#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Reviews, Videos

Strawberry Picking at Yankey Farms – Nokesville, VA

Yankey Farms – Strawberry Picking

[This is post #042 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…]

Around here, Strawberry Season lasts long enough for you to realize that you just missed Strawberry Season.

So, then you’re stuck with a strawberry craving that is forced to be fulfilled by playing a game of food roulette at the grocery store. Sure, those strawberries grown in California and shipped out here look pretty, but most of the time they’re hard and sour and overall disappointing.

Fortunately, it turns out that living in the burbs so far away from the city has its perks: There’s a strawberry farm less than 10 minutes from our house (which equates to about an hour outside of the city for you folks in DC).

Yankey Farms Strawberry Picking | getinmymouf.com

And in the spirit of the NBA Finals, we hit something of a strawberry buzzer beater by going strawberry picking on essentially the very last day of this year’s season. So we’re like the Stephen Curry (or Lebron James if you prefer) of strawberry picking.

We ended up at Yankey Farms which is a small, family owned farm in Nokesville, VA. Aside from strawberries, you can pick your own pumpkins in the fall, and in the summer months they produce melons and sweet corn. We recommend liking the Yankey Farms Facebook page to stay up-to-date with strawberry picking conditions as well as updates on their other produce.

Yankey Farms Strawberry Picking | getinmymouf.com

It’s definitely worth it to find a local farm to pick from, as we ended up with almost four and a half pounds of strawberries for $20. If you can’t eat that many strawberries, a pint was only $4. They were dark red and juicy inside with a strong sweet strawberry flavor that was pleasantly tart. And these ain’t no grocery store strawberries, so treat them with love. They bruise more easily and won’t last as long as their shelf-stable counterparts, so eat or freeze within a couple days.

“But are they organic?!”

That same question was posed on the farm’s Facebook page, so here’s the answer:

“We are not certified organic. We practice integrated pest management and avoid pesticide applications as much as possible. If we do have to spray, we use reduced risk pesticides, generally products approved for organic production.”

#TheMoreYouKnow

After an afternoon of strawberry picking, we are now experts (yep, that’s all it takes), so here are our mostly common sense tips:

  • Wear clothing that you don’t mind getting red stains on. Duh, right?
  • Boots are advisable if you’re picking after a week of rain. Even if it’s not raining, it is a farm.
  • Feed your inner child and eat a few strawberries straight from the vine while you pick (demonstration below).

Yankey Farms Strawberry Picking | getinmymouf.com

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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Reviews, Videos

Taco Bamba – Falls Church, VA

Taco Bamba

[This is post #033 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

We’ve talked about San Francisco Deficiency Syndrome before and although not as severe, there is another serious medical condition that we fall into after our vacations to the west coast. And specifically when returning from San Diego.  Doctors are calling it Me Want Good Tacos Now Disorder*.

Typically this condition strikes when stepping foot on a plane leaving San Diego and doesn’t clear up until (during a return visit) your mouth touches a perfect fish or shrimp taco.

After extensive research, we’re happy to report that we’ve found a cure in Northern Virginia! Taco Bamba in Falls Church.

From acclaimed Chef Victor Albisu (Del Campo in Washington, DC), Taco Bamba executes the classics with perfection (I’d bathe in the juice of their carnitas), while including innovative twists (Poutine Taco anyone?) that will make your Me Want Good Tacos Now Disorder completely clear up.

Taco Bamba | getinmymouf.com

Carnitas & Carne Asada

Food Highlights:

  • The Taco Bamba -This is their signature taco, filled with skirt steak, chorizo, grilled guacamole, and chicharrones. This taco will have you singing like Julie Andrews. “These are a few of my favorite things…”
  • Carnitas – It doesn’t get any better than this shredded pork confit. I order mine with a straw, so I can recapture all that sweet carnitas nectar that drips off the taco.
  • Camaron a la Diabla – A spicy shrimp taco filled with cilantro rice and poblano sauce. Bring your own sand and a towel and you’ll feel like you’re at the beach again.
  • Corn on the Cobb – You can’t forget the veggies, especially when they’re covered in mayo, cotija, and red chili. If you’ve never had corn on the cob like this, it might sound odd, but go for it ’cause it totally works.
Taco Bamba | getinmymouf.com

Spicy Shroom, Camaron a la Diabla, and Black Pearl (Fried Tilapia, Spicy Coleslaw, Black Aioli)

Tips:

  • When going there for the first time, you will assume it’s located in the same shopping center as the Whole Foods. IT IS NOT. Keep driving to the smaller strip center behind the Whole Foods Shopping center. It’s nothing fancy, but there’s plenty of parking.
  • There can be a pretty lengthly line during peak times, so take advantage of calling ahead if you have a big order.
  • It’s not a huge place and there is only bar seating along the wall. There’s a small patio outside with some tables and chairs, but don’t expect to find a place to eat during a busy lunch or dinner hour.
Taco Bamba | getinmymouf.com

The Taco Bamba & Camaron a la Diabla

*Some side effects may include feelings of fullness and taco-induced happiness.

Don’t take our word for it, for some awesome pics and other points of view, check out these other blog posts about Taco Bamba:

“Falls Church:  Taco Bamba” – Let’s Do Lunch

“Taco Bamba” – Whiskey and Soba

Taco Bamba on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer:  We received no compensation or free food for this post; we honestly recommend Taco Bamba. I would bathe in the carnitas juice if anyone wants to make that happen.

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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Reviews, Videos

America Eats Tavern – Tysons Corner, VA

America Eats Tavern

[This is post #020 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

The Tastemade video above is probably my favorite; not just because I got to play with the time lapse feature on my phone, but because of the fond memories I have of the rich vermicelli mac and cheese, fluffy biscuits, and cloud-like coconut cake. Aptly named, America Eats Tavern is José Andrés’ ode to American cuisine. It strikes a good balance of providing a casual, welcoming atmosphere while serving up Andrés’ sophisticated takes on classics like fried chicken, shrimp & grits, and the aforementioned mac & cheese.

Deviled Eggs | America Eats Tavern | getinmymouf.com

Slow-Boiled Mustard Deviled Eggs

During my second visit I tried the Mustard Deviled Eggs, Harvard Beets, and Mushroom Hoppin’ John. I also took a slice of George Washington’s Chocolate Cake to-go. This was a very special meal for me, as it was the first time I had the pleasure of trying Carolina Gold rice (which comes in the form of a griddled rice cake with the Mushroom Hoppin’ John). Anyone who has ever heard Sean Brock talk about anything, knows how much he loves/supports/worships Carolina Gold rice. Upon the first bite I was a believer. Normally your mouth waters for great food, but in this case my eyes wanted to water…for I nearly teared up over this beautiful rice.

Mushroom Hoppin' John | America Eats Tavern | getinmymouf.com

Mushroom Hoppin’ John – Carolina Gold rice cakes, red pea salad, roasted maitake mushrooms

It’s also important to note that it takes more than just inspiration to fill your plate and mouf with culinary magic and fortunately, Andrés’ vision is in the talented hands of Head Chef Nate Waugaman. You can tell a lot about a restaurant based on how the staff talks about the food and the chef. Not only does the food taste good and look beautiful, but from my interactions with the staff, they truly love what’s coming out of the kitchen and believe in Chef Waugaman.

And also, my second visit wouldn’t have been as enjoyable without the hospitality from Hannah Lobel, the restaurant’s Events and Marketing Manager. A HUGE thanks goes out to Hannah for the great food, good conversation, and excellent recommendation on the Mushroom Hoppin’ John.

Harvard Beets | America Eats Tavern | getinmymouf.com

Harvard Beets – Roasted beets, sugar vinegar glaze, biscuit topping, goat cheese cream

Random Tips:

  • Give one of their house-made sodas a try. Both the ginger beer and strawberry mint were so refreshing that I Googled synonyms for “refreshing” and couldn’t find one that was strong enough.
  • The restaurant is located in the Ritz Carlton, which is attached to Tyson’s Galleria. Valet parking is available for a small fee, but you can also park for free at the Galleria and walk through the mall.
  • Order extra biscuits and take them home for breakfast the next morning. Trust me.
  • If events like complimentary whiskey and craft beer tastings tickle your food fancy, then follow America Eats Tavern on Twitter and like them on Facebook to keep abreast of their monthly happenings.
Martha Washington's Chocolate Cake | America Eats Tavern | getinmymouf.com

Martha Washington’s Chocolate Cake. Good enough for FLOTUS, good enough for YOU.

Don’t just take my word for it, for another opinion and more #foodporn, check out these posts about America Eats Tavern from other local food bloggers:

America Eats Tavern on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer:  Hey, we were actually provided free stuff for this post. Tastemade took care of my meal in the video and I was a guest of the restaurant for my second visit. As always, opinions, cravings, and our love of food is genuine. 

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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Recipes, Videos

Melted Ice Cream Banana Pancakes

Recipe: Melted Ice Cream Banana Pancakes

[This is post #018 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

Did you know that milk and melted ice cream are interchangeable?

See video proof above.

Way too easy, right?

And aside from being easy, this might be dangerous. It opens up the possibility that you can now easily flavor pancakes with whatever you have in your freezer. Mint chocolate chip? Yup. Coffee. Sure. Butter pecan? Abso-freaking-lutely. Brown butter? Yes, please and thank-you.

We kept it simple with this recipe and stuck with an old favorite: Banana pancakes, but sweetened the batter with some Häagen-Dazs Vanilla ice cream. We also re-used some leftovers from previous recipes to garnish with candied almonds and grapefruit cinnamon syrup. It was a fantastic dinner. Yes, dinner. And soon to be a late afternoon snack…

melted ice cream banana pancakes | getinmymouf.com

MELTED ICE CREAM BANANA PANCAKES

  • 1 Cup Melted Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 XL Egg, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil or Melted Butter
  • 2 Ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • Candied Almonds (See recipe included with our Flourless Chocolate Waffle)
  • Grapefruit Cinnamon Syrup (See recipe here)

1.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2.  In separate bowl, combined the egg, oil, bananas, and melted ice cream.

3.  Whisk in the wet ingredients into the dry, until just combined.

4.  Grease your pan or griddle with oil, butter, or non-stick spray. Over medium heat (about 300 degrees), use an ice cream scoop to pour the batter into a pan or griddle. Flip when the browned on the griddle-side (about 1-2 minutes). Cook for another 1-2 minutes and serve with candied almonds, butter (optional), and grapefruit cinnamon syrup.

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post. No money or good were provided; we just like Häagen-Dazs, so it’s what we used.

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#100DaysOfFoodBlogging, Reviews, Videos

Tastemade Video: Nathan’s Dairy Bar – Manassas, VA

Nathan’s Dairy Bar

[This is post #009 towards #100DaysOfFoodBlogging, our goal to do 100 posts in 100 days as part of The 100 Day Project.]

Among MANY attributes that I share with our dog, Cooper, nothing compares with our love of Nathan’s Dairy Bar. As much as we complain about having no restaurants to eat at in the ‘burbs, Nathan’s is by far the exception. This is one of those iconic places that people who leave the area will crave. This is the type of soft serve that you will tell your grandkids about. This is the type of ice cream joint that you wouldn’t mind eating on a cold winter day (although they are closed for part of the winter…and that ends up being a really hard time for us).

And it’s such an inexpensive pick-me-up! After a bad day of work, a strawberry-banana shake from Nathan’s makes it all better. For Cooper, there’s nothing that makes his tail wag harder than a “pup cup” from Nathan’s. Tina’s instant-happiness is found in a Tiger’s Blood shaved ice with vanilla soft serve. I’m smiling just thinking about all these…

Although not available on the day we shot the Tastemade video above, one of their most interesting flavors is Captain Crunch. It tastes exactly like it should, but its smooth and creamy….you can taste the happy, Michael. It will make you feel like a kid again and it will also make you want to come back EVERY day after work. Aside from the cap’n, I’m also partial to their fresh strawberry and fresh banana flavors. I’m emphasizing fresh because these flavors aren’t made with artificially flavored syrups and dyes, and you can tell. I’ll take ten pints, please.

Follow Nathan’s on Facebook to keep up-to-date with daily specials (like Captain Crunch and Nutella) and discounts.

Enjoy the video, but more importantly enjoy good weather, some ice cream, and your favorite four-legged friend.

Subscribe and we might let Cooper send you emails:


Nathan's Dairy Bar on Urbanspoon

 

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