“My objective is to have something engaging in one way or another for somebody, whether it’s starting a conversation about something I have on the wall or what music I would recommend,” says the 36-year-old Silver Spring resident.
Mendiola-Durán spent several years working at Joe’s Record Paradise in Silver Spring, Atomic Music in Beltsville and the now-defunct Towers Records’ Rockville store before opening Sonidos in October. The bright yellow shop, which is adorned with playful music and movie posters along with art, caters to all sonic palettes. You’ll find such classics as John Coltrane but also lesser known titles including “Authentic Sound Effects,” for sampling and special effects.
After Mendiola-Durán was forced to close Sonidos! earlier this year because of the pandemic, the Maryland shop is back in business — albeit by appointment only. And as she returns to some semblance of normalcy, Mendiola-Durán dreams of a day where her favorite D.C. area spots are reopened as well.
The first thing I would do is have a cup of coffee and read the news on Twitter to see what I’m waking up to. I would make myself an avocado toast. Very Millennial, but I don’t have to pay $20 for it — I can just make it at home.
Then I would take the Metro and end up at KoChix Chicken. Their wings are so good. I usually get the honey spicy sauce. They have a crispy coating, they’re generously sauced, and then the chicken — I don’t know if they’re some mutant chicken, but they’re really good and just so meaty. The only caveat to KoChix is that they don’t have a proper dining area — it’s small. But I would find a seat and go to town on my food.
Then I would head over to Lyman’s Tavern and get a Bloody Mary and play pinball for a couple of hours. [At Lyman’s,] I had my first taste of potato chips drizzled with Sriracha sauce, and I immediately made that one of my go-to snacks at home, it’s so good.
On my days off, before [the coronavirus pandemic] happened, I would go straight downtown and lose myself in the National Museum of Natural History. It’s been my favorite Smithsonian museum since I was a little girl. The new exhibit that they put in, “Deep Time,” the one they had closed for many years and I was so sad that I didn’t get to see my dinosaurs for all that time — totally worth it. It blew my mind. It’s cool that you can travel from the beginning of time to now, or you could go backward! I’ve only seen it twice since it reopened, and I’m itching to go back eventually.
I love going to the United States Botanic Garden. I could just take my time and walk around all day. I love the view from above where you can look down and see the giant jungle plants and the general humidity, a rainforest kind of vibe. It’s cool to see all the different cactuses in the desert area, and all the orchids.
For dinner, I would head over to Daikaya. I’m not sure if they still have it, but they used to have a savory mushroom dish that was really buttery. They also have a grilled avocado, but that’s a lot of avocado for one day. They have some nights with DJs, but the music there is always good whether there’s a DJ or not. Deeper cuts that you wouldn’t hear at a TGI Fridays. I do appreciate the overall ambiance and they really care a lot about your experience.
Then, I would come back to Silver Spring and go to AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. It’s a great cultural experience to go see these classic films that you wouldn’t see otherwise. Every once in a while you’ll have that extra level of immersion like a live organist or a Q&A with the producers of a film. It’s a really wonderful experience and I strongly recommend people go — especially because they have Uncle Chips chocolate chip cookies for sale in the lobby.
If it’s still open, I would get ice cream from Islands Tropical Ice Cream. They have really delicious tropical ice cream flavors. They’ve got mammee and taro ice creams. They’ve got all these cool, nonstandard flavors and they’re all really good. Highly recommend them. Then I would walk back home and chill — and then probably eat something else before I go to bed.