Holiday, Recipes

An Evening with a Spiced Pecan

Spiced Pecans | Get in My Mouf

Our Spiced Pecan recipe (at the bottom of this post) has become an MVP of our holiday season, playing a role in multiple dishes both savory and sweet. From green beans, to cookies, to binge eating at midnight whilst watching Netflix, these pecans really are team players. We had an opportunity to get to know one of deez  these nuts a bit more intimately and to try and figure out what makes them such a solid classic.

Get in my Mouf:  Really appreciate you taking the time to sit down with us–I realize this is a busy time of year for you.

Spiced Pecan:  Not a problem. I’m happy to be here. Prefer to keep it short, though. Already a bit behind this year…

GIMM:  Absolutely–I want to start with a question, an old debate that’s be around for a while. What do you prefer to be called. Pe-con or Pee-can?

SP:  Well, I don’t go by either, since that’s not my name. It would be like me calling you “Human.”

GIMM:  Oh, I’m sorry… What’s your name?

SP:  Charles. Friends call me chuck.

GIMM:  Pleasure to meet you, Chuck!

SP:  Charles.

GIMM:  Right… [awkward pause]

Egg Whites | Get in My Mouf Spiced Pecans

GIMM:  Anyway, you’ve seen quite a bit of success over the years–You’re a very traditional holiday staple–Is it hard to stay consistent? There are a lot of food fads that take hold and I could see that becoming a distraction.

SP:  Not really. I grew up in a family where tradition and work ethic were really important. You do your job. I do my job. It’s just what we do. I watched a lot of our friends get mixed up with Wasabi and Sriracha. Sure that’s popular now and I get it, I really do. Commercials, prominent shelf space at Target, features on FOOD BLOGS. There’s definitely an allure that’s hard to turn down. But at some point the fame will fade and at the end of the day, people always go back to the classics.

Pecan & Egg Whites | Get in My Mouf Spiced Pecans

GIMM:  I’m not sure if anyone picked up on the tone you had about food blogs, but it did take a bit of persuasion to agree to sit down with us. Why were you so hesitant?

SP:  Honestly, recipes should be shared between family members on faded scraps of paper. This whole internet blogging thing is just too impersonal. For example, when you want to make a pumpkin pie, what do you do?

GIMM:  I Google a recipe. 

SP:  Exactly! Now how many choices are there?

GIMM:  Who knows…hundreds of thousands? A million?

SP:  How do you know which one is a good recipe?

GIMM:  I’ll try and find a site that has reviews or find a recipe that’s on a blog I trust.

SP:  Basically, you’re outsourcing your pumpkin pie recipe and basing your decision on a stranger’s who may or may not have a similar flavor profile as you.

GIMM:  Sure, but–

SP:  Meanwhile, you could have just called up your mother and asked her if she had any secret family recipes. AND during which you could engage her in an actual conversation. A real human to human interaction. Why is that important? Food is at its peak enjoyment when it’s connected to memory or tradition. Would you rather eat a pie that you found online from a stranger, or eat a pie that has roots to your family?

GIMM:  If given the choice between two pies, I would prefer to sample each before making a decision.

SP:  When was the last time you called your mother?

GIMM:  Speaking of…my mom is actually VERY allergic to pecans.

SP:  Her loss.

GIMM:  Agreed. You are delicious.

[Another awkward Pause]

GIMM:  I’m not going to eat you.

SP:  I think we better wrap this up.

Spiced Pecans | Get in My Mouf

Well, that was fun. A big thanks to Charles for joining us. Though, to be honest, I’m not sure who was interviewing who. He might be stuck in his old fashioned ways, but man he was, er is–from what I’ve been told–delicious. Want to give him and his friends a try? Don’t bother your mother, as she’s probably busy planning your Thanksgiving dinner. Instead give our recipe a try, ’cause we’re sort of like family at this point, right?



  • 3 Cups Pecan Halves
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Mix together the sugar and spices and set aside.
  2. Combine the egg white and water and whip until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold the pecans into the egg white mixture. Once completely moistened, add the sugar and spice. Mix well.
  4. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and spread pecans into an even single layer. This single layer may not sound important, but it is. Crowded pecans mean too much moisture and, in the words of Alton Brown, definitely not good eats.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes at 300°. Remove from oven, carefully stir, and reduce oven to 250°. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Let cool on a wired rack – we keep ours on the parchment paper so they don’t fall through the cracks – until they come to room temperature.
  7. Try not to eat all of them in one sitting. They are seriously addicting. Sorry, Charles.

Spiced Pecans | Get in My Mouf


Potomac Point Winery – Stafford, VA

Potomac Point Winery - Stafford, VA

Thanks to DriveShop and Mazda, we had a 2016 Mazda CX-5 to play with for a week (check out our car review here). Its nimble handling made for a fun drive on some winding roads to Potomac Point Winery.

Potomac Point Winery - Stafford, VA

Our handsome +1 to a winery wedding.

Question:  When you’re driving up and down I-95, stuck in a swell of cars commuting from parts north and south in Virginia, do you ever wish you could take a quick detour and find a happy place filled with nature, wine, and good food?

If so, Potomac Point Winery is that happy place.

We recently attended a wedding at Potomac Point Winery (Congrats Dianna and Gregg!), so our detour to happiness included a night filled with good company, wine, fine food, and plenty of my off-rhythm dancing.

Tucked away in the woods, it all starts with the drive leading up to the entrance where you’ll soon forget that you were just on a major highway. This is where the happiness begins. Rather than describe it, just take a look at our first impression of the winery:

Not a bad way to start a wedding, eh?

Sweeping views of vineyard, surrounded by woods. It’s truly a serene escape from the traffic-filled highways of Northern Virginia and a romantic getaway for not only a wedding, but even a short day trip or date night.

Potomac Point Winery - Stafford, VA

Potomac Point Winery - Stafford, VA


We’ll definitely be going back to try their full array of wines, but the Abbinato was clearly the hit of the wedding selection with our table. It’s an easy to drink Chianti-style blend with fruit and vanilla flavors and pairs well with most Italian meals, barbecued chicken, tomato-based entrees, and pizza. Though, to be fair, what doesn’t pair well with pizza?

Potomac Point Winery - Stafford, VA

There was very little deviation from the Abbinato, but I also enjoyed the Coyote Cave Red, which was also a light smooth red blend that pays homage to the coyote cave in the winery’s cellar–named after a mother coyote and her cub, who took an “unguided tour” of the cellar before the winery opened to the public.

Potomac Point Winery - Stafford, VA


You’re welcome to bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks for a picnic at the winery, or you could dine at the attached Le Grand Cru Bistro. The menu focuses on local and seasonal ingredients, and ranges from cheese plates, to tapas, and even full entrees like a Brined and Smoked Pork Chop with Sweet Potato Mash and Sage Butter.

Fortunately for us, Le Grand Cru Bistro also catered the wedding, so we were well fed during our visit. All around, the food was solid and included mini crab cakes, mountains of cheeses, meats, and pickles, along with main courses of Pan Seared Sea Bass with Sorrel Butter Sauce and a perfectly cooked Beef Tenderloin with Caramel Sauce.

Our personal favorite was an appetizer that brought out our inner childs: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Shooter. It’s everything an appetizer should be, lighthearted, comforting, fun, tasty. It was also a cool October night, so throwing back some warm soup hit the spot like a can of emergency Campbell’s on a snow day.

Potomac Point Winery - Stafford, VA

We had a really enjoyable time at Potomac Point Winery and look forward to heading back with our pup (yes, they are dog friendly) to revisit this new happy place.

If you want to know more about the winery, including tasting notes on their wines, then check out “Field Trip:  Potomac Point Winery” from The Armchair Sommelier. Lots of good, in-depth wine knowledge and plenty of pictures!

Car Reviews

2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Review

2016 Mazda CX-5 Review

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mazda, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMazda.

Also, one of the cool things about testing out this Mazda, was that upon receiving the vehicle, we were provided with a $25 charitable gift card redeemable at to donate to the charity of our choice. The Mazda Drive for Good charitable program has helped raise more than $7.6 million and has resulted in over 120,000 charitable service hours pledged since 2013.

Mazda Drive for Good

Given that Thanksgiving is right around the corner and this is a food blog, we chose Food & Friends. The organization is dedicated to helping men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses by preparing and delivering specialized meals and groceries in conjunction with nutrition counseling. What does that entail exactly? They deliver meals year-round, six days a week (including holidays) and since inception have delivered 18 million meals to over 26,000 individuals. Thus, the impact is huge, but they can’t do it without volunteers and generous donations! To learn how you can help, visit their website for more info.


2016 Mazda CX-5

Full disclosure: I owned a Mazda for almost a decade. Does that create bias? Maybe. Does that also create some higher-than-normal expectations. Maybe. So, everything should balance out…


MSRP (as tested):  $32,340
MPG Estimate: 24 city – 30 highway
Engine:  2.5L Skyactiv, DOHC 4 cylinder
Power:  184 hp @ 5,700 rpm  | 185 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm
Transmission:   6-Speed Automatic
Color:  Titanium Flash Mica
Options:  Grand Touring Technology Package (Navigation System, Smart City Brake Support, LED headlights with auto leveling, Adaptive Front-lighting System, LED fog lights, LED daytime running lights, LED combination tail lights and auto-dimming mirror)

For more info, click here to view the 2016 CX-5 Brochure.


The entertainment system works really well, keeping in mind it does take some time to get familiar with navigating through everything. So, it’s not quite as initially intuitive as others, but I easily learned what I needed within a few days of driving. No biggie for a car you’ll keep for a decade.

2016 Mazda CX-5

Voice commands also worked easily for making calls and entering addresses for the navigation system.

In my opinion, a huge plus is the fact that the Grand Touring comes standard with a Bose sound system (it’s also optional in the Touring trim). I love me some Bose. I’ve got a pair of Bose computer speakers that can shake our house. So, needless to say the system in the CX-5 is plenty good enough to rock out, hip hop, or blast whatever your preference is.


Although the seats were comfortable, the ride is a bit harsh, but that’s the trade off you get for some of the zoom zoom that’s discussed later.

2016 Mazda CX-5

The A/C was decently cold and I only bring that up, because my old Mazda’s only fault was its air conditioning. Quite the testament to how much I enjoyed that car, as I spent nearly a decade enduring long, sweat-filled summer commutes. This car was a sweat-free zone. Except when I took that one hairpin turn at 80 MPH. Kidding. Or am I?

Oh and not sure if you’re into safety, but the 2016 CX-5 was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, which means this car could save your life. Especially during those 80 MPH hairpin turns. KIDDING. Drive safely.


This is quite a deceiving little SUV. First impressions would likely lead one to believe that this little go-getter is a suburbanite’s dream, ready for trips to big box warehouse stores, home improvement shops for weekend warriors, and carting the little ones (two and four legged) around town. But honestly, all that stuff seems to bore the CX-5. Not that it won’t do all that stuff well, but it seems to do the chores almost begrudgingly.

2016 Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 yearns to stretch its legs and search for winding roads, rural scenary, and areas where there might not be a road at all. During our time with the CX-5, the most fun we had was exploring the curvy roads on our way to visit Potomac Point Winery, and soaring across a grassy field, escaping the hellacious parking situation of a just ended Renaissance Festival.

I really wish we had some snowfall to play with like in this video.

Oh, and the gas mileage. Was it good? Well, for an AWD compact utility vehicle, I was pretty happy with our average of 26.8 MPG. That included five days of commuting to and from work (32 miles round trip) along with two longer trips with mostly highway.

Because of the nature of this car, my only complaint on the performance is the lack of a little more umph. And sure it might be gratuitous, especially for those who want to retain the solid gas mileage, but oh the fun you could have with a turbo-charged MazdaSpeed CX-5…

Smashing Good Looks

Co-workers and neighbors were happy to compliment the looks of the CX-5. The light Parchment color interior was noted on more than one occasion to be sexy. Also, the Titanium Flash Mica exterior made the car look almost like a mini-tank, which was cool. B-Y-O-Rocket Launcher.

cx5 (10)

And personally, upgrading to the Grand Touring model is worth it for the wheels alone.

Who Should Buy This Car

This might be the car for you if you need a little more suburban hauling capacity, but you’re not ready to sacrifice the handling of a smaller vehicle. You might want to check this car out if you enjoy taking weekend trips off the beaten paths and you’d rather take the long way versus a highway. And in all honesty, I was very close to purchasing this vehicle a couple months ago. Had it not been for our dog’s extreme fear of change and anything remotely resembling an SUV, I might own one right now.

cx5 (6)

Disclaimer: As noted above we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mazda. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions remain our own and I seriously almost bought this vehicle. 



McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich: Surprisingly Not Awful

McDonald's Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Review #getinmymouf

Thanks to DriveShop and Kia, we had a 2015 Kia Optima SX to play with for a week (check out our car review here). It’s a really comfortable car, so I figured it would make for a great lunch escape. Sure enough, it was provided a calm, comfortable, place to enjoy a Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich from McDonalds.

McDonald's Butter Crispy Chicken Review #getinmymouf

Now, on to the sandwich…

McDonald's Butter Crispy Chicken Review #getinmymouf

I tried this sandwich twice. The first time, my expectations were so low that I also simulataneously picked up a Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s as a back up lunch. Yes, I was prepared to hate McD’s new “food truck worthy” sandwich. And yes, I was prepared to throw it in the garbage and eat the ol’ faithful from Wendy’s.

Fortunately, I did not have to throw out any chicken.

McDonald's Butter Crispy Chicken Review #getinmymouf

In other reviews of the sandwich, there have references to dry, stringy chicken. The first sandwich’s chicken was burning hot, moist, and–dare I even say it–perfect. The second sandwich wasn’t completely dry, but was just okay. So, it seems like consistency might play a role in everyone’s individual experiences. For the best chance, you’ll definitely want to go during a busy lunch hour, or else you may end up with a chicken fillet that has been hanging out a little too long.

As the name would suggest, it was also quite crispy. Actually, crunchy might be more accurate. Yes, it was very crunchy, which was nice.

Flavor-wise, I definitely tasted some of that tang of the buttermilk, along with a healthy dose of black pepper. It reminded me a little bit of the flavor of Wendy’s fried chicken sandwich. No need to reinvent the wheel.

The bun? Impressive. Soft, buttery…brioche-y. It’s a good bun.

McDonald's Butter Crispy Chicken Review #getinmymouf

Even the vegetation was better than most of McDonald’s other sandwiches, with a thicker slice of tomato and crisp lettuce, which also seemed fresher than the usual lettuce suspects.

The Mayonnaise Situation

The only flaw, which is also a flaw for many sandwiches at McDonald’s, is the mayonnaise. I rarely shy away from a good, creamy mayo. I spent the better part of my teenage years surviving off Subway subs with extra mayo. So, as a big supporter of the pro-mayo movement, it takes a truly awful mayonnaise to make me angry (and don’t get me started on that disgusting Miracle Whip stuff).

McDonald's Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Review #getinmymouf

And with McD’s, there is always way too much mayo. It’s too thick, almost gelatinous. I feel like I should be using it to grease up car engine parts of my 2015 Kia Optima loaner rather than underside of a brioche bun.

McDonald’s, you need to fix your mayo situation.

Final Verdict

Mayo-hatred aside, this is actually a really good chicken sandwich from Mr. McDonald. I’d definitely order this again. I would recommend ordering this one sans the white goo and “fixing it” with a few packets of Chic-fil-A mayonnaise. You keep extra Chic-fil-A mayo in your car, right? Good.

McDonald's Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Review #getinmymouf

Want another opinion? Then check out these other reviews:

GrubGrade |Review: Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich from McDonald’s

DanimalCrossing | McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich Review


Disclaimer:  No free chicken sandwiches or money were provided by McDonald’s for this review. 

Car Reviews

2015 Kia Optima SX Review

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Kia, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveKia.

I didn’t really know much about Kia before driving this Optima. I did notice that a ton of people in our neighborhood have Kia Optimas. Like, a ton. And after getting to know this car for a week, I completely understand why.


MSRP (as tested):  $31,310
MPG Estimate: 23 city – 34 highway
Engine:  2.4L Gas Direct Injection, 4 cylnders
Power:  192 hp @ 6300 rpm | 181 ft-lbs @ 4250 rpm
Transmission:  6-speed Sportmatic Transmission
Color:  Remington Red
Options:  SX Premium Technology Package (power folding mirrors, Infinity audio system, UVO Service w/ Telematics, HD radio technology, Navigation with SiriusXM, rear camera, blind spot detection system, driver’s seat memory, heated and cooled front seats, power front passenger’s seat, heated outboard rear seats, and back-up warning system)

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia


The seats are really comfortable. REALLY comfortable. Surprisingly comfortable, even. Here’s a challenge: Put on a blind fold and go sit in this car along with three other luxury brands. I bet it’ll be tough to tell which one’s the Kia.

And on top of seats that are luxury-quality comfortable, they’re also cooled. Yes, cooled seats. On a hot day, they’re basically like an ice cold lemonade for your back and butt. Weird metaphor, but accurate.

Ventilated Seats Kia Optima Review #DriveKia


The UVO entertainment system is a really well-designed and user-friendly system that looks good, is intuitive, and WORKS. I’ve come to expect most voice-comand functions in cars have a 50% success rate. I was able to easily add a new destination to the navigation on the first try. You’ve been warned, Siri.

And the mirrors fold in and out automatically. Which I suppose is functional for tight parking spots, but it just also looks cool and made me feel like I was driving a spaceship.


190 horsepower and 181 ft-lbs of torque provide plenty of get-up-and-go to get you around, but aren’t so much that you’ll be living at the gas station. Our average gas milage over the course of the week was 25.5 MPG, which isn’t that bad (if you want better milage, then check out the hybrid version). Personally, I’d take the extra juice if it meant spending a bit more at the tank.

Steering feel and handling are a tad looser and not quite as responsive as I prefer, but others may take that sacrifice for the softer ride. I missed some of the nimbleness that my 2006 compact car has, but the Optima is quite a bit larger.

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Food Friendliness

Often an overlooked aspect of vehicles, a lot can be said for a car that is really comfortable to eat in. Sometimes you need a quick, quiet, and comfortable place to escape from the insanity of work/school/your own children. Enter the Kia Optima.

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

With the seat reclined and moved back, the center console made for a nice counter to hold a sandwich. In fact, I recommend using one of the memory seat positions for “lunch mode”. Did I mention the seats were comfortable?

(BTW – You can see more interior car/eating pics in our review of McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich.)

The cabin is also spacious, so I’m sure that somehow prevents you from accidentally bumping your elbow on something and spilling ketchup on your white button-up shirt.

Who Should Buy This Car

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

This is definitely going to sound like standard commercial copywriting, but if you want luxury amenities at an affordable price, then you should give a hard look at this car. Although the MSRP tops out at about $31k, nobody actually pays MSRP. In fact, internet prices for the same version of this car, WITH THE TURBO ENGINE (274 hp and 269 ft-lbs of torque) is about $27,000. That’s almost ridiculous, especially when comparable luxury vehicles would easily double the price tag. Overall, this was a fine car. A fine car, indeed.

And for what it’s worth, Kia ranked #2 in the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study. Yup, Kia was right behind Porsche and just ahead of Jaguar.

Gratuitous Dog Pictures

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Kia Optima Review #DriveKia

Disclaimer:  As noted above, we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Kia. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. As always, all opinions remain our own.


DIY Food Tour: San Francisco’s Mission District

DIY Food Tour: San Francisco's Mission District

When we were preparing for our last trip to San Francisco, something quickly became apparent: The Mission District’s food offerings would require us to set aside an entire day. Now, obviously San Francisco as a whole is one of, if not the best food city in America, so it goes without saying that you could easily create a food tour in any of its neighborhoods. But as I Googled, Yelp’d, and food blogged the heck out of San Francisco, I kept finding Mission District gems that required a visit.

Thus, this is the first in series of DIY food tours that we’ll be posting here on the blog. And what better way to start than with San Francisco?

Aside from all the tasty food stops, the Mission District is also home to a ton of great thrift stores. With the amount of food you’ll want to eat, they’ll be a good way to kill time in between stuffing your face.

How to get there:  All of the places are easily walkable via one of the two BART stations in the Mission district. I will note that there is a bit of back-tracking involved based on the order that I set up; feel free to mix and match your own order to fit what you have time and/or want to check out.

Stop #1:  Breakfast at Craftsman and Wolves

Closest BART Station:  16th Street Mission
Address:  746 Valencia Street, San Francisco 94110

The Rebel Within - Craftsman and Wolves

The Rebel Within – asiago, sausage, green onion, soft cooked egg

Having gained attention for their soft-boiled egg-filled sausage and cheese muffin, The Rebel Within, Craftsman and Wolves is the perfect place to start your tour de eating. I fueled up with said muffin and some cold brew; a near perfect breakfast that helps set the foundation for a long day of eating. Although The Rebel Within has garnered the most attention, their pastry counter is worthy of its own mini-food tour, filled with items such as a Thai scone (green curry, candied ginger, coconut) and matcha snickerdoodles. While the food at CAW is exciting, the atmosphere is calm and makes for a spot that’s easy to get some work done.

Stop #2:  Lunch at La Taqueria

Closest BART Station: 24th Street Mission
Address:  2889 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Website:  Ha. Nope.

Photo Jul 15, 3 12 18 PM

Carne Asada Tacos Dorados - La Taqueria

Carne Asada Tacos Dorados – steak, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, monterey jack cheese

Does La Taqueria have the best burrito in America? I’m not skilled enough in the ancient art of burrito eating to provide an insightful answer. The burritos are good, but that’s not why you’re here (and from experience, eating an entire burrito in the early legs of a food tour is not a smart choice). Why are you here? Four words: Carne Asada Tacos Dorados. A mountain of moist carne asada, covered with salsa, guac, and sour cream, all wrapped up in two tortillas–one of which has been fried crispy with Monterey Jack cheese. This taco satisfies every taste and texture you’d want from a taco. Show up early to avoid lines, because aside from the national attention that this place has received, the locals clearly love it just as much. More than a few native San Franciscans I talked to mentioned La Taqueria as their go-to Mexican joint.

Stop #3:  Dessert at Tartine Bakery

Closest BART Station:  16th Street Mission
Address:  600 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Banana Cream Tart - Tartine Bakery

Banana Cream Tart – flaky pastry coated in dark chocolate with caramel, pastry cream, and lightly sweetened cream

A James Beard Award winning bakery, Tartine will surely be the reason your sweet tooths will need to spend hours in confession on Sunday. A sucker for anything combining cream and bananas, my instincts took over and I tried their Banana Cream Tart. FYI, objects in picture are larger than they appear. Did I mention food tours are best done with a companion? Yeah, a partner would be really helpful here. However, despite its intimidating size, the tart is surprisingly light. And for you cocoa nib groupies out there, grab a Cocoa Nib Rocher for the road.

Stop #4:  Cocktails at %ABV

Closest BART Station: 16th Street Mission
Address:  3174 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Special Note:  This bar opens at 2 PM, so plan accordingly.

Fogerty - %ABV

Fogerty – rye, campari, cacao, orange bitters

Mumbai Mule - %ABV

Mumbai Mule – saffron vodka, lemon, ginger, mint, soda

If you’ve done your job, you should be fairly full and your feet should have marshmallowed from all the walking. This is where %ABV comes into play: Time to take a seat, order some cocktails, and enjoy the company of one of their talented and friendly bartenders. Speaking of talented and friendly bartenders, I want to give a shout out to Eric (90% sure that’s his name) who mixed up some great drinks and was full of delicious restaurant recommendations. I enjoyed a refreshing Mumbai Mule and a strong, yet smooth Fogerty. Although I was too full for any solid food, I’d love to go back to try their kimchee fritters, pimento cheese burger, and some PB&J “ice cream”.

Stop #5:  Ice Cream at Bi-Rite Creamery

Closest BART Station: 16th Street Mission
Address:  3692 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Strawberry Soft Serve - Bi-Rite Creamery

Strawberry Soft Serve

An ice cream institution, no trip to the Mission District is complete without a treat from Bi-Rite Creamery. Have time to kill and are still a little full? Stand in the long line headed inside where you’ll find a large selection of their hand-made, small-batch ice cream like vegan strawberry coconut; Blue Bottle coffee with Alfieri almonds and chocolate chips; and brown sugar with ginger caramel swirl. In a hurry? Then jump into the “express” soft serve lane to see what flavors are swirling up.

Stop #6:  Coffee at Four Barrel Coffee

Closest BART Station: 16th Street Mission
Address:  375 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Iced Latte - Four Barrel Coffee

Iced Latte

After some serious eating, drinking, eating, walking, and eating, it will be tempting to crash and sleep through dinner. Remedy that by ending your Mission [District] Impossible with a caffeine boost from Four Barrel Coffee. I did not have a chance to visit the shop, but I did enjoy an iced latte from their stand at the Ferry Building farmer’s market. They roast their beans in-house, so I’m sure their store smells so good you’ll take a bag home as an air freshener. You’ll probably be force-fed coffee from a blue bottle the rest of your trip, so you might as well experience another great west coast coffee house.


Disclaimer: Visiting these restaurants can result in San Francisco Deficiency Syndrome. Talk to you doctor before participating in any food tour. Also, we were not provided any free goods or services to write this post. 

Reviews, Travel

Red Truck Rural Bakery – Marshall, VA

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

Thanks to DriveShop and Mitsubishi, we had a Rally Red 2015 Outlander for a week that begged to be driven (check out our review here). And thanks to a grey, rainy day, our original outdoor plans were nixed, so we decided to head west to add some color to our day at Red Truck Rural Bakery in Marshall, VA.

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

Red Truck, meet Red Mitsubishi. #DriveMitsubishi

Red Truck Bakery is an iconic bakery and market that has historically only had one small location in Warrenton, VA. Luckily for us, they had their grand opening of the new, larger Marshall shop. How grand was the opening? I dunno, maybe you should ask Academy Award Winning Actor, Robert Duvall:

The trip out west on Route 66 is much different than the mess that I normally sit in every weekday. The small town of Marshall is about an hour outside of Washington, DC; once you get past the cookie-cutter residential developments of Prince William County, you start to feel the calming sensation of being surrounded by green stuff–you know, actual nature, like trees, hills, mountains. So, despite the rain, we had a comfortable ride in the Outlander along with some pleasant scenery to take in.

When we arrived at Red Truck Bakery, we were met with an exterior that was charming and blended in well with that small town vibe. Parking is easy, as they have plenty of space out back, but there was also ample street parking available. We parked on the street thanks to my stellar parking abilities (aka a backup camera).

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

That small-town feel follows you inside, as the staff and customers were all friendly and eager to provide recommendations on what to order. It’s the kind of place where you get the impression that everybody knows each other, even if they don’t.

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

The wall of deliciousness.

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

These fellas would have made a fine picnic had it not been for the rain.

When it comes to the actual food, the choices were quite overwhelming for us first-timers. First, there’s a glowing case of baked goods–all of which were fighting for our attention–as well as two refrigerated grab-n-go cases with sandwiches, drinks, and other goodies. On top of that, there is this wall of jars and bottles of packaged goods from other local and lesser-known companies. Who knew a mini food mecca could exist in a small town bakery?

Tina tried their (highly coveted) Veggie “Beetloaf” Sandwich (roasted beets, sweet potatoes and ground walnuts). She was instantly a fan and for me, as someone who doesn’t really like beets all that much, I enjoyed the few bites I had. It doesn’t taste as “beety” as it looks, and rather has more of an “herby” taste.

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

Veggie “Beetloaf” Sandwich: roasted beets, sweet potatoes and ground walnuts.

For us meat eaters, you can’t go wrong with their Chicken Salad Sandwich. Or as I will forever call it, the Kitchen Sink Salad Sandwich (as they put everything but) in this jam-packed sandwich, including fresh local roasted chicken, grapes, apples, celery, raisins, walnuts and a hint of curry, with local Bibb lettuce.

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

Chicken Salad Sandwich: fresh local roasted chicken, grapes, apples, celery, raisins, walnuts and a hint of curry, with local Bibb lettuce.

Sandwich Tip:  The sandwiches are pre-made and are grab-n-go, so they can sell out fast. So, it’s highly reccomended that you give them a call to reserve what you want. Luckily, we called ahead and got the very last Veggie Beetloaf Sandwich. 

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

Peach pie. Maybe the last of the season…

Our dessert included peach pie and a cookie, but was completely overshadowed by one of the best cranberry-orange walnut muffins we’ve ever eaten (sorry, not pictured). I can’t remember getting this excited about a muffin before… I mean, it’s just a muffin, but it’s not.

We didn’t try them (still not sure where I discovered that willpower), but the pumpkin scones with maple glaze beckoned like an old friend, while the ham scones looked as if they could be my new future best friend. Until next time, scones…until next time.

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

Overall, we really enjoyed this little gem of a store and highly recommend giving them a try. The Marshall shop is also in proximity to two of our favorite wineries, Barrel Oak Winery and Aspen Dale Winery, so Red Truck is a convenient place to grab a picnic lunch before heading out for a day of wine tastings. And if you do go, leave the willpower at home and take ALL the scones home with you.

Red Truck Rural Bakery
8368 W. Main Street
Marshall, VA 20115
Twitter: @RedTruckBakery

Red Truck Bakery - Marshall, VA #getinmymouf

Disclaimer:  We were not compensated by Red Truck Rural Bakery in any way for this post. We really like ’em and you should too!

Car Reviews

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC Review

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

This post is made possible through a partnership with the awesome folks at DriveShop and Mitsubishi Motors, who provided us with a vehicle to test drive for a week. You can follow the conversation on social media with the hashtag #DriveMitsubishi.

This is a companion post to our trip to Red Truck Bakery in Marshall,VA. For delicious baked goods in a small town, check out that post. If you’re interested in the wheels that got us there, you’re in the right place.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

Thanks in part to The Fast and the Furious franchise, my teenage memories of Mitsubishi cars are comprised mainly of street racing Eclipses and Lancer Evolutions. Not being a street racer and also not being in the market for a new car over the last decade, I haven’t really paid much attention to what Mitsubishi has been up to, so I was interested in the opportunity to try out the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC.


MSRP (as tested):  $29,645
MPG Estimate: 24 city – 29 highway
Engine:  2.4L MIVEC SOHC 16-valve, 4 cylnders
Power:  166 hp @ 6000 rpm  | 162 ft-lbs. @ 4200 rpm
Transmission:   CVT
Color:  Rally Red
Options:  SE Premium Package (sunroof, leather seats, roof rails, 710w Rockford Fosgate sound system, power remote tailgate, power driver’s seat, woodgrain interior trim panels)


The comfort and driving position of the front seats were good, which made commuting a little easier than my 2006 manual transmission compact car. Although we didn’t travel too far, I wouldn’t anticipate any issues with taking the Outlander on a long road trip. Since I did all the driving, I didn’t have to sit in the back, but my co-workers commented that the rear seats were a little stiff for their liking.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

Overall, the interior is quite spacious, which gives the feeling you’re in a much larger SUV. In fact, with all of the second and third row seats folded down, I could easily lie down and take a nap on my lunch break. Not that I did that.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC


The entertainment system is probably due for an upgrade, but it was easy to use (which is sometimes lacking in the newer, more complex systems in other brands). The Rockford Fosgate speaker system sounds incredible thanks to the nine speaker system, including 10 inch subwoofer in the back.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

It was also easy to fall in love with the optional remote power lift gate. Emphasis on the remote part. Sometimes I opened the lift gate for fun, just because I could. It made trips to the grocery store and Costco slightly more exciting.

Although we did not take advantage of the third row of seats, it was actually beneficial on those aforementioned trips, as the seat backs helped keep our groceries from flying all over the place, while I tested out the vehicle’s cornering ability (well-within all applicable traffic laws, of course).

And as is becoming the norm with most mid and upper trim levels, a backup camera and heated seats are standard on this trim level. A week later left me wondering how on earth I was ever able to own a car without a backup camera and heated seats.


First of all, you won’t see this car in Fast & Furious 8 (or 9 or whatever they’re up to now). But that’s okay, because you’ll buy this car for the gas mileage. My daily commute, which is a 33-mile round trip mixture of highway, stop-and-go traffic, and dance parties (thanks, Rockford Fosgate!), consistently returned gas mileage around 25 MPG. Our mostly-highway trip to Red Truck Bakery resulted in a respectable 28.8 MPG, which easily rivals my my 2006 compact car. Although acceleration from a stop leaves something to be desired, throwing the shifter into sport mode provides ample juice for a lane change at highway speeds.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

I was also impressed with the steering feel and handling, as this vehicle drives more like a car than a compact SUV. I’m not a fan of loose steering (reminds me of driving a boat), so I was pleasantly surprised to still feel the road in a vehicle of this size.

Dog Friendliness

Given that this is an SUV, this is likely a great vehicle for anyone with a decent-sized dog. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of opening the power lift gate in front of Cooper. And since any inanimate object that moves on its own completely BLOWS HIS MIND, he was convinced that the car was possessed and wanted nothing to do with it. Again, it was through no fault of the Outlander and completely Coop’s own neuroscis (he also growls at bags floating in the wind). Sad, because he would’ve fit perfectly in the back, but a good reminder for dog owners to always have new vehicle purchases approved by their pups.

Who Should Buy This Car?

This vehicle would be perfect for a price-conscious consumer with kids and a need for a third row of seats. The MSRP is $29,645, but online prices at some local dealerships are closer to $25,000 for Outlanders with similar MSRPs–which seems almost insane when you think about how much vehicle you’re getting. Plus, the 10-year / 100,000-mile power train warranty and solid gas mileage will help keep future costs down. I should also mention that the 2016 Outlander has hit dealers this month, so any remaining 2015 vehicles are likely to garner some significant savings. Haven’t had a chance to try 2016’s model yet, but from what I keep hearing, there are quite a few improvements over the 2015 model.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander SE S-AWC

Disclaimer:  As noted above (you did read the whole post, right?!) we were provided this vehicle courtesy of DriveShop and Mitsubishi. Other than being allowed to test drive this vehicle, we were not provided any monetary compensation for this post. As always, all opinions remain our own.


10 Hours in Annapolis, MD

GET IN MY MOUF | Annapolis, MD Waterfront

I’m busy. You’re busy. He’s busy. She’s busy. We’re busy.

Everyone is always so busy around here…

No matter how busy you are, you can surely spare just ten hours for a trip to the waterfront in Annapolis, MD. It’s a great place to escape the “busyness” of the Washington, DC area, without having to spend too much time in a car.

We were recently invited on a #DCTravelBlogger day trip (thanks, Jessica!) to explore the city with Susan Steckman, Vice President of Communications for the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau (AAACVB). Susan was a wonderfully sweet tour guide who helped ensure every minute of our short trip was packed with delicious food and beverages as well as interesting sights and historical information. And of course, we must give a shout out to the wonderful #DCFoodBlogger crew, as Tina and I had a blast hanging out with such a friendly, talented, and fun group of people.

So, below is a recap of our adventure, which can also work as a loose itinerary for anyone looking for a quick day-trip to this historical city on the water.

Take a trolley tour

GET IN MY MOUF | Discover Annapolis Trolley

This is a very touristy thing to do, but you don’t live in Annapolis, so you ARE a tourist. Don’t fight it. Step on the trolley with Discover Annapolis Tours and embrace the chance to not only learn about Maryland’s capital city, but to also get the lay of the land. The tour covers a wide area, so keep an eye out for sites, restaurants, and shops that you might want to visit later on.

Visit an Irish Pub

GET IN MY MOUF | Galway Bay

GET IN MY MOUF | Galway Bay

GET IN MY MOUF | Galway Bay

Did you know that there are more Irish pubs per capita in Annapolis than in Ireland? You probably didn’t, because I just made that up. However, when you walk the streets, it sure feels like every other restaurant is a pub. So, to not stop into one for lunch and/or a pint would be blasphemy. We lunched at Galway Bay Irish Pub (you might’ve seen them on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives), opting for crispy fish and chips and a no-filler jumbo lump crabcake. The wildcard surprise, however, was a sampling of the pub’s proprietary egg nog. The restaurant doesn’t stock any during non-holiday months, but we were fortunate enough to be treated from the owner’s personal stash.

Have a glass of wine 

GET IN MY MOUF | Great Frogs Winery

GET IN MY MOUF | Great Frogs Winery

GET IN MY MOUF | Great Frogs Winery

Sure, you could enjoy a glass of wine at many of Annapolis’ great restaurants and wine bars, OR you could visit Great Frogs Winery, the ONLY winery in Annapolis. Enjoy a tasting or two in their rustic, yet restored barn only a short drive from Annapolis Harbor. They have a wine for every palate, but the stars were clearly their dessert wines, so don’t forget to take a bottle home.

Take a boat ride

GET IN MY MOUF | Annapolis, MD Waterfront

This is a must. I don’t care if you have to beg, borrow, or steal a yacht—If you visit Annapolis, you better find a way on to the water. After all the eating and drinking of the day, we had a relaxing ride on the Harbour Queen with Cruises on the Bay by Watermark. This narrated cruise of the Annapolis Harbor and the banks of the U.S. Naval Academy, schools you on the history of the Naval Academy and Annapolis’ role as an historic seaport. So, not only do you get a chance to get out on the water, but you also learn something. Don’t be afraid of knowledge.

Have dinner on the water

GET IN MY MOUF | Carrol's Creek Cafe

GET IN MY MOUF | Carrol's Creek Cafe

GET IN MY MOUF | Carrol's Creek Cafe

There’s no better way to end the day than having a nice meal on the water. Tucked in the Annapolis City Marina, Carrol’s Creek Cafe is easily accessible via one of the city’s water taxis. Beautiful ambiance, fresh seafood, waterfront view and a setting sun are hard to complain about. Scallop lovers will enjoy their house-specialty appetizer: A plump scallop rolled in shredded phyllo, fried crisp, and served on a bed of wilted spinach, lump crab and prosciutto ham with a shrimp cream sauce. We also enjoyed an herb encrusted Rockfish fillet, roasted and served over sun dried tomato pesto risotto, sautéed baby spinach, jumbo lump crab, and sauced with a beurre blanc. Luckily we left room for dessert, which included a smooth espresso crème brûlée for me and a rich flourless chocolate molten lava cake for Tina.

Treat yo’ dog!

Annapolis might also be the pet-friendly capital of the east coast. Not only will you find plenty of pet shops and dog-friendly restaurants with patio seating, you can even take your dog on many of the boats and water taxis. Cooper didn’t make it out on this trip, but we’re already planning another visit to take full advantage of his future favorite city. Plus, he heard how good the Annapolis Ice Cream Company is and hasn’t stopped bothering us about it.

Disclaimer:  We were guests of AAACCVB and the establishments mentioned above as part of a #DCTravelBlogger promotional trip. As always, opinions remain our own.

Beyond the Food

Sneak Peek: Earls Kitchen + Bar | Tysons Corner, VA

Earls Kitchen + Bar Tysons Corner

If you’re like me, you’ve probably never heard of Earls Kitchen + Bar, a North American “upscale casual” restaurant chain originating from Alberta, Canada. That’s not to say that they aren’t great, because they are, I’m just not well-versed in the Canadian food scene. Lucky for us, they’re slated to open a Tysons Corner location this fall, and I was thrilled to be invited to a cocktail demo lead by Cameron Bogue, the restaurant group’s Director of Beverage Operations.

I didn’t quite know what to expect. Still being relatively new to the food blogging world, we’ve only just started getting invited to preview nights like this. And up until this point, most of the restaurant stories we’ve done have been smaller restaurants or local chains.

With 64 locations in North America, Earls Kitchen + Bar is absolutely a chain. The restaurant group has over 7,000 employees and feeds approximately ten million people per year. This is a major restaurant operation here. The Tysons Corner location alone is a massive 10,000 s/f restaurant at the bottom floor of the VITA luxury apartment building near the new Silver line metro entrance.

Earls Kitchen + Bar Tysons Corner

Earls Kitchen + Bar Tysons Corner (Photo courtesy of Earls)

So, quite honestly, I was expecting a larger corporate-ish event. The kind of event where you meet so many people that you don’t actually remember anyone or have a conversation that lasts more than the time it takes to exchange titles and business cards.

I’m happy to say, though, that this event was quite the opposite. A small, intimate section of the Mandarin Oriental DC’s Empress Lounge was set aside for the demo, which was comprised of a handful of food writers as well as the management and PR team for Earls Tysons Corner.

Oh, and the star of that evening, Cameron Bogue.

My impression of Earls can be best summed up by something Bogue said at the end of the night. As he packed up his bar utensil set, he was still beaming with energy from his beverage demo. He had spent the last hour and a half showcasing three cocktails he developed for Earls (which we’ll get to in a second), a nice perk of his role as the restaurant chain’s Director of Beverage Operations. His knowledge and enthusiasm for their beverage program–his beverage program–made it clear that Bogue was fully-immersed in a job that he loved.

As Bogue finished packing up his bar tools, I made a point to stop by and mention to him that his passion is clearly evident in what he does, but he corrected me–“It’s an obsession, really.”

Earls Kitchen + Bar Tysons Corner | Cameron Bogue

Cameron Bogue, Director of Beverage Operations, Earls Kitchen + Bar (Photo courtesy of Earls)

And he was right. Bogue is obsessed with all aspects of cocktails. During his demo, in addition to a brief history of the libations, Bogue showed us how to make them, and also why he chose each component for the drinks. It was a charming mixture of professorial knowledge, combined with a giddiness and excitement that can’t be faked.

Bogue takes great pride in what he does and brought with him high standards for the beverage program at Earls. Each drink has its own character–some with their own specific glass (or camping mug). Juices are always fresh squeezed and all syrups are made in-house. Small steps that make a huge difference. And Bogue’s obsession isn’t just reserved for work, as some of the other Earls managers joked about his wall of spirits he had at his home and a kitchen drawer filled with, not utensils, but bottles of bitters.

So, although you might think passion and genuine obsession would be hard to find in a restaurant group the size of Earls, it was definitely present. It even extended beyond Cameron Bogue to the whole Earls team, each happy to tell their own stories within the company and their excitement for what the brand represents.

For example, Dylan Todd, the General Manager of the Tysons Corner location, has been with Earls for almost two decades, working his way up from washing dishes when he was 15 to his current role, managing one of the restaurant group’s most anticipated locations. You don’t stay with a company that long unless you truly have a passion for what it represents.

Of course, none of that passion matters if the drinks aren’t any good. Luckily, they were good. Very good.

Allow me to introduce you to a few fine libations…

Bees Knees

Earls Kitchen + Bar Tysons Corner

Aviation Gin | Cointreau | Lemon Juice | Honey Syrup | Angostura Bitters (Photo courtesy of Earls)

This dangerously drinkable classic cocktail, Bees Knees, is the kind of drink that makes you wish for summertime and a hammock. And apparently people love to steal the honey bear glasses from Earls restaurants. No, I did not take mine with me…but I thought about it. Maybe next time…

Cabin Fever

Earls Kitchen + Bar Tysons Corner

Crown Royal | Taylor Fladgate 10-Year Tawny Port | Pineapple Juice | Lemon Juice | Ginger Syrup | Bittered Sling Moondog Bitters | Soda Water (Photo courtesy of Earls)

Cabin Fever is a rustic cocktail that’s also well-balanced and, just feels plain cozy. It’s hard to not make friends over a round of these. And yes, that’s a pine cone in the mug. No, you don’t eat it, but it does help hold in the aromatics. Plus, it’s just cool. When’s the last time you had a pine cone in your drink?

Old Fashioned 

Earls Kitchen + Bar Tysons Corner

Maker’s Mark | Demerera Syrup | Bittered Sling Root Beer Bitters (Photo courtesy of Earls)

Bogue’s take on this classic of all classics, the Old Fashioned. No big tricks or gimmicks here. Spirits. Sugar. Bitters. Ice. Nothing more. Don Draper would be proud.

Overall, it was a fun night of learning, laughing, good company, great conversation, and of course well-crafted cocktails. Based solely on these three drinks, I can safely say that the beverage program at Earls is an accurate and delicious reflection of Cameron Bogue’s obsession and a good omen for the food scene in Tyson’s Corner. The grand opening can’t come soon enough.

Earls Kitchen + Bar Tysons Corner
7902 Tysons One Place, Tysons Corner, VA
Twitter: @EarlsTysons
Facebook:  Earls Tysons Corner
Instagram:  @EarlsTysons

Disclaimer:  I was a guest of Earls Kitchen + Bar and was provided free samples of the three fabulous drinks mentioned above; however all opinions are my own. All photographs in this post are courtesy of Earls.