Category Archives: Bakery

Meet the New Wheaton, Not Entirely Same As the Old Wheaton

Welcome to Wheaton indeed

Welcome to Wheaton indeed

Strolling around Wheaton to see what’s what these days.  Lots of what is still the same as it ever was.  Also lots of new.  The view from the intersection of Reedie/Viers Mill/Grandview encapsulates the current Wheaton state of affairs: new(ish) Welcome to Wheaton sign, with Marchone’s striped awning (old school) in background left and 17 stories of apartments (new school) background right.  A few notes:

Seoul Food, in the gas station at Georgia/University, is pretty good, full review to follow in a day or three.  Korean food but with Mexican/American elements.

La Baguette de Salvador

La Baguette de Salvador

More fusion: La Baguette de Paris French bakery (local chain?) has been open for a few months in the Max’s/Full Key strip mall on University.  Lest one expect a true Parisian patisserie, La Baguette caters to a Latino crowd, with wares more or less identical  to Caramelo. Samantha’s also has baked goods (Dulce Vida did too, next to Samantha’s, but it closed last year).  I’d be surprised if La Baguette lasts any longer than Dulce Vida did, there can’t be enough demand to sustain so much Salavadoran baking in a three block radius.  The eclairs did look good though.By the way: Max’s is still there (try the shwarma or falafel), but Shalom Kosher has moved to the Kemp Mill Shopping Center off Arcola, where it is all grown up into a full size grocery store, still with excellent meats and breads and kosherness.  Its former storefront in the Wheaton strip is currently vacant.

A commenter mentioned seeing something about a future “Taco Loco” establishment near El Pollo Rico on University, but I looked and couldn’t find anything like that.  Am I just missing it, or was it someone’s fleeting dream, or was it just a false rumor?

Someone else noted Mi La Cay is open in its new location on the Wong Gee strip on University. Mrs. Me has been to the new location and confirms it is just as good as the old one, only bigger!  MLC does excellent Vietnamese food, the fiery curries are not dialed down at all for the Western palate, I need to get over there soon.  The old MLC space behind Hung Phat is available for rent — given the success of MLC and previous tenant Nava Thai, someone ought to grab it and start something new pronto.  Hopefully Indian or some other Asian variation not yet in Wheaton — Sri Lankan? Pakistani?

The University strip space formerly occupied by Dusit Thai and Sabores (nee Gloria’s Caribbean nee Irene’s III) has been less successful and remains unleased.  Parking is a little tough right there, may be part of the problem, and the Sabores space is tiny.  But strip bookends New Kam Fong and The Chicken Place are hanging in there.

Twice the Kantutas

Twice the Kantutas

Mi La Cay isn’t the only recent expansion: Kantutas (Bolivian cuisine) has more than doubled its space on Ennals, and even has a little outdoor seating area now.  It takes a bit of hunting since it is off the main drag, but well worth the hunt. I’m so happy for the success of MLC and Kantutas, both are run by super-friendly people, and the food is outstanding, two of Wheaton’s best restaurants in fact.


Tuesday Woomi Matchbox Bitts

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.

El Patio Patio (Rockville)

Just one “Patio”, actually, in Argentine cafe El Patio (12303 Twinbrook Pkwy), but thanks to Sponjetta’s earwormy turn on America’s Got Talent, we can’t stop doubling up on the patio, patio.

Some of us also couldn’t stop from tripling up on the baked empanadas, which were good not great based on four-person consensus; my humita (corn) empanada was almost cold and not nearly as creamily delicious as the version from La Brigada in San Telmo. Chicken and beef were more successful, and the only fried option, beef-olive-raisin-egg stuffed “Tucumana” was excellent. To compare with other local empanaderias: based on small sample size, El Patio and Panas are pretty comparable, though El Patio is a little cheaper; Wheaton’s Caramelo Bakery’s empanadas are a little heavier but also good, and we don’t talk about Julia’s.  [Previous Argentina empanada roundup here.]

El Patio has much more than empanadas, though, and while I’m not sure how I feel about eggs making an appearance in seemingly every dish, the quality overall is good, and the value is terrific, with many tasty and filling items around $3 and most empanadas less than half that. Even many of the large platters were in the $10-13 range. Quiche/Spanish omelete is layers of ham, cheese, egg, tomato, and flaky homemade crust; the one with sausage and potatoes (and egg!) looked even better than my solid ham and cheese. Medialuna rellena, also with ham, cheese, and egg (!!), was deemed only okay. Lots of choices of empanadas, quiches, sandwiches, platters, and many things we didn’t order looked and smelled good as they were delivered to other tables (in particular I noted potato salad, something Milanese, and a sausage sandwich appetizer as future possibilities — the sausage sandwich strangely appeared to include no egg whatsoever) (all the egg makes me think of this).

We didn’t have room for dessert but friends got a couple of items to go, including some fab-looking rolled-up caramel-in-phyllo dough. The medialuna (croissant) in the aforementioned rellena was a normal, large croissant, but El Patio also has smaller medialunas, the kind that addicted us on our Argentina visit, and those are as likely as anything else to bring us back to EP soon.

Overall, a good lunch. Parking is tricky, EP’s little lot was full (because EP was full — it’s not a big place but tables are almost uncomfortably close together, in authentic Argentine style, and boy were they packing in the customers! Doing a great business, which I am always glad to see) but you can use the main lot for the L-shaped strip mall; EP is at one end, so park in front of Urban BBQ/Gilly’s.  We’ll be back to El Patio, Patio…

Insert Pie Pun Here

Fried chicken, mac’n’cheese, collard greens, cornbread: all excellent as usual. But we had never tried the General Store’s lemon chess pie until last weekend, and holy cannoli pie, Batman, it’s amazing. Delicious flaky crust would be enough to surpass most pies (including homemade) but the incredible, intense, rich creamy lemon-ness of it all…words fail. Best pie ever? A contender, certainly.  Gillian Clark gets most of the press, deservedly so, but I think I may be in love with head baker Beth Christiansen.  It’s okay, Mrs. Me feels the same way.

We also had pumpkin and raspberry-peach pies from Mom’s Apple Pie Company (Leesburg and Occoquan locations)  — this was a pieful weekend — and they were good, especially the tangy raspberries, but General Store (6 Post Office Road, Forest Glen) is the clear winner.

Tres Leches, Pizza, Carnies

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.

Caramelo Bakery

Caramelo (11301 Georgia) has, I’m pretty sure, been in Wheaton a lot longer than I have, but this was my first visit. They sell baked goods from various Central and South American countries, but my first priority was our beloved Argentine medialunas, uniquely addictive little pastries. I didn’t see anything exactly like the ones we had in Mendoza, but they do have sugar-frosted croissanty-looking things that I’m sure are quite edible.

Priority two: empanadas, and Caramelo’s chicken and beef empanadas are best I have had in North America, savory stewed chicken or ground beef with peas, and the beef also had bits of boiled egg, all stuffed into dough pockets and expertly fried.  About the size of an iPhone but plumper, a good value at $1.50.

Caramelo Bakery Empanadas

Caramelo Bakery Empanadas

(Yes, I know the image is out of focus, I am a rotten photographer but I am trying to post more photos here anyway)

Mrs. Me had requested tres leches but my brain somehow translated that as “flan” so that’s what we had for dessert tonight, and it was pretty good, not my favorite texture in general but I do like the caramel sauce. If you like flan, you will probably like this flan, especially at $2 for a piece maybe 4″ x 4″. Low prices, high quality, our kind of place.  Lots of other baked goods are available, mostly sweets, which fill a glass cabinet on one wall; we look forward to trying some along with more empanadas and tres leches, assuming I don’t buy churros or chapulines or something by accident.

This is a different Caramelo Bakery. Wheaton’s CB has no website as far as I know.