#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. 

Standard
Reviews, Videos

Tastemade Video: True Food Kitchen – Fairfax, VA

True Food Kitchen

It doesn’t take a detective to figure out what makes this kitchen’s food so true. Although, that would open up an excellent True [Food] Detective parody opportunity (man, someone should do that in a Tastemade video…) Anyway, all of the dishes on the menu closely adhere to Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. So, the goal is to serve food that not only tastes good, but is good for you as well. Does this place deliver on taste? If “health” food tasted this good when I was a child, I wouldn’t have cried myself to sleep during my parents’ vegetarian phase.

Although True Food Kitchen‘s menu contains some familiar dishes (street tacos, panang curry, turkey burgers), our palates were also surprised by the likes of edamame dumplings. They are as close to an asian pierogi as one could get–smooth, flavorful edamame on the inside, floating in a soy broth of deliciousness.

Oh, and do YOU know what a sea buckthorn is? Sounds dangerous, right? It’s an orange colored berry. (Don’t say you never learned anything from this blog.) And it tastes dangerously delicious (not affiliated with the pie place), especially in TFK’s Super Berry Tart. I give massive bonus points to any restaurant using an ingredient I’ve never heard of and then like 10 gold stars for making it taste real good.

True Food Kitchen - Sea Buckthorn

Time is a flat circle and so is this Super Berry Tart…it’s also filled with the power of Sea Buckthorns.

Even Rust Cohle could find happiness in a glass of their unique, definitely healthy, thirst-quenching beverages. Where else can you get a grapefruit cinnamon soda? I’ll give you a hint: NOWHERE.

Disclaimer:  Our meal was comped by Tastemade, but all opinions and references to True Detective are our own. 

***

True Food Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Standard
Recipes, Videos

Leftover Pizza Bread Pudding

Recipe: Leftover Pizza Bread Pudding

Full disclosure:  I didn’t expect this to actually taste all that great. Part of me wanted it to taste awful. Would’ve made for a funnier ending to the Tastemade video if I vomited into a trash can.

But unfortunately (or fortunately for our trash can), it wasn’t too bad. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise that cheese, tomato sauce, meats, veggies, and bread soaked in an eggy mixture tastes good. All the major food groups are covered, including the Pizza Food Group.

So, it wasn’t awful and I’d dare to say it was pretty good. Here’s the question: Does it succeed at being a suitable use for leftover pizza? Is this better than eating plain ol’ microwaved (or toaster oven-ed) spare slices?

I think so.

The microwave tends to make the crust chewy. And I by ‘chewy’ I mean an inedible substance related to the leather shoe family. The oven and toaster oven help keep the crust crispy, but it always seems to dry out the rest of the pizza. With the bread pudding, you get moist crust and gooey cheese, nicely paired with burnt cheese on the edges along with a top that has a nice crunch.

So, if you’re like us and tend to have a lot of leftover pizza hanging about, then you should give this a try.

leftover pizza bread pudding

LEFTOVER PIZZA BREAD PUDDING

A quick Google search will let you know that this isn’t a new idea. Our recipe was guided by this post from A momma with ideas… As a slight alteration, you could even increase the eggs, decrease the milk, and call this a breakfast casserole.

  • Two slices of leftover pizza – Any will do, but I would not recommend thin crust.
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 2 XL Eggs

1.  Whisk together the eggs and milk and set aside.

2.  Cut the pizza into rectangles and squares.

3.  Place the pizza into a small (single-serving) casserole dish, then pour the egg/milk mixture over the top. Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour (the longer, the better).

4.  Remove from the refrigerator and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top, then bake in a 350° oven for 30-45 minutes, until the top gets crusty and brown.

Standard
Reviews, Videos

Tastemade Video: Tachibana – McLean, VA

Tachibana Japanese Restaurant

We made the trek out to the ever-expanding area of McLean to check out Tachibana. It’s long been known as one of the best spots to grab some sushi in the area and its reputation was confirmed by the amount of customers that had already filled the restaurant. The place opened at noon and was nearly completely packed by noon-fifteen. A good sign that actually ended up working out in our favor: We didn’t intend on sitting at the sushi bar, but since all the tables were taken, we figured it’d be better than waiting over an hour. This made the whole experience, as the sushi chefs are all friendly, fun, and informative. After watching them, my biggest takeaway was that I need to work on my knife skills. Seriously, I can barely cut a uniform slice of french bread, let alone delicate fish flesh. Luckily abstract bread slices are totally in right now.

Not a sushi fan? No worries, as Tachibana has an extensive menu that includes various soups (ramen, soba, udon), rice bowls, and appetizers for people who prefer more “turf” than “surf.” We’ll definitely be back to check out the rice bowls, which we watched our sushi chef artfully construct for another customer. It was overflowing with meats, vegetables, sushi; everything perfectly in place. Upon seeing it, I lost all capacity for high-level thinking and grunted “Me want that.”

For a quick peek at our lunch, check out the Tastemade video above–which is 100% narrated in bad haikus (you’re welcome!)–and if you get a chance to check out Tachibana, definitely skip the tables and head for the sushi bar!

Disclaimer:  My meal was comped by Tastemade, but all opinions, bad jokes, and typos are my own. 

***

Tachibana on Urbanspoon

Standard
Reviews, Videos

Tastemade Video: Ted’s Bulletin – Reston, VA

Ted’s Bulletin

Cupcakes are so 2010 and doughnuts are so 2014, so what will replace those sweet food trends in 2015? Hopefully, homemade pop tarts. Yup, you heard me right.

You know I love pie: Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C. And a Pop Tart is basically just a flat, hand-held pie. At the forefront of this revolution, is Ted’s Bulletin, a local chain in the Washington, DC metro area. Not only are they serving up make-you-feel-like-a-kid-again pop tarts, but their comfort food will have you checking the kitchen for grandma. Couldn’t find grammy, but I did find a tasty lunch.

Ted’s wouldn’t share their secret pop tart recipe with me (and why should they?), so below is my best guess at how they make them. Now we can all make pop tarts at home!

HOW TO MAKE A HOMEMADE POP TART

  1. Buy one full-sized pie.
  2. Run over with steamroller.
  3. Eat.

Disclaimer:  My meal was comped by Tastemade, but all opinions, bad jokes, and typos are my own. 

 ***

Ted's Bulletin on Urbanspoon

Standard
Reviews

Tastemade Video: Pie Gourmet – Vienna, VA

tastemade

Does the world really need another food-related app?

Yes. Enter: Tastemade.

It’s a beautifully designed app that combines my two favorite things: Food and Video. Users (or Tastemakers as they call them) submit 1-minute videos of restaurants that they love. ONE MINUTE?! Anyone who’s ever edited video knows that editing one minute of footage can take an entire week, but luckily the app has some preset templates that do all the dirty work for you. Pick your theme, select your videos, and BOOM. Watch out, JJ Abrams.

I also like Tastemade, because it’s not set up as a review site, rather it promotes the idea of sharing only restaurants you truly enjoy. So, you’re not bogged down with all of the negativity that comes with some of those OTHER sites wrought with bitter restaurant reviewers.

Since I love pie (especially Peach Pie with Candied Rosemary and Chipotle Pumpkin Cream Pie) it was fitting to make a video about the greatest pie shop in the universe, Pie Gourmet in Vienna, VA. Seriously, ask Stephen Hawking, he knows about the universe and pi.

Check out my first video below (or click here if you prefer a gigantic screen).

Since I learned so much whilst making this short video and everything went smoothly without any hiccups (where is the sarcasm button?), I figured I should share some tips to help you be a master Tastemade filmmaker.

Tastemade Video Making Tips:

  • Start with a great screenplay.
  • Yell as loud as you can to make sure the camera microphone picks up your voice (and also to alert everyone around you that you are making a video).
  • Choose a restaurant that sells pie.
  • Find something stable to rest your phone on, like a moving vehicle. Aim for potholes.
  • Have a surprising third act twist.

***

Pie Gourmet Limited on Urbanspoon

Standard