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In case you’ve been wondering how – and from where – to order the perfect bagel, look no further. Aaron Browner has your answer.
Allie: What brought you to DC?
Aaron: I’ve been in the DC area my whole life. I grew up in Rockville and then went to Towson University. After graduating, I moved back home, then moved out to Bethesda on Battery Lane. Since I loved DC so much, I finally decided to move into the District in December 2017. I moved to the wonderful West End neighborhood. I’m in sales for CEB, now Gartner, which is a best practice and research advisory firm in Rosslyn.
Allie: Describe your perfect day in DC.
Aaron: I wake up and make a smoothie using my Vitamix – I make a green smoothie with chocolate almond milk, plant-based protein powder, spinach, kale, banana, avocado. Then, I’ll go to the gym at Equinox where I’ll either take a yoga class or swim. After that, it’s off to the Dupont Farmers Market where I’ll meet up with friends, walk around and sample all the freebies I can get my hands on. A perfect day has to include working on my tan by hanging out at my rooftop pool then top things off at night, by meeting up with friends at dinner – my favorite place is Gringos & Mariachis – a Mexican joint in Bethesda!
Allie: Do you have a favorite Jewish food?
Aaron: I can’t just pick one. But, I am a self-proclaimed bagel snob. At the Dupont Circle Farmers Market I’ve found a place called Call Your Mother – that’s the best bagel I’ve had in DC. I also run a club called Bagel Friday at my office.
Allie: A bagel club? That sounds amazing! Go on…
Aaron: Yeah, there’s about 40 members in the group. Every Friday morning, two people are assigned to bring bagels and cream cheese from a real bagel place like Bethesda Bagels or Brooklyn Bagel Bakery. It can’t just be Cosi or Panera. People get really excited about it.
Allie: Which bagels do the bagel club members like best?
Aaron: Brooklyn Bagel Bakery in Arlington is really popular and Bethesda Bagel in Dupont is a close second amongst the group. I hosted a bagel brunch on my rooftop a few weeks ago where we brought in bagels from different places around the city, with a spread of whitefish and salmon salad, lox, eggs, veggies, and all different types of shmear. Call Your Mother was the fan favorite there. Right now, they are only available on Sunday at the Dupont Farmers Market, and they sell out quick. They are worth it. Looking forward to when they open up a store later this summer!
Allie: What is your favorite bagel place?
Aaron: My favorite place is Absolute Bagels in NYC. They’re always served fresh, right out of oven. They’re the perfect combination of being crunchy on outside, and soft on the inside. My parents are I have been going there for years with my cousin and friends and now call it “the Bagel Tour” when we visit NYC. After we get bagels, we head to Silver Moon Bakery for fresh challah, and then down the street to Nussbaum & Wu’s for classic black and white cookies.
Allie: What is your perfect bagel?
Aaron: A sesame seed bagel, hot out of the oven, and topped with creamy whitefish salad.
Allie: What is a skill you want to learn this year?
Aaron: I want to take a cooking class. I’m really into cooking but have never taken an actual class. Learning how to make fresh and handmade pasta is at the top of the list.
Allie: What do you like to cook?
Aaron: Crispy chicken cutlets topped with marinara sauce, and a salmon dish on my cast iron with honey garlic sauce. Lamb meatballs, turkey quinoa meatballs with spinach and basil, and Greek meatballs with spicy marinara are some of my go-to recipes.
Allie: What’s your favorite way to relax after a long day in the office?
Aaron: Yoga. After a yoga class is the time when I feel like I’m most relaxed and at peace.
Allie: Who is the coolest Jew that you know?
Aaron: I’m a huge Billy Joel fan. I’ve seen him in concert a number of times. He still puts on a great show at almost 70 years of age. I’ve always dreamed of being a rock star, but unfortunately I’m an awful singer (so I’ve been told).
Allie: Do you have a favorite smell?
Aaron: Lavender essential oil. I’m really big into scents. Even when I was a kid, I was really into fragrances and scents. Embarrassingly, I would carry a bar of soap around the house as a toy when I was five years old.
Allie: Complete the sentence: When Jews of DC Gather…
Aaron: They will be schvitzing due to the DC heat.