Russian coffee? What’s next, Brazilian beet and cabbage soup? Dazbog is a budding Soviet-themed coffee empire run by Denver-based Russian emigres, and no, the beans do not come from the Eastern bloc. Wherever they come from, someone is making wise choices, because the coffee is quite good. I’m an iced coffee guy, and the Dazbog version is excellent, strong and tending toward bitter but not like Starbucks (which I also like, I’m just a bitter guy I suppose), not as mellow as Mayorga, not as bad as Dunkin’ Donuts, just right in the sweet spot. Mrs. Me gave their chai coffee a thumbs up too. They have a few muffins and whatnot, but not nearly as many food options as Starbucks. This is all based on one visit to Dazbog’s only location East of the Mississippi, which is improbably located at the Shady Grove Great Indoors. I won’t be switching from my homebrewed iced Peet’s anytime soon, but Dazbog sells beans by the bag as well as by the cup. There are worse ways to kill time in Shady Grove.
очень хорошо, my little droogies.
Breakfast was Starbucks iced coffee and croissant, interesting only for the friendliness of the SBUX employees. We had witnessed similar enthusiam a day earlier on the part of employees at the Circle K, at the ballpark concession stand — pretty much everywhere we went, people seemed happy. A stark contrast, sad to say, with a lot of the people we encounter in greater DC. Is it the Scottsdale sunshine? Is it the spring break/spring training economy?
After a fascinating tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West (highly recommended), we hit Jersey Mike’s Subs for lunch. JM has become a big chain, their closest-to-Wheaton location is in Laurel, but I had never been there. I tried the chipotle cheesesteak, and it was good, a nice balance of chopped steak and cheez whiz, not really authentic compared to Pat’s/Geno’s/Tony Luke’s but close enough, and comparable in quality to Marchone’s except for the bread, which Marchone’s nails; Jersey Mike’s is too soft, just falls apart. All in all though a solid lunch. Potato salad also above average.
Stopped at BevMo for tequila and were complimented on our taste in selecting Chinaco blanco (which really is fabulous); the employee was (amusingly) complaining about trying to convince people to buy Chinaco but they keep insisting on Patron or other better-advertised brands. Stopped at Safeway and cleaned them out of limes — the teenage girls in front of me bought a single coconut (and nothing else) and I bought about 20 limes (and nothing else). The checkout guy was amused, and somewhere Harry Nilsson was smiling too. BBQ and margaritas and wiffleball and Boggle at a friend’s house: excellent finish to the day. Home the next morning. And here we are, back in Wheaton, ready for April (what? there’s still one more day in March? Shhhh…)…
Blizzard continues. We begin to worry about cabin fever setting in. Who is more likely to go all Jack Nicholson, me or Mrs. Me? Or will it be more like Space Madness?
Trying to focus. Some Wheaton eatin’ in today’s mainstream media:
- Wheaton Gazette notes DeJaBel’s passing. I really like owner Eddie Velazquez’s attitude and I hope he succeeds in future beverage endeavors. That block in Wheaton has no currently-occupied office space, little parking, no foot traffic, and (I’m guessing) unreasonably high rent. Tough spot for coffee. Maybe someday…
- Shout-out to New Kam Fong (2400 University) and their homemade rice noodles in today’s Post food section noodle article.
The Post also has a brief salute to the anchovy, one of my favorite underrated ingredients. I think a lot of people who react with a mixture of amusement and disgust at the thought of eating an anchovy have not tasted anchovies at their best. I don’t eat them by the fistful — though maybe that’s worth trying too — but I like to add them as an ingredient in certain dishes, especially pasta sauce, where they add saltiness and that difficult-to-define umami “fifth taste.” Even Mrs. Me has been won over to an extent. I like them on pizza sometimes, but I realize I will always be in the minority there. H Mart sells cartons of dried anchovies, pickled anchovies, salted/sauteed anchovies, and I haven’t tried any of those yet but plan to.
I can barely see out the iced-over window, but it appears to still be snowing sideways. Time to go kick the Netflix.
Snow. So far this is a Teflon storm — presumably that will change later as it gets colder and snows harder. But don’t let that stop you from a good panic!
Independent coffee houses in greater Silver Spring. WUW first reported and JUTP added info to the story that DeJaBel (2519 University) is closing, starting whenever they close today. It’s too bad, they had promise (although I didn’t love their iced coffee), but that’s a tough location in the current economic climate in the current edition of Wheaton. Of course Mayorga’s Silver Spring location closed a couple of months ago. Tough times. Meanwhile the Metro Center Starbucks continues to pack ’em in. Location, location, location…