Thursday, October 13, 2011

Zombie Walk will soon devastate Silver Spring

Much like I am trying to revive this near corpse of a blog, the undead will rise and wreak havoc in Silver Spring on Saturday, October 22nd at 8pm. 
As some of you may know, I am a huge halloween and zombie fan.  And I will definitely be participating in this year's zombie walk in Silver Spring...until we pull off a Dawn of the Dead-like takeover of Westfield Wheaton some year.

I always have a great time at this event, and for the second year in a row, friends will be visiting from out of town just so they can also participate.  For anyone who is interested, check out the official website.  There is also a sweet poster being issued for this year's walk.  Our group is attempting to come up a clever zombie costume theme this year, so if anyone has some suggestions (i.e. zombie pedestrians who were struck by cars trying to reach the new Costco???) send them on over.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Congrats, Ren's!

Post food writer Tom Sietsema released his 2011 Fall Dining Guide today, and Ren's Ramen has the honor of being listed as a recommendation!  The only other MoCo restaurants to get a mention are La Canela in Rockville and Tavira in Chevy Chase.
I have been meaning to try Ren's for a while now, and this mention was just the nudge that I needed to check it out. 

Me and Mr. WC shared an order of gyoza to start the meal.  My initial impression was they were sauteed a little too long in the skillet - instead of being brown from the pan-frying, they were bordering on a little bit charred.  Still, the filling was very moist (and hot!) and I didn't really get a burned taste when I was eating them, so I give the gyoza a thumbs up.

For our meals, we both ordered the ramen with miso broth.  It comes with a thin slice of roast pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, scallions, and noodles of course.  We also both added pork belly onto our soups, which added two pieces of tasty fatty pork to the bowl and Mr. WC added an egg as well.  The broth is cloudy, fatty, and thick. I've never had 'real' ramen before, but I thought the broth was great and the noodles themselves were obviously fresh, which a nice texture to them - they had body without being too chewy.  Our meal, with the gyoza, pork belly, and egg added on came to about $32.  So, it's not a bargain, but it certainly left us both very full.  There was a nice crowd of people already in there when we came in, and I'm sure the crowd will only get bigger once more people read the Dining Guide.
Gyoza Appetizer

Two bowls of miso ramen w/pork belly

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reviews of some old favorites

After too long of a hiatus from blogging, I was inspired by Good Eatin's recent post to do my own updated reviews of some favorite restaurants here in Wheaton that I have visited recently...

New Kam Fong
Just went there for dinner tonite.  Went in planning to get something 'light', but ended up getting two dishes that added up to a delicious shellfish feast - we ordered a daily special of razor clams in black bean sauce and also got the twin lobsters with ground pork.  It has been a long time since we've been to NKF, but throughout our meal, we kept asking ourselves why the hell we stayed away for so long!  The food was delicious (especially the lobster), service was great, and they suprised us with a yummy pastry dessert at the end of our meal.  Here are some pictures:
Razor Clams

Twin lobsters (with discarded clamshells in the foreground)

Nava Thai
We went there for dinner on a Thursday and were suprisingly impressed by the musician they had playing - named "Chai T".  He was playing excellent covers of pink floyd, eagles, etc., throughout our meal.  I tried the stir fried eggplant for the first time and was happy with all the ginger and basil in it.  Mr. WC ordered his usual floating market noodle soup (which he claims is one of the hottest dishes he has ever a good way).  Unfortunately, the soup completely lacked any heat at all and was fairly bland.  Hopefully the cook was just having an off night, because that's one of the dishes that normally gets rave reviews for Nava.

Rock Creek Company
I had off work last Friday and stopped in to get takeout for lunch.  I REALLY wish they kept this place open for lunch on the weekends - no one else in Wheaton offers the sort of light, gourmet, french-inspired salads and sandwiches that they have.  When I stopped in, they had an asparagus and mushroom quiche on a bed of greens as their lunch special, which I immediatley jumped on and ordered.  It wasn't exactly "light" with all the egg and cheesy goodness going on, but it was tasty.  They also suckered me into buying one of the homemade blueberry muffins they also had in their display case - it was light and crumbly (almost like a scone) and dusted with granulated sugar.  Yum!  If you're ever around for lunch on a weekday, I highly suggest you check them out. They offer a nice break from the often heavy food options here in Wheaton.

Royal Mile
They still have what I think is THE BEST burger, and nothing says the weekend to me like relaxing there with my burger and beer on a Friday night.  Mr. WC consistently orders the fish and chips and is always happy with that too.  I'm a little concerned about RM getting enough business with Limerick Pub open across the street, so keep giving them a little love, people!

Moby Dick
Even though their dining room isn't anything special, I still always feel like I've walked into a little oasis when I eat there.  The rice paper over the windows and the mellow music playing do a good job at making you forget the urban jungle right outside the front door.  We went here on Labor Day and they were still offering their lunch specials, so I ordered their bento box B.  It comes with miso soup, a salad (yes, Good Eatin, I love that peanut dressing too!), shrimp and veggie tempura with dipping sauce, rice, edamame, and a california roll.  All for $10!  On top of that, the family that owns the restaurant is always very nice and friendly.

In my quest to eat healther (not that you could tell from the list of restaurants above!), it's been a while since I visited Marchone's.  Still, when we stopped in the other day to pick up supplies for dinner (pasta sauce, olive oil and some of their awesome spicy sausage), Mr. Leo still greeted us like old friends.  I always leave there with a smile on my face thanks to him.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Water main break on Georgia Avenue affecting southbound traffic

Per an article on the Gazette's website, a water main break on Georgia Avenue has caused the southbound lanes to be closed between Randolph Road and Henderson Avenue.  The article says that the lanes should be reopened by this evening, but I wouldn't be surprised if this still impacts traffic for rush hour.  Still, it's better than the northbound lanes being closed heading into evening rush hour. 

The article also states that water service to businesses in the area was cut but residential customers still have water.  The only business I'm familiar with along this stretch of Georgia is H-Mart, so I made a phone call over to them and they confirmed that they are open.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New food blog to feature Wheaton eats!

I know I've been MIA for a while (summer has been busy!), but apparently there's a new blog in town, Hungry Like the Bear.  Since I like both bears and food, I'm looking forward this new addition to the Wheaton food scene.  I will also try to get back into the swing of things with posting more frequently!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Downtown Wheaton Summer TGIF Series Announced

The Wheaton TGIF summer series has been announced for this year, with the first event happening this Friday.  I was expecting a fairly scaled back set of events due to all the budget cuts, but the lineup actually looks better than usual.  Here's a link to list of events, which I've also copied in below.  A mix of concerts and movies is planned.  The movies they'll be showing are skewed more towards families with kids (not a bad thing), but I think they picked a good selection.  I'm just wondering if the Karate Kid will be the remake or the original.  It would be much cooler if it was the original, but I'm guessing it's going to be new version.  Between the movies and the concerts, there will be something going on every Friday starting this week through September 9th.  Pretty impressive!

June 10—Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band (Afrobeat)
June 17—Sin Miedo (Salsa)

June 24—Janine Wilson (Roots Rock)
July 1—The Nighthawks (Blues)
July 8—Despicable Me
July 15—Margot MacDonald (Rock/Pop)
July 22—The Karate Kid
July 29—Project Natale (Jazz)
August 5—Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
August 12—Chelsey Green & The Green Project
August 19—Toy Story 3
August 26—Deborah Bond (Soul/Funk)
September 2—Finding Nemo
September 9—The Lion King

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bike to Work Day Tomorrow!

I'll follow up with my Taste of Wheaton review in another day or two, but I wanted to remind everyone that Bike to Work Day is tomorrow.  It looks like the weather should cooperate, so get out on your bikes and get some exercise!  I've been biking in to my office near Farragut West almost once a week, and I'm using a different route now than the one I described last year. 

Using the biking route directions on google maps, I now mosty take 14th street in and do kind of a hodgepodge of streets on my way back to Wheaton.  Here is a link to the route I roughly use and here is my route back home.

I've been very happy with the quality of the biking directions you can get from google maps, so I recommend giving it a try.

***Update:  It was a beautiful morning to bike in, and it definitely seemed like more cyclists than usual on the roads.  The latest I've heard is that 11,000 people are participating in Bike to Work Day today (and I think that's just the number that registered with WABA).  So, congrats to any of you that biked in today, and for all of you drivers, keep an eye out for increased number of cyclists on the roads today.

Friday, April 29, 2011

H&M Coming to Mall

Wheaton Patch reported this morning that H&M will be opening a store at the mall.  It sounds like it's going to be a two-story store because the article mentions it taking over some retail spacse on the first and second floors.  Unfortunately, the Guess store will be going to make way for this, which is unfortunate because I thought that was one of the better non-departure store retailers in the mall.  Still, I think this is good shopping news (not so good for my wallet, probably).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gazette Article Brings Clarity to Costco Issue

The Gazette posted an article on its website this morning that I think brings some clarity to the issue of the $4 million subsidy to Costco.  It explains the county fund that this money would be coming from and also points out the amount of county funds that Westfield has received over the past few years for projects on their property.

The only item that I find surprising/confusing is that Ike Leggett was able to sign an agreement between the county and Westfield agreeing to give them $4 million prior to the county council approving any such funding.  I readily admit that I'm not an expert on how these things work in the county, so maybe this isn't so unusual.  Was there a disclaimer in the agreement saying that it was contigent on the council approving the funds?

I certainly don't have a problem with Wheaton receiving alot of the money from the county's Economic Development Fund, but I would prefer that this money goes towards projects that encourage use of public transit and create a more walkable downtown.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

County Council Attempting to Block Costco Subsidy

Thanks to a reader tip, I came across an Examiner article (also referenced by Patch and TBD) reporting that several members of the county council are attempting to block the $4 million subsidy that Ike Leggett has proposed giving Costco to encourage them to open a store in Wheaton.  All along, this subsidy hasn't sat well with me.  First of all, Costco announced its plan to open a store in Wheaton in a press release that listed a number of other new store locations around the country.  I always wondered if the other communities threw that kind of money at Costco to get them to come or if Costco just decided to go there based purely on the potential money they would be making.

If the county is going to give my money to a company or developer to encourage them to do a project here in Wheaton, I want that money to go to projects that encourage smart growth, the use of public transit, and a better environment for pedestrians.  The Costco project does none of these things.  I understand that Costco will bring in more retail job positions to Wheaton and will certainly help spur more business at the mall, but I don't think it's the kind of project that warrants getting taxpayer money to make it happen.  As Marc Elrich was quoted as saying in the article, "Westfield Mall has gazillions of dollars...They're going to make a freaking fortune on Costco".  Well said.  This project is going to make plenty of money on its own merits.  It doesn't need a handout from taxpayers to 'balance the numbers' and make it happen.

Other postings I've done on Costco can be found here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Zombie Walk - Lots of Advance Notice!

Thayer Avenue has announced the date for this year's Silver Spring Zombie Walk as Saturday, October 22nd.  With this much advanced notice, you have no excuse not to make it!

Myth or Reality - 1969 Zeppelin show in Wheaton

Some of you may have heard of a supposed Led Zeppelin show in Wheaton back in 1969 at the Rec Center on Georgia Ave.  There is much debate about whether or not this show actually happened (of course, I'd like to believe that it did).  WTOP has an article bringing up this debate again now that a documentary by Jeff Krulick is in the works about this mythical show.  The Post had an article about this show back in 2009, which is the first I remember hearing about it, and there is a mention of it on Led Zeppelin's website.  A little while after this initial Post article, there was a reunion of people who claim to have attended the concert, which the Post and the Gazette covered.

Based on a Wikipedia entry about the Rec Center, I found out that the center also hosted concerts by some pretty kick ass bands (Alice Cooper, Iggy and the Stooges) as well as some not-so-kick ass  bands (Bob Seger, Rod Stewart).  I would have loved to see the Stooges back in the day, and I had to smile at the mention in the Post article about Sharon Ellis, the former director of the center, recalling how she had to ask Iggy Pop to stop smearing peanut butter on his chest during their show.  They don't make bands like that anymore.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Free Yoga This Weekend

Willow Street Yoga will be offering free classes this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  If you've never tried yoga before, or if you're just curious to check out their studios, this is a great opportunity.  They have studio locations in Silver Spring and Takoma Park (both an easy walk from the metro).  I've taken classes at Willow Street for 6 years now, and they have a really wonderful group of instructors there. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

An Underground Dining-Inspired Meal

The other weekend, Mr. WC and I were in the mood to make a 'project' dinner for ourselves on Sunday.  We had found a local underground dining website, Dining Under the Table, thanks to a posting on Thayer Avenue, and we were inspired by a posting about some Maine shrimp ravioli they made for one of their meals.  So, using that for our inspiration, we set about making our homemade shrimp and lobster ravioli.  This isn't exactly Wheaton-related (it's closer to a Crash in the Kitchen post), but we did get alot of our ingredients from local stores, so I think this counts!

The first step was to make our own seafood stock.  To get really good stock from shellfish, you need the heads, which have alot of tasty fat in them.  While shrimp with heads on may be hard to find at some grocery stores, H-Mart always has them.  So, we picked up some raw shrimp from H-Mart plus a lobster for good measure.

Raw Shrimp w/ Heads

Lobster post-steaming

We shelled the raw shrimp, keeping the heads and shells, and cooked the lobster (I had to leave the room for that part).  We then removed the meat and retained the shells and heads.  We threw all of the heads and shells, plus some veggies and water, in a pot that we simmered for most of the day.

Our house smelled like seafood for days after making the stock!

Separately, we mixed the cooked shrimp and lobster meat with some shallots, basil, grated parmesean, and ricotta cheese.  Then, we put the mixture into a food processor, which produced a nice paste for our ravioli filling.

While the stock was going, we made the ravioli dough, which has to rest in the refrigerator for a few hours before rolling it out.  Our dough recipe comes from the cookbook 'Urban Italian' by Andrew Carmellini (I highly recommend the book, and it's on sale at Amazon for $14!).  It calls for type '00' flour, and the only place around here that sells it is Marchone's, so I stopped there to buy a few bags.  Eventually, we rolled out the dough, and using a ravioli mold, started to fill our ravioli with the shrimp and lobster filling.  We made a whopping 80 ravioli!

We put the ravioli we weren't going to eat into the freezer for a future meal, then cooked our fresh ravioli for dinner.  For the sauce, we sauteed shallots, garlic, red pepper and tomato paste, then added some of the seafood stock (the rest went in the freezer) and reduced it all down.  The final step was to add a little half and half for creaminess plus a cornstarch-water mixture to thicken it (we copied the sauce on the 'Dining Under the Table' website).  We topped the ravioli with shredded basil for the finishing touch.  It was fantastic!

Thanks to Dining Under the Table for the inspiration for our delicious meal!  If I promise not to compete with you for business, will you please keep posting info on the wonderful recipes you're coming up with??

p.s.  It was revealed last week that local blog SoCo Eats is part of Dining Under the Table.  Based on how our meal inspired by their website turned out, I predict great things for them!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

WETA show on Monday night to feature Wheaton

This Monday night, March 14, at 8pm, WETA will be debuting a new show called 'The WETA Guide to Mongtomery County'.  I got an email from a promotional person with WETA about it, and apparently this first show will include features on Wheaton's "culinary diversity", a tour of Brookside Gardens, and a visit to Antique Row in Kensington.  I'll be interested to see what restaurants they feature on the show.

Images from WETA

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Taste of Wheaton Set for May 15th

Mark your calendar!  This year's Taste of Wheaton has been scheduled for Sunday, May 15th, and applications are being sent out to start pulling together the restaurants that will have stands.  So, start asking your favorite local restaurants if plan to participate.  If they're interested, they should contact the events manager listed on the page that's still up from last year.  You can also read about the tasty food I had last year at the Taste of Wheaton here.

Here's a list of the restaurants that partcipated in last year's festival:
Ledo Pizza
Ming Tree
El Boqueron
Dunkin Donuts
Pollo Sabroso
Los Cobanos
Global Cafe African Grill
Noble Romans Playland
Hollywood East
Moby Dick

Who's missing from this list that you'd like see this year?

Here's my wish list:
Limerick Pub
Royal Mile (fish and chips showdown!)
Ruan Thai
Nava Thai (pad thai showdown!)
Paul Kee
Full Kee
Irene's Pupusas
Woomi Garden

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Safeway Demolition Update

The Gazette has posted an update on the anticipated schedule for demolition to start on Safeway.  It sounds like they want to get all of their building permits approved before they start demolition, and right now it's looking like those will come through in April.  So, we're looking at an April or May start for demolition.  So much for my guess of March 7th!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Limerick Pub Review

Apologies for my lack of posting lately.  Life has been busy!  I'm not going to post a clever limerick about it like Good Eatin' did, but I will share my review of our dinner there tonite.

We got there around 7pm and the place was packed.  There were only a handful of tables open and all of the waitstaff was visibly flustered (overwhelmed?) with the turnout.  My initial impression was that the decor was nice, but it lacks the coziness of the Royal Mile.  On the other hand, the bar (toally packed when we were there) certainly has a nice amount of space for both sitting at the bar and standing around behind it.  The flat screen TVs were all tuned to 'footie' and there wasn't any music playing, which made the place seem strangely quiet, considering how many people were in there.  Still, a band was in the process of slooooowly setting up when we got there.  Even when we finished dinner and left, there was no sign of them starting anytime soon, though.
Now, on to our meal!  Mr. WC and I decided to have our usual Royal Mile dishes to compare to those at Limerick - a burger with swiss cheese and mushrooms for me and fish and chips for Mr. WC.  My burger was respectable - the burger had a nice 'charbroiled' taste to it and the bun was toasted.  However, I give Royal Mile the win on this one - their burger is thicker, juicier, and just more tasty in general.  Still, this was a decent burger, especially for their second night open.  We both had some issues with the fries that came with our meals, though.  They were so dark that they almost looked burned, yet we found them soggy without any crispness at all when we started eating them.  They did seem to be fresh cut, so that's good, but the sogginess made these a no-go for me.  The fish and chips came out with a mountain of large, battered chunks of fish.  Mr. WC deemed these the equal of the Royal Mile - the fish was very fresh tasting, and the pieces held together well once you started eating them while the RM version kind of falls to pieces after the first bite.  The sogginess of a few pieces is probably the only thing that prevented Limerick's version of the dish to not surpass the Royal Mile's.
In general, the service was very friendly, even though there were issues caused by how understaffed they were.  That's totally forgiveable, though, on their second night of business.  The list of beers on tap was decent, and they also had a good selection of bottled beer (maybe a few less than Royal Mile) plus all sorts of specialty Irish options like half and half. The entree prices were maybe a little higher than Royal Mile, but not by much.  Royal Mile will be our first choice for pub food in the future, but Limerick Pub is a good backup option and it's worth considering if all you want to do is stand or sit at the bar with a beer.  Just for comparison, we walked by the Royal Mile after dinner and it looked like there was only one table with 2 people seated in the whole place (yikes!).

So, by all means, check out and patronize Limerick, but keep on supporting the Royal Mile too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Wheaton in the Blogosphere

There have been some interesting Wheaton-related blog posts lately that are definitely worth checking out.  A few weeks ago, the excellent Greater Greater Washington blog recently featured an entry from a Wheaton resident reviewing the new Leesborugh townhouse development.  It got a pretty good review, and it's inspired me to wander through there the next time I'm walking from my house to Wheaton Regional Park.

Just Up The Pike also posts a great summary and analysis of the census news recently released showing that Montgomery County is now a majority-minority county for the first time (kind of, as JUTP points out).  There was actually alot of press about that news release.  For all of us here in Wheaton, this level of diversity is something that we see every day.  Personally, I'm proud that our county has reached this level of diversity while still having a top notch public school system and a generally high standard of living for its residents.

Another Wheaton mention worth sharing is a recent post by Rollin Stanley, who is the director of the MoCo Planning Department.  He provides a good overview of recent development happening in Wheaton, but also starts a discussion about how Viers Mill Rd through Wheaton can be improved.  I'll tell you one thing that won't be improving the Viers Mill Rd 'experience'...B.F. Saul's development plans for the triangle area between Georgia and Viers Mill!  More on that another day...

There are also some new restaurants coming to Wheaton.  According to the Washington City Paper and Eatin in Wheaton, Ren's Ramen will be moving into one of the storefronts in the strip where Ruan Thai is located.  Apparently they're aiming for an early spring opening, but based on how things seem to go with restaurants opening in MoCo, I guess we'll have to see.  I'm just hoping that they open while the weather is still cool and cravings for awesome noodle soup are high!  EIW and the Gazette also mention a new organic burger joint that is coming to Westfield Mall, Elevation Burger.  The burger at the Royal Mile has been my top favorite for a while now (medium well with swiss cheese and mushrooms), but I'll be looking forward to trying out the burgers at Elevation.  This is in addition to the Panera that is also planning an opening at the mall.  Even though I'm not crazy about the Costco going in at Westfield (especially not crazy about the $4m they got from MoCo), I'm not going to pretend that I won't enjoy the extra businesses that seem to be opening at the mall because of it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Safeway Demolition Starting Soon?

Sorry to have been in hibernation for a while!  While walking around last weekend, I noticed a backhoe and a hole in the ground next to Safeway along Reedie Drive.  It looked like there were digging up the incoming gas line.  I'm guessing that they're cutting off all the existing services to the building so that demolition can safely start.  I may need to start a pool to guess when the first real demolition gets started.  I'm going to pick March 7th, a little less than 4 weeks away.  What's your guess?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Water Main Break at Prichard Road

No water this morning?  According to the WSSC, there's a water main break on Prichard Road that they're working to repair.  They estimate an outage of 5-6 hours, so water *should* be available around dinnertime tonite.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Still parking at Zombie Safeway?

Sorry for the lag in posting lately.  I've had another stretch of 12-14 hour days at my job, which leaves me with very little energy left to post.  But, with two deadlines out of the way this week, things are looking up for my schedule!

So, word on the street is that within the next day or two, the Zombie Safeway parking lot will be chained off and any cars parked there will be towed.  If you've been using that lot to park in, I recommend finding an alternate parking location.

Also, in case you haven't noticed, there have been a few Wheaton metro station mentions in the news lately.  The first comes from the announcement that WMATA is considering selling naming rights to its stations to raise income.  According to a blurb on WAMU, one of the funny naming opportunities people came up was 'Cream of Wheaton' station.  I like it!  Also, an amusing Washington Post article suggests that the strange whale-like groans and moans that metro's escalators make could actually be a modern jazz soundtrack to our daily commutes.  At the end of the article, the writer advises the true 'elevator jazz' connoiseur to check Wheaton's escalators, which give you a ride of '2 minutes and 44 seconds'.  The article also has a link to a contest they're holding for people to remix audio tracks of escalator noise into audio tracks.  I'm looking forward to checking them out.  It certainly gives me something to think about as I make my daily commute.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's Resolution for WC - Yoga!

Happy new year, Wheaton!  Ohhmmmmmm....After a year-long hiatus, I've decided that starting this year, I'll get back into practicing yoga.  I've signed up for a class at Willow Street Yoga, located both in Silver Spring and Takoma Park (both metro accessible).  I'm a big fan of Willow Street, and I've taken classes there off and on since I moved to Silver Spring in 2005.

For any wanna-be yogis out there, Willow Street is offering free classes all this week at both of their locations.  I went to one free class last night and I'm hitting another today after work.  I also saw that Unity Woods is offering free classes this week.  For you Wheatonites who want to stay local, Wheaton Patch reported that a yoga class is being offered at Arcola elementary on Monday nights.

I'm catching up on some things after being out of town for the holidays, but look for an upcoming post on Costco's application for a special exemption that would allow them build an 8-pump gas station.  Yep, after the public outcry against the zoning text amendment (which ultimately was rejected by the county council), it's time for round 2 on this issue.  Wheaton Patch posted a short blurb on it this morning.  It's a good thing I'm heading back to the yoga studio, because I'm going to need those deep breathing exerecises with this issue!