Had to try the Hot-N-Ready® pepperoni pizza from Wheaton’s new Little Caesars outpost at Ennalls/Viers Mill. It has been at least 20 years since I last ate an LC pizza. I love the HNR® concept: no pre-order, just walk in and walk right out with a pizza, quick and easy. And at the Wheaton LC it worked exactly as advertised, by far the most efficient entire-pizza (as opposed to by the slice) transaction I’ve ever had. So, props to their customer service and the assembly line.
Too bad the crust is still as bad as it was 20+ years ago. Cheese, sauce, and pepperoni are all adequate, no better or worse than other national chains. But the crust is spongy, floppy, devoid of taste or interest. At the current rate of $5 for a large, the Hot-N-Ready® is a fair deal if you don’t mind awful crust, but I’m guessing someday the price will go up.
I am now addicted to the ® symbol.
Today’s big news (h/t WaPo) is that the General Store is out of business. Landlord trouble? YouTube trouble? Chicken shortage? Who knows for sure. Gillian and Robin didn’t do themselves too many PR favors, but I will miss their food.
Meanwhile, Patch has the story of Little Caesars’ invasion of greater DC including Wheaton, but it is a pretty generic writeup; the author avoids discussing what actually happened when he visited LC on the ides. Perhaps he is of the “if you can’t say something nice…” school. Et tu, Rob Ciesielski? I say Romani ite domum.
UPDATE: On reflection, I think I was unfair; I have no beef with Li’l C and haven’t eaten there for years. So I resolve to put my mouth where my blog is and actuaaly try the pizza from their Wheaton location, and then write about it. This post was really just a product of my reflexive anti-national-chain bias, and the irresistable urge to link to Monty Python.
We have wished in the past for better pizza options in Wheaton. Little Caesars was not what we had in mind, but it’s what we got, either just opened or about to open at 2567 Ennalls, at Viers Mill across from CVS. Their “hot-n-ready” concept does not exactly scream “quality” does it? Not sure LC is a better option, but it is an option, and I bet they’ll do decent business.
Meanwhile, the Limerick Pub is crying wolf (or maybe crying Guiness, hard to tell from here) again, with its grand opening now set for March 7 (a Monday). Sounds like it is for realz this time. Can’t wait!
The Artist’s Palette is the quick service kitchen/convenience store at the Saratoga Springs resort on the Disney property. My chicken cordon blue (sic) sandwich was made fresh and surprisingly good and not even a rip-off at about $9. As opposed to the pizza — we tried to order a couple of pizzas but the order-taker seemed almost despondent (Disney owns Eeyore now) that anyone would want to do that. She said the pizzas would be nuked from frozen, and they have “light cheese” and that we would probably want to purchase additional cheese. Total cost for two Disney 15-inch pepperoni pizzas (with extra cheese): $50. [Insert Mickey Mouse operation joke here] So we decided to hit a nearby Pizza Hut instead, got two larges for $25. And, thank you, we did have a magical day!
And we’re back. With not much to report. Thanks to busy schedules and, especially, weather that has been kind of different yet equally disruptive as last winter’s storms, there has not been much eating out around here. But that is about to change, oh yes…
We did get takeout from Angelico la Pizzeria (4925 Bethesda Ave.) the other night, enough pizza and salad to feed us and several sets of power-free friends. Thanks, Pepco, for giving us an excuse to spend time together! That’s the silver lining, that and our power staying mostly on this time. I would say Angelico is slightly above average, thin crust, good variety of toppings and non-pizza options, and while it isn’t Ella’s or Paradiso (just to name two), it is tasty and travels well, and beats both the big national chains and all our nearby Wheaton/Kensington pizza options easily, so was ideal for takeout.
Angelico was also much more convenient on this particular occasion than Pacci’s or Roscoe’s, but we need to try both of those soon. And now that Wheaton has nearly reached critical Irish/Scottish pub mass (though, once again, the opening date for Limerick may be pushed back even farther than the most recent Feb. 4 date, says their cryptic, most recent FB post), maybe it is time for a great pizza (or fast-casual burger) place to open here. Or maybe not! But that’s what we root for in this house.
Wheaton Calling visits the Triangle and Little Bitts, yet another Wheaton food destination to which I have never been (in this case, baking supplies is really Mrs. Me’s department). Makes me think of this Alan Jackson classic.
Crash in the Kitchen goes to the new Rockville outpost of Matchbox. Crash is psyched and so are we. And it’s a cliche by now but I still always think of REM.
What’s Up Wheaton recently hit Pashion and lived to tell the tale. Unfortunate misspellings always lead me back to these guys.
Wheaton Patch eats Korean at Woomi Garden, which makes me think of nothing, really, other than our own recent visit to Woomi — review coming soon.
The trouble with Groupons is they pile up and, with safety in numbers, start to taunt you; evidently buying them is easier than using them. So we figured we’d better use one, and that is how we ended up at Ella’s Pizza (on 9th between F and G at Gallery Place) last night for dinner. It was good as always, but I erred in branching out and trying the Lombardi, with caramelized onions and (not enough) gorgonzola. My crust was undercooked, too, as though the oven could only stand so much. It wasn’t bad, but Mrs. Me’s pepperoni pizza, on the other hand, was crisp and blistered and delicious as always (she allowed me to trade one piece of mine for one piece of hers, thank goodness). The lesson: always, always, always get the pepperoni. We also tried the orange and strawberry salad, which we liked, especially the almonds, but it was on the skimpy side.
In other news:
- Dog Bites Man, Then Bites Burgers (i.e., the AP is finally catching on to the trend)
- WaPo food section visits the Supreme Court cafeteria and gives them a serious benchslap — perhaps they felt the sandwiches were too activist? This is surprising in light of the Court cafeteria’s recent remodel and alleged upgrade. I say stick to the grilled cheese and fries and you’ll be fine.
- I am obsessed with food but Jenny Rosenstrach has me beat (and is giving me ideas…).
And the Wall Street Journal discusses the new National Registry of Picky Eating — we know lots of kids (and cats) who are picky and usually grow out of it, but this is a study of rarer, and more interesting, finicky adults. If you’re over 18 and picky, you can participate in the survey! I don’t even remotely qualify, despite my texture issues (tapioca, raisins), but I look forward to seeing the study results someday.
We tried the tres leches cake (successfully distinguishing it from flan this time — Mrs. Me is better about desserts than I am) from Caramelo Bakery (11301 Georgia) and it was good, not great, consistency was right but they added unnecessary strawberry jelly layers. Looked like birthday cake. We also ate more of their excellent empanadas.
Meanwhile, everyone seems to like Pacci’s Neapolitan Pizza (8113 Georgia) in Silver Spring. We will get there eventually.
Also there’s carny food at the Wheaton Mall’s “Westfield Carnival” through July 4. Just don’t eat too many corn dogs before you get on the Tilt-o-Whirl.
As is frequently the case on Wednesdays, we soak up some delicious news from our pulpy, fragrant, freshly delivered Wheaton Gazette.
Hollywood East Cafe (the restaurant formerly known as Hollywood East on the Boulevard, formerly formerly as Hollywood East) is about to reopen in the Wheaton Mall (“about” = this month, allegedly), specifically inside the Macy’s garage. Doesn’t seem like an ideal restaurant location, but hope it works out for them, as HE has been on the Wheaton scene for years and generally has done a good job, especially if you can order from the Chinese-language specials boards (which I cannot). Will be interesting to see if they can compete, given the new off-beaten-path location and the new, high-quality competition from New Kam Fong and Wong Gee.
The Gazette article notes HE will be across from “the new children’s pizza shop, Noble Roman’s Pizza and Playland, which [mall market director Sidney] Woods described as a “mini Chuck E. Cheese’s”.” First I’ve heard of that place — do they have skeeball? If so, Mrs. Me and I will be making a visit ASAP. It was not until this very moment that I realized how sorely Wheaton has lacked skeeball for lo these many years. If the pizza is decent, that would be a strong bonus, but my hopes are not high on that front.
Elsewhere in Gazetteland, the dining review focusus on MoCo purveyors of cupcakes, a trend whose backlash has already arrived and which I never really understood in the first place, but then, in general I’d much prefer an empanada or samosa to any kind of dessert. All the cupcakeries are in Bethesda except Silver Spring’s Cakelove. O-ver-ra-ted, as the sports fans chant. I fully acknowledge that I’m biased against, so maybe my cupcake-loving friend(s) (you know who you are) will comment…
Lunch at Ella’s (9th at F) today, something I don’t do often enough. Pepperoni pizza as usual. Blistered but not burnt, crisp yet chewy, good flavors, fresh mozzarella, excellent crust-sauce-cheese-topping ratio. Best pizza in the region right now. (Though I have not been to Comet)