Photo courtesy of Fancy Cakes by Leslie

Sampling the new eats on Bethesda’s Elm Street, you can grab a breakfast hoagie at Taylor Gourmet, have lunch at Boloco, and then finish with dessert at Fancy Cakes by Leslie’s fresh yogurt bar. All in the same day.

That’s what I did. Well, almost…I had breakfast one day, lunch and yogurt the next. My plans were foiled, as after breakfast, I was called away for breaking cheesecake news (see my July 25 blog).

Anyway, here are my tasting notes from one block of Elm, from my most favorite to least.

Fresh yogurt bar at Fancy Cakes by Leslie

Trim and toned women are always dropping by owner Leslie Poyourow’s bakery with their kids, or to order special occasion cakes, but they never buy anything to eat for themselves. Never.

“There are so many dieters,” says Poyourow. “They’re so strong willed.”

Looking for a healthier alternative, Poyourow didn’t consider diet baked goods, which she thinks just don’t taste good. Yet she knew that yogurt—fresh yogurt, not frozen—is a huge trend in supermarkets, and that fresh yogurt bars are popular in Europe.

So Poyourow started offering several flavors of yogurt from Pequea Valley Farm, a small farm in Lancaster, Pa., as well as a couple of selections from Chobani, the Greek yogurt company that has taken the country by storm. The self-service yogurt bar also includes fresh and dried fruit, nuts and bits of dark Swiss chocolate.

The Pequea yogurts, made from whole milk from grass-fed Jersey cows, are rich, subtle and very fresh-tasting, my favorites being the lemon and maple. Poyourow also flavors some of them herself; her coconut is particularly good.

And it sounds as if she’s on the forefront of a growing craze—aside from Yola in the District, Chobani and Dannon just opened fresh yogurt bars in Manhattan.

The yogurt costs $3.65 for petite, $4.50 for medium, $5.65 for large and $6.55 for extra large. Calories of the Pequea Valley Farm yogurt range from about 130 to 175 for 5.3 ounces (watch your portion sizes, dieters!).

4939 Elm St. Bethesda. 301-652-9390.

Breakfast hoagies at Taylor Gourmet

With ingredients such as arugula, broccoli rabe and caramelized onions, Taylor Gourmet’s new breakfast hoagies are not your father’s Egg McMuffins.

The new sandwiches at the upscale eatery are way more intriguing, and a welcome addition, given the dearth of breakfast options in the area.

The menu is very pig-centric, with sausage, bacon, roast pork or Taylor Pork Roll on nearly every one of the sandwiches (of course, you can also devise your own pork-less combination).

And then there’s something called Grays Ferry, risotto balls filled with sausage, bacon and Taylor Pork Roll, served over arugula and two eggs, and topped with beer cheese sauce.

That sounded too indigestion-inducing in the early morning, even for me, so I opted for the Frankford Avenue, a hoagie served on one of the restaurant’s terrific rolls, filled with bacon, eggs, arugula and Parmesan. The bacon was too flabby for my crisp preference, and the accompanying coffee was weak, but all-in-all, it was a lively and filling way to start the day. Way better than an Egg McMuffin.

The breakfast hoagies, which cost $4.90, and include a cup of coffee, are served from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. every day at Taylor Gourmet’s location at 7280 Woodmont Ave. (corner of Elm) in Bethesda. 301-951-9001.  


Don’t worry, Chipotle. The new Boston-based burrito chain that took over the old Baja Fresh location may be a hit at first—especially with the under-25-year-old crowd. But  after tasting three different burritos at Boloco, it seems clear to me that Chipotle uses higher-quality, fresher-tasting ingredients.

The gimmick at Boloco is that the burritos span the globe, with fillings from Thailand (peanut sauce, Asian slaw, cucumbers, brown rice), India (masala sauce, brown rice), Memphis (barbecue sauce, coleslaw, pinto beans, rice) and more. You choose the protein component, and in today’s spirit of have-everything-your-way, you can also devise your own combinations with a myriad of ingredients.

But the burritos I tried (Thai, Tikka Masala, Summer) were dry and overshot with rice, and the grilled steak (in the Summer) was pretty tough and chewy.

During a busy lunch, the place was chaotic, and three TV screens and a high ceiling provided for deafening acoustics. You place your order at a computer (or with a real person), go to another area to pick up your order, and hope for the best in finding a seat.

Burritos cost $4.01 for a mini, $5.66 for a small, and $6.55 for original.

4930 Elm St. Bethesda.