Thursday, December 27, 2007


There isn't a hell of a lot going on this week, and that certainly includes my desk, where nothing of note has been accomplished since last Friday. In fact, I left the office for for awhile today to hit up White Oak Lanes in order to remind myself how much I suck at duckpin bowling.

In lieu of any new news, I will simply post this photo, taken last Thursday in front of the Trader Joe's in the Burnt Mills shopping center. How this happened I can't even begin to fathom.

Special thanks to reader AB for submitting the photo!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bad Dog

I’m a little disappointed in the recent changes that have occurred at Red Dog Cafe, a staple in my regular rotation of Silver Spring restaurants. I've already lamented in a previous post the reduction in dried cherries in their mixed greens salads.

On a recent evening, I went to Red Dog Cafe with a craving for their usual selection of classic comfort food (Mac & Cheese, etc.). To my horror, I saw that they had replaced their old options with a fancy dinner menu consisting of $20+ entrĂ©es. They still have the Mac & Cheese, but it’s only available as a smaller side dish. To add insult to injury, I ordered my baby mixed green salad and found out that it was half the size of what it used to be. According to the waiter, they made them smaller because people didn’t finish them. (I was not one of those people.) Of course, the price wasn't prorated. Personally, I liked the salad big because I would always split it and another dish with my wife. I ended up ordering a pizza, and while it was really good, it too was smaller than the pizzas they used to serve.

I am sad because this used to be a nice, reasonably-priced place to grab dinner, but now it’s all fancy-pants with its high-falutin' tablecloths and what not. Maybe it's just a little too close to the Chevy Chase border...

Also in restaurants: So the Alberto's Pizza in Dupont Circle that was damaged by fire has been re-opened. Now maybe they can get in gear and open the Georgia Avenue location.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Living in the Past

So the Falkland Chase Apartments have been awarded historical status. Time to party like it's 1939.

I'm all for historical preservation, but it seems to me that the anti-growth contingent of Silver Spring is celebrating a victory along with the preservationists. I certainly don't think that the proposed development on this site has any aesthetic value, but isn't higher density urban living near public transportation what we are supposed to want in lieu of additional suburban sprawl? (Selfishly, I'd like to see a supermarket alternative to Giant Food. Harris Teeter? Bring it on.)

I can appreciate that Falkland Chase has some historical significance, but is it necessary to retain the entire complex for the benefit of future generations? The fairly nondescript apartment buildings don’t differ significantly from each other, so if there were still a fair amount of them left, people could get the idea of what it was all about. The developer’s plans already call for keeping a majority of the original buildings intact:

[Vice president of development for Home Properties Don] Hague, who will be at a county development committee meeting today to defend the project, said developers believe they will be retaining the more historically significant portions of the property, which officials with the Maryland Historical Trust have said are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

“The parts that will remain ‘as is’ are the ones that are architecturally truer to the planning and design principles that were popular back then,” Hague said.
Falkland Chase is supposed to be some sort of great example of New Deal planning. Personally, I think nearby Greenbelt is far more interesting in that regard. And as far as architecture goes, I find the already-preserved Art Deco Montgomery Arms Apartments more appealing than Falkland's Colonial Revival style (pictured below). But maybe that's just a personal preference.

I don’t exactly see school field trips walking through the grounds or Tourmobile buses slowing down in front of Falkland Chase, so interest outside a few small groups seems fairly limited. A vast majority of people are either ignorant or ambivalent about the issue. There are far more people enthralled every year by that monstrosity of a Christmas light show a block away.

There are certainly plenty of historical buildings in this area that probably should have been retained for posterity. I highly recommend the book Capital Losses if you want to learn about buildings that have already been lost to the wrecking ball.

I do sympathize with current residents who don't want to lose their apartments, but as a wise man will one day say, logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Personally, I'd prefer they focus development efforts on creating additional office space in Silver Spring before more companies move "upcounty". (Sucks to be those employees.) Instead, they continue to look at Silver Spring as a Metro-accessible bedroom community where residents leave each morning to go to work in D.C., Bethesda, etc.

(In mostly-unrelated news, my favorite building in the entire D.C. metro area is being refurbished.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Terrornoia Strikes Silver Spring

A "suspicious" briefcase at the Christmas display at Austin Grill in the outside area shut down The Promenade for two hours tonight. There was a heavy police presence and the area was cleared out of pedestrians and employees.

What probably happened: some dude hid his briefcase during happy hour while he hung out at the bar, got drunk, forgot about said briefcase and went home without it.

UPDATE: Despite earlier reports, this suspicious package wasn't actually IN Austin Grill, rather it was in an unrelated display outside the restaurant.

Also, there was an actual bomb threat called in, so I am hereby retracting my "terrornoia" categorization. Anyway, they terminated the package with extreme prejudice using a controlled explosion (and a bomb robot?) that I heard inside my house a mile away. Of course, I didn't know anything about it at the time, so it had the somewhat ironic effect of actually making me a little uneasy after hearing a mysterious explosion in the distance.

More here from the Examiner.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Miscellany

- A man was found murdered last night in a parking lot on the 600 block of Sligo Avenue in Silver Spring.

- You gotta love this business card from Pho An. At least they got the name of the country right.

- If you feel the need to submit a form letter/petition related to a music venue and the "recommended" distribution list on the website happens to have my email address on it, feel completely free to omit me from the recipients. No, really.

- Is the Alberto's restaurant on Georgia Avenue going to open up anytime soon? The sign has been up there for a long time. It's even in the Yellow Pages ("now serving Silver Spring") I need some stone oven-baked pizza STAT!

- This is a shameless personal appeal, but could everyone go to this page on the RCN Website and request that they add the Universal HD channel? I'm not sure if it matters or not if you actually have RCN, but it couldn't hurt. Watching Battlestar Galactica in standard definition might damage my precious eyes.