $9.30. Not bargain-basement, but not bad for a filling dinner. They also have a variety of fruit and veggie-based side salads to supplement. And if you’re there for breakfast, the bagels aren’t half-bad.

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Chadwick’s Brunch: Not Impressed.

Not feeling it.

This morning, Alex sweetly suggested we take advantage of the nice weather with a trip out for breakfast. We initially planned to swing by Booeymonger’s for a quick and cheap option, but the outdoor courtyard at Chadwick’s drew us across the street.

What a waste. Even though it was 85 degrees outside, the young waitress straight up told me not to bother ordering iced coffee; it was watered down and “not worth it.” They only offered regular, plain hot coffee. Disappointment No. 1. (At least she was honest).

Alex cleans his plate whether the food is awesome or not.

The entire menu had only a couple of breakfast-oriented items, none of which looked particularly special to me. I ended up resigning myself to a pulled BBQ chicken sandwich and an unsweetened iced tea—at 11:00a.m. Lame. It came with a side of “pecan slaw” which was essentially bad, vinegar-based cole slaw with a few pecans mixed in. I swapped it for fries.

Alex was slightly happier with his salmon eggs benedict, but we left disappointed that we’d dropped $30+ instead of grabbing a couple bagels at Booey.

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Excited to Try Lobstah

I’ve heard rumblings – and now confirmation – that Bethesda Row is in for lobster rolls, crab claws and clam chowder thanks to Luke’s Lobster. I’m excited to try my first “Maine” lobster roll, never having had one – yet! I might have to add shrimp and crab rolls, also. Luke’s is taking a space formerly held by Cacao on the Bethesda Row retail strip.

Fun fact: Luke’s uses 3.2 lobsters to make one sandwich—which, apparently, you can nab with a drink and chips for under $20. The Bethesda location will be his sixth, plus the NY-based food truck dubbed “Nauti Mobile.”

This story also makes me anxious since the owner, Luke Holden, is younger than me (by one year) and way more successful. BusinessWeek reported in October 2010 that the former NY investment banker had a staff of 40; I’m sure it’s grown since then. The 27 year-old Georgetown graduate, who grew up in Maine, got a leg up in distribution since his dad owns a seafood processing plant.

PS. I bought a Groupon last week for The Parva on Woodmont Avenue. Look for a post to come soon on that trendy Latin American fusion restaurant!

Update, April 15: Groupon has a great deal for Steamers Seafood House in Bethesda if you are a crustacean fan. It’s available for the next 3 days, but more than 500 have already been purchased.

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Bethesda’s Bistro LaZeez

Blissfully home from Easter weekend with my in-laws in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. I love my husband’s family, but I am happy to be back on my couch, wrapped in a blanket, with my TV on in the background and a stomach full of Bethesda take-out for dinner. Three straight days of home cooking actually feels odd to my system.

We grabbed sandwiches and an app sampler from Bistro LaZeez on Norfolk Ave. en route home. I’ve been wanting to try the casual Greek carry-out and dine-in eatery for awhile. The Yelp reviews were positive, so we went for it.

I had a BLZ Chicken sandwich—very similar to a gyro, but the marinated grilled chicken was really tasty, and a nice mix of white and dark meat. I think it would have been a tad dry, except I smeared some baba ghanouj and labne spreads onto the pita, which came only with hummus.

I wasn’t a big fan of the baba ghanouj on its own, but the labne yogurt spread was good.

I wish we had taken the time to eat on the patio, which looked relaxing in the spring sunshine. The interior was welcoming, too—modern and a little trendy, but still comfortable. The place was affordable, too. Our sandwiches were only $7 and even the pricier entrees don’t go much north of $15.

PS. Bethesda Row’s spring restaurant week runs April 16—23.