This place came highly recommended to me by many people on Twitter when I did my tour of Wheaton, but I was unable to make it due to the timing of my visit.
Today I was able to make it...and it didn’t disappoint.
I’ve had decent ramen in MoCo before, but I tend to travel to DC when I want really good ramen. Now I know I don’t have to venture out that far. This was amazing.
I got the The Sapporo style Shoyu Ramen (soy sauce flavored soup made with a pork based broth). I added pork belly, corn, a seasoned boiled egg, and butter. I’m currently in a ramen coma, sitting in my car, as I write this. It was great.
It’s a small place so there’s not a lot of room to eat for bigger crowds, but I am officially joining the folks over on Twitter as a big supporter of Ren’s Ramen.
NOTE: Ren’s Ramen is CASH ONLY and parking can be very hard to find (street parking is likely going to be necessary).
MoCo Hidden Gem: Filippo's (formerly Marchone's) in Wheaton
Filippo Italian Specialties
A few weeks back I stopped by Filippo's in Wheaton to try one of their Italian cold cuts, but made it about an hour after they closed on a Sunday. Today I made sure to come while they were open and got to enjoy what many people refer to as the best cold cut in MoCo.
I ordered two items, the cold cut and the panino, based on the recommendation of the young lady that was working behind the counter. As I ordered I spoke with a gentleman that was waiting for his sandwich to be made. He informed me that he lost 42 pounds in 3 months from eating all of his meals at Filippo's. Not sure what he was eating, but I'd love to get a hold of his diet soon.
I sat at one of the few tables in the small deli/market and enjoyed two of the best tasting sandwiches I've ever had. While we were eating, Filippo himself stopped by our table to make sure everything was going well. I've heard stories about how nice of a man he is and my first interaction with him proved these stories true. He is one of the kindest people I've met; making sure we had everything we needed and thanking us for coming in.
On his recommendation, I had a cannoli. I'm a huge dessert guy, so it was a must. I'm usually not a fan of cannolis, but I have to admit...it was really good.
Before I left I told Filippo that I have a Montgomery County based website where I spotlight certain aspects of the county and that I was told my many people I had to try his subs. He told me that Filippo's, formerly known as Marchone's, has been open in Wheaton for 62 years and that he has been there for the last 32. Everyone that urged me to stop by was absolutely right about how good the sandwiches are...I highly recommend either the Italian cold cut or the panino if you're ever in the area.
This one will be quick and easy...
I just stopped by Clarksburg Grocery and had one of the best cheesesteaks I’ve EVER tasted at Clarksburg Grille (located in Clarksburg Grocery).
I HIGHLY recommend the cheesesteak. It was amazing...10/10.
When I heard Pandora Seafood House & Bar would take over the old Austin Grill/American Tap Room location in Rockville Town Square, I was excited to give it a shot. For a while, I have been looking for a classy, non-chain, traditional seafood spot to go to without having to travel too far (Rockville is pretty close for everyone in MoCo) and Pandora fits the bill!
Pandora Seafood House & Bar has been open since mid-October. It’s a very beautiful restaurant that is open for both lunch and dinner (special lunch menu). The prices are fair for the quality of food you will be getting, as entrees range from $20-$30 each. They also offer a couple non-Seafood dishes in case someone in your party is anti-Seafood 😊. I was told the bread is the only thing not made in the restaurant.
There are over 10,000 “bubbles” in the restaurant.
I’m torn when it comes to table starters because if they’re too good, I can’t stop eating them and I’m full before the first appetizer is out. If they’re terrible, my dining experience starts off with disappointment. Their bread (more of a crispy chip type of bread) and butter was in between. I liked it, but I ate one piece and was good to go until my first dish arrived.
I had a few oysters to start. The mignonette sauce that went on them was really good (I had to google the name of the sauce that goes on oysters).
The Cioppino is one of their signature dishes. It contains King crab, mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops, calamari, octopus, sourdough bread, and a spiced tomato broth. The crab legs are massive and contain a lot of meat. It actually took me a bit of time to work my way to the broth, but when I did, I was very satisfied. It was like a whole new meal beneath my original meal. If you like seafood medleys, this is the dish for you.
My favorite dish (as a whole) was the lobster linguine. There was plenty of lobster meat and I couldn’t stop eating the linguine. The presentation was really cool too.
Scallops were next on the list. They’re served over a bed of risotto. This is a difficult dish to master because if one of the two are not up to par, the entire dish is ruined. They nailed it. Scallops were a tasty and massive. Risotto was just right.
Here’s where I’m going to go out on a limb. The crab cakes I had at Pandora may have been the best I’ve ever had. It may be the recency effect, but these were 95% lump crab meat and even with all of the food that I had at dinner, I almost ordered a second plate of them. They’re served with potatoes, but I barely remember those. Just get the crab cakes, they’re amazing.
I’m not a fish guy. I want to be, but I’m just not. I did eat the Chilean sea bass, though. A friend that was with me really enjoyed it and said it was buttery. If fish is your thing, they have a couple different type.
I don’t know why, but I was a little wary of getting dessert at a seafood restaurant. That lasted as long as it took our server to tell me about the Crème Brûlèe and seasonal pumpkin pie cheesecake. I tried both. No longer wary.