Archives February 2022

Congratulations, Melina, for being one of Tom Sietsema’s 7 favorite places to eat

From The Washington Post

When he was looking for a chef for his modern Greek restaurant in North Bethesda, Dimitri Moshovitis, a founder of the fast-casual Cava chain, knew exactly who he wanted: Aris Tsekouras, whose koulouri, or sesame sourdough, reminded the restaurateur of the bread of his youth. “So much love into something so simple,” recalls Moshovitis.

Bread turns out to be just one of the chef’s talents at Melina, named for Moshovitis’s 12-year-old daughter. His beef tartare and grilled octopus are special, too. The former is raw beef shot through with minced pickled cabbage, pickled mustard seeds and cured lemon — ingredients associated with Greece’s traditional stuffed cabbage. The latter, brightened with a parsley puree, comes with an elusive floral note: vanilla, which the chef adds as a contrast to the salinity of the octopus. The chef thinks outside the forum with a skewer of grilled portobello mushrooms on smoked graviera cream — a meat-free souvlaki prettied up with grated cured egg yolk and newly rethought with farro and hazelnuts.

The meal that transports me to Sunday in Athens is the lamb neck. Plied with roasted red peppers, the feast is served in the folds of parchment paper with pinches of nutty kefalograviera cheese and trailed by side dishes including fried potato and pickled onions. The idea is to make your own gyros with the help of the accompanying oregano-freckled sourdough pita.

A lot of thought has gone into the restaurant, dressed with faux olive trees, roomy booths with mirrors at eye level and theater-length white curtains in the floor-to-ceiling windows. Kudos to whoever thought to stock the restrooms with changing tables — black ones, to match the walls.

905 Rose Ave., North Bethesda, Md. 301-818-9090. melinagreek.com. Open for indoor dining. Entrees, $20 to $44.

Montrose Parkway to become Josiah Henson Parkway

Yesterday, the Montgomery County Planning Board, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M=NCPPC) approved a resolution to rename Montrose Parkway, located in North Bethesda, in honor of the Rev. Josiah Henson. 

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the State Highway Administration (SHA) are expected to install the new street signs for Josiah Henson Parkway in early March. 

To read the details of the resolution, Item-7-Renaming-Montrose-Parkway-to-Josiah-Henson-Parkway-1.pdf (montgomeryplanningboard.org)

Josiah Henson Museum – Meeting of the Minds

Saturday, Feb 26, 2022 11am to 12:15pm

We celebrate the paralleled legacies and experience of our Maryland Black History titans, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Reverend Josiah Henson. On February 26, 2022 join the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, and the Josiah Henson Museum and Park for a virtual conversation by first person re-enactors about the life of these leaders. All born in southern Maryland, there individuals have shaped and impacted the course of history while displaying bravery that continues to inspire generations.

The re-enactors will shed light on their contributions while shedding light on where their paths have crossed throughout their lives. Following the discussion, there will be a fifteen minute Q/A segment.

Appropriate for ages 6 and up. Registrants will receive an email with log-in details just prior to the presentation.

Registration required per connection. Advanced online registration required by 5pm February 25th. No onsite registration available.

Aldi’s almost here

From Store Reporter

Next Thursday (Feb. 24th) is opening day for our newest Aldi supermarket, next door to HomeGoods at White Flint Plaza. Aldi, which is poised to become the nation’s third-largest grocery chain, has long been known for its low prices and no-frills atmosphere. But in recent years, the German company has stepped up its image with better produce, a vast array of organics, and high-quality private-label brands. Aldi also has an army of super-fans who stalk its treasure-hunt aisles for limited-edition finds: crockpots, rain boots, picnic blankets, exercise bikes, furniture and other random products at crazy-cheap prices.

Pedestrian Deaths Spike in U.S. as Reckless Driving Surges

Fatalities are climbing to record levels two years into the pandemic. Authorities cite drivers’ anxiety levels, larger vehicles and fraying social norms.

Because the Pike District/White Flint area is striving to be as walkable as possible, I though this article would be of interest.

From the NY Times

Going into the pandemic, some traffic specialists were optimistic that pedestrian deaths would decline. After all, millions of motorists were slashing their driving time and hewing to social distancing measures.

The opposite happened.

Empty roads allowed some to drive much faster than before. Some police chiefs eased enforcement, wary of face-to-face contact. For reasons that psychologists and transit safety experts are just beginning to explain, drivers also seemed to get angrier.

Dr. David Spiegel, director of Stanford Medical School’s Center on Stress and Health, said many drivers were grappling with what he calls “salience saturation.”

“We’re so saturated with fears about the virus and what it’s going to do,” Dr. Spiegel said. “People feel that they get a pass on other threats.”

Dr. Spiegel said another factor was “social disengagement,” which deprives people of social contact, a major source of pleasure, support and comfort. Combine that loss with overloading our capacity to gauge risks, Dr. Spiegel said, and people are not paying as much attention to driving safely.

“If they do, they don’t care about it that much,” Dr. Spiegel said. “There’s the feeling that the rules are suspended and all bets are off.”

Crashes killed more than 6,700 pedestrians in 2020, up about 5 percent from the estimated 6,412 the year before, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Based on another commonly used road safety metric — vehicle miles traveled — the group projected that the pedestrian fatality rate spiked about 21 percent in 2020 as deaths climbed sharply even though people drove much less that year, the largest ever year-over-year increase. And preliminary data from 2021 indicates yet another increase in the number of pedestrian deaths.

While other developed countries have made strides in reducing pedestrian deaths over the last several years, the pandemic has intensified several trends that have pushed the United States in the other direction. Crashes killing pedestrians climbed 46 percent over the last decade, compared with a 5 percent increase for all other crashes, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Read the rest of the article at https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/14/us/pedestrian-deaths-pandemic.html

Construction Moving Fast at Upcoming 16-Story Building in Pike & Rose

From the MoCo Show

915 Meeting Street will be a 16-story, state-of-the-art, LEED Gold-targeted building featuring 9,600 square feet of ground floor retail, approximately 25,000-square-foot flexible floor plates and 700 dedicated parking spaces. The building, designed by Gensler, will incorporate a vibrant architectural design that includes numerous amenities, such as a rooftop conference center with collaborative common areas, WiredScore-targeted connectivity, a fitness center, and resource-efficient sustainable and wellness features.

Located in the Pike & Rose neighborhood of North Bethesda, 915 Meeting Street will sit within the transit-oriented, LEED Gold-certified neighborhood of Pike & Rose and its more than 400,000 square feet of retail, services, dining, and entertainment offerings. The new construction comes following the success of Pike & Rose’s 300,000 square feet of existing office product, which includes tenants such as Bank of America, JLL, Industrious, OneDigital and Federal Realty’s corporate headquarters.

915 Meeting Street broke ground in late 2021 and has made significant progress. The building is 40% pre-leased to Choice Hotels, who plans to relocate approximately 400 corporate employees from its current headquarters beginning in December of 2023. Bernie McCarthy, executive managing director, and Danny Sheridan, managing director at JLL represented Federal Realty, and Steve London, vice chairman at Savills represented Choice Hotels. 

“It’s been gratifying to see Pike & Rose become an established neighborhood and the real estate of choice for multiple uses,” said Don Wood, chief executive officer for Federal Realty. “The continued demand for office at our mixed-use developments, coming from world-class companies like Splunk and NetApp at Santana, Partners Healthcare and PUMA at Assembly, and now Choice at Pike & Rose, validates our track record of delivering a high-quality product that capitalizes on the highly amenitized environments we have created.

California-based seafood restaurant coming to Pike & Rose in North Bethesda

From Bethesda Beat

Hello Betty, a seafood restaurant that started in California, said Monday that it is coming to Pike & Rose development this spring.

Hello Betty serves conservas, or Spanish tinned seafood, as well as various types of small plates and entrees cooked in an open flame oven, according to a press release. Items include fire-roasted blue crabs, fish and chips, and peel-and-eat shrimp.

Chef Derek Simcik, the director of culinary operations for parent company Sage Restaurant Concepts, plans to offer a regionally inspired menu, according to the press release. The majority of items will be “sustainably sourced and influenced by the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay.”

The North Bethesda location, at 940 Rose Ave., will be 3,000 square feet and include a private dining room, a patio and a bar made out of a boat. The bar portion is expected to open in the summer, according to the press release.

Our testimony on the CIP Budget

This is the testimony provided to the county council last night on the County Executive’s propose capital budget for the county.

My name is Bill Carey. I’m representing the Friends of White Flint, a non-profit organization, composed of residents , businesses, and property owners who work together to transform the White Flint/Pike District/North Bethesda area into a walkable, vibrant, smart growth community.

We applaud the emphasis of the CIP budget on transit, especially its focus on the Route 355 Bus Rapid Transit line. Route 355 BRT is critical to fulfilling the vision of the 2010 sector plan. We are, however, disappointed that there is no money for bike and pedestrian improvements in North Bethesda.  Walkability and bikeability are equally important for fulfilling the sector plan’s vision.

We urge the council not to push back funding for the northern entrance of the White Flint metro station, soon to be called North Bethesda station, hat is a vital connection for the Pike District.

Finally, we ask the council to ensure that the funding for Woodward High School’s renovation remain on track so that it can open with a stadium, athletic fields, an auditorium and other essential amenities as planned.