Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bike to Work Day Should Be Everyday

May 18th, 2012 is Bike To Work Day in the DC area. It's an annual event sponsored by Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections to promote a greener and healthier way to get to work (not to mention cheaper).  They set up stations around the area and you can rent a bike for you can rent a bike for FREE but you need to register first at   If you live in the Downtown Silver Spring area, your location is the Discovery Communications building located at 1 Discovery Place.  They will also give you a free t-shirt and free prizes for give-aways.

Early pick-up is available from 5pm to 7pm on Thursday, May 17.  Day of pick-up begins at 7am.  Please refer to the website for details.

I fully support biking as an alternative for a healthier and greener option, but it doesn't feel like we have the County's support.  For one, there are NO bike lanes anywhere on Georgia Avenue, the main artery of of Downtown Silver Spring.  I couldn't find them on any of the other major roads either. I see bikers every now and then but not even close to what we see in DC, Arlington, or Bethesda.  

Georgia Avenue north bound

 Georgia Avenue eastbound towards DTSS between Spring & 16th. No bike lanes in addition to narrow sidewalks

Georgia Avenue west bound between Spring & 16th. More narrow sidewalks.

Georgia & Thayer. No bike lanes AND no crosswalks

Hopefully with  Bike Share coming this fall on 2nd avenue, there will be more awareness and future plans for change sooner than later.

Another reason to bike is the proposed change in parking fees for garages and meters.  Under the Executive’s budget, the long term rate would increase from $0.60/hour to $0.70/hour and from $113 to $132 for the monthly Parking Convenience Sticker. Also, beginning October 1 of 2012, the County would begin charging for parking on Saturdays.  

The fees would go towards managing and operating the parking lots, supporting the clean and safe teams (red shirts), and building reserves so that repairs can be made to some of our older garages.  For example, only two floors of the garage near the World Building are open because the others are deemed unsafe and in need of repair or replacement.

If you work in DTSS, these proposed changes could affect you directly.  Biking could help off set the increase in parking and avoid the cluster of the lack of spots. 

As an alternative to increased parking fees and enforcement hours, it has been suggested that the County consider leasing space in garages and lots to private businesses for such services as car detailing, windshield replacement/repair, even vending machines. 

Stay tuned...

Update!! May 2nd, the recommendation to begin charging for Saturday parking was rejected.  In addition, parking enforcement selected not to extend parking hours until 10pm. W I N!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Brunches, Lunches, Interviews by the Pool

Ok, so this post is about brunches that could turn into lunches.  This has nothing to do with interviews by the pool (ode to Biggie).  Next time you're looking to meet up with friends and hit up a fun brunch spot, try one of these in Downtown Silver Spring. Let go of Georgetown; you know you end up spending Benjamins shopping every time you Mimosa it up in G-town.  U Street has no parking. Arlington is so Arlington. Midtown is where you'll run into everyone you don't want to run into from last night.  H Street is so 2011. OK - fine -  H Street is actually a really fun street. But venture out. Get out of your shell. 

Here's a list of numerous options for brunching in Downtown Silver Spring and its proximity. Many have outdoor seating with patios or decks. Lots of options for Saturday brunches as well as Sunday. 

These spots are all easy to get to right on the red line. Almost all are walking distance from the Silver Spring metro. Also, parking is free for Downtown Silver Spring on Saturdays & Sundays (garages and street parking).

Jackie's - 8081 Georgia Avenue - Sundays only - 11:30am - 2:30pm
Small outdoor seating 
Raspberry, chocolate, & dulce de leche doughnuts made to order that hurt so good.

Fenton Cafe - 8311 Fenton Street - Saturday & Sunday - 8am - 8pm
Small outdoor seating
Creperie - every type you can think up. Nutella & Blackberry | Cheese, Avocado, & Tomato | Chestnut Spread & Strawberry to name a few.
No website to list. 

Oriental East - 1290 East-West Highway - Saturday & Sunday - 11am - 3pm 
Dim Sum Brunch 
Chose your plate from the rolling carts. Steam Shrimp Dumplings, Baked Roast Pork Buns, Steamed Bun with Egg Custard to name a few.

Mrs. Kay's Tollhouse - 9201 Colesville Road - Sundays only - 10:30am - 2:30pm
Sunday Brunch Buffet at $29.95/person. Changes weekly but they always feature a carving station, waffle station, scrambled eggs, oysters on the half shell. 

Fire Station 1 - 8131 Georgia Avenue - Saturday & Sunday - 11am - 2pm
Large space for outdoor seating - could accommodate a large party.
10' Morning Pizza, Creamed Cheese Stuffed French Toast, Spicy Bloody Mary & Mimosas 

Bete Ethiopian Cuisine & Cafe - 811 Roeder Road - Saturday & Sunday - 9am - 1pm
Large space for outdoor seating - could accommodate a large party - patio out back.
Scrambled eggs with kinchea (wheat simmered with Ethiopian butter) and chechebsa (flatbread), Ethiopian coffee (Yerga Cheffe), lattes, espressos, cappuccinos

Fajita Coast - 1115 East West Highway - Saturday & Sunday - 11am - 3pm
Large space for outdoor seating including sand pit.
Huevos Rancheros, Steak & Eggs with Chimichurri sauce and shoestring potatoes

8407 Kitchen Bar - 8407 Ramsey Avenue - Sundays only - 11am - 2:30pm
Challah French Toast (orange cream cheese stuffed), House Moulard Duck Ham and Egg Sandwich to wash down with a Kentucky Smoked Peach (Bulleit Bourbon, Peach Brandy, Smoked Peach Nectar, Peach Bitters), Sparkling French Alps (Grey Goose Vodka, St Germain, Elderberry Syrup, Lavender, Sparking Rose), or a House Bloody Mary. 

McGinty's Public House - 911 Ellsworth Drive - Saturday & Sunday - 11am - 4pm
About 10 tables or so for outdoor seating.
Stuffed French Toast (Strawberry cream cheese mousse, candied pecan and Vermont maple syrup), McGinty's Crab Cake, Irish Breakfast. Bloody Mary Bar - mix yourself. Bloody Marys, Mimosas, and Champagne, $4.

Whole Foods Market - 833 Wayne Avenue - Saturdays & Sunday - 8am - 12noon
Go see the Omelet Man. He's on site cooking up omelets however you like them. Full Service coffee/pastry bar is also available. Take your breakfast outside to the plaza or sit indoors at the window and people watch.

Eggspectations - 923 Ellsworth Drive - Every Day - Brunch/Breakfast all day.
Pancakes, waffles, crepes, omelets, bagels, yogurt, the works.
Full juice bar. Add rum...

Austin Grill - 919 Ellsworth Drive - Saturday & Sunday - 11am - 3pm
Good size outdoor patio.  In addition to their regular menu they have a Gluten free menu. 
Chorizo Burrito, Austin Eggs Benedict, Magnolia Eggs (two scrambled eggs on a toasted English muffin with our chile con queso). They also feature "The Hangover Burger". Could go really well with hair of the dog.
Sorry no website listed since they don't feature their brunch menu. 

La Fonda Paisa - 7914 Georgia - Saturday & Sunday - 9am - 10pm 
Smoothies and Juice bar. Maybe they'll spike it? If not, bring a flask. Wait - is that even legal? Don't take my advice on that. 
The Latin Breakfast looks like an excellent deal: 2 eggs any style, sweet plantain, white cheese, refried beans, and tortilla all for $5.99. The Sancocho de Pollo is not a "breakfast" food, but it will cure any hangover. 

Copper Canyon Grill - 928 Ellsworth - Sundays only - 11:45am - 1:45pm 
Filet Mignon Benedict, Crab Benedict, Crab Scrambled, Pancake Triple Stack, French Toast with Caramelized Bananas, Berries, and Grand Marnier Cream Sauce. You get one free Mimosa, Bloody Mary, Bellini, or Screwdriver. 

> These two aren't walking distance from the Silver Spring Metro stop but they are an easy bike or bus ride:

The Daily Dish - 8301 Grubb Road - Saturday 8:30am - 11am & Sunday 8:30a - 9am pastries only, then 9am - 3pm full service brunch
Chesapeake Eggs Benedict, Make Your Own Omelet. Make Your Own Bloody Mary Bar.  Peach Jalapeno Martini, Blueberry Pomegranate Mimosa to name a few. 

Parkway Deli & Restaurant - 8317 Grubb Road - Saturday & Sunday (all day, however, certain brunch specials are only from 8:30am - 2pm)
Numerous omelet options, Whole Grilled Rainbow Trout served with 3 eggs, hash browns, and toast, Chorizo Sausage & Egg Wrap to name a few options. Beer & Wine only.

Worth noting:

Society Lounge is currently working on their brunch menu and their rooftop space. They hope to have both of those ready to go in the near future.

Piratz Tavern will have Gamer Sunday Brunch the last Sunday of the month of April. Sounds like a party. There may be other brunch Sundays in the near future.

*Note, these menus, times, and info aforementioned are subject to change. If you're planning a special brunch for your grandma's 80th birthday and you decide on one of the above restaurant specifically because of something I mentioned, please double check with the restaurant to ensure nothing has changed. 

If there's something or someplace I missed, I want to hear about it! Please respond to this post with suggestions. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

From Farmer's Market to Table at Home in 20 Minutes

In search of a quick brunch...
...I hit up the Freshfarm Market today in Downtown Silver Spring on Ellsworth, between Fenton and Cedar streets, about 4 blocks from the Silver Spring metro. Today's farmer's market consisted of about 11 different vendors that featured: bread, poultry, produce, eggs, jams, honey, fruits, herbs, lotions, beef, chicken, rabbit, milk, cheese, pastries, and you can find out more details about their vendors at

My mission: to be in and out and find something from brunch in 10 minutes, under $10 to be made at home in 10 minutes. Mission accomplished. Brunch included: eggs, chorrizo, potatoes, chives, and bread. Organic, quick, satisfying, easy, and quick clean up.