Monday, June 8, 2009

68 things I love about east county (part one)

part ONE of a series adapted from Bethesda Magazine's "67 Things We Love About Bethesda" list. Got something you love about the east side? Help me get to 68 things by leaving a comment or shooting an e-mail to justupthepike at gmail dot com.

Full Key Restaurant in Wheaton. I drove here from College Park in a snowstorm two years ago to have noodle soup with Hans Riemer, who says it's the only place around that does it like they do. Yes, it's that good.

The Loews Centerpark 8. Now that the Olney 9 and P & G 11 in Wheaton have closed, the last great shitty movie theatre in East County is actually in Prince George's. While the floors aren't as sticky and the staff as unattentive as Olney's was, the Centerpark 8 qualifies because it isn't nearly as snazzy as the Majestic or anything you'd see in Bethesda/Rockville/Columbia. And the ticket prices show, with all movies before noon a mere $6.

Seibel's in Burtonsville. Honestly, I've never eaten the ice cream here before. But I figure if it's good enough for people in HoCo to come down our way, it's good enough for me.

El Pollo Rico. Immigration-proof and fire-proof, this purveyor of Peruvian chicken - and a local institution - isn't going anywhere. My former co-workers in Bethesda would routinely sneak out here for lunch, and the smell would always give them away.

Bethesda. If they claimed the Birchmere and Red Rock Canyon Grill as their own, I claim all of Bethesda as ours, so long as they stay on their own side of Rock Creek Park so we can remember "normal people" still live in Montgomery County.

So many blogs. Take a look at that blogroll on the left-hand side of the screen. There are over a dozen blogs based out of Silver Spring, more than any other D.C. suburb and quite a few of the city's hipster-choked neighborhoods as well, I'm sure. And it's not just limited to the web, with many in our ranks also involved in their community as well.

Ellsworth Drive/"The Promenade." If you want to start a flame war on Silver Spring, Singular, those four words are all it takes.

Pupuseria trucks. $4 for a meal? I am strongly considering finding a new place to live based on its proximity to them.

Whole Foods in Downtown Silver Spring. Thanks to samples, I'll never have to buy dinner before a movie at the Majestic.

Burtonsville Day. It's the only time Burtonsville looks like the small town it purports to be, complete with marching bands and just about everyone you've ever met or seen in your entire life.

The snowball stand in front of Kendall's Hardware in Clarksville. Something the east side is sorely lacking in - a snowball stand. Like all great summer treats, their shaved ice is cold and cheap. I would appreciate some condensed milk, though.

Wyndcrest in Ashton. Kentlands and Seaside may be better known, but Wyndcrest is an example of New Urbanist planners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk's work on a smaller, more intimate scale. It's a shame their plans to expand the neighborhood - the result of a community charrette - were never fully realized.

Lot 13 in Wheaton. The de facto town square in Wheaton is a parking lot, though Montgomery County's waiting to roll out the synthetic turf and make it permanent.

Wheaton Plaza - er, Westfield Wheaton. Turning fifty this year, the Wheaton mall is one of the nation's oldest, but the 2005 renovation helps it keep up with the times. For now, its mix of discount and high-end stores makes Wheaton a local alternative to the Columbia or Montgomery malls, but the economic downturn combined with recent violence may be its doom.

The emerging "restaurant row" on Route 198. Turning 70 this year, Seibel's is an emblem of old school Burtonsville - but it's been joined by a new class of eateries that don't look like they belong on the sleepy rural highway. From Ethiopia to New Orleans, places like Cafe Oromio, Cuba de Ayer, and Old Hickory Grille lend a whole new world of eating to the east side.

Chapala Palenque. The live bands at this bar, a branch of the larger Chapala restaurant two doors down, give Burtonsville something almost resembling nightlife. Remember that the entrance is down a little alley to the side - it's easy to miss this place flying down Route 198.

Emo kids on Ellsworth. Do they even exist anymore? (Look for skinny jeans, bangs, black-rimmed glasses, androgyny.) Or am I still stuck in 2004?


Thomas Hardman said...

Emo kids?

I think they all read your blog and decided that they couldn't live anymore, or at least they'd have to go someplace other than Ellsworth.

On the positive side, at a local shopping center I saw a l'il cutie all in black, and asked her if she was Goth or Emo.

With a bit of pride, she declared Goth.

I can't tell you how much it does my heart good to see that Goths do still exist in Aspen Hill.

Cyndy said...

I've got a couple for you.

Brookside Gardens.

Pho Real (great name!)in the shopping center at Briggs Chaney and Old Columbia Pike. I like it better than any of the places in Wheaton. It's clean. My favorites: eye of round pho, summer rolls, and homemade soda limeade.