Happy anniversary to us
This week we’re not just celebrating Valentine’s Day; we’re also marking the beginning of our second year of publication. In the weeks to come, you’ll notice some changes to our format — and some great new features that we think you’re going to love. But we won’t be making any changes to our mission: Bringing you the latest retail and restaurant news for greater Rockville and Potomac.
Opening this week
Two new restaurants joined the Rockville Pike dining scene this week, just in time to capture the crowds for Valentine’s Day. Stella Barra Pizzeria makes its debut tonight (Feb. 12th) at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, adjoining the newly opened Summer House Santa Monica. Ev & Maddy’s, a European-style bistro, is already in business just weeks after taking over the 82 Steak Out space on Gibbs Street at Rockville Town Square. (Click here for more on Ev & Maddy’s). Also opening today is the Bonobos Guideshop at Westfield Montgomery Mall, dedicated to helping men find a well-fitting pair of pants.
Gourmet seasonings on tap
If you’re planning to check out the new restaurants at Pike & Rose this Valentine’s weekend, be sure to save a little time for shopping. In addition to chain stores like The Gap, City Sports and Francesca’s, you’ll also find a couple of interesting independent shops. Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom carries ultra-premium olive oil sourced from different parts of the world at different times of year. “Our oils come from the southern hemisphere in May and June, and from the northern hemisphere in December, so all year long we have this chain of fresh,” says store owner Timothy Balshi. Prices are surprisingly down to earth, with some bottles selling for less than $10. This is the fourth Seasons store for Balshi, whose family also makes its own line of olive oils in southern Spain.
Something special for the younger set
Another charming find at Pike & Rose is Yogaso, a boutique filled with brightly colored kids’ clothing from designers all over the world. Owner Alem Beshir, a native of Ethiopia, has modeled her store after the European boutiques she’s admired in her travels. Yogaso is a mash-up of the names of her three kids (who are, we assume, remarkably well-dressed). Merchandise ranges from a $12 toy from Denmark to a $35 shirt from Italy to dresses and coats for more than $100. Beshir says some of her customers are doting grandparents living in nearby apartments. Others are “moms who want to dress their kids different, unique and cool,” she says. “Since I carry only one of each size, they feel comfortable that another kid won’t be wearing the same outfit.”
Win dinner for two at Asia Nine
Downtown Crown, the new Gaithersburg development near Washingtonian Center, also has some great new restaurants to check out this Valentine’s weekend. Among them is Asia Nine, a longtime fixture at D.C.’s Penn Quarter, which recently opened a second location at 254 Crown Park Ave. The menu is a mix of Thai, Chinese and Japanese dishes including sushi, pad thai, hot noodle soups and curries. Want to check it out for yourself? Be our guest: We’re giving away dinner for two at Asia Nine (up to a $60 value). Click here to enter by email (subject line: Asia Nine), or click here to enter via Facebook; the winner will be chosen at random later this month. And if you’re planning to stop by this weekend, be sure to click here for Asia Nine’s Valentine’s Day specials. Update: Reader Julie Mustelin won this dinner for two. Stay tuned to Store Reporter for more great giveaways.
Win this necklace from Valerie Nahmani Designs
This week we have another special Valentine’s Day giveaway: a heart-shaped druzy necklace from Valerie Nahmani Designs. “Druzies are known for their healing properties,” says Nahmani, a Potomac native who’s been working with the popular crystals for several years. “No two stones are ever alike, and I think there’s something about them that really makes an outfit.” Click here to check out Nahmani’s jewelry, which is carried locally at Charm, B Scene and Bloomingdale’s. The piece shown here is valued at $130. Want to win it — for your Valentine or for yourself? Click here to enter by email (subject line: druzy heart) or click here to enter via Facebook. We’ll pick a winner by Friday (Feb. 13), so you can have your heart in time for Valentine’s Day. Update: Congratulations to reader Dena Farber Schoenfeld, who won this druzy heart. Stay tuned to Store Reporter for more great giveaways.
Reader Favorite: Greens + Grains Bowl at Cava Grill
In this issue we’re kicking off a new section about things you love. We call it Store Reporter Reader Favorites. Here’s your chance to tell everyone about that dish you dream about, that dessert you crave, or that go-to gift from your favorite little shop. For Jessica Kramer, a Bethesda therapist, dinner perfection can be found in the Greens + Grains Bowl at Cava Grill ($8.50). “Sometimes I’m not in the mood for a total light dish, or I already had a salad for lunch, but with this dish I feel like the healthiness of the salad overrides the rice part,” says Kramer, who likes to top her bowl with falafel and a lemon vinaigrette. “There’s really no topping that doesn’t go well with it,” she says. Want to tell us what you love at a local store or restaurant? Click here.