Table Talk

Table Talk

The Family Dinner Challenge, Me & 3, Leyla's Foods Authentic Coffee Sauce and more

| Published:

Sauvignon Blanc: Slam Dunk

“Our local boy makes good…wine!” says the shelf tag under the Elizabeth Spencer Wines’ Sauvignon Blanc at Bethesda’s Bradley Food & Beverage. It’s referring to Spencer Graham, who spent his teenage years in Chevy Chase and was a star basketball player at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (Class of 1971).

Graham—who now co-owns the Napa Valley vineyard with his wife, Elizabeth Pressler—made The Washington Post’s 10-player All-Met team in 1971, and won a basketball scholarship to the University of Virginia. But while working as a waiter at a high-end restaurant in Charlottesville, he discovered a passion for food and wine. That interest fully blossomed after a trip to France, followed by self-taught cooking and eventually, ownership of a wine distributorship and import business in Virginia from 1982 until 1997.

Since 1998, he has co-owned the Rutherford, Calif., vineyard, which also produces chardonnay, chenin blanc, cabernet sauvignon and other wines. In addition to Bradley Food & Beverage, the wines are available at local shops and restaurants, including Balducci’s, Cork 57, Black’s Bar & Kitchen, Lia’s, Nest Cafe and Geppetto.

Graham, 59, says he hasn’t forgotten his Bethesda-area roots. “I still have friends there, I still come back,” he says.

The Family Dinner Challenge

For the past 10 years, Chevy Chase resident Aviva Goldfarb has been trying to revive the family dinner. And thanks to two cookbooks and her membership-based meal planning service, “The Six O’Clock Scramble”—which has nearly 10,000 paid subscribers—she believes she’s had an impact. (Based on the number of online recipes that have likely been used in the past decade, her accountant estimates that about 8 million family meals have been eaten by Six O’Clock Scramble members.)

Now, to mark her decade-long mission, Goldfarb has initiated the online Family Dinner Challenge. Her goal: to get 10,000 families to commit to eating dinner together at least three times a week for a month. Families who sign up will get motivational notices, weekly recipes, grocery lists, and a chart to keep track of family dinners. Those who complete the challenge (on the honor system) will be eligible for prizes such as kitchen appliances and “fun, healthy things,” Goldfarb says. At press time, more than 4,000 people had signed up.

Sign up through Sept. 30 at family-dinner-challenge.

Long Live Clyde’s

So how has the Clyde’s Restaurant Group managed to survive for 50 years, remain profitable and maintain 14 restaurants, including two in Montgomery County?

For the inside scoop on the company’s success, check out the newly released How We Do Business, Clyde’s Primer for Beating the Odds in the Restaurant Business (Brick Tower Press), written by J. Garrett Glover, a Maryland restaurant consultant and creative director who was the chain’s first corporate operations manager in the 1980s.

The book is available at Clyde’s restaurants as well as through, Barnes & Noble and other outlets.

A Family Affair

Looking for rugelach, mandel bread and black-and-white cookies to serve for Rosh Hashanah dessert or at a Yom Kippur break-the-fast gathering?

Look no further than Me & 3, a fledgling Potomac company serving up high-quality, homespun baked goods. The entire Bernstein mishpocheh (Yiddish for family) is involved: Harvey, a retired attorney and son of a professional bread baker; daughter Corey, who graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine’s professional pastry program and worked as an assistant pastry chef at Silver Spring’s 8407 Kitchen Bar; mom Mim, who does the marketing and promotion; and daughter Lynsey Burgess, who is the information-technology specialist.

At press time, the products were available at Brooklyn’s Deli in Potomac and Dawson’s Market in Rockville. Gift baskets and private party platters also can be ordered directly from Me & 3 by calling 301-983-9742 or 301-310-6220.

Hitting the Sauce

Coffee sauce is not the first commercial food product created out of Leyla O’Day’s Potomac kitchen. “Her cookies put me through college,” her son, Ron O’Day, says of Mrs. O’Day’s Delightful Cookies, which were widely sold in area supermarkets in the 1980s.

Now, the tireless Leyla O’Day, 77, has come up with Leyla’s Foods Authentic Coffee Sauce, made with agave nectar, cream, sugar, coffee and brown rice syrup. Surprisingly versatile, it can be used as an ice cream topper, marinade or dipping sauce for meats, or as an ingredient in cakes or frostings; or it can be mixed with milk for a latte-like drink.

O’Day raised two sons as a single mother—Ron, who now manages the company; and John, who lives in Rockville and is also a partner in Leyla & Sons. One of the long-term goals of the company is to donate a portion of its profits to charities that support single parents.

Leyla’s Foods Authentic Coffee Sauce, which comes in 8-ounce jars, is available for $8.99 to $9.99 at Bethesda’s Bradley Food & Beverage, Rodman’s in Rockville and Northwest Washington, Chevy Chase Supermarket, River Falls Market in Potomac and the Broad Branch Market in Northwest Washington. The sauce also can be ordered online for $11.99 at

Milking It

How much milk will kids be drinking this year in Montgomery County Schools? Well, last year, the schools served a whopping 10,412,535
half-pints. Here’s a breakdown of which kinds:

Comings & Goings

Bezu, the lovely Potomac restaurant that served regional French and modern American cuisine, is being reinvented as a casual bistro called Mix Bar and Grille; it was slated to open at the end of August.

A New England-style seafood eatery, Nantucket’s Reef, was due to replace Stella’s Restaurant at 9755 Traville Gateway Drive in North Potomac in August. …Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar was scheduled to open in mid-August in the North Bethesda Market; another location of the Latin cuisine chain is in the works for Gaithersburg’s Downtown Crown development in 2014.

In September, look for Markham’s, a neighborhood eatery at 7141 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda owned by Steve Markham, the man behind the One3Five Cuisine food truck; House of Milae, a traditional Korean restaurant opening at 4924 St. Elmo Ave. in Bethesda; plus, a new restaurant co-owned by chef Pedro Matamoras at 8630 Fenton St. in Silver Spring.

Frankly…Pizza!–a sit-down version of Frank Linn’s mobile pizza kitchen–opens later this fall in the recently shuttered Two Pears Cafe at 10417 Armory Ave. in Kensington.

And by the end of the year, & Pizza, a customized pie place, is coming to 7620 Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda.

Carole Sugarman is the magazine’s food editor. Send restaurant tips or Food Find ideas to

Back to Bethesda Magazine >>

Leading Professionals »

Sponsored Content


    Get top stories in your inbox
    Exclusive deals from area businesses
    Including a sneak peek of the next issue
    The latest, local job openings straight to your inbox

Dining Guide