Thursday, July 24, 2014

LUNCHBOX CHEVY CHASE PHOTO GALLERY

The hot lunch spot of the moment in Friendship Heights is local-but-celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio's Lunchbox. Once located in Frederick, the revamped lunch concept now resides in Chevy Chase Pavillion. Prices reflect the Chevy Chase median income - a turkey sandwich cost me $10. But the high quality of the food, and star chef branding (and high-rent location), won't have most people expecting low prices here. Lunchbox opened about 10 days ago.












Wild Turkey sandwich

2 MARGARITA LUNCH? NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY IN BETHESDA

Today is National Tequila Day. Here are 4 spots to celebrate in downtown Bethesda:

Uncle Julio's

The special for National Tequila Day at this Bethesda Row Mexican restaurant is a free upgrade to Patrón Silver, or 1800 Reposado Premium tequila, when you order a Julio's Gold Margarita.

4870 Bethesda Avenue


Gringos & Mariachis

Try a margarita here with Reposado or Blanco Tequila.

4928 Cordell Avenue


Guapo's - 8130 Wisconsin Avenue


Tía Queta - 4839 Del Ray Avenue

PSYCHIC MOVING INTO FORMER HOME CARE ASSISTANCE SPACE IN BETHESDA (PHOTOS)

One of at least 2 psychics operating in downtown Bethesda is moving to a new location down Norfolk Avenue. A sign offering "Spiritual Enlightenment" has appeared above the former headquarters of Home Care Assistance, a short walk down Norfolk from the psychic's current spot, a second floor space above Sculpt Studio. This reminds me of the recent passing of the Psychic to the Stars, Kenny Kingston. "Imagine, a man from Alcatraz, working as a banker!"
The new space, at 8100 Norfolk Ave.

The psychic's current location,
4900 Auburn Avenue

Lighted sign at
current location

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BAINBRIDGE BETHESDA PEDESTRIAN PLAZA ART UNVEILED - WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? (PHOTOS)

The mesh artworks along the Bainbridge Bethesda pedestrian plaza are now being revealed (although I've given you a few sneak peeks at them on here over the last few months). But what do they all mean?

Artist Dan Steinhilber, and Alexandria landscape architecture firm Parker Rodriguez, designed the 4 mesh panels from chain-link material, to give animation to the pedestrian's journey through the passage between St. Elmo and Fairmont Avenues. As one walks down the plaza, a wavelike effect is generated. But it was also designed for still observation, as well. Hence the furniture along the plaza, placed to attract the public to sit and relax, while taking in the artwork.

Multi-colored vinyl webbing is woven into the steel mesh, and is meant to create an engaging color display under the lighting after dark. Stringed bulbs above, and live bamboo between the 4 installations, are intended to heighten the effects, the latter a natural contrast with the manmade art.

Take a walk through and check it out. You may want to view it at night before reaching a final verdict.





BETHESDA VOLVO DEALERSHIP INSTALLS SIGN (PHOTOS)

Here's a construction update from EuroMotorcars' future Bethesda Volvo dealership, located on Woodmont Avenue. The permanent sign is up on the building facade, and work continues indoors and out.



BATMAN DAY IN BETHESDA TODAY AT BETHESDA ROW BARNES AND NOBLE - FREE COMIC BOOK

Stop by Barnes and Noble at Bethesda Row today - Batman Day! - to pick up a FREE copy of this Detective Comics #37 Special Edition. Enjoy the original Batman adventure, "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate," as well as a reimagined version and other stories of the Dark Knight. The Caped Crusader is 75 this year.

The free book is while supplies last, so it's safe to say going earlier is better than going later.

BETHESDA NAMED 2ND SNOBBIEST SMALL CITY IN AMERICA

Bethesda is not just the richest town in America, but has now been named the 2nd "Snobbiest Small City in America." The list, created by the Movoto blog, claims to represent a serious study of data on small towns across America.

Criteria for earning a high place on the list included median home price, median household income, percent of population with a college degree, private schools-per-capita, performing arts-per-capita, art galleries-per-capita, and the number of fast food restaurants.

My response? Sure, there are a fair number of snobs in Bethesda, but I don't think their behavior stems from any of the above criteria, with the exception of income.

"Second snobbiest in America?" No snobbier than the purveyors of these cheap, click-bait "Top 10" lists. Feel free to criticize the anti-social behavior of snobs you encounter in Bethesda any day of the week; the criticism is justified.

But to suggest the presence of the arts equals snobbery makes little sense, when you consider that the arts often flourish in areas less wealthy than Bethesda. H Street? Brooklyn?

"Fast food restaurants per capita (the more the better[)]?" Either Movoto needs to hire a copy editor, or this was off-base. Bethesda currently has only one stand-alone fast food restaurant, McDonald's on River Road. It has a McDonald's and a Chick-Fil-A in Westfield Montgomery Mall, as well, if you want to be technical. Ordinarily, fast food restaurants are not considered snobbish.

Speaking of off-base, Bethesda is not a "small city." It's a town.

Finally, Rockville made the list. Really? Unlike Bethesda, Rockville is actually a city. But it is not a pretentious place by any means.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

4825 MONTGOMERY LA. LUXURY CONDOS CONSTRUCTION UPDATE (PHOTOS)

The future condo building at 4825 Montgomery Lane is really starting to look like a building. Now reaching 4 stories in overall height, the stick-built project is looming over the street and West Lane. At 5 stories in overall height, the building will house 4 condo units, each comprising one entire floor. Parking will be located at street level underneath.




CONSTRUCTION PERMIT FOR BANK ON DOWNTOWN BETHESDA GAS STATION SITE

A redevelopment of the Shell gas station at 7628 Old Georgetown Road now has the green light from Montgomery County. A construction permit has been added by the county for the future TD Bank building there.

The project did not generate controversy when it passed through the development process. But it has generated some negative reaction among commenters on my blog - and from me - for contradicting virtually every precept of urban planning in modern cities. As well as for being totally inconsistent with the prevailing use of the properties around it. The site will be dead after bank hours, the block will be lonelier for pedestrians at night, and the potential of a plot steps away from Metro is lost. Particularly if the gas station site could be combined with adjoining property. Not to mention the real crisis of having an insufficient ratio of gas stations-to-drivers in a growing Bethesda.

Consider the Norfolk-Cordell II building as a contrast to this plan. A small site, but jam-packed with Smashburger, Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins, and a rooftop nightlife spot - Roof Bethesda. With an open glass facade, the building activates that corner, and generates activity in the neighborhood at all hours.

SHOPPES OF BETHESDA RENOVATIONS BEGIN (PHOTOS)

The planned renovation of the Shoppes of Bethesda I reported on last November has begun. Scaffolding, temporary signage and construction fencing has popped up around the shopping center, located along Elm Street and Hampden Lane. Owner Draiman Properties is aiming to update and freshen the complex with the new design. The shopping center, and its businesses, remain open during the renovation.






Monday, July 21, 2014

DOUGH ROLLER PIZZA REVIEW - IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY! (PHOTOS + VIDEO)

The much-anticipated Dough Roller in King Farm Village Center opened on Saturday. A first step in the Ocean City, MD-favorite's expansion into the DC area, the Rockville location is currently the only Dough Roller outside of the Maryland resort town. This is arguably one of the biggest restaurant openings in the region this year, given the following Dough Roller has among Ocean City vacationers.


Although the restaurant is open, some finishing touches will be added in the coming weeks, according to a Dough Roller spokesperson. One example is a new exterior sign that is directed toward pedestrians passing outside the store. A sign holder appears to be in place to the left of the main sign, for a third sign installation. A lot of work has been done on the gleaming interior since I came past a week ago.




The menu for the Rockville Dough Roller features breakfast (starting at 7:30 AM), burgers, a hot dog, sandwiches, salads, chicken wings and fingers, crab bites, and - of course - their famous pizza and all-day pancakes. I like that their crab cake is made with 100% blue crab.

What from the OC menus doesn't show up here? Dayton's Chicken (which is only available at one of the OC locations, anyway); the Dough Roller Supreme, Meat Explosion and Pepperoni Obsessed pizzas; Italian and Seafood Dinner platters; and funnel cake fries. But many favorites did make the leap across the Bay, including the Crab Burger. And at least a couple of items that seem to be exclusive to Rockville. Having said all that, the menu changes with the time of day (for example, the breakfast items were not on display in these photos), and additional items may be added over time.  Click menu photos to enlarge for detail:

I stopped by the new Rockville location to pick up a cheese pizza, and here is my review.