Friday, November 28, 2014


The Montgomery County Police Holiday Task Force hauled in 24 drivers for DUI in a Thanksgiving Eve anti-drunk-driving operation. In all, police said, Task Force officers interacted with 291 citizens, and issued 253 traffic citations, 127 warnings, 32 equipment repair orders, 9 criminal violations, and 2 civil violations.

Among alcohol-related offenses were underage drinking and public urination. At least 5 of the drivers alleged to be driving under the influence Wednesday night, and early Thursday morning, were taken to the Bethesda 2nd District Police Station.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Just when you've finished Thanksgiving dinner - you're just getting started. While football on TV was the after-dinner activity of choice for most when I was growing up, in 2014 it's time to zip up the winter coat, grab the credit card, and head to the local mall, shopping center or big box store to grab the deals before they're gone.

Here's a roundup of some of the best:


The mall won't be open all night. Their hours on Thanksgiving Day will be from 6:00 PM to midnight, and then the mall will reopen at 6:00 AM on Black Friday. If you haven't visited in a while, you'll definitely be pleasantly surprised at the mall's makeover and expansion. Enjoy movies at the new, 16-screen ArcLight Cinemas and dining at the many new restaurants in the Dining Terrace. You'll also want to check out Santa Claus if you have kids, or the mall's holiday decorations, including the hanging 20' Christmas tree shown at the top of this post, which has 500 ornaments! Add extra time for parking, though, as the parking decks outside of Macy's have been demolished, and won't be replaced in time for Black Friday. Here are some of the deals you'll find around the new, updated mall:

Forever 21:

Black Friday Mystery Scratcher Giveaway: Arrive early for a chance to receive a discount of 15%, 20% or 25% off your in-store purchase and enter to win a private shopping party.

Black Friday Deals:

Beanies: $3.00+
Slippers: $5.00+ 
Dresses: $9.00+ 
Sleepwear: $10+ 
Tops: $10+ 
Sweaters: $12+
Also: get an additional 50% off Markdowns 11/27-11/28 until 2PM.


GAP has a great deal Thanksgiving and Black Friday: 50% off entire purchase!

American Eagle Outfitters:

Both days: 40% off the entire store (excludes gift cards and select Aerie merchandise). Get an additional 15% off if you are approved for a new AEO credit card (purchase must go on new card for discount).

Bath and Body Works:

Black Friday: Entire store - Buy 3, get 3 free equal or lesser value. Also, spend $40 on a qualifying purchase to receive the VIP Bag for $20. Limited quantity of VIP Bags available.


Buy One, Get One 50% OFF on all items from 6:00 pm - 12:00 midnight on Thanksgiving, and from 6:00 am - 10:00 pm on Black Friday.

Auntie Anne's:

Buy any pretzel item and a large lemonade, get a free pretzel of equal or lesser value.


Kind of underwhelming: $10 beauty deals Black Friday weekend. Selected items for $10.


Another great deal: 50% off the entire store on Black Friday.

Victoria's Secret:

Free secret reward card with $10 purchase or more. Worth $10, $50, $100 or $500 off your purchase Dec 4 - Dec 19. 
2 for $30 Candles
2 for $30 Fragrance Gift Sets
$15 off Sports Pants
2 for $49.50 Sexy Tees and Cotton Bras
5 for $26.50 Cotton Panties
Free Tote Bag with $75 purchase (while supplies last).

Under Armour:

Maryland's homegrown athletic apparel store is offering 25% off its signature Big Logo Hoodie. Men’s, women’s, and youth styles included.

Kay Jewelers:

Thankgiving night only: 10% off regular merchandise. 15% off Movado watches.

Mirch Masala:

Didn't get enough Thankgiving dinner? They'll be offering their Butter Chicken rice bowl for $5 on Thanksgiving night.

Marbles - The Brain Store:

Spend $100 and get a free Hydraulic Robotic Arm. And who couldn't use a Hydraulic Robotic Arm, right?


Black Friday only: 20% off on all regular priced merchandise until 10:00 am.


Solid deals both days: All Lounge Collection buy one, get second 1/2 off; selected WRUP Pants 50% off;
all shoes 50% off.

As Seen on TV:

You can't pick up too many Slap Chops or Light Angels. Everything 10-25% off Thanksgiving night, but only select items on Black Friday.

Urban Outfitters:

50% off all sale items on Black Friday.

Banana Republic:

Stop by Banana Republic on Black Friday and get 50% off one full-priced item until 1:00 pm -- plus 40% off your purchase all day long. Some exclusions apply.

Old Navy:

The first 100 people in line have a chance to win $1,000,000, and others could win a $200 shopping spree.


20% off outerwear.

Lucky Brand:

30 - 50% off everything.

The Body Shop:

Both days: 3 items for $33 on select products; $30 Black Friday bag w/any $30 purchase; $15 gift offer.


Free Fleece Blanket with $100 purchase or more. Black Friday Deals starting at $5.

White House | Black Market:

Black Friday only: 30% off entire purchase (see store associates for details and exclusions).


25% off regularly-priced merchandise both days.

Tommy Bahama:

Receive a $50 award for every $150 you spend in-store on Black Friday to use toward a future purchase.

Radio Shack:

Black Friday: RadioShack will be offering the Galaxy S5 for free with a qualifying two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon or Sprint. Beats Solo headphones only $69.99 (requires mail-in rebate).


6 PM Thanksgiving night Doorbusters: Save 55% on a Kenmore washer and dryer set. RCA LED 1080p HDTV for $249.99 (40") or $379.99 (52"). 45% off Kenmore French door refrigerator/freezer.


Stay closer to home in Rockville at Rockville Town Square, which will offer these Black Friday deals:

American Tap Room
Receive $5 Taproom Bucks for every $25 gift card purchase made in November and December. Taproom Bucks will be used towards your purchases made between January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015.

The Cottage Monet
50% off all discontinued Vera Bradley - Friday 11/28/14 through Sunday 11/30/14
Get $15 off for every $100 you spend.*
Spend $200 - get $30 off
Wine and cheese served Friday night
Enter to win a basket of one of the new Thymes fragrances ($100 value)

*special offer cannot be combined with sales items.

Dawson’s Market
$1 off smoothies and juices, any size.

Pigtails & Crewcuts
Get $2.00 off a haircut from 10 am – 5 pm.

Ten Thousand Villages
All jewelry is Buy One Get One 50% Off.

Town Square Jewelers
"Special sales."

Toy Kingdom
20% off total purchase from 9 AM – 12 PM.

Happy shopping, and Happy Thanksgiving from!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


The legendary Lobsicle is finally here in Montgomery County, and that warranted a trip to Westfield Montgomery Mall for the Grand Opening of Lobster ME. With free food being given away during the lunch hour, I found myself in a line stretching around the future Chipotle space in the new Dining Terrace.

We've probably all seen a lobster roll before, but the Lobsicle is something entirely different - a battered and fried lobster tail, with melted butter on the side for dipping purposes. How does it taste? Is it worth the hype? What is the quality of the lobster?

Watch my review, and those questions and more will be answered!

Monday, November 24, 2014


A pop-up antique shop, Unique Antique Boutique, has opened in the former Potomac River Running space at Rockville Town Square. The boutique features jewelry, paintings, glassware, collectibles, rugs, lighting fixtures and lamps, furniture, art and chandeliers at up to 50% off.

Unique Antique Boutique
115-B Gibbs Street

Friday, November 21, 2014


Taco Bell has reinvented the taco - in a new rolled form, wrapped around marinated, shredded chicken, and served with your choice of 5 dipping sauces. Also known as "dipping tacos" since they were announced last week, the new Rolled Chicken Tacos rolled into Taco Bells nationwide yesterday. I stopped by the Rockville Taco Bell to test them out. As you can see above, they come 2 to a paper sleeve, with a clear window on the side of the sleeve.

I found out you could only get 1 or 2 of the sauces (2 in my case, since I bought the 4-piece Rolled Chicken Tacos). I chose Spicy Ranch and melted Nacho Cheese. How did they taste? Watch my YouTube World Premiere review to find out.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Hold on to your fry holsters, Roy Rogers fans. The restaurant says the planned early November opening of its Rockville Pike location has been postponed until mid-December.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Moody's and Standard and Poors have reaffirmed Rockville's AAA bond rating. The reaffirmation was related to Monday's sale of General Obligation Bonds by the city. In announcing their decision, both agencies cited the city's "conservative fiscal management, its strong policies and practices, the city's ample reserve levels, and its low debt burden," according to City Manager Barbara Matthews.

The rating means that financing for improvements to the city's Civic Center and the Rockville Swim Center will proceed as planned. Water, sewer and stormwater improvements will also be funded by the bond sale.

Raymond James & Associates had the winning bid Monday, offering a 2.69% interest rate.

The agencies did express concern about the city's water and sewer funds, Matthews said.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, and nearby retail meccas Westfield Montgomery Mall, RIO and Downtown Crown beckoning with free parking, Rockville Town Square has announced a Holiday Parking Experience starting November 26, 2014.

In plain terms, parking will be FREE nightly after 6:00 PM, and all-day on weekends from November 26 to January 4, 2015. That should make those 2000 parking spaces a lot more appealing for shoppers, as well as those attending the annual Tree Lighting and Holiday Open House, which will be on Thursday, December 4, from 6:30 to 9:00 PM.

Don't thank the Monopoly guy - thank property owner Federal Realty, surely concerned about keeping the holiday cheer high at a retail center where several tenants have closed in recent months. A second Federal Realty property, Pike & Rose, is also a competitor with Rockville Town Square, but does not have many retail stores open yet. Pike & Rose offers 2 hours of free parking to guests.

I know free parking sure makes me more likely to dine and shop at Rockville Town Square.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Extreme fans of the Hunger Games series will want to attend a movie marathon this Thursday, starting at 2:30 PM, at the Regal Rockville theater. Attendees who are members of the Regal Crown Club will receive a limited-edition commemorative keychain. The marathon will conclude with the newest film, Mockingjay - Part 1.

Tickets can be pre-ordered online now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The shocking results of an investigation by News 4's I-Team into the Montgomery County Department have added to the growing public questioning of why the county is in the liquor business to begin with. But the timing of the revelations, and Councilmember Hans Riemer's quickness to grandstand in a later News 4 sit-down appearance, raise questions. What did he know, and when did he know it? And why did this all go public just 48 hours after Election Day?

Riemer has received tremendous publicity in local media for several years regarding changes he has suggested in county and state liquor regulations. None of those reports indicated that Riemer had received a campaign contribution from at least one liquor license attorney. Riemer's initial proposals did not address public concerns such as the inability to purchase beer and wine at grocery stores in the county, but were more related to expanding the number of people eligible to obtain liquor licenses in the county, and being able to serve liquor without food in county establishments. Now, in this latest interview, Riemer is talking about getting the county out of the business altogether. Which I would welcome. In any case, it's been known for some time that the councilman is eager to change liquor regulations.

Fast forward to immediately after the reports aired. Hans Riemer conveniently was the only county councilmember interviewed for the follow-up report. I'm sure Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich or Nancy Floreen or any other number of councilmembers would have something to say about stolen liquor, and county employees allegedly drinking and driving. But they did not appear. No details have been given so far, but the rapid TV appearance suggests that Riemer was known to the reporters prior to the day the reports aired.

So to get back to the question of, "What did they know, and when did they know it," the News 4 report says the I-Team was following the trucks for several weeks. I think what the taxpayers have a right to know is, when was it known that County DLC drivers were allegedly drinking on the job, and stealing and reselling liquor? Before Election Day, or after? When was Hans Riemer alerted to these findings by News 4 - before Election Day, or after?

If the scandal had become public prior to Election Day, it would have been damaging to Mr. Riemer, County Executive Ike Leggett, and any other council incumbent on the ballot, as each one of them has oversight authority over the DLC.

What was the timeline?

Monday, November 10, 2014


Given the big holiday displays every year at Bethesda Row, I've been wondering what Federal Realty would do for the season at its newest development, Pike & Rose. Those questions were answered this weekend, and I present the festive results here for your pleasure. The tree was not yet lit at this point, but there is plenty of Christmas and Chanakuh spirit in the air even so. Obviously, the scene will be more impressive once Phase 2 of the development has been built out, as the Christmas cheer is limited in distance. But if enough of the new retail stores can open in time, this could be a real sleeper spot for holiday shopping in Montgomery County - particularly for those purchasing apparel.

Federal Realty's Rockville Town Square seems to be behind Pike & Rose on the decorating schedule; their Bethesda Row development already has its decorations up.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Today is the official grand opening of the new 16-screen Arclight Cinemas at Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. You may have attended already during the cineplex's "soft opening" over the last couple of weeks. If so, please post a comment on your experience below.

If you haven't gone, it's not too late to order tickets. Curious about what ArcLight has to offer compared to other theaters within driving distance? Watch my video review for a preview of the ArcLight experience, and hear about the concept and dining options directly from ArcLight employees themselves. See the largest-screen auditorium, learn some technical specs, and hear about the brand's selling points - like no advertising before the movie!

Interstellar is the big movie there this weekend, as well as Big Hero 6 - which is not a sequel, despite the title.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


The Paws for a Cause event this past weekend at Gables Upper Rock drew 200 people - and their dogs - to 200 Upper Rock Circle in Rockville. More than $400 was raised for MCPAW—Montgomery County Partners for Animal Well-Being, a partner of the Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center.

In an unexpected bonus, several rescue dogs found prospective homes during the Saturday event.

Attendees enjoyed a dog costume contest, free food truck fare,  free doggie ice cream, face painting, music and more. More than a dozen pet-friendly vendors provided giveaways, merchandise and information, including Tiki’s Playhouse, Metropolitan Emergency Animal Clinic, Sniffers Doggie Retreat, Unleashed by Petco and Whole Pet Central.

Gables Upper Rock gave away a number of pet-themed freebies such as Frisbees, pet food scoops and doggie clean-up bag dispensers.

Now under construction right off the Shady Grove exit of I-270, Gables Upper Rock will offer 441 pet-friendly apartments, along with a private on-site dog park and a dog spa area for bathing and grooming. “We are about creating places where people want to live, and we recognize that more than ever, our residents’ pets are important members of their families,” said Greg Gaisor, Vice President, REIT Operations—East for Gables Residential. “We want our residents, including the four-legged ones, to be content and happy and work to ensure they are.”

Monday, November 3, 2014


Some of the exterior wraps are off at Gap on Grand Park Avenue, in Federal Realty's new Pike & Rose development in White Flint.

Meanwhile, two other tenants have opened this past weekend at the property. iPic Theaters opened Friday, without extending any preview invitation to this blogger, and thereby reaching less total audience. Doesn't seem too smart, given the extensive outreach competitors ArcLight Cinemas and Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema have engaged in prior to opening. The majority of iPic's PR seems to be focused on legacy media like broadcast TV, print newspapers, FM radio and glossy magazines - which probably would strike those who get most of their news via smartphone these days as a bit behind the times. iPic does have a couple of cool promotional spectacles going on at the actual property, though. One was a man on stilts walking around Pike & Rose, and the other was a projection of the Hollywood sign on a blank construction barrier wall.

Women's apparel boutique Francesca's opened Saturday.

With these openings, parking was jammed in the garage off of Grand Park Avenue Saturday. Room to maneuver along the drive aisles inside the garage proved to be quite tight, now that more people are visiting. Parking is indeed free for 2 hours, and no validation is necessary for that. Longer validations for free parking are available from tenants like Del Frisco's Grille and iPic. If confronted with a similar squeeze in the garage, your best bet is to skip Grand Park Avenue, and head to the garage entrance west of it along Old Georgetown Road, just past Del Frisco's Grille's patio.
Stilt walker near
Del Frisco's Grille

AMP sign is lit

"Goodnight from Hollywood"