Tuesday, July 29, 2014

There's a New Rooftop in Town

Yes I know - I've been out of commission lately but I have a good reason. I have a new womb-mate who has made it a bit of a challenge for me to juggle both working and running around out and about for blogging. Although I'm in the homestretch of my pregnancy and I probably won't be hanging out on the rooftop pouring them down anytime soon, I was ecstatic to hear about the new rooftop bar and lounge in Downtown Silver Spring coming soon.

Well, it's kind of already here. "Olivia's View" sits atop of Society Silver Spring. It's open for business, but only serving drinks at this time - craft cocktails, wine, etc. They hope to be serving food in a week or so but the menu is not finalized just yet. Looks like they will be featuring American fare - small bites - quite different from Society's menu. The bar/lounge are appears to be a good size - standing, it might be able to hold approximately 100 or so.

They are encouraging guests to come by, check it out, and have a drink or a few. If anyone swings by, please report back!


8229 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD

Sunday, February 23, 2014

In Beer News...

“Ah, good ol’ trustworthy beer. My love for you will never die.” –Homer Simpson


Here are some great beer events happening in the neighborhood:

Thursday, February 27, 5pm
Flying Dog Tap Takeover
Scion Restaurant, 1200 East-West Hwy


Scion to host Flying Dog brewers and feature 12 different drafts from their Frederick, MD brewery to include many hard to find, limited edition releases.

Flying Dog will be debuting the brand new Mango Habanero IPA, the first release from their 2014 Brewhouse Rarities series. The beer was brewed with 2 pounds of habanero peppers and 10 pounds of fresh mango. Also included in the lineup: Pumpkin IPA, an extremely limited release; Natural Selection Genus 3, a collaboration with Evolution Craft Brewing; and Barrel Aged Gonzo, currently the highest rated beer in the state of Maryland.

All Flying Dog beers will be $4 for the duration of the evening. Flying Dog rep, Erin Farrar, will be in attendance. Free glassware will be provided while supplies last. Reservations are not required for this event but I would recommend to get there early if you want to score glassware. The last event I attended had such a great turnout that my friends and I missed out on the glass.

March 19, 5-8pm
Devils Backbone Kickoff
Adega Wine Cellars, 8519 Fenton Street


Welcoming the Devil's Backbone team to MoCo with some great local craft beer on draft and in bottles. GABF’s Best Small Brewpub (2012) and Best Small Brewery (2013).

March 25, 6:30pm
Beer vs Wine Smackdown
The Daily Dish, 8301 Grubb Road

Flying Dog Brewery, MD vs. Breaux Vineyards, VA
Social Hour begins at 6:30pm and there is also dinner at 7pm. 5 courses, $65. Join a Flying Dog Brewmaster and a Breaux Vineyard’s Winemaker and vote.

During the Social Hour, they will be featuring a Blood Orange Pale Ale (Very Limited Release) vs Rosé.

In Other Beer News

Recently opened Urban Butcher's beer list is going strong. It features a few local beers to include DC Brau, Port City, and Old Dominion.

Fenwick Beer and Wine was voted “Best Place to Buy Beer” in the DC area for 2013. Help them win again by casting a vote. Polls close February 27. Recently, Pete from the blog Silver Spring Incorporated posted a great clip on Fenwick Beer and Wine created by Docs in Progress, 541 Bottles of Beer. We are so lucky to have a place like this in the neighborhood.

Denizens Brewing Co looks to still be on track to open summer 2014. They plan to have local bands and they are looking for your suggestions. Check out their Facebook page to participate.

Let's not forget Quarry House Tavern, one of my favorite bars in the neighborhood. Beeradvocate rates it "Outstanding," with a score of 92 mentioning it has 9 taps and 300 bottles. I know that their draft options are constantly changing.

Not a Beer Event

(But it sounds like a cool event and who doesn't love the events Adega Wine Cellars puts on):

Wednesday, March 4, 6-8pm
Adega Wine Cellars
Rick Davis from Calstar Cellars in California will be joining them for the evening featuring special wine flights, brand new wines, and more.

Know of a great beer event in the neighborhood coming up in the next few months or a venue I should add to this? Please don't hesitate to give me a shout.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What's Next for United Therapeutics?


United Therapeutics is en route to expand to its fourth building. The location is the garage over by Spring and Colesville, and they are converting it into a state of the art “green” facility to include numerous amenities for their employees and the public to use. This will allow for a 50 EUI (Energy Use Intensity) reduction in energy usage for the building. Construction won't begin until 2015, but it’s great to know this is on its way.

Some of the amenities includes a good size swimming pool and roof terrace/gardening to host events for their employees. I wonder if they’d consider some type of membership for local resident to use the pool as well.

rendering of the building (Spring & Colesville)

A very cool amenity that is part of the public plaza plan, is the solar powered and interactive pavers that when walked on, they provide power. There will also be solar powered cell phone charging stations. Does this mean that once the sun has set, if you need a charge, you’ll have to do the running man on the pavers so that you can make that phone call? I sure hope so... 

This will also include retail space and each business will receive an allocation of power via meter. I would assume this rules out hair salons and restaurants, but I could see possibly a small coffee corner, clothing shop, etc.

The rooftop Unither Employee Garden will be a great asset for employee retention, and they are hoping to allow for a garden plot for each employee in addition to a Master Gardener. It will include tables as well and their hope is that the employees who live nearby will be able to tend their garden even on the weekends. There will also be a catering area on the rooftop for events.

They don’t actually own the garage just yet, as they are awaiting permits/approvals and they have not yet settled. Hopefully MoCo is cooperative and poses little to no blocks on this. They are looking at a 22 – 24 month construction period starting 2015.

United Therapeutics Corporation
1104 Spring Street
http://www.unither.com/ 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

BurgerFi: Not So Fast Food


Not sure what took me so long to get to BurgerFi, the newest addition to the neighborhood that features a Breakfast All Day Burger (burger, cheese, bacon drizzled with maple syrup, fried egg, hash browns, grilled diced onions, and ketchup), but better late then never. 

Located across the street from Wholefoods, BurgerFi is nestled between Washington Sports Club and the Courtyard Marriott.



Founded in 2010, BurgerFi started with 2 stores in Florida and has quickly expanded throughout the country. Their concept is simple - they focus on all-natural, free range beef while conserving energy and recycling.  Silver Spring Green would be proud of this new addition to our neighborhood:
”Each BurgerFi® store is built according to environmentally sustainable best practices, and includes earth-friendly elements, like chairs that are made from recycled Coke bottles, tables made out of compressed recycled wood, and large fans that use 66% less electricity. BurgerFi® maintains a low carbon footprint, and maintains strict recycling programs for oil, cardboard, bottles and cans.”
 Great lighting fixture over the communal table

Their menu is more than just burgers. It includes hot dogs (there’s a Kobe beef dog on the list), custards (red velvet, please), floats, sundaes, beer, and wine. If you’re coming from the gym next door, you can order the Hippie Burger (quinoa burgers) or a hotdog in lettuce instead of buns. There’s a Coca Cola Freestyle machine with various flavors to mix and match as you please. Or you can go sans-high fructose and opt for the bottled Mexican coke with real cane sugar.

The two of us each ordered the BurgerFi cheeseburger made up of an Angus burger, double American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and BurgerFi sauce and we split an order of the very generous Urban Fries from “the Secret Menu” which were parmesan and herb fries topped with garlic aioli (regular size was enough for both of us), and a Dog Fish IPA 60 minutes. I inquired about the BurgerFi sauce and they said it was a mayo based sauce with special ingredients. They’re not telling and it was delicious. The Secret Menu, not displayed on the menu behind the register but can be found on their website, features additional burgers such as the ½ + ½ burger, (half angus burger, half quinoa burger) and fries to include both extra crispy and extra limp fries.




We found the burgers to be slightly overcooked. We were told we can’t choose our temperature because corporate wants them all cooked the same way, according to one of the employees. It was still a tasty burger nonetheless. We didn’t order the onion rings but the table next to us did and they looked to be a huge serving. I’m coming back for the custard on my next trip.


Giant onion rings. Photo by SPI Flip Flop Foodie on Urbanspoon

Happy to have a much needed burger spot in Downtown Silver Spring, the restaurant and its employees made a good first impression. With a good size patio, beer on tap, and wine, upbeat music (but not obnoxious), I can see them being slammed all summer long. 

BurgerFi
8504 Fenton Street
Silver Spring, MD  
301-565-2100
http://www.burgerfi.com/

Friday, December 13, 2013

New Year's Eve Roundup

Here's a New Year's Eve Roundup in the neighborhood: 

Jackie’s

6 course fixed price menu (attached) with early and late seatings
$75/person meat and fish, $65/person vegetarian




8407 Kitchen Bar

4 Course Chef's Tasting Menu
$65/person for early seating, $90/person with wine pairings
$75/person for late seating with amuse bouche, $100/person with wine pairings


Sidebar

Will open at 6 pm and will be offering normal cocktail menu alongside complimentary hors d'oeuvres (no regular food menu will be available). Additionally, for those who want advance reservations at Sidebar, they are offering an all inclusive open bar at $50/person. This guarantees you a seat.


Urban Butcher

No cover, standard menu, champagne toast at midnight, drink specials. Open until 2am.
http://urbanbutcher.com/

Piratz Tavern

New Year’s Eve Dinner & Mascarade Ball. Dinner is 4 course for $45 or order individually.


Mascarade Ball: Wear a mask. Champagne Toast at Midnight, Pirate Party Favors, Pirates for Sail singing from 8:30 - 10 pm.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1437365649809690/

The Fillmore

10pm, Slightly Stoopid. $49.50
http://fillmoresilverspring.com/event/15004B5307EA6D54

The Society Lounge

Special New Year's Eve dinner menu with two seatings, 6pm and 9pm. DJ and champagne toast.

http://instagram.com/p/iPbXtdEhBo/ 

The Limerick Pub (Wheaton)

4pm - 7pm, traditional Irish music and champagne toast at 7pm to celebrate New Year's in Ireland. No cover. They also have a special New Year's Eve dinner menu. Reservations will be accepted:

https://www.facebook.com/events/599724186747549/ 

If there's anything I'm missing that should be on this list, please give me a shout.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Preview of Urban Butcher

Spanish chorrizo, bourbon punch, steak tartar, lamb empanada, spicy pepperoni, pig ears - those are just a few things I got to sample at Urban Butcher's preview. The decor and design was minimal with great use of space. My favorite part of the design was the garage doors that will open up during the summer, with stools to sit outside part of the bar looking in (think Pearl Dive Oyster Bar set up with the stools outside facing in).

Although I sampled the Lavender Margarita and the Rosemary Gin and Tonic as well, the Bourbon Punch was my favorite. Tasty but not overbearing and not too sweet, it hit the spot and went well with the spicy pepperoni. For more info on what we can expect, check out my previous blog post.

It was nice to get to know some of our neighbors and meet the restaurant staff and the owner/chef Raynold Mendizabal as well. Here are some pics:

Entrance at 8226 Georgia


Great decor. Beautiful space. They didn't miss a detail.

 
Sample Menu (subject to change)

Notice on the menu above that you can request a steak from the butcher counter an additional 50% of the price and they will cook it for you on site.


Beer list pictured above. This includes 10 beers that will be on tap in addition to sparkling wine on tap.

 Dessert list. Note the bacon-maple gelato. 

 Bar area. Come to me Bourbon Punch.



Curing Room with a bottle of champagne on the floor

Cheese counter to include sheep's milk, raw cow milk, cow milk. Blue paradise was one of my favorites.

Sous-vide cooking goodness

Cut that pig!


At this very moment, my eyes fixed on the pig and I knew there was one request I had to make to the Cuban chef Raynold: Pig ear please!

And just like that, the pig ear was mine. So crunchy and tasty.

Beautiful display. Check out those pork chops.

Lounge area up front facing Georgia

Hours: 5:00 p.m. – midnight (Monday thru Thursday), 5:00 p.m. – 2 a.m. (Friday & Saturday). 5 p.m. to TBD (Sunday). Dinner 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Sunday thru Thursday), 6 p.m. - midnight (Friday & Saturday), Happy Hour Open until close (seven days a week).
8226 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, just two blocks south of the Silver Spring Metro stop on the Red Line.

For more on Urban Butcher, go to www.urbanbutcher.com or call 301.585.5800. Follow on Facebook and Twitter (@UrbanButcher).




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Urban Butcher Opening Next Week


Carnivores rejoice; the day is near. Urban Butcher's official opening date is Thursday, December 12 at 5pm. The restaurant will initially offer dinner and happy hour, however, the butcher shop, lunch, brunch, and a coffee shop are planned for early 2014. They won't take reservations - something to keep in mind for future trips if you're headed there with a large party.

I was quick to notice that Fridays and Saturdays they close at 2am yet dinner runs through midnight. At first I thought that was a little ambitious, as one of my pet peeves about our neighborhood is that things often shut down early, since people clear out by 11ish and there's a shortage of good food open late night for quick eats. Hopefully they are successful and they won't have an issue keeping the place packed. Our neighborhood is particular like that; restaurants that are well executed and do what they do well, tend to always have a full house. We'll patronize it over and over, we'll bring our friends, tweet about it, foursquare it up, and shout it to the mountain tops.

I can
 imagine happy hour will get busy early, so hurry over and claim your seat, as the bar seats 20. For dinner or happy hour, someone like me who loves to chat up our neighbors will enjoy the 24 seat communal table. Others might want more privacy with 50 seat dining room. I'm most excited for when the weather warms back up, as their outdoor patio will seat 50.  The aforementioned coffee shop will include a coffee bar that turns into a lounge area in the evening will seat 30. 

A few months back, Raynold Mendizabal told the Washington Post, "I'm not going to sell anything that I don't produce. I'm not going to sell prosciutto from anybody until I make it." In my opinion, for someone who knows what they are doing, homemade comes with an implied assumption of excellence. With hopes that it lives up to its expectations, I can't wait to give it a try and report back as soon as I do.

The restaurant will offer all kinds of charcuterie including verticals of different types of cured meats. Urban Butcher's PR rep mentioned that a vertical of ham prosciutto will include selections from different breeds of pig so customers can taste the difference between breeds and different farmers. Examples of different cuts of meat that will be offered include the Brazilian prime cut, picanha. Being that all the charcuterie is made in house, I can imagine they will have a limited selection to start. 

We can expect about 11 beers and 1 sparkling wine on tap. The wine list will be mainly focused on accessibility and they plan on having 100 labels to include smaller European producers as well as newer style from the US. The entire menu will be shared items to include selections from the meat cellar including charcuterie and salumi as well as terrines, pâtés and more. 

Raynold chose Silver Spring because he wanted to bring something new to the area and create a place where the community can come together and enjoy great tasting, honest food. 

Thanks, Raynold! We can't wait.

Hours: 5:00 p.m. – midnight (Monday thru Thursday), 5:00 p.m. – 2 a.m. (Friday & Saturday). 5 p.m. to TBD (Sunday). Dinner 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Sunday thru Thursday), 6 p.m. - midnight (Friday & Saturday), Happy Hour Open until close (seven days a week).
8226 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, just two blocks south of the Silver Spring Metro stop on the Red Line.

For more on Urban Butcher, go to www.urbanbutcher.com or call 301.585.5800. Follow on Facebook and Twitter (@UrbanButcher).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Keeping the Smalls in Business

Don't forget Small Business Saturday is this Saturday, November 30.

I couldn't include every single store, but here are some of my local small business favorites:

For fun trinkets, apparel, jewelry, gifts:

Fenton Street Market - Holiday Market

http://www.fentonstreetmarket.com/2013/11/2013-Holiday-Markets.html 
Twitter hashtag: #ShopSilverSpring 


For ready-to-wear, designer and fashion apparel:

Erika Schrieber's online shop - designed and based out of Silver Spring

For an established tattoo and piercing shop since 1999:

Ambrotos Tattoo - 940 Bonifant

love the sign in their window

For great food, beer, wine and good people watching:

Adega Wine Cellars & Cafe - 8519 Fenton Street

For delicious Neopolitan style pizza:

Pacci's - 8113 Georgia Avenue


For homemade ice cream:

Moorenko's - 8030B Georgia Avenue


For custom sewing or sewing classes:

Think Outside the Store -  816 Thayer Avenue

Fenton Cafe - 8311 Fenton Street


For groceries, beer, wine (all at once!):

Snider's - 1936 Seminary Road
http://www.sniderfoods.com/

For one of the best selections of craft beer in the area:

Fenwick Beer & Wine - 1327 Fenwick Lane



For a delicious burger and old bay tater tots:

Quarry House Tavern - 8401 Georgia Avenue


For the only Saturday bottomless brunch in Downtown Silver Spring:

La Malinche - 8622 Colesville Road

For quick and honest car repair:

Murray's Auto Clinic - 999 Philadelphia Avenue

For a top notch meal with outstanding service and great bartenders:

Kitchen Bar - 8407 Ramsey Avenue
http://8407kb.com/

For good sushi with great service:

Sushi Jin Next Door

AND

Ikko Sushi - 1215 East West Highway


Coming soon:

Third Space Wellness - Downtown Silver Spring

Not in Downtown Silver Spring but definitely worth a mention:

For some of the best empanadas in this area:

Kantutas - 
2462 Ennalls Ave (Wheaton)
http://www.yelp.com/biz/kantutas-restaurant-wheaton


For tasty gelato using fresh and creative ingredients:

Dolci Gelati Cafe - 7000 Carroll Avenue (Takoma Park)

For tasty ramen:

Ren's Ramen - 11403 Amherst Ave (Wheaton)