Saturday, October 25, 2014

GALLERY BETHESDA APARTMENTS WINS PACE AWARD

The Gallery Bethesda luxury apartment tower continues to be a magnet for industry awards in downtown Bethesda. Yesterday, the building's management announced the Property Management Association's annual PACE Awards has recognized Gallery as the top building for Lease Up in Maryland. Open since January, the Donohoe-developed property is currently 80% leased and rising.

In a statement, PMA Executive Vice President Thomas B. Cohn said, “PACE recognizes exceptional apartments and identifies communities that are passionate about providing exceptional resident services and delivering unparalleled living experiences.  PACE not only celebrates excellence in the management of apartment communities, it also fills a void. PACE is the only awards program in the national capital region that evaluates apartment communities on their operating efficiencies and ability to deliver world-class customer service. Unlike many apartment award programs in other parts of the nation, PACE is not a beauty contest or a program to honor as many communities as possible. Instead, PACE looks to recognize truly extraordinary properties that are the best of the best.”

ASSAULT AT BCC HS, THEFT AT BETHESDA METRO + MORE - BETHESDA CRIME UPDATE

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 22, according to crime data:

Theft. Bethesda Metro station.

Theft. 7200 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Assault. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

Vehicle burglary. 10300 block Grosvenor Place.

Theft. CVS Pharmacy (Wildwood).

Theft. 11400 block Rockville Pike (White Flint).

Burglary. 6200 block Mazwood Road (Luxmanor).

Theft. Nordstrom at Westfield Montgomery Mall.

Theft. Macy's at Westfield Montgomery Mall.

HILLANDALE ROAD NOW ENTIRELY CLOSED NEAR LITTLE FALLS PARKWAY IN BETHESDA (PHOTOS)

The portion of Hillandale Road between Little Falls Parkway and Willett Parkway is now closed indefinitely in both directions. A recent partial collapse of a culvert pipe below the road had caused the inbound lane to close. Now that section of the road is entirely closed, and drivers are being asked to use Arlington Road to detour around it. A statement from Montgomery County Government says that the road section will remain closed "for an undetermined amount of time." 

Friday, October 24, 2014

NEW FALL MENUS AT FOOD WINE & CO. IN BETHESDA

Food Wine & Co. has new lunch and dinner menus for fall. Don't worry, Tater Tots and the Prime Angus Truffle Burger are still on there. But new, fall-themed dishes include Butternut Squash Soup with clove yogurt, curry and pumpkin seed; and Pumpkin Risotto. Ready for dessert? How about a house-made Pumpkin-Spiced Cheesecake with pecan praline, salted caramel popcorn and rum raisin ice cream? The restaurant is located in the Apex Building, near the Regal Cinemas Bethesda 10.

Food Wine & Co.
7272 Wisconsin Avenue
301-652-8008

AUTO BREAK-INS IN WYNGATE/ALTA VISTA, ASSAULT IN LUXMANOR + MORE - BETHESDA CRIME UPDATE

Another rash of auto break-ins hit Bethesda on Tuesday, with 11 vehicles reported as broken into and/or with items taken. Hardest hit was the Wyngate/Alta Vista Terrace area off of Old Georgetown Road, where 7 cars were hit.

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 21, according to crime data:

Theft. 5100 block Wilson Lane.

Drug arrest. Huntington Parkway at Bradley Boulevard.

Theft. 5500 block Johnson Avenue.*

Vehicle burglary. 5800 block Johnson Court.*

Vehicle burglary. 8800 block Brierly Road.

Vehicle burglary. 5900 block Johnson Avenue.*

Vehicle burglary. 5800 block Phoenix Drive.*

Vehicle burglary. 5900 block Conway Road.*

Vehicle burglary. 5900 block Beech Avenue.*

Burglary. 6300 block Landon Lane.

Vehicle burglary. 5000 block Allan Road (Crestview).

Vehicle burglary. 6200 block Hollins Drive (Wyngate).*

Vehicle burglary. 10800 block Montrose Avenue (Parkside area).

Vehicle burglary. 7500 block Arden Road (Cabin John).

Assault. 6200 block Charnwood Drive (Luxmanor).

Theft. 11900 block Hunters Lane (Randolph Hills).

Vehicle burglary. 9000 block Seven Locks Road.

DUNKIN' DONUTS CONSTRUCTION UPDATE (PHOTOS)

If you remember how quickly the other downtown Bethesda locations of Dunkin' Donuts were constructed, you won't be surprised by the progress at their newest Elm Street location across from Bethesda Row. But will it still open on October 28? They work fast, but that might be a stretch. Opening day can't be that far off, though.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

BETHESDA CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: THE LAUREN ULTRA-LUXURY CONDOS (PHOTOS)

Construction of The Lauren on Hampden Lane is still in the very early stages. Humans aren't the only residents curious about the site - a rabbit (one of several who live in green areas nearby) was also looking around when these pictures were taken. With units "from the several millions," it will take more than carrots to get a spot here.



There's that rabbit,
doing his best to blend
into the dirt at the site

ASSAULT REPORTED AT SUBURBAN HOSPITAL, DRUG ARREST IN WILDWOOD + MORE - BETHESDA CRIME UPDATE

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on October 20, according to crime data:

Theft. 4800 block Bethesda Avenue.

Assault. Suburban Hospital.

Drug arrest. 10400 block Old Georgetown Road.

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

PLANNING BLUNDER: BETHESDA GAS STATION SITE CLEARED FOR CONSTRUCTION OF BANK (PHOTO)

The site of one of downtown Bethesda's last gas stations on Wisconsin Avenue has been cleared. There had been concrete and plant overgrowth on the site, as it waited dormant for redevelopment to begin. It once was known as Bethesda's "last gas" before the Beltway.

Replacing it is a small bank building, one of the more bizarre land use decisions by the Montgomery County Planning Board in recent years (although the Hoyt property decision is still at the top of the bizarro list). Allowing a bank branch on an urban main street near Metro, while plotting to jam high-density urban growth into suburban residential areas like Westbard and Chevy Chase Lake, is simply indefensible. Yet it is happening again with the TD Bank approval - just steps away from Metro - on the Shell station site on Old Georgetown Road. At worst, give us some additional retail and restaurant space along with the banks!

These decisions are contrary to all of the claims about smart growth we hear on a daily basis in the county.

Photo: Jason Yang

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

KRISPY KREME GHOSTBUSTERS DONUTS REVIEW (VIDEO)

Krispy Kreme may have the greatest Halloween-related treats of 2014. During October, the shop is selling official Ghostbusters donuts, which feature either the famous movie logo atop slime-green colored frosting, or the equally-famous Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man - complete with hat! In keeping with the Stay-Puft theme, both donuts are filled with a ton of Stay-Puft marshmallow creme filling. How do they taste? Watch my epic review now to find out!

ARCLIGHT CINEMAS BETHESDA PREVIEW TOUR (PHOTOS)

I returned to the new ArcLight Cinemas yesterday for a sneak preview of Westfield Montgomery's 16-screen cineplex, and have brought back plenty of photos (stay tuned for video). Obviously, the lobby wall of screens is what grabs your attention the most upon entering, and that real estate is currently promoting the highly-anticipated Interstellar, which starts showing on November 4 at ArcLight. I also sampled some of the food you can enjoy from the lobby's cafe, and their signature caramel corn. The latter is made on-site every day, and is more like taffy than the cheaper, "spray-on" caramel corn you might buy at the grocery store. Having said that, I'm a purist who enjoys the flavor and aroma of movie theater popcorn, preferably with extra butter. That aroma was in the air when I came in the door of the lobby, making this movie buff feel instantly at home.
Extra butter for me
Chris Nolan's Interstellar dominates
the lobby at the moment

This is just plain impressive

Showtimes

Light fixtures and a screen
"curtain" accent the upscale
feel of the lobby

Nice

Time waits for no man - and
neither will the movie, if
you're late
There is a small area of the lobby dedicated to movie-themed gifts, including merchandise from Star Wars, Star Trek, A Christmas Story and The Wizard of Oz. You'll also find exhibit space throughout the cineplex, and yesterday, that was dedicated to stills from Christopher Nolan's Interstellar and costumes from Robin Hood and Black Swan.



Costume from Black Swan

Robin Hood - as portrayed by
comic book legend Stan Lee for
ArcLight Cinemas
About that food - my favorite so far is the Popcorn Chicken. Not to be confused with a frozen chicken product, this was fried fresh, was extremely tender and juicy, and comes with dipping sauces. I also tried a flatbread pizza which was pretty good, and a fountain-prepared Coca-Cola. There are charcuterie and cheese boards, and quite a few baked pastries for dessert.
Ready for dessert?

Croissant?

Your diet just went out
the window

Chocoholics unite

Thick brownie

"Cookies are a sometimes thing"
- Cookie Monster (yeah, right!)

Not the typical theater food

Cheese board

"I'm crackers about cheese"
- Wallace,
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Popcorn chicken. Verdict?
Awesome

Just about all of your favorite
movie theater candies - plus
local Glarus chocolate bars!
The lobby's cafe

Enjoy food and cocktails
here, or take them into
the theater

Concessions

Classic or caramel corn?
Try an adult beverage
On to the theater! In this case, it was Auditorium 6. There was a demonstration of the theater's Dolby Atmos sound system, which was very impressive. During an on-screen rainstorm, the 360º speaker setup made it sound like rain was literally falling from the ceiling and landing on the theater floor.


During an advance preview of Nightcrawler later in the afternoon, that movie's unique color scheme for its stunning cinematographic views of Los Angeles was richly displayed. As several representatives of ArcLight mentioned, the chain's California locations are where directors go when they want to see their films as they were meant to be seen. That includes the black box theater concept, no crackling popcorn bags (it comes in tubs, instead) and nacho-crunching, and no texting during the movies. Ushers take more of a host role here, and forget about standing in line - there are no lines, and all seating is reserved. As I mentioned in the past, there are also no ads. You might get a bonus feature after the movie, or a very short one as one of the few previews before it - you may recall some of those ArcLight-exclusive features I have posted here on the blog in the past.
Large numbers help you quickly
locate your reserved seat

Comfortable
A test drive of the plush cloth seats found them to be very comfortable (although the running time of Interstellar should give them the ultimate test!).
Remember the movie poster
cases from the hard hat tour?

Little movie called Hunger Games

Interstellar still

Big Hero 6

Returning to the lobby
from the auditoriums

#RodStewartProblems
Go ahead and check out the movies on sale now, and be one of the first in Bethesda to experience ArcLight Cinemas' first location outside of California. Why wait until the grand opening on November 4, when you can buy tickets now for John Wick tomorrow night (October 23 at 10:00 PM), and enjoy a livestreamed Q and A with Keanu Reeves from Los Angeles after the film? Looking forward to more of those types of events here in the future.

ArcLight has set the bar high for the next generation of movie theaters in Montgomery County, and it will be interesting to see how iPic Theaters will stack up at Pike and Rose up the road.
But first let me
take a selfie