I spent three years living in Silver Spring in the mid-2000’s, which anyone who lived or visited it then knows as the era of Silver Sprung. I’m not kidding, the city actually altered all the public signs for about a year so that they read Silver Sprung by drawing a line through the “i” and scrawling a cartoonish “u” over it. It was pretty goofy, but as a resident you could appreciate that the area had gone from a downtrodden cluster of dark corners between the metro and Greyhound stations to a bustling center for restaurants, shops, and some of the essentials that really attract people looking to settle there longer than a few years. Silver Spring really owes all it is to Discovery Communications locating its headquarters right in the epicenter of Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue and the AFI Silver Theater’s revitalization across the street. Now the area offers the best of both worlds with an extremely concentrated downtown which is convenient for all your quick needs like burritos and holiday sales at Ann Taylor Loft, but is still quickly surrounded by quirky, tree-lines streets and local neighborhood treasures like Roger Miller’s, Mandalay, El Aguila, and Jackie’s.
I know every single location is playing essentially the same playlist, but we caught a very nice smattering of power pop and Latin music during our brief stay in Silver Spring. This got me to thinking more about how I do generally enjoy the music I hear in each location and never really notice a song that sounds too Muzaky. I investigated further, and it turns out that hidden deep away from my prior perusing is a Chipotle Radio Player on Chipotle’s website. It allows you to listen to what is currently playing, see, share, and purchase the last twenty selected songs, and oddly enough, make a cow, chicken, and winged pig jump around and do some break-dancing on the player (Click the LE button, you’ll see what I am talking about).
We visited Silver Spring a very short time after the Discovery Communications bomber incident on September 1st. Mental illness was certainly in play here, but I think the more distressing concern of this situation is the willingness to cloak oneself in the alleged righteousness of a supposedly, universally moral ideology while being prepared to take human lives away. Extremism in absolutely every form I have ever encountered terrifies and angers me not just for its tendency to plan and sometimes execute in a completely reactionary way, but more for its ability to prove attractive to the wayward. For instance in this case, only the silliest of the hard core environmentalists would make it clear that his most pressing concern in saving the planet is the squirrels.
- Today’s menu: Vegetarian burrito bowl, pinto beans, red and green-tomatillo salsa, corn salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and lettuce.
- Inviting interior: A- (This location is
nice and bright, and it just feels nice to eat amongst people while still not having it feel overcrowded inside.)
- Nighttime observation post: B+ (The front door and outside patio are right on the pedestrian mall, perfect for watching scurrying moviegoers or energized kids who have been jumping around in the fountain.)
- Guacamole freshness: A (Had to wait for it as they were mixing it up, but it was as bright a green as one could imagine, and the server was very careful to immediately return to my awaiting order to fulfil both the bowl and the side of chips.)
Location Tip: Being the sucker I am for classic movies, AFI Silver Theater is definitely my favorite spot in all of Silver Spring, and probably makes my top ten list for all of the D.C. area. Staying with the theater and the growth of Silver Spring themes, since I left two years ago a new Round House Theater location has opened and the long planned, once Birchmere, now Fillmore, music venue development is still on track for 2011. A homey wine shop scene that invites you to stay and sample your bottle can be found at a Adega Wine Cellers and a well-crafted nightcap is abundantly available at Jackie’s Sidebar.