Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Popeyes Red Stick Chicken review (Video/photos)

Popeyes launched a new menu item Monday, called Red Stick Chicken. The name comes from the ingredient the fried chicken tenders are marinated in - Tabasco sauce. The McIlhenny family has been  producing that sauce on Avery Island, Louisiana since 1868, and growing the cayenne peppers for it there, as well. It is from the growing process of those crops that the Red Stick name comes from.

In monitoring and harvesting the peppers, employees use a wooden stick painted the exact shade of red that the fruit must be to meet McIlhenny standards for ripeness. The baton rouge is known in English as "the Red Stick."

Tabasco flavor and heat is met by an equally-spicy Smok'n Pepper Ranch sauce, also new this week at Popeyes. The meal is completed with a serving of Popeyes' famous fries and Southern-style biscuit.

How hot is the Red Stick Chicken, and how does it taste? Watch my review to find out!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Republic hosting ACORN wine dinner April 8 in Takoma Park

Republic in Takoma Park will be hosting a wine dinner featuring selections from ACORN of the Russian River Valley on Wednesday, April 8 at 7:00 PM. ACORN's co-owners Bill and Betsy Nachbaur will be on hand for the 5-course dinner, prepared by Chef Danny Wells.

Tickets are $85, and can be reserved now with a credit card by calling 301.270.3000.

Here's a preview of the menu and wines:

Winemaker Welcome with Cava
Grilled shrimp and Oysters on the Half-shell (passed)
 ACORN Rosato 2013
Onion bialy, Pipe Dreams Goat Cheese, marinated Beets, Smoked Char
 ACORN Sangiovese 2011
Potato Gnocchi, Morel Mushrooms, Arugula Pesto, Seared Pork Belly
 ACORN Dolcetto 2011
 Seared Duck Breast and Juniper Spiced Duck Sausage,
Baby Root Vegetables, Sage Brown Butter
 ACORN “Axiom” Syrah 2010
Medjool dates, stuffed with Rogue River Smokey blue,
wrapped in house cured pancetta
 Cookie plate and coffee

6939 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Digidoc signs lease in downtown Silver Spring (Photo)

Digidoc, an information technology solutions firm that specializes in document management and conversion, has leased 2434 SF of space at Silver Spring Plaza. The Florida Avenue NW-headquartered firm has multiple offices in the DC region.

Silver Spring Plaza is located at 8757 Georgia Avenue, and is owned by Washington Property Company.

Digidoc's CEO, Daryl Wiggins, was awarded the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises award by Diversity Careers magazine.

Photo courtesy Washington Property Company

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pedestrians struck at Leisure World, in Takoma Park

Four pedestrians and two bicyclists were struck by cars yesterday in Montgomery County; two of those victims were in the East County.

At 3:45 PM, a pedestrian was struck in the 7600 block of New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park.

About an hour later, another pedestrian was hit at Leisure World. That collision took place in front of the Leisure World Administration Building, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer.

No details on the injuries of the victims have been made available as of press time.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Latin gala to raise money for Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad March 28

The Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad is hosting a fiesta for a great cause this Saturday, March 28, at their new Ballroom at Wheaton Glen facility above the squad at 2400 Arcola Avenue.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the purchase of a $1,000,000 truck needed for the squad, due to aging equipment.

The event will feature Salsa and a variety of other Latin music performed by Laura Sosa and Pa’ Gozar Latin Band. The band is widely known for performing at festivals and Latin venues throughout the Washington, DC area. The show will also include a performance by Titanes Salseros, the Latin dance team from Albert Einstein High School. Free Latin dance lessons will be provided starting at 7pm, courtesy of Flying Feet Enterprises. The WVRS will be serving Latin food items (for an additional cost) and have a cash bar. There will also be door prizes, a raffle, and other cash games.

Doors will open at 7:00 PM.

Tickets are $25 for adults and children 12 and over. For more information:

Email L​atinGala@wvrs.org, or call 240-389-3894.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Downtown Wheaton " redevelopment " meeting March 24

A public information meeting on the proposed Lot 13 redevelopment project in Wheaton will be held Tuesday, March 24, at 6:30 PM in the Wheaton High School Auditorium. The school is located at 12601 Dalewood Drive.

Updated sketch plans will be displayed for the project, which will be a Montgomery County Government office building. This is hardly what residents and Wheaton businesses had in mind. The project will hurt Wheaton Triangle businesses by removing the convenient parking their patrons currently enjoy in Lot 13, and create dirt, noise and disruption. Government offices won't jumpstart the Wheaton economy, either. The reality is, the Powers That Be want the small businesses around Lot 13 to fail, so that they can demolish those retail buildings, and build more luxury apartments.

With Marriott actively searching for a new headquarters location convenient to Metro, why aren't these unwise plans being put on hold, and efforts made to secure the hospitality giant for Wheaton. Doesn't Wheaton deserve to have a logo other than that of a grocery store to anchor its skyline?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Quarry House, Bombay Gaylord & Mandarin Chinese restaurants damaged in Silver Spring fire (Photos)

A major fire in the 8400 block of Georgia Avenue damaged three popular restaurants early this morning in Silver Spring. Quarry House Tavern, Bombay Gaylord and Mandarin Chinese restaurants were all damaged. Over 100 firefighters responded to the 2 alarm blaze. One firefighter suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photos by Pete Piringer

Monday, March 9, 2015


As Paul Harvey used to say, "And now...the rest of the story."

This past Saturday's infrastructure summit at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School was long in hours but short on accurate information. The Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County described it as a "farce." Much of the program was made up of County officials delivering the same talking points we've already heard in other forums, and too little from actual parents and residents. More facts were being tweeted by the PCMC and citizens during the meeting than being generated by the speakers themselves.
No public speaking by the public,
One would think that the beg-a-thon underway currently for school construction money would be enough to dissuade Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson from claiming that development is covering the cost of the new school construction it requires. While everyone is rolling around on the floor laughing in response to that assertion, let me point out:

DC, Fairfax and Arlington have all had real estate development booms - and they all had budget shortfalls this year. Montgomery County has been growing like mad before and after the recession - and is in a structural deficit as far out as the projections go.

Guess what? It's a fact that residential development does not generate the revenue needed to cover the schools and services those new populations require. Your ever-increasing Montgomery County taxes and fees are the best evidence of that.

Developers covering school construction
costs? Not quite... "Need state aid," tweeted
MCPS Board of Education member
Jill Ortman-Fouse. Yep, actual BOE member
said it, not me
The use of cluster averaging allows County officials to give the false impression that overcrowding is currently under 120% of capacity.

FACT: I'm aware of eight Montgomery County public schools which currently exceed 150% of capacity. One is at, or exceeds, 180% of capacity. At some point, it's like having two schools within one building.

FACT: As regards future development in the Walt Whitman cluster - those schools are over capacity now. Wood Acres Elementary is getting an addition, and that will put it at full capacity when completed (it was over-capacity prior to the beginning of construction). Kids are taking gym class in hallways at Pyle Middle School.

FACT: The generation of students from multifamily housing in the Whitman cluster, and in the Westbard Sector in particular, is significantly higher than elsewhere in the county. Bruce Crispell, long-range planner for MCPS, acknowledged this fact at the Westbard Sector Plan charrette.

How about those talking points about "urban" schools? Put aside the point that Westbard and other areas being targeted for massive overdevelopment are definitively suburban and residential in character for a moment. Put aside the point that neither potential elementary school site floated by planners for the Westbard sector is large enough to hold a school. Put aside the point that the acreage of Westland Middle School and the current Little Falls Library site together is not large enough to support the population, employees and facilities for two "collocated" schools (one wonders how many people who are talking about "collocating" a school at the Westland site are aware of the actual size of the property, and that any expansion into Equity One's site is blocked by the driveway for Kenwood Place - and the proposed Equity One grocery store building that would be on that part of the Westwood Shopping Center site).

Put that all aside, and ask yourself if you want your kids in a tiny school, with inadequate playground space, athletic fields and other facilities. As Rockville Planning Commissioner John Tyner pointed out recently, schools involve more than just jamming kids into sardine can classrooms and "urban" (a.k.a. cramped) school buildings. The facilities that high-quality schools require are "the things that really determine if kids get a good education or not," Tyner said. I won't even get into the idea being floated of these schools being placed in industrial areas! What's better than a portable classroom? A portable classroom next to an EPA brownfield, I guess.

"Full disclosure": The architect speaking at the meeting was with Perkins Eastman. The same Perkins Eastman retained by developer Equity One for its Westbard redevelopment plan. The same Perkins Eastman that thereby will profit from approval of the Westbard Sector Plan as currently formulated. An approval that will be decided by Chairman Anderson, and Councilmembers Roger Berliner and George Leventhal, and other officials present at Saturday's forum. Is this a forum, or corporate lobbying?

By the way, there's a lot more to infrastructure than schools. Roads, sewers, police and fire are just some of the major expenses development generates. Yes, proponents of BRT did use this forum to push for that $5 billion bus system boondoggle - which will have zero impact on traffic congestion.

FACT: BRT would reduce capacity on the County's most-traveled commuter routes by a full 33%.

FACT: The current draft of the Westbard Sector Plan includes not a single project or proposal to increase automobile capacity on River Road or Massachusetts Avenue. And how could you do much anyway, given that the River Road right-of-way is constricted by homes east of Little Falls Parkway. Would the War-on-Cars-Capital of the World, Washington, DC, widen River Road within its borders past Western Avenue? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Contrary to what you may be hearing from this meeting and the media - we are not "going to be okay" on our present course regarding development and infrastructure.

"And now you know...the rest of the story."

Just the facts, ma'am.