There's something special about the ground at Good Life Farm. The fields—though now carpeted with veggies—were once home to an abundance of chestnut trees. Each autumn, the nuts would fall from the trees, decompose, and infuse the ground with carbon, nitrogen, and other minerals. While the mighty chestnuts died off in the 20th century, they left behind a powerful legacy: rich, potent soil.
Farmer Larry, the man behind Good Life Farm, uses this foundation to grow a changing bounty of fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers. Larry plants favorites such as tomatoes and sweet corn, and he also scours over seed catalogs to find new things to grow. Farmer Larry's passion stems from a belief that locally grown food is healthier and better for the environment, humans, and the pack mules that transport us everywhere. To that end, Good Life practices community supported agriculture. Community members pledge financial support to the farm in exchange for a share of the weekly harvest. This system keeps members supplied with fresh, healthy foods, and it helps Good Life compete with nonlocal growers and people with high-tech food replicators.
Farmer Larry also works with the Montgomery County Food Council, which supports the creation of a sustainable local food system, and the Montgomery Countryside Alliance, which educates community members on local agriculture. Good Life Farm does its share to enlighten locals with tours, which teach about crops and farm animals.
In the dead of night in 1976, the Abi-Najm family boarded a cargo ship bringing only what they could carry; an escape from Civil War in Lebanon called for a quick getaway. They traveled across the ocean to safety in Arlington, Virginia, where they were able to open a small restaurant in 1979. To save money, they changed the eatery’s name from “Athenian Taverna” to “Lebanese Taverna” so that they only had to update one word on the eatery’s marquee.
From these modest beginnings grew a series of eateries that today comprises of six restaurants and four quick-service cafés, all still operated by the Abi-Najm clan. One look at the menu explains the success: chicken shawarma, spicy hummus, lamb tartare—all Lebanese staples that helped the restaurant earn a spot on Northern Virginia magazine's list of 25 Iconic Eats. There's even kibbeh, or stuffed meatballs, which blend ground beef, lamb, almonds, and pine nuts into fried spheres suitable for felling miniature bowling pins on top of the table before entrees arrive. The decor is as striking as the cuisine; inside the Bethesda location, light filters through the colored glass lanterns that decorate the dining room.
Backed by more than 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Bernard L. Greenbaum, DDS coddles mouth bones with up-to-date technology in a comfort-focused environment. BriteSmile teeth whitening is an hour-long in-office procedure that strips away years of stains from coffee, tea, medication, and brushing with brownie batter to leave chompers as clean and sparkly as a freshly laundered ballroom dancer. The center's excellent customer service goes beyond housing friendly and accessible staff. The modern office keeps patients smiling with lavish amenities such as neck pillows, iPods, blankets, and DVDs with optional dentist commentary.
The wide aisles and shelves at MOM's Organic Market's new location teem with certified-organic groceries and produce free of chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers. Between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., fill a cart or 10-gallon hat with steaming grain bowls, salads, sandwiches, and raw juices from the Naked Lunch Kitchen, a new spot for take-home meals or quick eats on the go. Grocery carts may also be filled with a variety of gourmet cheeses, gluten-free food, sustainably farmed seafood, and local, organic dairy and meat products. GT's Kombucha Gingerade joins assorted Chobani yogurts to create power-packed breakfasts, and Vita Coco coconut water soothes parched straws with electrolytes. A new bulk-food section boasts a selection of local honey, grind-your-own nut butters, heirloom lentils and beans, and olive oils. The storefront, built with renewable materials, fume-fighting low-VOC paint, and energy-efficient skylights with LED bulbs, mirrors its eco-friendly offerings. Outside, ample parking stands ready to accommodate organic-fare-craving motorists.
Held to rigorous kosher standards by The Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington, KosherMart stocks its shelves with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern groceries from brands like Manischewitz and Osem. Shoppers peruse an extensive array of tantalizing prepared foods, baked goods, and meats for immediate guilt-free munching, including kitchen staples such as Sabra babaganoush ($5.49). Ingredients for family dinners, romantic candlelit dinners, or religiously approved solo snacking over the sink all reside in the store's near-emporium-like 14 aisles of frozen, dry, and refrigerated items. The kosher oasis also boasts a full glatt butchery stocked with fresh Shabbat-ready meats, all solemnly blessed and surreptitiously high-fived by kashrut law.
Cecile's Wine Cellar stocks a wide variety of wines, from inexpensive dinner pairings to lavish varietals, in an atmosphere of grape-loving camaraderie. Staff members' brains are chock-full of facts about food pairings, wine regions, and bottles to meet any need. For a month-long impromptu barbecue, pick up a pair of quality bottles such as a Monte Degli Angeli 2008 Sangiovese ($8.99, on sale for $6.98) with a 2009 Chateau La Roche S. Jean Blanc ($9.99), or celebrate a job that you invented with a bottle of Guillon Cremant de Bourgogne Blanc De Noirs ($24.99), a sparkling wine with notes of fresh berries and earthy expressions. If you're looking to splurge on a fresh young wine to adopt and care for until it matures into beautifully blushing Bordeaux, check the regional varieties for investments in oenophilia such as the Château Pape Clément Pessac-Léognan, which matures from 2012–2030 and was produced from the winery's 700th vintage in 2006 ($129.99).