#100DaysOfFoodBlogging

50 Posts in 100 Days

50 Posts in 100 Days

So, our #100DaysofFoodBlogging train fell off the tracks during that last month and we only hit 50 posts. Averaging a post every other day is still much better than our prior average of about once a week, so it did work as a strong motivator to be more productive.

We’re glad we did it to push ourselves a bit, but would we do it again? Probably not; at least not exactly the same way. There’s a certain point where quantity becomes more important than quality and when you hit that wall, it starts to feel like work. The last thing we want is for the blog to become a chore looming over us every day.

Having said that, it did force us to try some stuff we probably wouldn’t have otherwise and was great motivation to think up some cool ideas for future posts (when we have more time). I think next year we’ll use the 100 days to try and come up with an idea for a post every day; essentially starting a draft of a post each day to which we can go back and take the time to have fun and make it right.

No matter what, it was fun and for a procrastinator like myself, it’s always thrilling to have one more thing to put off until the last minute (or ignore completely).

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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Reviews

Woodbridge Food Truck Festival aka Food Truck Heaven

Woodbridge Food Truck Festival | getinmymouf.com

[This is post #050 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project. Yeah, we’re WAY behind, but we’ll catch up…or not.]

Cost:  There is no admission fee; however parking is $5 per vehicle. There are optional $10 VIP tickets that allow you access to the festival for an hour before it opens to the public, along with free parking, and a beverage. Food from the trucks ranges in price, but be prepared to spend at least $20 per person to get a good sampling of food, drinks, and sweets. I ended up spending $31 for myself on all the food shown below along with a bottle of water. I was STUFFED by the time I left.

Dates / Locations

July 10, 2015:  Prince William County Fairgrounds – 10624 Dumfries Road, Manassas, VA 20112

September 26, 2015 (11 AM – 7 PM):  G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium – 7 County Complex Ct, Woodbridge, VA 22192

Okay, so we’ve complained in the past about the lack of food trucks out in the ‘burbs, but on Saturday, July 10th we had absolutely nothing to complain about. With approximately 30 food trucks at the event, the Woodbridge Food Truck Festival arrived at the Prince William County Fairgrounds in Manassas, VA. Previously held at Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge, VA, the original festival attracted somewhere between 8,000 – 10,000 attendees, so the fairgrounds provided a larger venue, which can more easily accommodate that type of crowd.

With so many options, it was hard to decide what to eat. I think I spent more time wandering around the aisles of trucks lined along the the paved walkways than I actually did eating. And obviously it would be impossible and very expensive to try and eat something from every single truck (by the way I’m willing to do this if someone wants to be my financial backer). None the less, here are a few of my favorite bites and trucks from the event.

Meggrolls

MeggRolls | getinmymouf.com

Literally two days ago, a co-worker of mine was telling me how she wished there was a food truck based solely on egg rolls. You can pretty much stuff anything inside of a crispy wonton, so why not, right? Well, Meggrolls is doing it and doing it well. Their “Big Megg” is a play on a Big Mac, complete with special sauce and pickles. I’ll take the egg roll version over the classic burger any day. I also loved the Meggrolls truck because they offered smaller dishes ($3 for one egg roll), which helped me save room and money to try some other fare.

Feelin’ Crabby

Feelin' Crabby | getinmymouf.com

I’ve heard great things about this crab-themed food truck, so I made it a point to stop by Feelin’ Crabby to check out the Crabster, their “hybrid” slider. For $6, The Crabster includes 1 oz of jumbo lump crab and 1 oz of lobster claw and knuckle meat dressed in an Old Bay seasoned sauce (it’s kind of like cold crab/lobster salad sandwich). The slider was outstanding and was packed full of meat with a sauce that added that classic Old Bay taste without stepping on the delicate flavor of the seafood. If you’ve never tried this truck before, add it to the top of your “Must Search Out and Devour” list.

Arepa Zone

Arepa Zone | getinmymouf.com

Having had a less than stellar arepa experience from restaurant in another city, I was eager for Arepa Zone to make me a fan of arepas. “What’s an arepa?” I’m glad you asked! It’s a grilled corn patty that is sliced open and stuffed with meat, cheese, and/or other delicious toppings. I opted to try the Catira, which is filled with shredded chicken and shredded yellow cheese. The corn patty had a nice exterior crunch, while the chicken was moist, packed with flavor, and plentiful. It’s also served with a spicy sauce on the side that added a nice kick. The arepa was made to order, so it was burning hot which meant I was battling my will power not to quickly devour the whole thing and burn my mouf. In the end, Arepa Zone did make me a fan of arepas. BIG TIME.

Dyvine BBQ In Motion

Woodbridge Food Truck Festival | getinmymouf.com

In an industry dominated by fusion food, quirky dishes, and food trends, sometimes it’s nice to take a break with something simple, honest, and satisfying. All three are easily achieved by the chicken on a stick from Dyvine BBQ In Motion. An entire boneless chicken thigh, perfectly juicy with an awesome house rub (no BBQ sauce necessary) was the perfect way to end my adventure at the Woodbridge Food Truck Festival. So, yes, I basically had BBQ chicken for dessert.

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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Reviews

Review: Popeyes® Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp

Popeyes Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp | getinmymouf.com

[This is post #049 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project. Yeah, we’re WAY behind, but we’ll catch up…or not.]

The wait is over. At the beginning of July, Popeyes introduced their newest limited time offer:  Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp.

Popeyes Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp | getinmymouf.com

Basically, they take their marinated butterfly shrimp and toss it in a hushpuppy-inspired sweet cornmeal batter. To continue their cycle of new dipping sauces, the shrimp are accompanied by a Creole Cocktail Sauce. Makes perfect sense to combine two seafood favorites into one bite, but I honestly didn’t have high hopes for these shrimp. I’m the first to profess my love of Popeyes chicken, but rarely does seafood translate well in fast food form. So, I liked the concept, but didn’t expect it to be an item I’d want to order again.

Well, I was completely wrong.

Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp

Price:  Prices vary by location, so these are based on the Manassas, VA store.

Combo:  Approx. 8 shrimp + 1 Side + Drink = $5.99
Platter:  Approx. 8 Shrimp + 2 Sides + Drink = $7.99

I opted for the platter with sides of cajun rice and mashed potatoes. The platter also comes with an even larger drink which I believe they call Diabetes Size. Seriously, take a look at this monster, which is next to a half-gallon carton of milk:

Popeyes Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp | getinmymouf.com

Looks:  The first thing I noticed was that the Shrimp are disappointingly small. I suppose for the price, it’s hard to complain, but I would recommend going for the platter, which will help fill you up with that extra side. The crust is noticeably different than previous versions of their shrimp, which is clearly made with cornmeal. The shrimp are not quite uniform, with some looking more like a group of fried amoebas.

Popeyes Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp | getinmymouf.com

Smell:  I picked up my meal through the drive-through, so I had to spend about ten minutes smelling these things on the drive home. I can’t say they specifically smelled of hushpuppies, rather they smelled more generally like a seafood restaurant (in a good way). I wanted to sneak a bite at a stoplight, but my hands were dirty from playing basketball with my brother. (And yes, I beat him two out of our three games, with a three-pointer at the end of the third game to confirm my greatness. I’m ready for you, Lebron.)

Popeyes Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp | getinmymouf.com

Texture:  The exterior crust was deliciously crunchy without being too heavy. A lot of fast food restaurants attempt to hide the actual shrimp with too much thick, cakey breading, but I like the shrimp-to-batter ratio on these. Hey, and shockingly, the shrimp wasn’t overcooked! It was moist and as pretentious as it sounds, “its softness contrasted nicely with the crunch of the cornmeal breading.” Yeah, I know…

Taste:  The good times kept rolling with the taste of this batter. As advertised, it had a nice hushpuppy-style sweetness, but the surprising part was that the shrimp were also a little bit spicy. It took me off-guard because I wasn’t expecting any spice. It was a decent heat, but I wouldn’t call it burning hot by any means. Overall, it reminded me of a hushpuppy, but even better. Most hushpuppies wish they were this good. I quickly became sad that I only had eight small shrimp to eat and regretted not getting a second “backup” order.

Creole Cocktail Sauce

Popeyes Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp | getinmymouf.com

Sadly, the name of this new dipping sauce should have been Unnecessary Cocktail-Sauce Inspired Ketchup. First, the shrimp are so good that the don’t need any sauce. Second, if the shrimp did need a sauce, I would think a cooler tarter sauce would work well with the spiciness of the shrimp. Overall, I didn’t hate the sauce by itself, as the Creole Cocktail Sauce’s heat was pleasant and I wouldn’t mind dipping some fries into the thick, dark red sauce, but it just seemed superfluous with these shrimp.

Verdict

Although I’d skip the sauce, I would absolutely order the Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp again. In fact, there’s a 93.4% chance that I’ll be stopping by Popeyes again this weekend. I loved everything about these, except for the size, which is in-part due to the fact that they taste so freaking good that I wanted more.

Not sure if it would translate well to chicken, but I’d be curious to try some chicken tenders with this batter. (You listening, Popeyes?) or maybe Popeyes should just PUT ACTUAL HUSHPUPPIES ON THE MENU. Just a thought.

Want a second opinion? Check out these other reviews:

Grubgrade | Review:  Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp from Popeyes

DanimalCrossing | Popeye’s Hushpuppy Butterfly Shrimp Review

If you liked this post, you might enjoy this review of POPEYES SMOKY GARLIC CHILE CHICKEN:

Popeyes Smoky Garlic Chile Chicken | getinmymouf.com

Disclaimer:  No free shrimp or cash money was provide to us for this review; however, they did accidentally give me a free side of mashed potatoes.

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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Reviews

Duck Donuts – Fairfax, VA

Duck Donuts - Fairfax, VA | getinmymouf.com

[This is post #048 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project. Yeah, we’re WAY behind, but we’ll catch up…]

The legend of Duck Donuts has grown fairly quickly around Northern Virginia over the last year.

A staple of the Outer Banks (a beach vacation destination for many in the area), the donut shop has recently expanded up the east coast via franchised locations.

Duck Donuts - Fairfax, VA | getinmymouf.com

Exterior of the Fairfax Duck Donuts location

Although I have been to the Outer Banks before, I never had an opportunity to try Duck Donuts, so last year at this time, I didn’t even know what a Duck Donut was. Now they’re popping up all around us, including one in Herndon, the newly opened Fairfax location, and the soon-to-be open Bristow shop (which happens to be about five minutes from our house).

People who have enjoyed the fried treats at the beach are happy to sing their praises. So much so, that over the last year the lore of this brilliantly delicious, yet simple donut shop has spread with conversations that have included the following phrases:

“You’re getting a Duck Donuts!”

“I don’t eat donuts very often, but I always eat Duck Donuts when I’m at the beach.”

“OMG! Is Duck Donuts open already?”

“DUCK DONUTS?! [followed by weird exclamatory noises]”

With so much hype, I was a little bit concerned of being let down. Could these fried dough rings really live up to the legend?

Fortunately, the Fairfax shop is near my office, so a co-worker kindly picked up a couple dozen for us to sample.  We tried nearly all of the  possible flavor combinations, with the highlights being orange glaze, classic cinnamon sugar, chocolate with peanuts, and french toast (the daily special, which I believe was a cinnamon sugar donut with maple glaze).

So, what’d I think?

Duck Donuts - Fairfax, VA | getinmymouf.com

I ate three donuts for breakfast, then went to the store at lunch to take a dozen home.

These donuts are freaking addicting. I’m typically partial to yeast donuts over the cake style, but these cake donuts are very light. When eaten fresh you’ll be met with a nice crunch in the middle hole where the dough was fried crispy–I love that crunch.

What’s their secret to a simple, yet addicting fried treat?

They don’t have a case of pre-made items for you to pick from, because ALL of the donuts are made to order. What makes the process even easier is the order forms. You don’t have to use them, but it definitely helps for large orders, as a grid of toppings and flavors lets you easily choose your favorite combinations.

Duck Donuts - Fairfax, VA | getinmymouf.com

While waiting for your order, you can watch the efficient assembly line at work. On one end, guided by a human donut professional, a donut machine cranks out little fried halos of heaven. Another donut pro places them on a drying rack ready for the next group of employees to fill orders by glazing and topping the donuts with the customers’ choices.

Duck Donuts - Fairfax, VA | getinmymouf.com

When your number is called, you’re shown your box of donuts to confirm everything looks right. Then they close the box up, hand it to you, and–this is my favorite part–IT IS STILL WARM.

A warm box of donuts is a dangerous thing.

More dangerous though, are the actual donuts.

Duck Donuts - Fairfax, VA | getinmymouf.com

Duck Donuts - Fairfax, VA | getinmymouf.com

Like many before me, I am happy to help spread the legend of Duck Donuts. Go ahead and drool over this menu:

Duck Donuts - Fairfax, VA | getinmymouf.com

Disclaimer:  No free donuts or ducks were provided for this post. 

PS:  Their donuts are fantastic fresh, but if you do happen to have leftovers, might I suggest using them to make this >>> Doughnut French Toast Waffles

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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Recipes

Brown Butter Ramen with Berries & Almonds

Brown Butter Ramen with Berries & Almonds | getinmymouf.com

[This is post #047 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project. Yeah, we’re behind, but we’ll catch up…]

There’s an easy trick that can be used to make almost any dish taste better: Add toasted almonds and dried fruit.

Is your salad looking like just a bowl of leaves? Sprinkle in some almonds and dried cranberries.

Lonely bowl of vanilla ice cream? Invite some almonds and dried fruit to the party.

Tired of the same old Brussels sprouts? Almonds. Cranberries.

But does it work for instant Ramen?

Brown Butter Ramen with Berries & Almonds | getinmymouf.com

Sure.

Since ramen noodles themselves don’t have any sort of strong flavor, they work quite well as base for a dessert. Brown butter makes everything better, while the almonds provide a crunch and the berries cut the richness with a pop of tart. And it’s fun to slurp noodles. It just is. I would slurp all of my meals if possible.

This isn’t overtly sweet and I enjoyed it. I ate the whole bowl, even though I had already eaten breakfast and only planned on tasting it. (And let’s be honest, there’s no good reason to waste brown butter).

Okay, so it tastes pretty good, but would I actually make this again?

Brown Butter Ramen with Berries & Almonds | getinmymouf.com

Maybe?

I’m not quite sure where this dessert fits. It wasn’t difficult, but for the effort you could probably make something better. I might lean more towards making this for breakfast since it has the same vibes as oatmeal. But, I’m not sure this is better than oatmeal. It’s certainly not as nutritious.

However, the name does lend itself well to a restaurant menu. If I saw “Brown Butter Ramen with Almonds & Berries” on a dessert menu, I’d absolutely give it a try over chocolate cake, cheesecake, or some other mundane choice. And the name is probably why you clicked through.

Either way, it’s still a fun dish and is worth making at least once.

Brown Butter Ramen with Berries & Almonds | getinmymouf.com

Brown Butter Ramen with Almonds & Berries

  • 1 Package of Instant Ramen
  • 3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon of Honey
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Slivered Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Berries
  • Cinnamon

1. Toast the almonds over medium heat in a small frying pan until golden in color. It should take about five minutes, but your nose will also let you know when they’re done (it’ll smell like roasted nuts).

2.  Brown the butter using these tips. Once sufficiently brown and not burned, pour the butter into a small bowl and set aside.

3.  Prepare the ramen noodles per the instructions on the package (don’t use the flavor packets).

4.  Drain the noodles and place back into the pan you used to boil them. While still hot, pour in the butter, pinch of salt, honey, and berries. Toss until well mixed, then place in a shallow bowl. Top with almonds and a light dusting of cinnamon.

Brown Butter Ramen with Berries & Almonds | getinmymouf.com

 

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