Meet Aaron: Jewish Bagel Lover of the Week!

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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!

aaron person of the week

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.


The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Spotted in Jewish DC: A Vegan Egg McMuffin!

In today’s crazy universe, the idea that we are moving towards a better tomorrow can at times seem, well, kind of hopeless.

The values that I care about most deeply are often left unprotected by my government.

The natural world is being destroyed daily by greed.

I could go on ad infinitum (but I won’t, because it’s way too depressing).

This week, I felt a genuine glimmer of hope that I have not experienced in far too long – all thanks to a tiny bean.

Specifically, the mung bean.

The mung bean, a plant species in the legume family from South Asia and Africa (great trivia fact), is the basis of Just Egg, a brand new vegan product that looks, tastes, and scrambles just like real egg (and no, this company is not paying me to say any of this. But, I mean, if they’re looking for an awesome brand ambassador – they can totally slide into my DMs).


Someone who does get paid to eat and make delicious foods, AKA José Andrés, said of the Just Egg, “It’s not every day you see something that blows your mind.”

I spotted this miraculous product at Equinox, the DC-based restaurant owned by Jewish couple Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray that is now – no big deal or anything – the only East Coast location to feature Just Egg on their menu!

Due to my being married to The Avocadbro, I was lucky enough to accompany him to Equinox last week for a private event where we had the pleasure of being some of the first to take a bite out of the Just Egg (life goals).

We were completely blown away.

I watched a chef scramble up this liquid product, resembling liquid carton eggs, right in front of my eyes. As someone who is new to veganism, egg-based dishes have long been one of my favorite ways to get the protein I need without sacrificing taste or adding tons of calories. Finding a nutritious replacement for eggs when transitioning to a plant-based diet was challenging, because to be honest, even the best tofu scramble just won’t cut it sometimes. And yeah, I make a really good tofu scramble.

Pause here.

For those of you who have made it this far into the article, first – I’m very impressed with your attention span. Second, here’s a quick background on my recent transition to veganism: As someone who is deeply passionate about living according to my Jewish values, the transition to eating plant-based this past year felt pretty seamless. It all started after I decided to marry a hardcore vegan who loves spending Sunday mornings eating stacks of vegan pancakes while watching intense Netflix documentaries about the food industry (we’re really cool). So, after watching one too many documentaries, I was “woke” to what goes on behind the scenes at food companies, and could never look at food the same again. Plus, thanks to the amazing DC-based organization Jewish Veg, I realized that plant-based eating and Jewish living go hand-in-hand. I learned how veganism is one way to express our shared Jewish values of compassion, protection for the environment, and concern for our physical and spiritual well-being – every single day.

The minute I walked into Equinox last Tuesday morning, and looked around to see a room full of wide-eyed idealists, chefs, and social media influencers, all with a profound passion for a better world, my eyes started to water (no joke, it was quite embarrassing). I held back tears as I anxiously introduced myself to some of the best and brightest people in the plant-based business, including co-founder of JUST (the company behind Just Egg) Josh Balk and the director of upcoming documentary Meat the Future, Liz Marshall. My cynical soul began crashing down at the site of so many brilliant minds joining together to eat a vegan egg on a toasted, buttery English muffin. Because to me, that egg sandwich we were happily devouring was so much more than the sum of its mung bean, vegan mayo, and Daiya cheese parts. It was as if we were biting into the future.

So, whether you are a diehard carnivore, cheese lover (no judgment, jumbo slice pizza is definitely one of the best meals in DC), or devout vegan, I hope we can all be excited about the possibility of a brighter future for our planet.

A future where all beings, regardless of where they come from or what species they are, can be treated with love.

Learn more about Just Egg here.

vegan egg


About the Author: Allison Friedman is the Communications Director for GatherDC. When she’s not at work, you can find her hiking in the great outdoors, enjoying weekend getaways in Bethany Beach and trying out new vegan recipes. She lives in the rolling hills of Cleveland Park with her husband, The Avocadbro.



The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.