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The Coolness That is Wheaton


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Just a few minutes north of the sanitized, chain-restaurant hell that is The New Silver Spring (with some notable exceptions), lies my new favorite suburban dining destination, a stretch of strip malls and grime bounded by University Boulevard, Viers Mill Road and Georgia Avenue known locally as "The Wheaton Triangle."

I'd wandered through the area before, having a some very good Indonesian food at Sabang and, like 90% of the parents with kids in school bands in DC and the close-in 'burbs, dropping by Chuck Levin's Music Center. But, lately, an odd confluence of events gets me into the neighborhood almost weekly, and every week I'm more impressed. It began when hjshorter pointed me toward the Little Bitts (sic) shop to pick up some sheet gelatin and to check out the endless supply of cake-oriented supplies they carry (I also ended up with a tall spring-form pan for when I get around to trying Keller's quiche).

Then onto An Binh, where we bought spectacularly addictive Vietnamese submarine sandwiches from a tiny kitchen on one side of the store and the most beautiful pork belly I've ever seen from the other side. Had one of those flattering/embarrasing moments where both the sandwich lady and the checkout lady made a big deal out of the pork belly, I guess they don't see too many Anglo customers buying it. They've got a full line of groceries, as well -- including endless supplies of Thai Basil.

Next stop: Pollo Rico, where the line was out the door last Sunday, and the smell of roasting chicken coming out of the shop's chimny explained why. Or maybe the Kosher bakery. Or the Spanish bakery. Or the Brazilian place across the stree.

It's a great and funky little spot, I hope the urban planners don't kill it with some misguided redevelopment program. In the mean time, anyone else have any tips and experience for my next trip north?

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Marchone's for carryout subs. There's a few Italian groceries on sale there too.

Suporn's for Thai or Hollywood East for Chinese, on Price St. I think there's a review of the new Hollywood East II in this week's Post magazine.

Scorpio

You'll be surprised to find out that Congress is empowered to forcibly sublet your apartment for the summer.

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Try Ruan Thai for real mom-and-pop Thai cooking. It's on Amherst Ave. off University Blvd on the left. Pho Hiep Hoa, just on the other side of the gas station, is also worth a look-see.

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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I second Ruan Thai - it's very good. Pho Heip Hoa is so and so for pho. I think the broth is too sweet. Woomi Garden has good Korean. Go to Asian Market for some good prepared foods - they have a whole aisle of Thai goodies for you. Also check out their Thai dessert section.

(Choose carefully - I got one that was mostly mung beans...I can take me some mung beans but not a whole nuggetful of them suckers)

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Yes Ruan Thai, yes Marchones, yes Hollywood East.

If it's still there, Bonifant Books was one of our favorite haunts. Store is on Georgia but there's a back entrance in the Triangle.

If you go a little farther up Georgia there's the Han A Reum grocery store. Worth a trip.

The Royal Mile Pub. 2407 Price Ave.

Edit to say: I knew. :cool:

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I noticed that there are a number of bookstores, including a cool used book store (could be Bonifant) a Jewish book store, a Christian book store and a dirty book store all on the same strip. Perhaps I'll stock up on reading materials next trip. ("As a matter of fact, I did buy this magazine for the articles, got a problem with that?")

I don't know about the Royal Mile, though. Isn't there anything divier in the area? When I go in for a Bloody Mary next Sunday, I don't want some place that's trying to sell me food. :biggrin:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I shop for ingredients in Wheaton--Han Ah Reum and Shalom Kosher are regular stops for me. But I've not been that impressed with the dining up there. I thought Suporn and Hollywood East were both quite overrated--greasy oversweetened not-hot-enough unbalanced food at both places. Max's Kosher Cafe is pretty disappointing--best to get your Jew Food fix at Parkway Deli in Silver Spring (which itself is not exactly world-class--and it ain't Kosher, whereas Max's is). I didn't much care for Dusit, but thought it was better than Suporn. I liked Thanh-Thanh a lot, especially their lemon sodas, but they closed. Am I just not ordering well?

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I shop for ingredients in Wheaton--Han Ah Reum and Shalom Kosher are regular stops for me. But I've not been that impressed with the dining up there. I thought Suporn and Hollywood East were both quite overrated--greasy oversweetened not-hot-enough unbalanced food at both places. Max's Kosher Cafe is pretty disappointing--best to get your Jew Food fix at Parkway Deli in Silver Spring (which itself is not exactly world-class--and it ain't Kosher, whereas Max's is). I didn't much care for Dusit, but thought it was better than Suporn. I liked Thanh-Thanh a lot, especially their lemon sodas, but they closed. Am I just not ordering well?

Hollywood East is a Hong Kong style Chinese restaurant, i.e. not hot spicy. So it seems unfair to criticize them for not being something that they aren't trying to be. For HK style food, I think they are quite good.

If you would like to have a closer look, I'm throwing a Chinese banquet there on May 21. All are welcome. e-mail me at janjohncottage@yahoo.com if you're interested. I think it will be a spectacular meal.

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Dusit used to be excellent, but I have not eaten there in 5-6 years. Ruan Thai was/is better, but it's a hole in the wall so we always got carryout.

What about Good Fortune? I remember it being very good but have not been in a long time. And Dynasty is closed now, right?

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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It's a great and funky little spot, I hope the urban planners don't kill it with some misguided redevelopment program.  In the mean time, anyone else have any tips and experience for my next trip north?

An Loi, which used to be in the mall, had to close due to construction and now only has their location in Columbia. They told us that the rents are too high now to re-open in Wheaton, which is a real shame. If you read the Gazette, there is even more housing planned to go in right above the metro. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the direction this is headed is not looking too good.

And don't forget Ferdinand's for...well...uh...nostalgia! I second the Barnaby's suggestion for "divey." (I don't think it's changed in over 25 years) Royal Mile is probably too yuppy for what you're looking for...

the royal mile pub

A few miles down the road tucked away off of Univ Blvd in Four Corners is The Corner Pub...haven't been there in quite some time, but it's probably still the hang out after softball games, and local pub grub that it was years ago. Good, greasy, pizza--try the ground beef and onion!

Edited by squids (log)
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I'm taking some folks from my office in Silver Spring up to Sabang tonight for dinner. Any particular recommendations? I've been once for the lunch buffet, but haven't ordered off the menu yet. My Indonesian experience is limited to a couple of hazy meals in Amsterdam.

Also, is there anything on the wine list worth ordering?

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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What about Good Fortune?  I remember it being very good but have not been in a long time.  And Dynasty is closed now, right?

Good Fortune is a solidly decent restaurant. If you get it on a good night, it's great. Also depends on who's working the kitchen that night - with any Chinese restaurant, if the big chef's not working the food isn't going to be great. Heck that's ANY restaurant.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's hard to find good authentic Cantonese food in the DC Metro area. You're better off piling in your car and driving to NYC for a true Cantonese fix.

Dynasty's been closed for years. I remember when I was a kid and they used to have dim sum on the weekends and the place was packed! They did it the old-fashioned way where they'd call out the name of the items on the cart. "Hai gaow, sui mai, yee chee gaow!" Oh man, that was soooo much fun! Nowadays it's all about pushing the cart silently (with a side of dour). Pfffft. Americanization of dim sum. Bah! :hmmm:

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HK cuisine isn't spicy on the whole but there are some items (ex: black pepper steak) that have a bit of a kick to it. 

What would be on the menu for your banquet?  I am curious...

Here is an excerpt from the little piece I sent out.

Menu: This will be a 13-course (for good luck obviously!) more-or-less traditional Chinese banquet. More details will follow, but the current plan includes as highlights suckling pig, scallops on the half shell, King of the Seas (lobster, Dungeness crab, razor clams, baby clams), tenderloin steak, chicken in XO sauce, spicy chili jumbo prawns, and firecracker boneless whole fish. The style of the cooking is generally Hong Kong (some dishes will be a bit spicy but for the most part the food will not be spicy/hot).

Seating/Service: The banquet will be served at traditional round tables for 10, course by course.

Drinks: Tea is included.

Cost will be $72 plus tip and tax

There is still plenty of scope if anyone would like to join. Since it has come up, I will also post a note on the Dining Friends thread.

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A few miles down the road tucked away off of Univ Blvd in Four Corners is The Corner Pub...haven't been there in quite some time, but it's probably still the hang out after softball games, and local pub grub that it was years ago. Good, greasy, pizza--try the ground beef and onion!

Just a few blocks from my house. Good bar food.

According to the owner, their business (mainly drinking) was badly hurt by the smoking ban. They've laid a couple of employees off and may soon go out of business.

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

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I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's hard to find good authentic Cantonese food in the DC Metro area.  You're better off piling in your car and driving to NYC for a true Cantonese fix. 

Well, since Good Fortune was right across the street it seemed easier to go there than drive to NYC once a week. :wink:

Dynasty was very good, and as a bonus was open very late. It got a lot of our post-club 1am business.

The site of the Wheaton Little Tavern is now an office building. Sigh.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Yeah, I hear you. I'd love to hit NYC's CT more often but it's a pain to get up there. But dang, it's soooo worth it when you get there. I swear, I need to expand my horizons beyond CT! But I digress.

Dynasty was very good as was Tung Bor. Remember Tung Bor? It was located where the Glenmont metro now stands. Then it moved into Wheaton Plaza and then closed when the owners opened Good Fortune.

What I really miss in Wheaton is Hot Shoppes. Yeah, I know...

Anyone tried the pupusas from Juanita's on University near Georgia? How are they? Are they any good?

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Dynasty was very good as was Tung Bor.  Remember Tung Bor?  It was located where the Glenmont metro now stands.  Then it moved into Wheaton Plaza and then closed when the owners opened Good Fortune.

If I recall correctly, Tung Bor also did a brief stint over in Bethesda after Wheaton Plaza; it was never the same tho--maybe different owners?

I didn't know Good Fortune was the same folks.

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A few miles down the road tucked away off of Univ Blvd in Four Corners is The Corner Pub...haven't been there in quite some time, but it's probably still the hang out after softball games, and local pub grub that it was years ago. Good, greasy, pizza--try the ground beef and onion!

Just a few blocks from my house. Good bar food.

According to the owner, their business (mainly drinking) was badly hurt by the smoking ban. They've laid a couple of employees off and may soon go out of business.

Oh that is sad news... :sad:

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Dynasty was very good as was Tung Bor.  Remember Tung Bor?  It was located where the Glenmont metro now stands.  Then it moved into Wheaton Plaza and then closed when the owners opened Good Fortune.

If I recall correctly, Tung Bor also did a brief stint over in Bethesda after Wheaton Plaza; it was never the same tho--maybe different owners?

I didn't know Good Fortune was the same folks.

Um, I can't properly recall if they were in Bethesda or not - that sounds right but I don't remember. I'll check w/ the folks to verify.

Yep. owners are the same - chefs, I don't know.

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This thread has really dredged up alot of memories of Wheaton. Most resturants don't hold a candle (I guess I'm showing my age).

Might Mo's and Oragne Freezes at the Wheaton (Hot) Shoppes, drag racing up University on Friday nights, hanging out at peoples on Saturday afternoons, after the Einstein/Wheaton game. I wan't much of a diner in high school, except the dates at the 4 Aces in Silver Spring.

Dusit is a Pheonix from the "ashes" of the Thai Hut. It was started by the chef at the Thai Room on Connecticut AVe. in DC. Much more earthy that Dusit. And good Thai food.

Ruan Thai now occupies the space of the old Siam Inn. Siam Inn was the best Thai that I've ever eaten (and during the early 70's I shared an apartment with to Thai, one of which was a chef). They were consistantly in the Washingtonian lists. The owner made his dishes sparkle and the flavors were so well belnded that I compare all Thai resturants to the Siam Inn.

The Raleigh Inn,,when it opened, was a great place and my family used to eat ther often, but probably not by today's standard.

Marchones has been there forever, but they used to be bigger.

Torrinos, the name evokes memories of Italian food that was on an equal with Mama Leone's in NYC.

The Capri, which has change hands so may times that I can't keep up. My first job was there washing dishes at nights and on the weekend. They would always feed us before work. Tony, the chef, would whip up anything on the menu and the food was really old country, as was Tony. The Pizza guy was Ceasar and he would stan in this pit twirling the pie dought high in the air.

I could go on & on but I won't continue to bore everyon as I wax nostalgic.

BTW, I still like to go to Wheaton every now and again but usually to Barnaby's. That too has changed over the years.

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