Thursday, September 30, 2010

More rain, more high water

The corner of Wisconsin Avenue (MD-355) and Montgomery Ave has been taking a beating the past few rainstorms. Water really pools up in the rightmost northbound lane of MD-355 and you have to drive through it if you are in that lane or if you are crossing on Montgomery Avenue.

This is not the first storm that this has happened, there is a storm drain right on the corner that is clearly clogged. They have put up a "High Water" sign but haven't yet cleared the drain. I saw someone with a large video camera taking video of this corner so it will probably show up on the news at some point.

So far, I've been a bit disappointed in this storm. They promised torrential rain and so far we have only seen heavy rain. The good news is that Bethesda hasn't been hammered with falling trees and power outages.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Welcome to Bethesda, Patch.

AOL recently started a network of local news sites called patch. At the beginning of the week there Bethesda news site BethesdaPatch started posting articles. It isn't a blog, the articles are longer, newspaper style articles (hopefully with newspaper style fact checking). This is a great addition to the area and I look forward to reading its articles. Welcome.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't even ask... Go Away

You gotta love a sign which says "Don't Even Ask... Go Away". This one is on the Barking Dog's delivery entrance on Elm Street in Bethesda, MD. The full sign reads: No Deliveries between 11:AM - 2:00 PM Monday - Friday "Don't even ask... Go Away"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bethesda comings and goings

A number of new restaurants and stores have opened in Bethesda, MD in the past couple of months. Some I have written about but others I haven't. I was sorry to see Austin Grill, a long time resident of Bethesda Row leave us. I will also miss Organic To Go, it only lasted six months or so.

New to the area is Taylor Gourmet and Vapiano which I just wrote about and across the street from them, American Tap Room.

Food Wine & Co just opened last week on Wisconsin Avenue where there used to be a Pizzeria Uno.

Fresh Grill I already wrote about, but across the street, the former Costa Del sol is now Valparaiso Eterno, both of these have free WiFi and are on Fairmont Avenue.

La Zeez Mediterranean Grill snuck in while I wasn't looking, I'm not sure when it opened.

In the past few weeks Yamas Mediterranean Grill also opened near the corner of Woodmont Ave and Rugby Ave. I hear they make their own gyro meat so I have to try them out.

It isn't just restaurants, Henry & Y Couture just opened late last week at the former location of D. Gilpin Jewelers on St. Elmo Avenue.

Not everything is open yet, Uptown Deli is still coming soon. Also coming soon is Cava, where Organic To Go was on Bethesda Ave and Annies Bistro Francais on St. Elmo where Cafe Gelato was.

The Waygoose isn't leaving us, it is just moving from Bethesda Avenue to 4926 Hampden Lane.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Taylor Gourmet and Vapiano are here

I have been following the progress of this building on Woodmont Avenue between Hampden Lane and Elm Street ever since they started tearing down the old one. Although Equinox Fitness hasn't opened yet, two of the tenants have. Taylor Gourmet serves really good, huge sandwiches on crusty, chewy bread. I had one last week and really liked it.

I haven't been to Vapiano yet but it is a world-wide chain of Italian restaurants serving made-to-order hand tossed pizzas, fresh, house-made pasta and hand tossed gourmet salads.

There has always been a bit of a dead zone on Woodmont Ave between Elm St and Old Georgetown Rd, in that multi-block stretch there was a single restaurant and no other retail. This new building shrinks that dead zone by a block. Two new restaurants and some great-looking landscaping along the street really make the area look nice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Payphones in Bethesda

I was reading a set of "where are they now" posts at the payphone project, going back to where payphones existed in the past and seeing if they remain (most don't) It is interesting to see how rapidly pay phones have gone from being critical to being in the way. It got me wondering about the status of pay phones in Bethesda, MD. I've run across a couple, such as this one on Bethesda Avenue:

And another that hasn't faired so well at the Tastee Diner:

If you know of any others that still exist in Bethesda, let me know in the comments, I'll try and get pictures of them before they are gone. Feel free to share any Bethesda payphone related stories you have too. The payphone project has a sure to be outdated list of phones, I may try to track some of them down.

Update Sept 18:
Here are some ones that I have found so far. First, the one Ken pointed out on the 7900 block of Norfolk Avenue.

There is still one by the front door of the police station on Montgomery Avenue.

This one is at a gas station on Highland Avenue near Wisconsin Avenue.

Update September 27:

Here's three more I have found.

On Fairmont Avenue near Old Georgetown Rd at the BP gas station.

At Bethesda Library, right next to the book return.

In the bus bays at Bethesda Metro Station. There are actually five phones in this bank, three on the front and two on the back.

That's all I've been able to find, if you know of any more, let me know in the comments and I will try and get a picture.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review: Fresh Grill

Fresh Grill has been open for a couple of months but I just noticed it this week. It's specialty is Angus burgers and it has gotten very good reviews on both yelp and chowhound so maybe their website's claim that they are "the most talked about burger bistro in Bethesda" has some truth to it.

The interior is open, you walk up to the counter to order and you can watch them cook your meal while you wait. There are also a couple of TVs so you can watch while you wait or eat. Food is cooked to order so you will have a bit of a wait for your burgers. There is outdoor seating for when the weather is nice.

The menu is burgers, burgers, more burgers, and a couple of other things. Three quarters of the first page of it is dedicated to "Build Your Own Angus Burger", then they have 10 additional signature angus burgers. Filling out the selection is the "Sandwich of the month" (pork loin right now), a chicken sandwich, a fish sandwich, two salads (grilled chicken and shrimp) and fish and chips. They also have beer, wine, and soda. All the sandwiches are served with seasoned, freshly made potato chips.

Just to be different, I got the WGC (World's greated chicken sandwich): grilled, marinated chicken over house slaw on a bistro bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo. The house slaw is marinated and just a little tangy, it isn't a creamy, mayonnaise based coleslaw. It was delicious, the slaw really perked up the chicken. The chips were both a strength and a weakness, it is nice to see something besides fries, the seasoning was great, most of the chips were just the right crispness, but a few of them were a bit less than fully crisp.

Other reviews I have read drool over their burgers so I went back a second time to try the Mushroom Madness burger. Swiss cheese, portabella mushrooms and saute button mushrooms. As promised, it was tasty, juicy, and tender. The mushrooms had a flavor of their own and whatever sauce they were cooked in didn't overwhelm the burger at all. It is a very good burger indeed.

For a burger place, it isn't cheap, running around $10 each. These aren't your regular burgers though, they are half pound angus beef burgers cooked to perfection and very tasty. However they are prepared, they are still hamburgers, don't expect a life changing experience from them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sponsored Park Potties

You may have heard that Montgomery County, MD has fiscal problems this year. To cut costs, they decided to remove the portable toilets from the parks. This wasn't a popular decision so they came up with the idea of letting people or companies sponsor a park potty.

I was at one of the local parks over the weekend and I saw the result of this. Three banners advertising a local company, one on the tennis courts and two on the baseball diamond. At the top of the banner it said "The portable toilets in this park were generously sponsored by:" I really don't like advertising in the parks, on the other hand, the port-a-potties are a really nice thing to have. Hopefully in the future the county will be able to pay for them on its own, but this year at least it seems like an OK solution.

Monday, September 6, 2010

An interesting No Parking sign in Bethesda

I was walking down Elm Street today and saw this interesting handmade no parking sign. It says "No Parking, the Police are ticketing! No Parking" I'm not sure what the root cause of this is. Did someone get annoyed that people were parking where they shouldn't? Did someone's client's car get ticketed? who knows. Right above this sign is the real no parking sign.

[where: Elm St, Bethesda, MD]