The Dining Notebook for Bethesda, MD Restaurants and Bars

As somebody who spends entirely way too much of their disposable income on food and drink, it’s time to offer more of the insight I’ve gained in my local adventures to other folks in the area. This is your Bethesda, Maryland dining notebook, a collection of news and notes on restaurants and bars in Bethesda, MD and the surrounding suburbs and outskirts of Washington D.C.

If you haven’t tried Cafe Deluxe‘s happy hour, then it’s time you do. Drink specials are nice, but what stands out is the food. The Bar Bites menu, available at the bar from 3:30-7:00 pm, includes some seriously tasty, large portions for just a few bucks. Check out the mini Gruyere grilled cheese with prosciutto and tomato soup dipping sauce, BBQ chicken flat bread pizza, short rib spring rolls or a $5 burger.

A few stores down, Vietnamese restaurant Green Papaya has closed shop. I should have had more pho while I had the chance – although I guess if more people did that to begin with, they wouldn’t have closed…

Continuing along Elm Street, in the old Baja Fresh location, Boloco, a burrito shop, is set to open up by this summer. Taking a look at the menu of “inspired burritos” from the New England based chain has me quite excited to give it a try. Seems like a solid upgrade over Baja Fresh… but can it stand up to the local competition from California Tortilla?

Turning the corner onto brick-paved Bethesda Row, Luke’s Lobster is readying to open in the former location of Cacao, a boutique chocolate shop. While Luke’s is focused specifically on lobster and seafood rolls and is not a sit down restaurant or bar, it’s still a bold move considering that Freddy’s Lobster, also a fairly new establishment, is just a five minute walk away.

Bethesda Row recently played host to “The Front Row” a week of fashion-oriented events highlighted by a live runway fashion show, and a book signing and appearance by Bravo’s Andy Cohen. Cohen then took in the show with local CNN newsman Wolf Blitzer.

The spectacle from the event caused an influx of crowds at neighboring establishments, which if anything, should be good preparation for the next big event sure to bring a busy rush and large crowds, the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional, hosted by Tiger Woods from June 28-July 1.

Heading a few miles into Northwest D.C., a new Italian restaurant, La Forchetta, has opened up next to Chef Geoff’s. With outdoor dining, and a diverse menu with freshly made pastas, thin crust pizzas, and a variety of small plates, it’s a solid local destination for dinner or drinks with family or friends.

This article was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo Voices, May 23, 2012