Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Tired of going into DC for overhyped hipster New Year's Eve bashes? Entertainment that just wasn't worth the Metro or taxi fare? Cheap-quality food and drinks, but outrageous ticket prices that go up every hour as December 31 approaches?
Or just panicked because you waited too long and have no idea where to go Saturday night?
Then this guide is for you!
BlackFinn's party sold-out last year, and just might again this year. This time the theme is the Roaring Twenties, and they are turning the saloon into a speakeasy. But Prohibition won't be a problem here, especially during the hours the open bar is available! Can you beat the rush? You just might if you hurry and use this handy link to order tickets you can claim at the door:
Union Jack's is hosting a Little Black Dress Ball. Your ticket will get you 3 drink tickets, heavy Hors D'oeuvres (8-10 PM), Champagne Toast at Midnight, Continental Breakfast after Midnight, Party Favors, and "DJ Powered Dance Excitement," until 2 AM! Breakfast included? They've thought of everything!
It's not too late! Order tickets online right here:
Bobby Vickers is a chef deserving of more attention in the DC area. For New Year's Eve, he's pulling out all the stops with a grand menu for only $50 a person. Are you going to pick Filet Mignon in Cabarnet Wine Butter with Crab-Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, confetti vegetables, and Pancetta-White Cheddar Potato Croquettes... ...or the Grilled Cape Swordfish? I'd have to pick the Warmed Guinness Gingerbread with Bailey's Chantilly Cream and Chocolate Caramel Sauce for dessert.
Check out the full menu selections here:
And call American Tap Room at Bethesda Row to make reservations: 301-656-1366.
New to Bethesda Row in 2011, Newton's Table (just named of the Top 100 restaurants in Washington!) is offering a five-and seven-course tasting menu, priced at $75 and $95. Wine pairings will also be available, plus an a la carte menu.
They had only 12 seats left at last check! Are there any left? Hurry and call 301-718-0550 to find out.
Redwood - located right on Bethesda Lane at Bethesda Row - may have the most creative party in town: a James Bond 007 Casino Royale night! Complete with (legal-and-just-for-fun) gaming tables. Order your tickets while they last:
Just around the corner from Redwood, Lebanese Taverna bids to match 007 with "endless mezza," belly dancers, party favors and a champagne toast.
$65 per person. Seating starts at 9 PM. Call 703-841-1511.
If you compare the New Year's Eve TV fare on the Spanish-language networks with the American networks, you might reach the conclusion that Latin America celebrates the new year better than anyone.
So why not head to the premiere Latin fusion restaurant in Bethesda? The Parva! You won't just be partying, but also enjoying fine cuisine prepared by Chef Andy. He hasn't gotten much attention from the DC area food critics yet, so he's still one of the best-kept secrets in town. And he'll be working in the kitchen until 3 AM New Year's Morning! Limited table service also available!
Get all the details here:
They know how to celebrate occasions in Spain, and Chef José Andrés knows how to provide you with the freshest and most innovative Spanish cuisine in all of the world, right here at Bethesda Row! Make reservations and check out the stellar menu here:
Magnifique! Who wouldn't like to celebrate New Year's in the City of Lights, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower? Can't quite stretch the budget this year? Give Mon Ami Gabi a ring today at 301-654-1234 and reserve your table for Saturday night! You will be transported to the Continent with "savory French fare, fabulous wine and the best of company." Not to mention a FREE glass of champagne to toast with at Midnight.
For only $45, you get all-you-can-eat lobster, and they have a kids menu (and half-price for kids, too!). Click here for all of the details:
5 Courses for $85, Optional Wine Pairings $30 or $50.
Call (301) 986-9592 today to inquire if reservations are still available.
Think it's ridiculous to pay any ticket price just because it's New Year's Eve? So does Chef Robert Wiedmaier's Mussel Bar. No entry fee! Order what you like from the NYE menu, a la carte at normal prices. But affordable is high-end in this case, because you're dining at the restaurant Zagat recommends you take friends from out of town to in Bethesda!
Mussel Bar will be open from 10 AM - 1 AM Saturday. At 10 PM, Sean Chyun and the Deceivers will perform live, and Chef Wiedmaier's outstanding Happy Hour menu will be available. Great deal!
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
The new Bethesda Safeway at 5000 Bradley Blvd. is going to be open 24 hours a day until Saturday. Pick up last minute gifts or ingredients for your holiday dinner.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial proposed by the famed Frank Gehry is quantifiably a failure. But don't expect a talk radio-style rant against it on this blog. I'm not going to trash the whole design.
In fact, let me start with the strengths of the proposal: First, it's very different from other Presidential memorials and from other memorials in general. It is going to get attention and stand out when tourists visit Washington and make the rounds.
Second, it makes you think. A lot. Put aside a conversation-starting object like the Washington Monument, and consider the other memorials: While none-the-less impressive, they often have a very clear and literate message. And the standard large statue. Usually that is a good thing. I was glad that Dr. Martin Luther King received the full statuary treatment in his memorial this year. There is controversy about the design and quotations, but by making Dr. King as large or larger than many other historical figures around town, his large impact on our society is emphasized for future generations.
At the same time, Dr. King's memorial tells you what it's all about via text - literally - as you enter the memorial. While the regarding of the statue itself is a moving experience for most visitors, the art's message is not as open to interpretation.
Ike's memorial is the total opposite, and you can spend quite a bit of time considering "what it all means." In business or marketing, that would be considered a failure. In art that is a success.
An outdoor "indoor" space is created by hanging metal tapestries. It is vast, but visitors can also see what is outside of the memorial from within. You could say it represents grand scale, such as the massive scale of the American and Allied war effort Eisenhower led to victory in Europe. Grand scale, such as the truly incredible Interstate Highway System Ike transformed from blueprints into a national mobility revolution.
The tapestries are unique but make a lot of sense. Metal, of course, could reflect the guns, the tanks - the war machine. But the spaces in the exterior suggest Eisenhower's concern for the greater country beyond his military world, reflected in his famous and now-recited-as-cliche warning about the "military-industrial complex." (Before you jump to any conclusions, I am a strong supporter of our military and "military-industrial complex," and would very much like to have more firms like Lockheed Martin move their corporate headquarters here to Montgomery County. Of course, a majority on our county council have expressed just the opposite opinion, and have made that clear through their anti-business policies and public comments.) Ultimately, metal suggests the permanence of a leader who helped the country through two wars.
I think Ike deserves a notable monument for his accomplishments, and his skill as a manager of perhaps the most impressive period of economic growth in our nation's history. He certainly falls into the category of the calm, rational, firm-in-principle yet pragmatic and nuanced leader that one would place Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush into. It's no coincidence that those two men are - like Ike - among the most underappreciated presidents in American history.
That's where the monument fails, however. It will inspire much fascinating thought and discussion. But will the visitor who didn't appreciate Ike when he arrived understand why he was important when he left? Is all the educational heavy lifting strictly the responsibility of the visitor and not the memorial?
What did Eisenhower stand for? In the abstract, strength and mobility. In concrete terms, those were reflected by great military and economic achievements, and the interstate system.
I don't get a sense of either of these from the memorial.
We don't need another Colossus-style statue of a grim-faced Eisenhower towering over Washington. And I don't think the idea of a statue of Eisenhower as a boy is a terrible idea in itself. But we need something that says here was a man who harnessed military might and battlefield strategy to preserve our nation.
And something that at least suggests motion or movement. One of the overlooked founding principles of our nation was freedom of movement. It's changing for the worse today, but our country was meant to be a place where one could move about freely for business or pleasure. No border guards demanding paperwork. No pronouncements or dictates regarding where one could live or work (in theory!). No unwarranted recording of citizen movement. And the ability to move goods for commercial enterprise.
Nothing revolutionized or better fulfilled that goal than our interstate system. It continues to provide mobility and economic opportunity for all Americans some 50+ years later. Where is the intoxicating power of freedom in this memorial?
I won't say the Gehry design should be scrapped. But as it stands now, it is like the Lincoln Memorial without Lincoln's statue inside. Literally.
Check out some of the design yourself, and tell me what you think:
I can sum it up in one sentence: Where's Ike?
What more do you need to know?
From 11 AM-8 PM, the Bethesda Row location of Taylor Gourmet will be giving away FREE 6" hoagies to anyone who comes in.
There will be a raffle and prizes given away, including Washington Capitals tickets. Speaking of tickets, one lucky winner will get their Bethesda parking ticket paid by Taylor Gourmet.
Monday, December 19, 2011
David Alpert of the blog, Greater Greater Washington http://greatergreaterwashington.org had an editorial in yesterday's Washington Post entitled, "The Outer Beltway: The bad transportation idea that won't go away."
I fundamentally disagree.
The 60-year old Outer Beltway was not only a great idea, but it was a responsible one, as well. So were the many other highways that were planned, only to be canceled or delayed by politicians. Planners 5 or 6 decades ago recognized the tremendous growth that was coming, and laid out a functioning blueprint to handle the resulting transportation demands. It included a complete highway network for the Washington, D.C. region, and - importantly - a rapid transit network to go with it.
Now, before I argue in favor of the Outer Beltway, let me first mention - for those who might not be regular readers of this blog - that I am a huge supporter of mass transit, Amtrak, high-speed rail, streetcars, etc. I am hardly an apologist for developers, as I have been one of the foremost critics of out-of-control development in Montgomery County. And while I am glad to debate anyone on why Responsible Growth is a better choice than "Smart Growth," I do think it is a logical idea to build skyscrapers adjacent to Metro in established urban districts like Bethesda. But you have to have the infrastructure in place, or build it concurrently.
Some of Alpert's arguments against the Outer Beltway, which today would begin with an extension of I-370 into Northern Virginia, are old perennials such as the questionable theory of "induced demand."
In the DC area, "induced demand" can fairly be described as an urban legend.
Without getting into the whole back story of the sabotage of our planned freeway system, let me give you some specific facts as to why "induced demand" has little to do with the jams on I-270 Alpert referenced.
First of all, you have to be skeptical of "induced demand" theory in general. It requires you to believe that great numbers of automobiles and drivers materialize from the morning rush hour mists. They weren't there yesterday, or last year. But, ID supporters argue, because you built that road, they came to drive on it.
I've never seen a credible data stream on "induced demand." What are the reference points and measurements being taken? The bottom line is that we all can agree that phantom cars don't just appear out of thin air.
So let's take apart the 270 story, shall we?
Okay, it was known some 50 years ago that rural Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Clarksburg, Damascus and Frederick would experience explosive growth. To facilitate this, Route 240 was replaced in segments by I-70S, later known as I-270.
But - and this is huge - 270 wasn't alone on the map. It was one piece to be complemented by several other roadways. The most relevant of these were the Rockville Freeway (itself once planned as the Outer Beltway) or Rockville Facility, which was to connect Falls Road on one end to the Outer Beltway at the other near Indian Spring Country Club; M-83 (Midcounty Highway Extended) which was to feed 270 traffic headed for Germantown, Clarksburg and Damascus via Watkins Mill Road Extended west and then north; and the North Central Freeway and Northern Parkway. Finally, the Capital Beltway (which could never be built today) was never designed to carry I-95. I-95 was to pass through the District via Fort Totten and the B&O Railroad corridor by Catholic University and connect to today's piece of I-395 into Virginia.
You had planned growth, and a road network to handle that. The growth went ahead, as it always does in Montgomery County. But a funny thing happened along the way.
A strange partnership of activists, environmentalists, developers and politicians proceeded to tear up the master plan.
This affected the capacity of 270 severely.
In fact, 270 is called 270 because the original I-70S was chopped in half. The lower section of I-70S - the Northwest Expressway - was completely scrapped. So 270 lost its direct route into and out of the District, where it would have connected to a similarly-cancelled freeway system.
The North-Central Freeway and Northern Parkway were cancelled.
M-83 has been postponed through today, but the county is currently doing another study on it, to be published in 2012.
I-95 through DC was cancelled, and all of that Eastern seaboard tourist and truck traffic was dumped onto our Beltway. This led to the aforementioned urban myth that "the Beltway was jammed as soon as they built it!" A.k.a., "induced demand."
And, of course, the Outer Beltway was scrapped.
This created the following scenarios:
Workers who live in Frederick or Clarksburg have to take jammed local roads out of the District to access I-270.
Those who live above Bethesda but travel into Northern Virginia for work are forced to use the American Legion bridge.
Cars that would have exited at the Rockville Freeway (currently Montrose Road), I-370 (Outer Beltway), and M-83/Watkins Mill Extended [this interchange is actually going to be built, only the M-83 part is in question] to points east and north of the Beltway are forced to remain on 270.
I-95 traffic, and the use of Georgia Avenue instead of the North Central Freeway/Northern Parkway to points north of Silver Spring, cause huge delays between Northern Virginia and Georgia Avenue.
All of this together created the classic spots around the 270 spur and northward during the evening rush hour.
Meanwhile, all the development went forward - and then some!
This was utterly irresponsible policy by county politicians, but hardly rare in our region.
So, yes, they widened 270 - and think of how bad it would be if they hadn't - but Clarksburg grew 800% in the time since. Not a misprint - 800%.
And the lovely Loudoun County, which provides the "crops for our tables," according to Alpert, grew 80% in the last 10 years. Those weren't barns that were built, either.
Clearly, a new Potomac River crossing is desperately needed. As are the Rockville Freeway and M-83. The county claims it can find $2.5 billion (again, not a misprint) in the sofa cushions for a massive BRT system (that, in my opinion, should be scaled back to corridors underserved by rapid transit). Meanwhile, the Rockville Freeway could be built between the Montrose Parkway and the ICC for under $1 billion, and serve many more commuters daily than a countywide BRT system.
(Don't say I'm against all BRT without reading my article about that first)
Think about how someone who lives in Damascus but works on Capitol Hill might have used the North Central Freeway, and then the Northern Parkway to get to that rural area. Now they have to take 270, 355 or New Hampshire Avenue. With 270 being the lesser of all evils... who can wonder why 270 is such a mess?
Alpert also keeps throwing out the term, "sprawl," yet Montgomery County is currently creating sprawl development in Science City - a city literally being created in the country - and White Flint, and calling it "Smart Growth."
I concur with Alpert on the need for more transit and less restriction of auto traffic between subdivisions. And I think Bethesda Row is the lone example of transit-oriented living that has demonstrably worked in the county. (Yet, without the Northwest Expressway, our downtown streets are jammed every rush hour.)
But he says "desires have changed dramatically since the Outer Beltway was proposed." And that people want to live in urban areas with transit. Many people do. But not a majority. Most can't afford it, and the new luxury condos being built "near work and transit" are out of their price range.
In fact, many are leaving urbanizing Montgomery County for the traditional suburbs popping up in Loudoun - to the tune of 80% growth.
And if you didn't notice, that happened already - without the Outer Beltway.
Shouldn't we let the plain facts inform us?
The Outer Beltway is a critical piece of infrastructure missing from our transportation system. Much like the Rockville Freeway and M-83, we need to build it now.
And that's just to handle our existing growth.
If you think it's bad now, wait until Damascus triples in size over the next 10-15 years, and Science City builds out.
The Outer Beltway is a great idea.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Everyone who appreciates fine cuisine is always excited about DC Restaurant Week. Of course, it's easy to drive or take the Red Line into DC to... ...okay, it's possible to drive or take the Red Line to dine downtown.
But did you know that DC Restaurant Week is happening right here in Bethesda this coming January 9-15, 2012?
It's true! Lunches will be $20.12 and dinners will be $35.12 per person.
Here is a guide to DC Restaurant Week 2012 - in Bethesda!
This week I passed a double milestone: The 1000th post on this blog, and I now have over 1000 followers on Twitter at @BethesdaRow!
If you're not following me on Twitter yet, you are missing out on all of what's going on in Bethesda. So make sure to follow @BethesdaRow on Twitter, and tell your friends about this useful resource.
Among the stories followers heard about first - before any other source - at @BethesdaRow on Twitter: the reopening of Lululemon, the new Westin Bethesda Hotel, the electronic signs on the Bethesda Row garage, and the grand openings of Kraze Burgers, Jimmy Johns and The Parva.
Thank you for being a reader of this blog!
Thursday, December 15, 2011
You've heard of the Bridge to Nowhere. Are you now ready to board the Rapid Bus to Nowhere?
Montgomery County Planning Board staff have proposed a number of significant changes to the county's Bus Rapid Transit proposal.
One that really jumps out: the staff is calling for an additional route that would run between Montgomery Mall and the American Legion bridge. And what, may we ask, are riders supposed to do after they are dropped off at the bridge?
In a time of tight budgets, these sorts of ideas - not to mention the existing plan - are simply not affordable. We're now told that the county's devastating energy tax will probably not "sunset" as scheduled in 2012. We're told that the government would have no way to make up the amount generated by that tax.
So how can we afford a $2.5 billion BRT network, and $170,000,000 a year to operate it in perpetuity?
The BRT proposal is packed with unproven theories, low-lowball cost estimates, grossly over-estimated ridership, and an outsize and unworkable plan to realize it. This BRT initiative needs something not yet applied to it: a critique.
BRT could be very effective in areas of the county currently underserved by transit. The designs proposed could work along corridors like Rt. 185 and Rt. 29, as long as the placement of the lines do not allow for massive town center construction (a.k.a. sprawl).
They also would have to retain the same number of traffic lanes for automobiles.
And because the ideas are unproven, and ridership questionable, a slow rollout of one or two pilot lines is in order. Gauge the results. If the county's wildly-optimistic numbers prove correct, add more.
Surprisingly, no one is calling for a cautious approach to a promising transit concept.
In fact, in the few articles and TV reports about BRT since the beginning, I have not seen a single quote from a critic or even a skeptic of the proposal. The result is the suggestion that "the debate is over," and the only question left is, "how to we pay for it?"
May I submit a few more questions?
1. Why would we build BRT lines parallel to the Metro Red Line? This is a duplicative service. And if automobile commuters are currently refusing to use Metro, why in the world would they board a mode of transit even slower than Metro?
We cannot afford the luxury or absurdity of duplicative rapid transit on 355 or Georgia Avenue. Metro is short on funds. If we have mystery funds to build BRT, or a magical new means to generate them through taxes (as proposed by Council President Roger Berliner and the Transit Task Force), wouldn't that revenue be more effectively spent on increasing capacity on the Red Line between Walter Reed and Shady Grove?
If such money is out there, Richard Sarles would be very interested in speaking with the county!
Metro is a great resource we already have, and a potentially-great system when running at its best. Why would we steal riders and financial resources from it for BRT?
Again, this is why we should concentrate on areas without Metro service; these residents pay for Metro, but don't get the benefit of it. It is certainly rare elsewhere in the country for BRT to run parallel to rail transit. In fact, BRT is implemented for the very reason that it is an affordable alternative to rail for cash-strapped jurisdictions.
2. How would the automatic green light given to BRT at intersections not slow auto traffic, and completely upset the synchronization of stoplights during rush hour? I'm not saying it can't be done, only that they've yet to explain how they'll do it.
3. Where does BRT fit on Georgia Avenue in Wheaton, for example? Widening the road would put vehicles literally at doorsteps of houses along the road.
4. How could we potentially have only 4 travel lanes for cars on 355 and 97, should widening not occur, without grinding traffic to a halt?
5. How do we ensure that the Olney Town Center (old-style definition) and Aspen Hill Shopping Center do not become massive, mixed-use sprawl developments? Will a BRT station automatically qualify properties nearby for high-density growth? (My prediction: Yes, and that is why developers are strongly backing the BRT project).
6. How can we afford BRT and that potential explosive development when we not only have low revenues, but also have other higher-priority projects?
The Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway and Baltimore Red Line are very important projects competing for limited funds.
We also have several road projects that - while few wish to admit it - must be built to handle development the county has already approved in White Flint, Science City, Clarksburg and Damascus:
An I-370 Potomac River bridge, the Rockville Freeway (which connects White Flint with the ICC near Indian Spring Country Club, providing a link between growing employment and housing centers in White Flint, Burtonsville, White Oak, and Columbia), and the M-83 Midcounty Highway Extended on the Master Plan alignment to Clarksburg.
To name a few. Montgomery Mall itself should one day be on a Metro line. And it should come into the mall, just like Prince Georges Plaza. And we could save money collaborating with the District on streetcar service, as I have proposed in the past, and which Councilmember Hans Riemer has also supported.
Again, I personally think there is a lot of potential to have successful BRT routes in certain areas of the county. And some of these projects work together: For example, the Planning Board staff is calling for a BRT route between White Flint and Aspen Hill. Well, they've just described the only such direct road - the Rockville Freeway. This is yet another reason why the Rockville Freeway - delayed for over 50 years - needs to be built.
If we're serious about having a modern, world-class transit and highway system in Montgomery County, we need to start asking these and other questions. And soon.
If not, this runaway bus may end up as a massive drain - much as the ICC has been - on funding for Metro, the Purple Line, the Rockville Freeway, and other critical projects we need, if all of this planned growth is to occur with the quality of life county residents expect and deserve.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I know what you're thinking... "Where do I sign up?" At American Tap Room at Bethesda Row, at the corner of Woodmont Avenue and Elm Street!
Between 4 and 7 PM this evening, order a Flying Dog (a local brewer in Frederick, MD, by the way), Fordham or Magic Hat beer, and American Tap Room will donate 20% of the proceeds to Canines for Veterans.
What is Canines for Veterans? You may remember the event held by Urban Country a few weeks ago, when I posted a photo of two of their dogs on my photos page at www.RobertDyer.net
Canines for Veterans addresses three difficult issues with beneficial results for all involved. First, they rescue dogs from shelters who would otherwise be euthanized. Second, they have a program in which military prisoners train the dogs to be service dogs for wounded veterans. And last, but not least, the trained dogs - who can answer to 70 commands - are paired with wounded U.S. servicemembers.
This is a great cause, and you can make a difference in so many lives today - animal and human - simply by enjoying a happy hour beer at American Tap Room.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Enjoy FREE wine tastings around the store from 12-4 PM at Balducci's. The store is located on Old Georgetown Road at Democracy Boulevard in the Wildwood Shopping Center.
Friday, December 09, 2011
Meet world-famous Chef José Andrés at Jaleo at Bethesda Row tonight from 5:00-7:30 PM!
He'll be signing his best-selling cookbooks, and Jaleo will be serving tapas and refreshments. A cookbook signed by José Andrés himself would be the perfect gift for the aspiring chef on your holiday shopping list. So make sure to stop by.
Porcelanosa's new showroom on Rockville Pike at Nicholson Lane is celebrating its grand opening with a sale through Dec. 30. Save up to 25% on the finest in Spanish craftsmanship in their tile, bath, and kitchen departments. They have everything you need for a complete kitchen or bathroom renovation. Stop by and find out why celebrities like Prince Charles, George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan, Nicole Kidman, Valeria Mazza and Chef José Andrés use Porcelanosa in their own homes and business ventures!
Watch the Porcelanosa grand opening celebration in this exclusive video:
Here is an exclusive photo album from the grand opening:
And right here at Bethesda Row, City Sports is offering Triple Rewards through this Saturday. That means you'll get 15% off of your total purchase in the form of a gift certificate.
Bethesda restaurant, bar and brewery Rock Bottom is celebrating 15 years in downtown Bethesda, and you're invited!
Tonight from 7-8 PM, stop by Rock Bottom at the corner of St. Elmo and Norfolk Aves. for a FREE glass of their house-brewed "15th Anniversary Ale." And a FREE piece of carrot cake, while supplies last!
Thursday, December 08, 2011
The Chevy Chase Land Company has launched a free, daily shuttle service between the Bethesda Metro Center and Chevy Chase Lake. Riders can board the shuttle at the Capital One ATM in the Bethesda Metro Center bus bay for departures between 7:00 AM and 6:20 PM, Monday-Friday. The destination point - and departure point for those making the trip in reverse - is the office building at 8401 Connecticut Avenue. This building is right next to the Capital Crescent Trail, a former B&O Railroad right-of-way currently slated to be the route of the Purple Line Metro expansion.
The company's service is remarkable for a number of reasons, and has real utility for residents of downtown Bethesda.
First, having developers sponsor shuttles to Metro stations is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce the impact of future growth on roads and taxpayer wallets. Kudos to CCLC for initiating this shuttle route voluntarily, and before they have even redeveloped their site.
Second, this is likely a goodwill measure as the company prepares to "reset" relations with the surrounding community, after its larger redevelopment proposal fell flat with the neighbors.
But these good intentions may actually get some cars off the road, if employees at Chevy Chase Lake businesses can now take advantage of a free, door-to-door connection with Metrorail. The schedule is not super-extensive, but certainly a good start.
Finally, Bethesda residents (especially those who aren't confined to a 9-5 desk job) can enjoy some new benefits they might not have considered. For example, the independent, family-owned Chevy Chase Supermarket is now just a free shuttle ride away. Explore what they have to offer.
Try out Tavira, one of the few restaurants offering Portuguese cuisine in the D.C. area. It's right in the basement of the building where the shuttle stops.
Take the shuttle over, and then walk back to Bethesda on the CCT for an easy workout. If Chevy Chase Lake gets a bikeshare station in the future, you'll be able to take a bike back, too.
What's the bottom line? Here's a chance to get familiar with a trip that many more people will be making in the not-so-distant future: Bethesda to Chevy Chase Lake to work, shop or dine. I thought the basic idea of adding buildings to Chevy Chase Lake was fairly sound if the Purple Line was part of the plan. However, I did not initially realize the scope and square footage of the project, until plans were revealed. The eventual compromise should take into account the number of cars we can realistically expect the Purple Line to take off of southbound 185 during morning commutes. (The story below explains why that number could be higher than expected, however). It would certainly help if the company continued this free shuttle service after redevelopment. A free ride to Metro is hard to pass up, especially for those who qualify for the perhaps-not-longed-for-this-world generous Metro subsidy.
A report in the January issue of TRAINS Magazine suggests lowball predictions on Purple Line ridership may be unfounded. Norfolk, VA's Tide light rail service has doubled the ridership numbers planners originally projected. A 7-mile long line, Tide's Lynx-powered service has created such demand that officials are now scrambling to find funds for new ticket machines and a future extension to the naval base.
Many other lines around the country have beaten expectations, too. Here's one idea that might explain Tide's even-greater results: Is there any chance that widely-traveled servicemembers who have been based in transit-advanced European countries are more open to rail service from experience? Given that Bethesda is arguably a military town, too, this could be a factor in the Purple Line's numbers.
Hard to say. That's probably quite a stretch. But the main story here is the doubled ridership in Norfolk. Whatever the reason, citizens nationwide have approved funding for - and are using - these lines as soon as they start operation.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Yet another long-awaited grand opening has happened in downtown Bethesda. And much like the recent Kraze Burger opening, it was a quietly surprising one.
"Shh!" is the operative word in openings these days in Bethesda. But with the legendary name of Jimmy John's over the door, don't expect this new shop on Bethesda Avenue to stay quiet long!
Whether it's college students home from campus, or graduates with nostalgia for their home on campus, "when will Jimmy John's open?" is the only question that comes up more often than "when will Jetties open?" did over the summer.
Well, get ready to be BMOC or BWOC on Bethesda Avenue, because Jimmy John's is here at last.
Right next to Bethesda favorite Zen Tara Tea, a variety of neon signs beckon you with promises of "Free Smells," "Extremely Fast Delivery" and "Tasty Sub Shop." Once inside, you'll find a clean and retro design, with a dining area of booths about as cozy as you'll find in a sub shop. There are communal areas for larger groups, as well. Light colored walls are interrupted halfway to the floor by a checkerboard pattern that brings the 1950s to mind in a positive sense. Other "they didn't have to" touches that impress include individual covered light fixtures over each table, and nice wood finishes on those table surfaces.
If you're new to Jimmy Johns, there are two large menus to peruse. You have two main menu sections: Subs ($4.50) and Giant Club ($5.50) sandwiches. You've also got lighter options in the Plain Slims ($3.50) and lettuce-wrapped "JJ Unwich" categories. There are Jimmy John's own brand of potato chips, and desserts like homemade cookies are available.
But if you're an old hand at this, you'll step up to the counter and ask for your favorite. Don't worry, it's still on the menu.
I ordered the Turkey Tom, which is perhaps the most popular item on the menu around the country. But there's also The Pepe with ham and provolone, a vegetable sub, the Big John with (medium rare) roast beef, among many others. And for the biggest appetites, only the $7.50 J.J. Gargantuan will suffice.
The Turkey Tom has lots of lean, sliced meat, shredded lettuce that's as fresh as it gets, fresh tomatoes, mayonnaise and sprouts. [I said "hold the sprouts," however. I'm not a sprout person]. All this is loaded onto Jimmy John's' own original French bread, freshly baked each day, and you can really tell that when you bite into it. Everyone has individual preferences about bread; some like a chewier roll while others find those hard to chew. This bread is pretty easy to chew while still holding up to the fillings until the last bite. So that counts as a success in my book, and the great bread flavor is what's most important in the end. Jimmy John's has that.
So give it a try. The weather is bad today, so if you're not right near Bethesda Row, you can give them a call and they'll bring lunch or dinner right to your office or home "so fast you'll freak," as they say.
I have an exclusive video review of Jimmy John's, and you can see the restaurant and the Turkey Tom for yourself.
Jimmy John's joins Taylor Gourmet and Jetties, as well as Jiffy Shoppes and South Street Steaks. And then there are the gyros at Yamas Grill. The Parva has sandwiches on bread baked daily by Chef Andy. And... Well, you get the idea.
Bethesda is now a sandwich capital of the world. Which one is your favorite? Who will prevail, and/or is there a big enough audience of hungry people to support them all?
"Begun, the Sandwich Wars have."
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
McDonald's Chicken McBites are brand-new, and only available in very limited areas. Fortunately, Bethesda is one of them! Find out all about this new popcorn chicken snack in my exclusive video review:
Friday, December 02, 2011
The annual Winter Wonderland celebration in Bethesda will be this Saturday, at Veterans Park. There will be choral performances and ice carving.
But what do you really want to know? "When does Santa arrive?"
Santa Claus will visit between 2 and 4 PM!