Archive for Travel

Shooting suspect committed suicide by train

trainHoward County Police just released a statement saying that Jacinto Del Prado, a 52 year-old Greenbelt resident who was a suspect in a Jessup shooting Sunday, was found dead in Prince George’s County of an apparent suicide. Police report that Prado was hit by a train in Lanham this morning.

Earlier reports this morning indicated that a “trespasser” was struck by a MARC train near the Seabrook station in Lanham. This incident resulted in Amtrak and MARC trains being disrupted for several hours.

Normal MARC service will have resumed by the evening rush hour.

MARC train struck shooting suspect near Lanham

Del Prado was believed to have gone to a truck stop on Assateague Drive in Jessup Sunday to confront someone about a domestic situation. He shot two men, killing one of them. The other victim is in critical condition. The deceased victim was Chad DeWayne Bailey of Florida. The victim currently in critical condition at Shock Trauma is Warren Anthony Weeden of Baltimore.

DC Metro Death Spiral: Shutdown for 29 Hours

DC MetroWhen I first started working in DC several years ago, any potential delays were likely to be found on the MARC portion of my commute and not as much on DC Metro.

That shifted over to the years to the point that Metro was definitely the worst part of the commute at my most recent DC job.

Part of that was MARC improvements, but even more of it was Metro continuing to get worse.

It had gotten to the point that the Red Line between Union Station and Dupont Circle was generally unreliable for getting me to work on time and unreliable getting me to Union Station in time to make my MARC train home.

I bring all this up as a preface for this news that you may have already heard:

Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, with support from the Authority’s Board of Directors, today announced the full closure of the Metrorail system on Wednesday, March 16, for emergency inspections of the system’s third-rail power cables following an early morning tunnel fire yesterday.

The inspections of approximately 600 “jumper cables” will occur along all tunnel segments on the Metrorail system. At the conclusion of the inspection process, there may be a need for additional rail service outages. Any further service impacts will be announced to the public as soon as they are known.

[…]

The Metrorail system will close at its normal time tonight (midnight) and remain closed until 5 a.m. Thursday. All six Metrorail lines and all 91 stations will be closed on Wednesday.

The unprecedented action follows an early morning electrical fire involving a cable in the tunnel outside McPherson Square Station yesterday. There were no injuries; however, service was disrupted along the Blue, Orange and Silver lines throughout the day.

What’s Next for DC Metro?

I expect this will cause the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to declare an unscheduled leave/telework today tomorrow, unless they do a complete closure of the federal government.

Their status page will have the announcement later if it happens.

DC government and schools will open on time.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if there are more partial or full closures Thursday and Friday as well.

I also expect you will hear of more and more people driving to work in the future, and making the traffic even worse. Anecdotally, I’ve heard a lot of stories over the past several years of people abandoning Metro in favor of driving.

The term “death spiral” for Metro was first mentioned by a WMATA higher-up several years ago.

It describes a continuing decrease in ridership due to reasons including service reliability issues that will result in fare increases to keep the service afloat.

These fare increases would cause even more passengers to abandon the transit service, causing the need for even more fare increases.

For the best summary on how Metro has declined in recent years, read a December 2015 story in Washingtonian magazine.

Restaurant Review: The Pit in Raleigh

I went South for the week of Thanksgiving this year and spent most of the week in South Carolina visiting family. We left SC on Black Friday to head to the Raleigh area for my friend Chris Short‘s wedding that night. I made reservations for lunch Saturday at The Pit in downtown Raleigh. I had heard a lot about it before from people with North Carolina connections as well as seeing television segments about it on various cable channels.

I’ve heard you really need to make a reservation for dinner and they ended up having a good crowd for Saturday lunch so you might want to make reservations via OpenTable no matter what time you go. We arrived a bit early and parked at the Raleigh Depot next door (it was $5 for the whole day there and if you shop in any of the business at the Depot – which does not include The Pit – you park for free.)

We were seated back towards the kitchen and had a nice chat with Executive Chef Darrell Brown after he had been talking to one of his subordinates at a vacant table next to ours. His bio says he was born in NC and he also discussed his family still in Maryland. It was a nice talk and he is a really nice guy.

Fried Pimento CheeseThey have a nice beer list including some local/regional beers  – and I had been sampling local beers all week in SC and NC – but I just stuck with sweet tea since I was headed back north across the Sweet Tea Line as soon as I left there.  We started out having a fried pimento cheese appetizer (pictured at right.) I’ve always been a fan of pimento cheese but I’d never had it like that before. It was amazing. It was served on top of pepper relish.

Moving on to the main courses now – I ordered their chopped barbecue plate while my wife got their fried chicken. Both dishes came with a biscuit and hushpuppies. The biscuit was light and not too heavy. It tasted great. Their hushpuppies were small and savory and delicious. (Personal note: both hushpuppies and cornbread are better savory and not sweet as far as I am concerned.)

Additionally, I had sweet potato fries and fried okra as my sides. I’m a fan of fried okra if it’s done well, but many restaurants do a poor job of it anymore. Not so at The Pit – their fried okra was perfectly fried. It wasn’t overcooked or undercooked. The sweet potato fries were perfectly seasoned and not greasy at all.

The chopped barbecue itself was amazing. I tried it first without any sauce and it was tasty and moist just like that. They had two kinds of sauce. I tried the vinegar-based sauce and it was great. They also had a molasses-based sauce. I will discuss more barbecue/sauce issues in a later post.

My wife had the fried chicken with sides of braised cabbage (which included bacon) and macaroni & cheese (which had been recommended to us by Chris Short.) I tried the mac and cheese and it was great. My wife told me that the chicken was very good and she also really liked the cabbage.

Fried ChickenSome other highlights from their lunch menu (the dinner menu is slightly different)  include the following appetizers: barbecue fries (“hand-cut fries with melted pimento cheese, chopped cue, chives and barbecue ranch dressing”), deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, pumpkin skillet cornbread, Vidalia onion rings, and selection of house-made pickled vegetables.

They have ribs, barbecued turkey, brisket, and even barbecued tofu in addition to the chopped plate I had. The sandwiches on the menu include a pulled pork sandwich in addition to a chopped sandwich. One thing that’s a big plus to me – they have a pimento cheese burger.

I first discovered the joys of a burger topped with pimento cheese at a long-defunct place called the Dairy Bar (someone correct me if I got the name wrong) that was near the Statehouse in Columbia, SC. I went there with a friend while we were in town for Youth in Government’s Model Legislature one December in high school. Since then I’ve had pimento burgers at various places – most of them in South Carolina. (One place with a good one is Rockaway Athletic Club in Columbia. President George W. Bush had pimento burgers from there on one of his trips to the Palmetto State.) I will put The Pit’s pimento burger on my to do list for a future trip.

Another Southern staple is found on The Pit’s dessert menu – banana pudding. I wish I could say I tried it, but I had no room for it. I’ll have to save that, along with the pimento burger and some other things, for a future trip. There will definitely be future trips whenever I’m in Raleigh. I would recommend you definitely dine there if you have the opportunity.

The Pit is located in downtown Raleigh at 328 West Davie Street. You can find them on OpenTable here.

(Photographs are Copyright 2011 by Jeff Quinton)