Recipes

Cider & Sage Cocktail

Cider & Sage Cocktail | getinmymouf.com

While everyone else was swimming in leftover turkey, we actually had a surplus of sage. Now we could obviously make Pumpkin Sage Empanadas, but we figured it would be nice to wind down from Thanksgiving with a cocktail.

Cider & Sage Cocktail | getinmymouf.com

The Cider & Sage Cocktail is like the second cousin of the Moscow Mule, using hard cider instead of ginger beer and gin instead of vodka. The sage helps bring an herbaceous and warm holiday feeling to your insides. Herbaceous is a word that I need to use more of in 2017.

Cider & Sage Cocktail | getinmymouf.com

For the cider, we used a hopped up Double Simcoe from Potter’s Craft Cider (bonus points since they’re based in the great state of Virginia). We recently discovered the cider at a Whole Foods sampling — After tasting the Double Simcoe, Tina immediately said “It tastes like lychee!” and we purchased their last bottle. Even though the cider is good as-is, it’s a dry cider, so it actually lends itself really well to cocktails since it brings the acid that would normally come from lemon or lime.

The best part about this cocktail is that it’s really easy to make, yet it looks like it was made by an experienced mixologist. Herbs make everything look fancy. Seriously, next time you head out on the town, toss a few sprigs of sage in your suit pocket for a supremely dapper look.

Cider & Sage Cocktail | getinmymouf.com

CIDER & SAGE COCKTAIL

  • 1 oz Sage Syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 oz Gin
  • 4-6 oz Hard Cider
  • 3 Fresh Sage Leaves
  • Ice

Sage Syrup

  • 4-6 Sage Leaves
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Water
  1. To make the syrup, simply add the water, sugar, and sage to a medium-sized pot. Stir everything together over medium-high heat until the sugar completely dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside to cool down.
  2. Lightly muddle two of the sage leaves in a glass, add ice, gin, the cooled syrup. If you don’t have a muddler, a small baseball bat will do.
  3. Finish with the cider and give it all a couple stirs to mix it.
  4. Rub the last sage leaf on the rim of the glass to release the oils and then use it to garnish.

Cider & Sage Cocktail | getinmymouf.com

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Travel

Roads Worth Driving: Vint Hill Road

Location:  Prince William County, VA
Length:  9 miles

Thanks to DriveShop and Kia, we were provided a 2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo to test drive for a week (check out our car review). Vint Hill Road was a perfect match for the sporty, yet economical sedan. Much like the well-balance car, Vint Hill Road offers fun driver-friendly twists and turns, a calming rural atmosphere, and plenty of worth wile pit stops for food, drinks, and dogs.

Although the suggestions below aren’t the only places to stop, they’re the only ones we’ve checked out personally. If you’re feeling like wine we’ve heard good things about Vint Hill Craft Winery, and Covert Cafe has a solid following on Yelp.

Pit Stops

Vint Hill Coffee Roasters (thequeensbean.com)

Vint Hill Coffee Roasters | getinmymouf.com

There’s nothing better than a coffee shop that roasts its own beans. Grab a latte to-go to boost your brain before a turbo-charged drive along Linton Hall Road. This coffee house just opened during the summer, so you can feel even better about supporting a new small business, run by friendly locals.

Old Bust Head Brewery (oldbusthead.com)

Old Bust Head | getinmymouf.com
Tucked away, just off the road, this is the definition of a destination brewery. You’d probably never find this place by accident, but chances are good you’ve seen the beer around Northern VA at groceries stores, restaurants, and Total Wine locations. I’m partial to the Graffiti House West Coast-Style IPA, but you can’t go wrong with any of their fine brews.

Vint Hill Dog Park (vinthilldogpark.org)

Vint Hill Dog Park | getinmymouf.com

This pit stop is for all the dogs out there. As the largest dog park in the area, it’s a well-maintained pup park with tons of shade, lots of seating for two-legged animals, and plenty of canine friends. It can get pretty packed on the weekends, so come early to beat the crowds of dogs.

Yankee Farms (yankeyfarms.com)

Yankey Farms Strawberry Picking | getinmymouf.com

No matter the season, Yankee Farms has you covered. From fresh strawberries in the summer, to pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the fall, this farm brings out the kid in any adult. We left with a full basket of strawberries over the summer and can’t wait to check out the fall veggies!

***

Did we leave out any of your favorite spots on Linton Hall Road? Let us know in the comments!

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Car Reviews

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

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.

This marks the second Kia Optima that we’ve been able to try out. The last one was a model year older and was not a turbo. So, there will be a lot of comparisons to our experience with the older, non-turbo, Optima. Was this Kia worth waiting an extra year and spending more money for the turbo and additional features? Sure! And I’m really wondering why they make cars without turbos…

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

Oh and don’t forget to check out our companion video post, in which we take full advantage of the Optima’s turbo on one of our favorite local roads.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $35,315
MPG Estimate: 22 city – 32 highway
Engine:  2.0L Turbo Gas Direct Injection, 4 cylnders
Power:  245 hp @ 6000 rpm | 260 ft-lbs @ 1350 rpm
Transmission:  6-Speed Automatic Transmission w/ Active Eco System
Color:  Remington Red
Options:  SXT Premium Technology Package (HID headlights w/ high-beam assist, panoramic sunroof, Harmon Kardon QLS premium surround sound, power front passenger’s seat w/ lumbar, heated and ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seat cushions,  front collision warning, blind spot detection system, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking assist system, lane departure warning system, autonomous emergency braking system, advanced smart cruise control, surround view monitor, and LED overhead interior lighting)

Click here for the 2016 Kia Optima brochure.

Comfort

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

I remember the 2015 Optima’s driver’s seat being a tad bit comfier, with a softer couch-like feeling. These seats aren’t uncomfortable, but they felt stiffer. The SXT Premium Technology Package does include a front power passenger’s seat, which was a vast improvement over the stationary passenger seat in the 2015 model we tried. As a passenger it was waaaaaaaay too low and felt like you were sitting on the floor. So, if you have shorter passengers, they’ll be happy you splurged for the package with the better seat.

Amenities

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

The entertainment system remains above average and is easy to use, but the show-sealers (much like in the 2016 Kia Sorento) included the 360-view camera and panoramic sunroof. The car isn’t huge, but it’s still nice to have that 360 view…just in case. And that sunroof is ice cold (cooler than being cool). You don’t even need to really use the sunroof, just the fact that it creates a two-toned look, adds some real street cred. And by using the term “street cred” I probably just lost all of mine.

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

Performance

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

Is it worth it to spend a bit more and lose some MPG’s for the turbo? Yes. Of course. Always, yes. When someone offers you turbo, you accept it. Sure the non-turbo is fine. But do you really want to live life with just “fine”? Seriously, is this even a conversation? Just get the turbo.

As far as handling goes, the road feel is improved–Still not to a place where I’m excited to drive solely based on handling, but it’s getting closer than last year’s car.

Who Should Buy This Car

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

If you’re looking for an affordable TURBO-CHARGED sedan with all the bells and whistles, give a hard look to the 2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo. Look, I realize that for some people, buying a Kia isn’t even on their radar. Before we were given the opportunity to test drive a few, I honestly didn’t think they could compete with some of the other brands. So, if you are in the market for a sedan, just take it for a test drive. You might be surprised!

Gratuitous Dog Picture

2016 Kia Optima SX Turbo | getinmymouf.com

Since this wasn’t an SUV, Cooper had no problem getting into and out of the Optima. I’m not sure he even noticed that it wasn’t my daily driver. The only thing he’s not quite sure about is that sunroof–Anything that moves by itself is clearly powered by evil wizards sent to destroy all dogs from earth.

***

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.

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Reviews, Travel

Enjoy Los Angeles

I love Los Angeles, but I know there are a lot of people out there who have either had bad experiences, or just have zero desire to spend any precious vacation time in La La land.

There’s actually so much to do and so many ways to experience L.A. that, after a few trips, I think I’ve finally figured out how to experience the city in way that can even change the minds of nonbelievers:

Choose Your Location Wisely

Los Angeles covers a wide geographic area, so when planning a trip, try and stay in a location central to most of the things you want to check out. Otherwise, you’ll be spending A LOT of time in traffic.

For my last trip I stayed in this Airbnb guest house, located in Silver Lake. The location had a ton of perks including easy street parking (rare for L.A.), it was central to an infinite number of food options (I’ll touch on that later), and because it’s a residential neighborhood, the atmosphere is much calmer than staying in a hotel in Hollywood.

Silver Lake | getinmymouf.com

Such a calm street. I could totally live here.

If you’re a runner, staying near the Silver Lake Reservoir gives you an easy jogging path to start or end your day. As an added bonus, there’s a dog park nearby, so how can you run past dogs and not have great day? Oh, it is a reservoir, but don’t expect to see any water…

Keep Your Wheels Small

You’ll be doing a lot of street parking (you do know how to parallel park, right?), so make it easy on yourself and rent or borrow a car that’s on the smaller side. Thanks to DriveShop and Mitsubishi, I was hooked up with a 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer for the week (check out our car review here). The Lancer was nice because it was nimble enough to get around easily, yet wasn’t so small that I felt cramped.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC

Ridesharing is Your Friend

Although you’ll have to drive most of the time, it’s nice to occasionally not have to get behind the wheel. As much bad press as Uber and Lyft get, I still have yet to have any experience that is anywhere close to as awful as nearly every taxi ride I’ve had.

I also highly recommend using uberPOOL or Lyft Line to share your ride with a stranger. Sounds a little weird at first, but your ride costs will be cut in half AND you might meet some cool people. Thanks to sharing a ride one night, I got some sweet restaurant recommendations from two locals (shout out to Christine & Nick!). Unfortunately I didn’t make it out to their top pick, a new Nashville hot chicken joint in Chinatown, Howlin’ Rays, but I can guarantee I’ll be back soon…

Eat as Much as Possible

If you’re not eating well in L.A., then you’re doing something horribly wrong. I ate so well that it was almost painful (I didn’t wake up hungry once during the trip). There are hundreds of must-eat lists, celebrity chef restaurants, and local-filled dive joints to discover, but here are a few of my favorite bites:

The Fairfax breakfast sandwich from Eggslut (Downtown in Grand Central Market) – Almost custard-like scrambled eggs with chives, cheddar cheese, Sriracha mayo, caramelized onions, on the world’s softest brioche bun. And of course I added bacon. Easily the best egg sandwich I’ve ever eaten.

eggslut LA | getinmymouf.com

Good brews and great burgers from Stout (Hollywood) – Their signature Stout Burger did not disappoint and was topped with blue cheese, Emi Gruyere, rosemary bacon, caramelized onion, horseradish cream, and roasted tomatoes. And with over 30 beers on tap and 4 0z pours, you can sample nearly all of them in one night (thanks to Uber and Lyft). The staff is super friendly as well, and will happily share some celebrity sighting stories (everyone apparently has an Andy Dick encounter) and most of the waiters will even let you read their screenplay. Kidding, I actually didn’t meet any writers, but I did meet a stunt man, stand-up comic, improv performer, and a DJ.

Stout Burger - LA | getinmymouf.com

World class dim sum at Din Tai Fung (Glendale) – Din Tai Fung is a popular international restaurant with only six locations in the U.S. (all on the west coast). Man those soup dumplings…You think you’ve had dumplings, but you just don’t even know! Go with a group and order everything on the menu.

Din Tai Fung Glendale | getinmymouf.com

Cheap eats at Porto’s Bakery & Cafe (Glendale) – Porto’s is one of those places where–no matter how much you order–you always feel like your bill is way too low. This bakery has it ALL. Literally anything you could possibly want. My favorites were the fried potato balls filled with cheese or meat. And dessert…good luck picking one item.

Porto's Bakery Glendale | getinmymouf.com

Porto's Bakery Glendale | getinmymouf.com

Everything at Republique (Hancock Park) – With such huge range in flavors drawing inspiration from around the world, you will definitely find something that hits any craving you have. They cure their own meats. They bake their own pastries. They even have a daily house-made soda special. My Cuban sandwich was perfect and the Tangerine Vanilla Soda was like a liquid creamsicle on steroids. DO indulge in something sweet; my jam-filled bomboloni (basically a filled doughnut…also on steroids) was so good I cried a little.

Republique LA | getinmymouf.com

Indulging in ice cream at Salt & Straw (Larchmont) – Check out these insane flavors. Bet you’re craving ice cream now. I went with two of their staples:  Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache and Stumptown Coffee & Compartes Love Nuts (chocolate-dipped caramel-coated pecans). Ice cream nirvana was immediately achieved.

Salt & Straw LA | getinmymouf.com

A delicious marriage of French, Mexican, and California cuisine at Trois Familia (Silver Lake) – As my final meal in L.A., I enjoyed breakfast of a real champion: Crispy hash brown chilaquiles, sunny side up egg, cotija, salsa macho. I had tears streaming down my face as I took the last bites.

Trois Familia | getinmymouf.com

Take a Hike

With as much eating as you should be doing, you might want to hike off some calories.  Luckily, there are tons of trails to check out like Runyon Canyon, the Griffith Observatory hike, and of course the famed Hollywood Sign hike.

Echo Mountain LA | getinmymouf.com

Thanks to my L.A. hiking buddy (and cousin) Stephanie, I was directed to my new favorite spot:  Echo Mountain. It’s was a reasonable 30-minute drive from Silver Lake and wasn’t very crowded (although it was a weekday). The hike itself is a moderate five-mile round-trip adventure that rewards hikers with scenic views and the ruins of “White City,” a former resort at the top of the mountain. Bring water and sunblock, ’cause you’ll be in a lot of sun.

***

Still not convinced? Fine. Guess I’ll just have to go back for more ‘research’ to try and make a better argument…

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Car Reviews

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

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.

***

We needed a small, sporty car for a California trip starting in Los Angeles and ending in San Diego, so we were matched up with a 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer 2.4 SEL AWC. Having minimal experience with Mitsubishi, I was intrigued since the Lancer is one of the least expensive all-wheel-drive sedans money can buy.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $22,805
MPG Estimate: 23 city – 31 highway
Engine:  2.4L MIVEC SOHC 16-valve, 4 cylnders
Power:  168 hp @ 6000 rpm  | 167 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm
Transmission:   CVT
Color:  Diamond White Pearl

For more info, click here to view the 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer brochure.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

An evening in University Heights – San Diego, CA

Comfort

I’m seat-spoiled in my daily driver, so I wasn’t expecting a compact sedan to have comfortable seats. Fortunately, the driver’s seat didn’t cause any back pains on the trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. The seats were firm and not necessarily something that I’d fall asleep in like a recliner, but they do the job surprisingly well.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

Was disappointed that there was no telescoping steering wheel, but despite this, the wheel position wasn’t a distraction. Overall driving comfort was good – nothing ends up standing out as uber-comfortable, but after driving the car a lot you realize that everything does it’s job to a point where you don’t even think about it. Like the car isn’t trying to distract you in any way. It simply wants to do its job.

Oh, Lancer…you’re so humble.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

Performance

Power was sufficient enough that I don’t recall ever feeling like we needed more umph to get around or to merge on to the highway. I’m also a big fan of car having good handling over a soft ride, so I enjoyed the car’s nimbleness around turns. I can safely say that if you need to make a quick U-turn in the middle of a neighborhood street, the Lancer can easily handle it.

We didn’t really need to use the all wheel drive for anything, but it was nice to have…just in case. Would love to take this car for a spin in some light snow to check out its capabilities.

Gas mileage for our trip was closer to the low end of the range at about 24 MPG, which might have been affected by the L.A. traffic for part of the trip.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

Living like a local in Silver Lake – Los Angeles, CA

Who Should Buy This Car?

You should buy this car if you want a humble car with all wheel drive at a reasonable price. You might like this car if you enjoy spirited acceleration and fun handling, but don’t need something filled with a bunch of technological bells and whistles. It also doesn’t hurt that Mitsubishi offers a solid warranty with a 5 yr/60,000 mile basic coverage and 10 yr/100,000 mile powertrain coverage.

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

Wine time at Miramonte Winery – Temecula, CA

2016 Mitsubishi Lancer SEL AWC | getinmymouf.com

***

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.

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Reviews, Travel

Clifton Café – Clifton, VA

Clifton Cafe - Clifton, VA | getinmymouf.com

What do my Mom and my dog have in common?

They both love Clifton Café.

My mom always talks about The Magic Pan and how magical (GET IT?!) the crêpes were. Sadly, there haven’t been very many restaurants that serve crêpes around here (a few are starting to pop up now and I’m sure finding crêpes in DC would be easy, but getting my mom to go to DC would not be).

Clifton Cafe - Clifton, VA | getinmymouf.com

Chorizo & Sweet Corn Fricassee Crêpe

Luckily for us, we discovered Clifton Café, a crêperie in historic Clifton, VA that helps close that gap on those crêpe cravings. Crêpe options range from the savory Dan’s Barbarian Beef (roast beef, Havarti, onions, sautéed mushrooms, jalapeños, tomatoes, and Dijonnaise) to sweet favorites filled with Nutella, bananas, and fresh berries. You can also enjoy sandwiches, salads, wine and beer–and since coffee is a perfect match for crêpes–an extensive latte menu. My sweet tooth always leads me to their Crème Brûlée Latte.

It’s also a great place for  Mother’s Day Brunch and is quickly becoming a new tradition for us. This year, the brunch consisted of a three course prix fixe menu for $38 per person. For our first course, we all enjoyed the Heirloom Tomato & Burrata Caprese–I personally find it hard to turn down any appetizers with burrata.

For our second course, the table was filled with a Chorizo & Sweet Corn Fricassee Crêpe (roasted corn, red pepper and herb fricassee, sautéed chorizo, tomatoes, and gouda cheese), Salmon di Oliva Crêpe (Norwegian smoked salmon, feta, tomatoes, red onion, olive medley, and sautéed spinach with a lemon-basil sauce), and the BBQ Beef Brisket Crêpe (slow cooked BBQ beef brisket over mashed potatoes).

Clifton Cafe - Clifton, VA | getinmymouf.com

Salmon di Oliva Crêpe

To end the meal we all came back together and chose the same dessert, the Fresh Strawberry & Kiwi Crêpe (with lemon curd, powdered sugar and whipped cream). Needless to say, my mom was in crêpe heaven.

Photo May 08, 11 55 17 AM

Fresh Strawberry & Kiwi Crêpe

Enough about my mom. The dog-friendly patio is spacious enough to accommodate  75 pounds of fluffy labradoodle. I wish more places had patios, and of the few that do, I wish they had more room for big canines. The hostess and servers not only welcomed Cooper for lunch, they almost didn’t want him to leave. If he goes missing, I know the first place we’ll look…

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

So, if you’re looking for a quaint lunch spot to take your momma to, or if you’d simply like to enjoy some sunshine with your pup, Clifton Café is a perfect choice.

***

Thanks to DriveShop and Kia, we were provided with a 2016 Kia Sorento to test drive for a week (click here for our car review). The epic panoramic sunroof made it the perfect SUV to take for a drive on the scenic and winding roads of Clifton, VA to one of our favorite places to grab a bite to eat.

Photo Jun 08, 1 06 29 PM

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD

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Car Reviews

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD Review

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

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.

Between this Sorento and the 2015 Optima SX we were able to test drive last fall, Tina and I have been surprisingly impressed. Full disclosure, there was a lot of overlap in what we enjoyed with this SUV and the sedan. So, for fear of this sounding repetitive to the last review, let’s start out with something a little different: Out of the two vehicles, I would definitely choose this Sorento over the Optima in a Zombie Apocalypse situation.

Specs

MSRP (as tested):  $46,495
MPG Estimate:  17 – 23 MPG
Engine:  3.3 L V6 GDI Engine
Power:   290 hp @  6,400 rpm | 252 ft-lbs @ 5,300 rpm
Transmission:  6-speed Sportmatic Transmission
Color:  Titanium Gray
Options:  SXL Technology Package (Xenon HID headlights, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning system, electronic parking brake, surround view monitor, smart advanced cruise control)

Click here for the 2016 Kia Sorento Brochure

Comfort

No complaints from the comfort department. Of course, if you’re being chased by zombies you probably wouldn’t have time to realize how nice the seats feel for long stretches of driving. And you’re hands will also be too sweaty from the adrenaline that you wouldn’t need to use the heated steering wheel. However, the ventilated seats are nice for cooling your tuckus during tense situations.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

Also, the third row of seating could easily fit children, but you’d probably want to save that room for food rations, weaponry, and ammunition.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

Amenities

In terms of bells and whistles, there were two major perks that I will miss most. The first is, well, the first thing you notice when you enter the car:  The Panoramic Sunroof. It’s a cool feature that really makes the car feel open–the extra glass almost feels like a mid-century modern home (minus the pool). The roof is also big enough that a few people could–hypothetically–stand up simultaneously and wave to a passerby like a boss. Or, alternatively, one could shoot down zombies with a machine gun…like a boss.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

Not a boss.

The second feature that stole my heart away was the surround view monitor, which provides a 360 degree aerial view of the SUV. For someone who predominantly drives smaller sedans, it definitely made me feel better about squeezing the Sorento into tight spaces. When I drive SUVs I always feel like I’m about two cementers away from hitting every car in the parking lot. Not so in this SUV. It’s also great for ensuring that no zombies are lurking in search of brains in your blind spots.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

No zombies…this time.

Performance

For a big guy, the Sorento SXL had enough umph that I really wanted to floor it around a corner and try and flip the car.

I did not try this (nor should YOU), but the spirit lives on.

Photo Jun 08, 1 06 29 PM

For every day purposes, changing lanes and merging was no problem. Gas mileage was acceptable at about 21 MPG for our test week, which included mostly stop-and-go commuting and some short weekend road trips.

And yes, you can also use that umph and good gas milage to efficiently run over zombies.

Dog Friendliness

The biggest surprise was not the SUV itself, but rather the fact that we were able to coax Cooper into the back. He hates SUVs and doesn’t trust automatic lift gates. But, with enough treats, we got him to sit in the back for a short ride.

The pictures don’t show it, but he is terrified.

Anyway, if your dog is not a coward, he or she would love all the room in the back. Coop’s a big guy and he was able stand up without any issues (aside from mental issues). It’s also good practice, we’d hate to leave him behind during the Zombie Apocalypse…although it might be cool to have a zombie dog for a pet.

Food Friendliness

Not worried about the Zombie Apocalypse? Fine, let’s say you want to escape from becoming an office zombie at work. Go grab some Popeyes and take the Sorento out to tailgate at a park for lunch.

2016 Kia Sorento SXL AWD | #DriveKia | getinmymouf.com

Who Should Buy This Car

Although a very versatile vehicle in a Zombie Apocalypse, the Kia Sorento is a fine choice for a normal suburban life as well. It all comes down to the fact that it’s an affordable SUV with luxury car amenities and a solid warranty. We now understand why there are so many Kia Sorentos in our neighborhood.

***

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.

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Imitation Creation, Recipes

Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

There are only two times in my life where I’ve felt so gluttonously full that I thought my digestive system was near shutting down. The first involved consuming two Chipotle burritos in under an hour. If anyone ever asks, it is 100% possible to get drunk off burritos.

The second involved the first trip to San Francisco that Tina and I ever took. I need to point out that this second occurrence was not a result of being full from one meal. Nope. Rather it was a slow build throughout the day starting with breakfast and ending with a regret-filled dinner. My fingers ache just thinking about having to type it all out…

  • Bacon, egg and cheese croissant
  • Mango smoothie
  • Porchetta sandwich
  • Pizza w/ yukon gold potatoes, parmesan cheese, and bacon,
  • Spicy Korean chicken tacos w/ pineapple
  • Fried chicken
  • Cheeseburger w/ white cheddar, bacon, and a fried egg
  • Herb fries
  • Bacon-wrapped dates
  • Curry deviled eggs
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Chocolate cream pie
  • Grapefruit sorbet
  • Raspberry cream soda

That day involved a lot of snacking, a couple of lunches, and a dinner with unnecessary appetizers. We struggled to walk out of the restaurant after dinner and collapsed once we got back to our hotel. We were able to try a lot of food in a short period of time, at the expense of what could have been our final day on this earth. We, of course, survived our first-world problem of consuming too much food and lived to tell about it.

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

One might think that gorging to that extent would link those foods to the pain and thus create negative connotations to the individual foods that we ate. One might think that consuming easily thrice our recommended daily caloric intake would kill any future cravings of those infamous foods. One might. But one might be wrong.

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

It’s hard to have a bad meal in San Francisco (or any part of California), so we had like seven great meals that day. And each part brings back fond memories, but there was one item in particular that we could not stop thinking about:  Yukon Gold Potato Pizza.

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

The pizza came from a small stand at a farmer’s market right outside of the Ferry Building. I honestly don’t remember the name of the company, I just remember there being orange somewhere in the logo. But they had a portable pizza oven, which created an alluring smell of fresh crust and melty cheese. The menu had a few standard options, but one clearly stood out:  Yukon gold potatoes, Parmesan, rosemary, and bacon.

Putting potatoes on pizza isn’t some grand creation, but it was new to us. When we returned home we tried to find an equivalent, but failed and gave up the search pretty quickly (partially not wanting to tarnish the memory with a mediocre east coast version).

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

After a couple years, we finally realized that we could just make the pizza ourselves. So, after years of our tastebuds lamenting the loss of this potato-topped pizza, we took destiny into our own hands.

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

“Pizza ready, yet?”

You could certainly make this in the oven on a pizza stone–it’s definitely easier–but there’s something awesomely primitive about cooking a pizza over an open fire.

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

GRILLED ROSEMARY POTATO PIZZA

Pizza Dough – Makes 2 14″ inch crusts

  • 3 1/2 – 4 Cups Bread Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water 110 degrees
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 Packet Active Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, plus 2 teaspoons
  1. Combine the water, honey, salt, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and active yeast in a bowl, preferably one with a spout for easy pouring later. Leave this to proof for approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place 3 1/2 cups of bread flour in a mixer fitted with the hook attachment.
  3. Once the yeast has fully dissolved into the liquid solution (it should float to the top, creating a spongy top layer), turn the mixer on low and pour the mixture in.
  4. Allow the dough to mix on medium-low speed until it pulls aways from the sides and rolls into a ball. If the dough doesn’t pull away from the sides, add more bread flour by the tablespoon until you have the proper consistency.
  5. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly into a ball. Place in a large oiled bowl (remaining 2 teaspoons), cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until double in size. Approximately one hour.
  6. Once the dough has risen, split into two equal portions, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for ten more minutes.

Pizza Toppings

  • 3 – 4 oz Shredded Fontina Cheese
  • 1 Cup Thinly Sliced Yellow Potatoes
  • Rosemary Garlic Oil (ingredients below, recipe to follow)
    • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Rosemary
    • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
    • 4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
  • Sea Salt & Dried Rosemary, to taste
  • Optional:  Bacon (we made ours vegetarian-friendly, but you don’t have to)

Directions

  1.  Make the pizza dough per the instructions above, or buy a pre-made dough from your favorite grocery store.
  2. While the dough is rising, make the Rosemary Garlic Oil:  Cook the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, red pepper flakes and sliced garlic on medium-low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the garlic just starts to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Get your charcoal grill ready. We have a 22-inch Weber kettle grill we use with this chimney starterfire starter cubes, and Kingsford charcoal.
  4. Here’s where a pizza peel might come in handy. If you don’t have one, a cutting board or flat baking sheet should work well, covered with enough cornmeal that the pizza dough slides of easily. Spread out your dough (toss it if you dare) into the shape of your pizza. Brush with the olive oil, cover lightly with cheese, and add the sliced potatoes making sure none of them overlap. Finish by brushing the potatoes with more oil and topping with rosemary and sea salt.
  5.  Slide the pizza directly onto the hot grill and cover for about five minutes. Since all grills are different, you might need to baby sit your pizza. If the heat is uneven, rotate once throughout to even out the charring.
  6. Once the bottom crust has some nice dark color, remove from the grill, and broil on high in the oven for about three minutes.
  7. Slice and eat immediately!

Get in my Mouf | Grilled Rosemary Potato Pizza

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Events, Travel

Events DC Presents: Embassy Chef Challenge

Events DC - Embassy Chef Challenge

Photo Credit:  Don Tanguilig

What:  Embassy Chef Challenge
When
:  May 25, 2016 | 6:30 PM
Where: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004
Cost:  $65
More Info:  eventsdcembassychefchallenge.com

Want to take a culinary tour around the world, but don’t quite have the million frequent flyer miles that it would take to get you there? Luckily, Events DC has partnered with Cultural Tourism DC (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization) to satisfy your mouth’s craving for world domination.

In its eighth year, Embassy Chef Challenge features 19 global culinary representatives from South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe, along with a solid showing from the Caribbean nations. Chefs compete for not only the Judge’s Prize (awarded by local chefs and food writers), but also the coveted People’s Choice Award based on attendee votes.

Events DC - Embassy Chef Challenge | getinmymouf.com | Photo Credit: Don Tanguilig

Photo Credit: Don Tanguilig

Here’s an amusebouche (in list form) of what you might taste at the event:

  • Filipino Bringhe  (savory seafood paella made with sticky rice and coconut milk)
  • Rum-Infused “Painkiller” Cocktail from the British Virgin Islands
  • Guatemalan Gazpacho del Enchilada
  • Bacon-Wrapped Duck Pâté from the Czech Republic
  • Uzbek Plov (hearty lamb and rice pilaf)
  • Ghanaian Black-Eyed Pea and Shrimp Fritters.
  • Arabic Coffee from Qatar

As you taste the world, you’ll also be surrounded by a vibrant atmosphere with live music and plenty of dancing. It’s sure to be a fun–and delicious–celebration of diversity and global cultures!

And seriously, it’s not like you have anything better to do on a Wednesday night, right?

Events DC - Embassy Chef Challenge | getinmymouf.com | Photo Credit: Don Tanguilig

Photo Credit: Don Tanguilig

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Reviews, Travel

Eat + Hike + Sleep: Monterey County, California

Big Sur | getinmymouf.com

Since the strong majority of our vacations primarily involve eating, hiking, and sleeping, it only makes sense to start an ongoing series aptly named Eat + Hike + Sleep. Yeah, you wish you could come up with a title as original as that. Didn’t even need a thesaurus.

The first location up for this series:  Monterey County, California. With all the times we’ve landed at SFO, we always ended up traveling north. There is tons of awesomeness up north like, duh…San Francisco, but also other cool places like Mill Valley, Sonoma, and Napa. I’ve never been, but I’ve also heard that Berkeley is a cool town to check out too. And if we’re talking further north, I enjoyed my time in Sacramento and its surrounding wine country.

Wanting to mix things up on our recent trip out west, we figured it was time to head south and check out what Monterey County had to offer. Specifically, we stayed in Carmel Valley and spent some time in Big Sur cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway.

EAT

Good to Go (Carmel-By-The-Sea)

Good to Go - Carmel-By-The-Sea | getinmymouf.com

Located in the Crossroads Carmel shopping center, this juice and smoothie joint was a convenient stop in between Carmel Valley and Big Sur. Also, with most of our other meals clocking in with a a maxed out indulgence level, grabbing some smoothies from Good to Go was a perfect way to start a day of hiking.

Café Rustica  (Carmel Valley Village)   Cafe Rustica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Rustica - Carmel Valley Village | getinmymouf.com | #foodstories

Cafe Rustica - Carmel Valley Village | getinmymouf.com | #foodstories

Herb-Roasted Half Chicken | crispy artichokes, au gratin potatoes, ratatouille, and kalamata olives

Café Rustica is such a cozy place. I felt like a foreign exchange student having dinner in a European family’s house. That kind of cozy. The portions were generous and my Herb-Roasted Half Chicken dish had like fifteen different sides (er, well four).  I was afraid they might be fattening us up for tomorrow’s special. And also, two words: Crispy artichokes.

Corkscrew Cafe (Carmel Valley Village)   Corkscrew Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Corkscrew Cafe - Carmel Valley Village | getinmymouf.com | #foodstories

Wild Mushroom Gnocchi | parsnips, arugula, pistachio, Brussels sprouts, chive lemon brown butter, & frisee

Corkscrew Cafe - Carmel Valley Village | getinmymouf.com | #foodstories

Roasted Tomato Pizza | mozzarella, basil, olive oil, goat cheese, roasted garlic, olives, tomato sauce

A sign of a good restaurant is one that you visit twice during a vacation. We did just that with Corkscrew Cafe. First of all, they have a bread basket on the menu. At first I was appalled that bread wasn’t free and was ready to fight someone. But the more we thought about it, we realized that if a restaurant is going to put bread on the menu, then it better be the best bread in town. After talking with the server, we found out that “Jason’s Bread” (as it is listed on the menu) is indeed made by Jason, whose sole responsibility at the restaurant is to make bread. He also confirmed that it was magical. So we got the bread and not only was the bread as brilliant as advertised, but the whole freaking meal was just perfect. The Wild Mushroom Gnocchi might have been the most memorable dish of the trip and the chili & honey braised Short Ribs just melted on the plate. I sent the knife back, because there was no need for it. It was so good and we returned the next night. Too bad they were out of bread, but I don’t want to talk about it…  Luckily the Roasted Tomato Pizza and Kale Salad did not disappoint.

Valley Kitchen (Carmel Valley)   Valley Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Valley Kitchen - Carmel Valley | getinmymouf.com

Located in the Carmel Valley Ranch, Valley Kitchen ended up being a perfect way to end the trip with a final dinner in Carmel Valley. The Honey and Goat Cheese Salad as well as the Asparagus and Wild Arugla Salad were fresh and filling. It was also fun playing a game of russian roulette with the cast iron pan fried shishito peppers. Somehow I ended up with all the hot ones. The real star was not the food, but our server (who’s name we forgot to write down)–He was knowledgable about the local wines in an unpretentious way and even allowed us to sample some of the ranch’s own Swing Pinot Noir. His friendliness also allowed us to find out a little bit more about the area and the ranch. The meal and service made it even harder to leave the next day, but I have a feeling we’ll be back soon.

HIKE

Point Lobos State Reserve (Carmel-By-The-Sea)

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve - Carmel-By-The-Sea, California | getinmymouf.com

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve – Carmel-By-The-Sea, California

With a lot hikes, you have to really earn the good views through steep climbs, spider-webs, and losing at least one boot to a mud puddle. But, at Point Lobos, within about five minutes of walking, we were met with landscapes that I wish we could bring back with us to the east coast. The trails are all fairly easy and your reward for what seems like no work at all, is an abundance of blue coves, towering trees, and magnificent cliffs. And as an added bonus, we’re pretty sure we saw a seal give birth. Check off “birthing seal” from the bucket list. A word of warning, parking is limited, so unless you want to park on the street and hike to your hike, arrive as early as you can.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (Big Sur)

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park - Big Sur, California | getinmymouf.com

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park - Big Sur, California | getinmymouf.com

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – Big Sur, California

As easy and GORGEOUS (yelled with a British accent) as Point Lobos was, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park’s .64-mile McWay Waterfall Trail leads to a blue cove and a flowing waterfall that lands directly onto the beach itself. For a longer, more challenging hike, you can head inland on the 4.5-mile Ewoldsen Trail where you follow a stream along somewhat visible paths. You can park for free fairly easily along Route 1 near the park entrance, but why wouldn’t you want to support the park system? It’s only ten bucks…

17-mile Drive (Pebble Beach)

The Lone Cypress - 17-MIle Drive - Pebble Beach, California

The Lone Cypress – 17-Mile Drive – Pebble Beach, California | getinmymouf.com

2016 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

Checking out a beach along 17-Mile Drive with our fun buddy, the 2016 Mazda CX-3.

This is less of a hike and more of a “drive and stop to walk around,” destination, but 17-Mile Drive is still a fun way to kill an afternoon. It’s a surreal contrast between nature, tourists, and a golf course community where the average home price is in the double-digit millions.

SLEEP

Carmel Valley Ranch (Carmel Valley)

Carmel Valley Ranch | Vinyard Oak Studio | getinmymouf.com

The view from our Vineyard Oak Studio balcony at Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch | Carmel Valley, CA

Making good use of the double-sided fireplace

We had originally planned on spending our last night in San Francisco before we flew back, but we just didn’t want to leave Carmel Valley Ranch. From the indoor/outdoor fireplaces and outdoor soaking tub on our deck, to sweeping views and live turkeys, pregnant deer, and ranch-made honey, this place was almost as magical as Disney World–except Carmel Valley Ranch has heated bathroom floors. And that doesn’t even touch on the massive list of activities that the resort has to offer which include hiking trails, tennis courts, golf, food demos, horseback riding, and even a chance to collect honey from their onsite bee hives. You could literally stay here for a week and never leave. Yeah, it was totally worth it to wake up at 5 AM to drive two hours to SFO to catch our flight, just so we’d have one more evening here.

Obviously these are only a few of the hikes, eats, and sleeps that can be found in the area. Drop us a comment for your favorite places or suggestions for where we should head next time. There WILL be a next time.

***

Thanks to DriveShop and Mazda, we had a 2016 Mazda CX-3 to play with for a about 500 miles (check out our car review here). Its nimble handling made it a blast to drive along the Pacific Coast Highway.

2013 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD | getinmymouf.com

***

Disclaimer:  We were not provided any free food, lodging, or park entrances for this post. We liked all these goods and services and would gladly pay for more of ’em again.

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