Monday, December 28, 2009

Is Goldberg the Silver Spring Bagel Messiah?

(No, not that Goldberg.)

There is a light on the horizon signaling that the long, desperate days of not having decent bagels in Silver Spring may finally be coming to an end. According to a sign posted on the space on Georgia Avenue that once housed Kirsten's Cafe, the arrival in Silver Spring of Goldberg's New York Bagels is nigh. What an excellent belated Hanukkah present for Silver Spring.

There are already two Goldberg's bagelries located elsewhere in Maryland, one in Pikesville and the other a little closer to us in a strip mall on Boiling Brook Parkway in Rockville. The Pikesville Location has been twice named best bagels in Baltimore by their City Paper, which is certainly a favorable sign. Among other things, Goldberg's bagels are boiled prior to baking, a critical step which many of the places around here that sell so-called "bagels" opt to skip.

Goldberg's New York Bagels, via Baltimore City Paper.

For myself at least, this has the potential to be one of the most important culinary arrivals in Silver Spring for some time. Provided their bagels are up to snuff, I will likely end up patronizing them nearly every weekend. Hopefully the presence of Goldberg's will eliminate the need for me to travel to Bethesda Bagels (the local bagel gold standard, IMO) to get my fix. I suppose the only downside is that this location is a bit of a pain in the ass for those without motor vehicles, as well as for those coming from downtown Silver Spring who would need to make that treacherous left turn across Georgia Avenue.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- I completely missed this news when it was originally announced in October, but Nando's Peri-Peri signed a lease to open up a new location in Downtown Silver Spring. Nando's, "home of the legendary, Portugese, flame-grilled, Peri-Peri chicken", will move into the spot on The Promenade presently occupied by the temporary toy store. No opening date has been announced.

BEWARE! While Nando's U.S. presence is currently confined to the D.C. area, it is actually a WORLDWIDE CHAIN, thus making it evil in the eyes of some. Please boycott accordingly.

- Speaking of worldwide chains, as part of McDonald's new corporate strategy the restaurant across from the Metro will likely soon be offering free wi-fi. At this point, it'd take more than free Internet and McCafĂ© (actually OK) to get me into that particular McDonald's, always high in the running for the Worst Place in Silver Spring™. Of course, if they were to redesign our McDonald's in the manner of this one in Manhattan, I'd be willing to give at least one more shot. Unfortunately, that's not bloody likely to occur.

To my knowledge you can already get free wi-fi in downtown S.S. at Borders, Eggspectations, Mayorga, Panera, Starbucks (w/a Starbucks card) and through Silver Spring's official free wi-fi service. Did I miss anywhere?

- A few weekends back, Scientologists were conducting "free stress tests" just outside the exit to the Silver Spring Metro station. How is this legal? Who authorizes them to do this on public property? The county? WMATA?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fenton Street Market Here to Stay


Cat vest enthusiasts rejoice! The Fenton Street Market (pictured), which had two trial runs this past fall, was apparently successful enough to justify making it a permanent fixture in East Silver Spring. According to its official blog, the market will now operate every Saturday, with a tentative start date of April 17th of next year. (Presumably it will shut down for the winter months).

Hopefully there will be a healthy rotation of vendors to keep it fresh week-to-week. If its the same people selling the same stuff each Saturday there is the potential for it to get stale.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

An Actual Honest to Goodness Retail Win?

The short list of Silver Spring stores of actual interest me will shortly increase by one. Joe's Record Paradise, a store specializing in vintage vinyl presently located on Gude Drive in Rockville is apparently planning a move to 8216 Georgia Ave. in the imaginary "Ripley District" of downtown Silver Spring.

I haven't been to the Rockville shop, though I will definitely have to check it out on my lunch break this week. Their website is presently "under construction" and doesn't have a whole lot of info on the store. Here's an unofficial description I found online:

A one of a kind record store that has not only CD's, VHS Tapes, DVD's, Posters and other music based goods, but classic vinyl records. From rare and hard to find to the most common titles you can think up.
I am quite looking forward to killing countless hours in this store, and hopefully picking up a few vintage Creedence LPs.

UPDATE: Interestingly, there's a big Silver Spring connection with Joe's Record Paradise. Proprietor Joe Lee is the grandson of E. Brooke Lee, known as "the Father of Modern Silver Spring."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Retail Fail: Hollywood Video

The retail bloodbath continues...

Wanted to rent a movie at the Hollywood Video in downtown Silver Spring tonight? Sorry, you're short. There's a big red sign posted on the entrance alerting customers to the fact that the location is no longer in operation as of yesterday. A peek inside revealed the shelves have already been stripped completely bare.

Thanks to Netflix, I can't say I was much of a customer, but I had gone there on a few occasions when I needed a movie in a pinch.

What sucks is that they are making people go to up to Wheaton to return their rentals. I think if you had anything rented when they closed, ownership should automatically transfer to you. Or at the very least they should leave the return box open and come collect the returns after a week or so.

Unfortunately, this leaves us with another empty retail space (and a fairly large one) downtown. I guess there have been some glimmers of hope, though - that toy store did move in on Ellsworth.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday News 'N Notes

- Funny literary coincidence that somehow never occurred to me before: Starbucks Coffee and Moby Dick House of Kabob are nearly next door to each other on Ellsworth Drive.

- Big news for lazy people like me out there: Mandalay now delivers. They'll bring you your food for a $1.50 delivery charge provided you live within a five-mile radius. Considering they charge you a dollar fee to get takeout, that's not bad, especially now that winter weather appears to have finally arrived for good. Recall that Ghar-e-Kabab also delivers, and without any added fees. Either of these restaurants easily trumps most other delivery options.

- As mentioned earlier on Just up the Pike, has some great old photos of Silver Spring. Here's one of a former Masonic Temple/Chevy Dealership/Filling Station that still exists at the corner of Wayne and Georgia Avenues.

If you're ambitious, you can also find some other old S.S. photos by digging around on the Library of Congresses' Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.

Whatever happened to the statue?

- Only somewhat Silver Spring related, but for those interested in this sort of thing, I've started a Flickr pool of Mid-Century architecture (and signs) in the DC area. Silver Spring's representation includes, of course, our Googie dry cleaners.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Get Your Free Pizza (Freepza?) Next Tuesday

Even though it amounts to the type of free promotion I generally try to avoid, I'll pass this information along since it is a pretty good deal and I realize that everyone is broke and starving these days.

Flippin' Pizza on Georgia Avenue (directly across from Discovery) will be offering everyone free pizza and a soda to celebrate their grand opening next Tuesday.

It the pizza any good? Beats me, but it's free so at least you won't have to spend any money to find out. There's Flippin' Pizza location that just recently opened near my office, but I haven't yet had occasion to try their pizza. Disappointingly, they don't deliver, as their doing so might serve to break the pizza delivery monopoly that zPizza presently holds at my house. (Domino's and Papa John's aren't even in the consideration set.)

Personally, I'm even more curious about Pacci's, the brick oven pizzeria on Georgia, whose opening is steadily progressing.

No Mas Mayorga

Another unfortunate retail fail to report - the Mayorga Coffee shop in South Silver Spring has announced that it will close at the end of the year. This was the first retail location for Mayorga, which now has a number of locations, most notably at airports.

Admittedly, I rarely patronized Mayorga. When it was new I went a few times out of curiosity, but I've only been there a handful of times over the past couple of years. I've probably purchased more cups of coffee at the Mayorga stand at BWI than from the location in my own backyard. From where I live it wasn't really reasonable to walk, and once they started building all those condos back there, I wasn't really sure where to park. (That and their bagels aren't so hot.)

I generally prefer to brew my own coffee, but when I do go out for a cup o' joe in S.S., it's generally to Highland Origin or the Starbucks on the Promenade (hey, its convenient.) I'm sure Mayorga was far more popular with those who live on that side of town and with kids, who seemed to fill the place on Sunday mornings. But kids don't drink coffee, do they? Perhaps they do these days. It was even visited last year by candidate Obama.

Now the question is what, if anything, will fill that space once Mayorga departs? That location has already been the death of Industrial Photo, and there was parking back then. It might make a good space for a full-service restaurant, though again, the parking situation needs to be resolved for that or anything else to really be viable.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Inaugural Holiday Shop-N-Stroll This Saturday

Throw your kids in the shopping cart this Saturday and roll on over to the inaugural Holiday Shop-N-Stroll craft fair, scheduled from 10AM-3PM on the Silver Spring Promenade. (That's Fenton Street, noobs.) I expect the event, whose logo appears to be loosely modeled after my wife and I, will be similar to this past May's Handmade Mart, only colder. Conveniently, it will also run concurrently with the regularly-scheduled farmers market, so you can check it out when you go to pick up your CSA box. You'll also get the chance to witness the so-called War on Christmas firsthand when DTSS unveils its "Holiday Tree" on Saturday.

For more details, check out the Handmade Mart blog. You can also view a map of the 50-odd vendors here (PDF).

Want to help out? They are looking for volunteers to assist with setup on Saturday morning. Anyone who volunteers gets a free breakfast as well as a Shop-n-Stroll reusable tote bag. Hey, these days a free meal is nothing to sniff at.