Table Talk: Picnic at the Park
Plus, how to build a better BLT
Add a tablecloth and your own dishware to Praline at Glen Echo Park’s signature picnic basket to create an elegant spread on the park’s picnic tables.
Susan Limb and Patrick Musel, the chefs and owners of Bethesda’s Praline Bakery & Bistro, opened a fast-casual café in Glen Echo Park in April, in the same building that houses the Spanish Ballroom. The café features breakfast pastries, quiches, soups, salads, sandwiches; cookies, bars and Praline’s signature macarons; and microwavable heat-and-serve meals to eat on the premises or take home for dinner.
But the real draw? The picnics they put together for you, either customized or in pre-selected groupings, for around $16 per person. We recommend two options—available for a minimum of two people—that are perfect for a family outing at one of the park’s many picnic tables. The signature picnic basket is filled with a cheese assortment; a charcuterie platter that includes garlic sausage and homemade pâté; mixed greens salad; a smoked salmon plate with capers, tomatoes and onions; ratatouille; mini baguettes; and French treats such as macarons and palmiers. The all-American picnic basket features roast beef, grilled chicken and tuna salad sandwiches; shrimp salad; pasta salad; and assorted brownies, bars and cookies.
Praline at Glen Echo Park is open through September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, 301-229-8980, www.praline-bakery.com
Spreading It On
When Bethesda residents Heather O’Donovan and Brady Marz started Picnic Gourmet Spreads out of a commercial kitchen three years ago, the husband-and-wife team only sold their line of five tasty Greek yogurt-based spreads at farmers markets. But the savvy duo convinced Whole Foods Market to take them on and now their goodies can be found in the chain’s Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, including Montgomery County’s four locations. Spread flavors include coriander-laced Moroccan cilantro, tandoori garlic, herbed goat cheese, chipotle sage and Parmesan, all of which taste great with your favorite chips (especially pita), but do double duty as sandwich condiments. We love the zesty, cayenne-spiked tandoori garlic spread slathered over a hamburger.
O’Donovan and Marz recently rebranded from Picnic Gourmet Spreads to Picnic Gourmet Foods and launched a new line of products, translating their spread flavors into crackers and adding thin, crispy cookies. In June, Potomac Grocer in Potomac was scheduled to begin selling Moroccan cilantro crackers, chipotle sage sablés (straw-shaped cookies) and brown butter cardamom cookies. The couple plans to introduce tandoori garlic crackers, herb goat cheese sablés, and sugar-smoked cinnamon, iced molasses and salted chocolate espresso cookies in the fall. If all goes according to schedule, they’ll also sell popcorn called Picnic Pop at all Montgomery County Whole Foods stores, in 4-ounce bags in chipotle sage and Moroccan cilantro.
Picnic Gourmet Foods, www.picnicspreads.com
Building a Better BLT
The Bethesda Central Farm Market’s vendors have everything you need to take advantage of summer’s tomato bounty and assemble a spectacular BLT.
Bethesda Central Farm Market is open year-round; summer hours are 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sundays. 7600 Arlington Road, Bethesda; 301-775-6402, www.centralfarmmarkets.com
Comings & Goings
When Addie’s Restaurant closed in November 2013 after an 18-year run, Black Restaurant Group vowed to reopen it. On the heels of caterer Helen Wasserman opening Helen’s in that space, the company announced that Addie’s will indeed reopen, this time in Potomac’s Park Potomac development. They have not disclosed an ETA.
Raynold Mendizabal, who was named the Restaurant Association of Maryland’s chef of the year in May, plans to open a seafood restaurant on the fourth floor and rooftop of the Silver Spring building where his buzzing butcher/restaurant combo, Urban Butcher, occupies the ground-floor space.
Balagger Restaurant and Bar, an Ethiopian restaurant in Falls Church, announced its second location in the former space occupied by Jackie’s and Sidebar in Silver Spring.
Austin Grill in downtown Silver Spring ended a 13-year run in March. The Bethesda location of Soup Up closed in April. Bethesda’s Food Wine & Co. closed in May to make way for new development. And the owners of Rockville Pike eatery Tony Lin’s Restaurant retired, shuttering the restaurant in May.
Dish With Us
Do you know of a hidden gem or have a favorite restaurant that you want to share? Email tips for Bethesda Magazine restaurant critic David Hagedorn to firstname.lastname@example.org.