Review: Applebee's Woodfired Grill Menu

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Published: 06/22/2016
It’s funny how life circles back around.  Some 30 years ago I became friends with Judi.  Our husbands worked together at Telenet and then Sprint and because we didn’t live too close together we only got together occasionally.  Some years later we moved into the same neighborhood, had children that went to the same schools, were both stay-at-home moms and still had husbands that worked together.  Often, when the hubbies were both working late, we would get together and pool resources to have dinner at one of our homes.  The kiddos would play and we were able to have some grown-up time.  It was awesome because one of the best things about being with Judi is all the laughter that goes on – she always has a funny story.  Well, as time went on, the kids got more and more busy and we began working and our time together dwindled to nothing. 

Over the last year, now that the kids are out on their own and successful in their lives Judi and I have rekindled our friendship by going to plays, parties and having dinners that have included our spouses.  But last night, my husband had to work late and guess what, so did Judi’s!  Well, cooking for two seemed silly so we went to Applebee’s to check out their new woodfired grilled menu items.  In the car we discovered that neither of us had been to Applebees in years so we were hoping the new menu would be a welcome change.  We were immediately greeted by a friendly, smiling hostess that seated immediately which got us off to a great start.

With our hubbies happily at work (ha!) we knew we had plenty of time so we started our evening with their Classic Combo appetizer that features mozzarella sticks, spinach and artichoke dip, chicken quesadillas, chips/salsa and, by our choice, Sweet Asian Chili chicken wings (other flavors available).  While we liked everything in the combo, the wings were sweet and spicy, crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside and finger-licking good! YUM!

For dinner we decided that we would order two of the wood-fired entrees and share them so that we could try more food – yep, some things never change – we both still love to eat!  We ordered the Sirloin with grilled vegetables (yellow squash, zucchini & red peppers) and Crispy Cheddar Bacon Potatoes.   We were both happy to see that our steak was perfectly cooked to medium, and our palettes were excited when the tender, juicy, wood fire flavor hit our tongues.  The grilled vegetables were cooked just enough to heat them through and add the grilled flavor while still leaving them slightly crunchy just the way I like them and OMG, the Crispy Cheddar Bacon Potatoes were really yummy.  We both agreed that these dishes were delicious!

For our second choice we chose the Wood Fired Pork Chop with BBQ Spiced Fries and Garlicky Green Beans for the sides.  The Pork Chop was cooked through, juicy and had a Cajun flavor similar to Old Bay.  It was good, but it could not stand up to the steak in our opinion.  The fries were hot and crispy on arrival just like all fries should be but we really could not taste the bbq spice on them which was a little disappointing since they sound so good.  The garlicky green beans had a really great garlic flavor and once again were cooked lightly and not to mush.  Three cheers for the Woodbridge Applebee’s chefs!

We may not have been eating at home, but we certainly were in a friendly environment.  The manager on duty, Thomas Kingsbury, was friendly and obviously customer focused.  He came around to the tables in our area throughout our dining experience to check to make sure that everyone was satisfied with their service and he took time to smile and laugh with us.  Our waiter, Conner, was awesome!  He was attentive, very friendly, kept our water glasses filled, and made great side dish recommendations.  I would vote for him getting the good shifts.

Judi and I stayed and nibbled on the leftover appetizer (it was huge and we could not finish it) and chatted for quite a while – it was awesome and left me with a happy feeling.  Nothing better than good food and good friends – thanks Applebees for bringing us full circle!

Welcome to Moe's!

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Published: 11/05/2014
 We had the opportunity to go check out the Moe's Southwest Grill new Gainesville location (8148 Stonewall Shoppes Square #101, which you may also refer to as "The one with the Wegmans in it")

What our family loves about Moe's is that it's fast, but fresh, and you can make healthier choices than at a typical "fast food" place.  You can also get chips and queso- but you can make healthier choices, too (PS- if you're going to get queso- click here and get it free!). 
 Their kids meals are fantastic (and big!) and both my boys were more than satisfied when they'd finished their dinners.  My oldest son swims 5 mornings a week, and that has led to some "I'm hangry" moments.  No, I didn't misspell that.  Yes, I meant hangry.  That's a combination of hungry, and cranky and angry.  It's a thing, people- Urban Dictionary it.
This is my dinner- it was delicious! I got a salad, I want to say it was a Personal Trainer, with no shell and lots of jalapeños- both fresh and pickled, so yum. I loved it.  The best part about all this tasty dinner? The kids eat FREE on Tuesday nights with adult purchase! Bonus!

Moe's Southwest Grill also does catering (Which they DELIVER! Love it! Teacher appreciation day is right around Cinco de Mayo and a taco bar would be so much fun PTA people!) and they do fundraisers, too!! Give them a try and/or a call for your next dinner or event!

Review: Malones of Manassas

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Published: 10/21/2014
I feel like I should re-title every review I do "Kristina's Sub-Par iPhone Photography Presents:", but I'm not going to because that's a lot of typing to have to do every time. 

Ain't nobody got time for that. 

But what they do have time for is a nice dinner out at Malones of Manassas.  Located in what used to be a church, Malones has a warm, intimate feel.  It's slightly louder than I would have expected, but I think that's just the voices carrying as they do in church basements- although this former church basement doesn't look like a fellowship hall anymore.  There's lovely stone and a wine wall and a bar complete with flatscreen TVs in case you want to have date night but your husband needs to watch the game.  I think the people actually seated at the bar were most interested in that :) 

 Hello people sitting near us! I'm taking a picture of the ambiance and you're in the way.  I hope you're having a lovely dinner.
So, on to the food! This is a white cranberry martini, which looks like Christmas to me, with tiny ice crystals and red cranberry garnish.  Tasty!  We ordered an appetizer, but it never made it to our table, which was okay because we decided that meant we were destined to order two deserts instead of one. Better!
 This is a "side for sharing" of Macaroni and Cheese.  It has ham, peas, and breadcrumbs and was pretty fantastic.  I thought all the pasta dishes needed salt, but I probably need to be in a 12 step program for sodium addiction, and there was salt on the table, so no big deal.  I love macaroni and cheese, and yes, I ordered a side of Mac and Cheese with my Tortellini.  I don't eat white flour normally and so since this was a review I needed to make that sacrifice in the name of....

Science.  We're going to go with science.
 For dinner, Austin got the Pork and Beans 2.0 which was homemade bangers- which he says were outstanding (I tried a bite and then stole another one and I don't typically do sausage).  The beans were not just Pork and Beans from a can- they were smoky and yummy.  He picked out the pork belly- it's not his thing- but I'm asking him to describe the dish to me right now (at 8:30 am) and he's telling me he'd eat it again right now for breakfast.  I'm pretty sure that means he likes it :)

Behind that is their crazy cobs.  You need to stop what you're doing right now and go get some of this corn.  We weren't sure it'd be great because the corn season isn't really October, but again, this is for science.  I would go back and order 4 servings of corn and just sit there and eat it with everyone staring at the crazy lady.  It was that good.
This is my Eggplant Tortellini, which, as I mentioned, I ate with a side of mac and cheese.  It was really yummy and I appreciate when a restaurant can do vegetarian well.  I was a vegetarian for 2 years and sometimes they just throw whatever junk they've got at you and assume that if you don't like meat you don't like food.  This was not the case here. 
 Dessert!! As I mentioned, not getting an appetizer meant two desserts seemed logical.  This is a "congo bar" which was a blondie with nuts and chocolate chips served warm with ice cream and caramel sauce.  It's really sweet but really delicious!
The creme brûlée (which is my hub's favorite dessert of all time) came with cranberry chutney on it, which neither one of us cared for- although the creme itself was great! 

Our dinner total was $102- so obviously Malones is more of an "occasion dinner" although we certainly could've not gotten 2 deserts and 2 sides if we were being budget-concious.  They do also have a bar menu and a lunch menu and a Sunday Brunch (which includes something called Stuffed Croissant Pudding, and I'm not sure how I've lived my entire life without having that in it).  This would be a great place to take visiting in-laws you need to impress for brunch.  

We really liked Malones.  We'd definitely eat there again for a special night out, or for a lunch or brunch at a great location! 

I'm really enjoying getting to experience Old Town Manassas, it's making the move from Woodbridge a lot easier to find a bunch of cool new things to do and places to go- so thanks to Malones for having us out!

We were provided with a gift card to do our review, but all opinions are my own.  Also, you probably shouldn't really eat 4 servings of corn all at once because I'm not sure what that would do to your stomach, but...that sounds like a science challenge, so if anybody wants to go cob for cob, I'm totally in. 

Giveaway: Manassas Restaurant Week

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Published: 09/19/2014

In honor of Manassas Restaurant Week (September 21-27, 2014!!) I am so excited to share a special giveaway from one of the participating restaurants, Malones of Manassas.  

Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Manassas (9329 Main Street), Malone's is actually located inside an historic, landmark church built shortly after the Civil War. Malone's houses both a casual and upscale restaurant and bar offering the best of Southern American cuisine and hospitality. 

Their executive chef, Scott Bilstad, brings over 10 years of culinary experience to Malones.  His expansive knowledge comes from studying in prominent kitchens throughout the US and Europe.  Chef Scott also studied in Japan while serving our country in the United States Navy.  A native of Fredericksburg, VA, Chef Scott supports using local, fresh ingredients and is currently curing his own bacon, prosciutto, salmon, and white fish- all of which are considered "featured items" at Malones. 

Owner Kevin Malone is also a local! Kevin has over 30 years experience in the Restaurant, Hospitality and Management Industry. A native of Manassas, and graduate of Osborn High School, Kevin knew that when the time came to create his own dining experience it would be back in his home town of Manassas. He’s added a contemporary twist to all his client’s favorite dishes and libations in a setting that is as unique and conversational as the menu. 

Now let's get to the exciting part (although home-cured prosciutto is pretty exciting):

During restaurant week, Malone's will be offering a 3-course menu for $35/person.  Awesome! You can make reservations by calling 571-208-1246.  

Malones will be giving away a $70 gift card to a lucky reader! That's enough to cover two people for dinner during restaurant week! How awesome is that??

To enter, use the Rafflecopter below!

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Disclosure: This prize is provided by Malones of Manassas.  Winner assumes any liability/risk. By entering you agree to be bound by our Giveaway Rules, which you can find by clicking here. PwcMoms is not responsible for you over-eating, becoming addicted to homemade bacon, or having a fantastic time, although we'll take the credit for that last part if you want to give it to us.  Please use a designated driver if you decide to enjoy a cocktail (or two).  Driving Buzzed is not cool, and I live in Manassas now, so stay off my roads.  I was compensated for writing this post, but all opinions are my own- including those about bacon.  

Giveaway: Jake's American Grille DC

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Published: 05/21/2014
We are incredibly fortunate (or we planned well) to live close to family that loves to babysit our kids.  I know that for some of our friends, finding a sitter is incredibly difficult.  Either they can't find one, they're not comfortable leaving their children, or the added cost to the date is too much to warrant going out. Because of that struggle, I think it's such a fantastic idea that Jake's American Grille in DC offers childcare on-site for both their Thursday night date-night and their weekend kids brunch.

It's not in PWC, but I was willing to take one for the team and check it out.

 With this guy, because he's awesome. (For those of you who are new to PwcMoms, that would be my husband, Austin.)

The drive was horrific.  The Thursday night we picked for our reservation was the same night mother nature picked for intermittent torrential downpours.  We also opted to take 66 in rather than back tracking to take HOV on 95.  We just moved, it's not our fault.  All these things meant it took us 2 hours to get there.  Obviously this is not normal, we just got unlucky, and that can happen in the DMV.  The restaurant was incredibly kind about it- we called to let them know that GoogleMaps said there was no way in heck we were making our reservation, and they moved it out, no problem.

 The kids area is just off the bar (which seems strange when I type it, but actually wasn't at all.  There is a sliding door, but it was kept open for us).  It's narrow but there's plenty of room.  Professional nannies or Montessori school teachers staff the room, and the restaurant shared that many regulars love the childcare workers so much they've poached them for work other days!
 Childcare is available for children who are potty trained up through age 10.  Rates are $15 for the first child, $12 for the second child, and $10 for subsequent children.  We worked it out in our heads that with a 3 hour drive (it was only an hour to get home) and 2 hours for dinner, we'd pay our sitter $50.  Childcare at the restaurant was $37 and each child got a kids meal included in the price.  Works out well, as far as our money is concerned.
 The kids room has lots of toys and games, as well as a TV.  Savannah liked the Lincoln Logs and the boys watched a Superman movie, so everyone was happy. 

So the kids were all set.  We were close by, they could get us if they needed, the restaurant was even happy to put a second table next to ours if we wanted to eat as a family and then let the kids go play.   They were happy to play in the kids room, though, so we ate alone.

We were fine ;)

As far as the food, we opted to order off the $30 prixe fixe menu, which included a starter, main, and dessert.  The a la carte menu was also available.  Portions were good, so we could've ordered off that and shared, but we didn't :) $60 isn't bad for dinner in DC!

Austin got the wedge salad, no dressing no blue cheese, and I got the broccoli cheddar soup to start, also on the menu were mussels.  The soup was really good, the salad had extra bacon, which is never a problem.  For the main, Austin got the pasta primavera with marinara instead of cream sauce, which was okay. I ordered the quarter spinach stuffed chicken, which they initially forgot to bring (although our starters and Austin's pasta came all at once)- it was absolutely amazing, but lacked the spinach filling the menu mentioned.  I'd definitely order it again if I went back, even missing the stuffing.

I'm a bad blogger and forgot food pictures until dessert.

Austin got carrot cake and I got ice cream (there were only two choices so we picked different ones).  Neither was particularly good, although they were both big- we could've shared one- so we just snagged the kids and made their night happy.

They were more than happy with the ice cream :)

So.  All in all, the idea is a really good one.  The kids had a fantastic time, we got a date in with on-site childcare (no phone calls except the reservation), and I got to hang out with my hubby.  If I had it to do again, I'd order off the regular menu- Yelp seems to recommend the burgers.  Also good to know, there is a basement bar called Jake's Boiler Room, which is really fun, bright, and has lots of games available (both traditional bar games and an entire slew of board games for various ages!) I think that this is definitely a great option for parents who need a night out but don't have a sitter or aren't comfortable leaving their kids. The Sunday brunch, though, might be a better deal for you if the price still isn't right- childcare is free on the weekends.

Want to check out Jake's for yourself? I've got a few options for winners!! Jake's is generously offering 5 winners ONE of the following prizes:

$40 Gift Certificates to Kid’s Brunch
$40 Gift Certificates to Kid's Brunch
One Family Pass Certificate for a Family of Four to Date Night
Certificate for Complimentary Childcare for up to Two Children at Date Night
Certificate for Complimentary Childcare for up to Two Children at Date Night

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter below, and when you go, don't forget to email me and tell me how it goes!! I'd love to include your feedback, too!! 

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Disclosure: Jake's American Grille provided us with free childcare to come out and try their Date Night option.  All opinions, however, are my own. No other compensation was provided.   By entering any contest on, you agree to be bound by our Giveaway Rules.

Fundraiser Idea: Chipotle Mexican Grill

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Published: 06/27/2013

This isn't a sponsored post- Chipotle just got in touch with me about their fundraiser nights, and I had flashbacks to PTA and trying really hard to find things that would offer us some serious return on investment for the time we had to spend publicizing, printing, and drumming up interest!  50% of your group's sales is nothing to scoff at! 

From Chipotle:

While most companies offer only about 15% for fundraisers, our fundraiser nights are extremely popular because we donate 50% of any orders placed by customers that come in to support your group! Organizations usually apply on our website to request to host a fundraiser with us. 

Our fundraisers are held on Sundays, Mondays, or Tuesdays from 5-8PM and the process is easy: 

  • Respond with the month you are looking to have a fundraiser night with us
  • Chipotle will send you a few available dates to choose from
  • When a date is set, a flyer file is created and e-mailed to you to promote the event
  • The night of the fundraiser any customer that comes in between 5-8PM and shows the cashier they are there for your group (by showing a hard copy flyer or the file on their phone or just by verbally telling the cashier) will have 50% of their order donated to your organization
  • The next day we will communicate the amount raised and you will receive a check within 6 weeks
Please note: the fundraiser can only be held at 1 location (not multiple stores) and no promotion can be done outside/inside the store on the day of the event. We are also not able to post or pass out any kind of flyers, brochures, etc. in the store at any time. More information can be found on our website!
50% is a great cut for your fundraiser, and don't forget, while I don't typically post individual fundraisers on the Facebook page because there are so many, you can submit these to our calendar! Be sure to include a link for people to download your flier, and invite the community out for burritos!

Review: Nando's Peri Peri Chicken

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Published: 06/20/2013
I love getting invited to come out and review new businesses, especially when they make it easy for me to give them a great review!  This week, we were invited to come out and try the new Stonebridge (Woodbridge) location of Nando's Peri Peri Chicken. (15001 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge VA)

The best comparison that I can draw for those of you that haven't been there before is that Peri Peri Chicken (named after a particular type of chili pepper) is a lot like Peruvian or Pollo a la Brasa style chicken, but better.  The chicken is moist and tender, but the outside gets a bit of a char to it, which is delicious! The flavor from the various sauces and marinades is delicious, too....but we'll come back to that. When you walk in, you can decide to dine in or carry out.  Dine ins are seated at a table. 

 After you consider your menu, which has appetizers, salads, sandwiches, chicken platters, and even a few non-chicken offerings in the form of steak sandwiches and vegetarian options, you go up to the counter and place your order.  This could be a very simple process, as there's are options to order platters in a more "family style" manner, or you can get something different for everyone in the family.  I kind of like that.
 Waiting for your food, you get a pretty good view of the people preparing it.  The restaurant is a good volume for kids, by which I mean that the music is up loud enough that no one is going to notice if they're asking about the unlimited frozen yogurt at the end of their kids' meals for the 200th time.  It's probably slightly louder than you'd like for an intimate conversation, but it's fun and upbeat.
 While you're waiting, you can also pick up your silverware, any additional sauces you want, and your drinks over by the front door.  There's even a sink, just in case you need to wash up. This is also where your children will find the unlimited frozen yogurt dispenser.
 We started with an appetizer.  There was hummus, which is always hard for me to turn down, but we wanted to try something a little different, so we went with the Red Pepper Dip.  This is served cool with warm pita bread and has a little bit of a tangy warmth, but it's not spicy.  Everyone at our table enjoyed it- my kids love red bell peppers, but they especially loved the warm pita bread, so they're clearly easy to please!
Both boys went for the kids' drum and thigh meal with french fries.  It was our "last day" treat meal, so I didn't push for another option (they've also got cole slaw and corn).  The sauce on the kids' chicken is a barbecue style one, and they both liked it and didn't find it spicy at all. 

 My daughter, noting that we were at a chicken restaurant, ordered grilled cheese.  It's actual cheddar cheese, I think, not American, so if your child isn't a fan of real cheese, you'll know up front.  We are big fans of real cheese, so this wasn't an issue for us.  As I mentioned before, the kids meals come with a dish for frozen yogurt when the meal is over, so there's an incentive to take bites if you've got the kind of kiddo that needs that.

 My mom and I split a platter for two-three, and we had leftovers to bring home!  We ordered our chicken hot, which I found quite pleasant, but you can order your chicken from plain (mild) to extra hot, as seen on the pepper at the top of the post.  We ordered the Portugeuse Rice, which was slightly smoky and okay, but nothing I'd write home about.  We also tried one of their "fino sides", which are a slight upcharge, which was butternut squash with corn, dried cranberries, cilantro, chili, and some lime.  It was amazingly good, and something totally different from what I've had before.  Other side options sounded great, too, including their salads and potato options, and I have to say that we got a little plate envy watching other people's garlic bread going out from the oven, too, and we'll have to try that next time.  I think that both my mom and I devoured our butternut squash without even breathing, and then remembered we had chicken.  The chicken was, truly, delicious, and we both had to stop eating before we wanted to because we were full from our squash but the chicken was so good! Our platter meal could've easily fed another person, but we asked for a box and our chicken was great the next day for lunch.  I really enjoyed the extra flavor that this style of chicken has- the marinade and the saucing really make for a tasty meal!
Let's talk about dessert.  Yes, we were full, and yes, we were still eyeing that leftover chicken, but what's a review without talking about dessert?

An incomplete review.  I will not have that.  Plus, as I mentioned, there were boxes.  We tried the Rasbpberry Brulee Cheesecake and the Chocolate Spoon Cake.  I am not typically a cheesecake fan, but this was the creamiest, most lovely texture of cheesecake I've ever had, I would say it's better than the restaurant down the street named for it, and the Chocolate Spoon Cake?
So, let's be honest here, this cake was $6.25.  I would've paid $12.50.  It's like eating a giant chocolate truffle.  I love chocolate cake and it's almost universally disappointing when you order it out- it's dry and unappealing, but this cake is spoon cake for a reason.  Moist and decadent, you could easily get six spoons and share this on a girls' night, but you could also eat it yourself, and I will not tell anyone.

Although, if you want to share with me, I would be happy to tell everyone what a great person and generally upstanding human being you are.  So, there's that to consider.

Also, if you are interested, there's Sangria.  We didn't try it, but I thought you guys would want to know.  I know how excited we all were about wine before the last big storm, so it seems worth mentioning :) 

Nando's Peri Peri was delicious.  Great food, pretty simple preparations, but different and new flavors that we really loved.  Also, that chocolate cake.  We will definitely be back, in fact, maybe even this week- my husband is a little jealous that he missed out on something we're all raving about!  I'd remind you about the volume level if you're sensitive, and we weren't sure whether or not to leave a tip on the table (there are boxes by the register) so we erred on the side of caution and did, but other than that we were happy with our food, our service, and the overall experience! 

If you'd like to find out more before you go- you can check out Nando's Peri Peri Chicken:

Disclosure: was provided with our meal.  However, even when people pay us, we reserve the right to tell you what we think, and all opinions are our own.  We really would pay $12 for that cake.  No joke. And, the chicken was amazing. 

New Chick-fil-A Salads & Wraps

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Published: 04/18/2013

Chick-fil-A has been listening to what customers want when they visit restaurants – and that’s more nutritious options made with premium ingredients packed full of flavor. Two recent studies found that:

  • 50% of consumers want restaurants to offer healthier foods
  • 64% of consumers agree that it is important to eat healthy and pay attention to nutrition
  • 38% of consumers are more likely to visit restaurants with healthy menu options
  • 48% of consumers are very likely to try new or unique flavors    
Chick-fil-A is confident customers will find that in its new salads and wrap.

That’s right…On April 29, Chick-fil-A’s® entrée salad line is getting a makeover. The company is introducing three new premium salads – the Chick-fil-A® Cobb Salad, Chick-fil-A® Asian Salad, Chick-fil-A® Grilled Market Salad – as well as an improved Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap® for the health-conscious customer. All three of the new salads contain two full servings of vegetables and are each less than 430 calories. Check out this video for a “Behind the Scenes” look at the new Chick-fil-A salads.

In addition to these new nutritious menu items, Chick-fil-A is adding calorie counts to its menu boards nationally in conjunction with the salads launch. The new menu boards are just another way Chick-fil-A has made nutritional information easily accessible to its customers, including an online meal calculator, in-restaurant nutrition pamphlets and even nutritional information printed from the register upon request.

I'll be giving away four (yes 4!!) Chick-fil-A gift cards with a free salad/wrap offer each month through April!  
To enter, tell us your favorite Chick-fil-A location in a post below and "Like" us on Facebook. You can also "like" your favorite CFA location on Facebook for extra chances to win.

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Disclosure: The giveaway items were provided to me free of charge and I received a gift card to enjoy myself too. All opinions shared on this blog are always my own. 

Reviews: Pa Nuang Thai

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Published: 01/15/2013
Highly recommended on the "Readers Recommend: Restaurants in Prince William County" is Pa Nuang Thai.  I actually thought I'd written about it before, but apparently, I haven't.  Or, maybe I have, but it's so good that I'm going to do it again. (Edit: I found it! It was for

It's my website, people, and I'll do what I want to.

So, Pa Nuang is amazing, and I like it better than all the other Thai restaurants in the county that I've tried.  Hands down. No, I don't care that you like the other one by the Safeway.  Typically there's room for everyone's opinions, but right now I am taking a firm stand on Thai.

 Their menu is extensive, and everything on it is amazing.  I love the crisp, fresh green papaya salad, and the Tom Kha Soup which is both sweet and salty, spicy and sour, and just generally amazing.  Hubby and I went their for a date night the other day, and we ended up with these:
 This is chicken with bell peppers and basil.  I'm sure it has an actual name, but it's number 3 down on the "Entrees" section.  Yeah, I know that.
This is the soup I now want anytime there's anything wrong or right with me.  I've had a migraine and been in bed for days, and reflecting on it, I'm actually ticked off that my husband didn't bring me soup.  I know I wasn't eating, but it would've reheated when I wanted it.  Originally, this was "Korean Noodle Soup", but apparently now it's "Clear Noodle Soup".  It's broth, ground chicken (or you can get it vegetarian or with shrimp...maybe? I don't like seafood so I don't reserve space in my brain for it) vegetables, and noodles, and it's amazing.  If you're a glutton for punishment like we are, they'll even bring out crushed red peppers that are waaaay spicier than anything you've ever shaken on your pizza.  Next Level Delicious.

(Yes, we ordered two entrees just for the two of us.  It's important to have leftovers when the food is this good.  Don't judge me until you try it.  Even then, don't judge me.)

Dishes can be ordered "American Spicy", which I would call "not spicy", "Regular Spicy" which is probably spicy enough for most people, or "Thai Spicy", which will clear your sinuses and make your tongue tingle.  I personally enjoy Thai Spicy, but recommend starting a little further down the scale until you know what you're getting into.

For the kids, I recommend the Thai Sweet and Sour, or, if they're more adventitious, the fried tofu with sweet chili sauce is really good.  The sweet and sour comes with the chicken in chunks and crispy (a la "nugget" but with recognizable meat) and the sauce on the side. My kids actually like the Pad Thai with shrimp and the tempura carrots from my Green Curried Vegetables.  They're not normal, though.

This is a really long post about how much I love Pa Nuang at this point....but it's really, really, really good.  They're not paying me to write this....I am, in fact, paying them.  For soup.  Which I could really use right now- I wonder if they're open....

12 Days of Giveaways: Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

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Published: 12/14/2012
 We're 12 Days Away from Christmas, so I want to hit you guys with a few giveaway items!! First up, I've got a $25 gift card to Firebirds Wood Fired Grill in Woodbridge.  This fairly new restaurant is located in my favorite place- Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.  Love Love Love :) The restaurant had us for a preview meal, and they've got a pretty amazing children's menu.  My son got the children's salmon, and I'm not a seafood lover, but his fish was awesome.  I really appreciated that there were some exciting and healthier grilled items, in addition to standbys like burgers.  If it were me, though, I would probably choose Firebirds for a great date night.  Nobody minded our children, and the volume level in the restaurant is that magical point where you can hear the people at your table but there's enough background noise to mask your children bemoaning the fact that someone else is currently using the ketchup ;)
The restaurant is beautiful inside, I love the waterfall concept bar display, the wine bottle wall, the stone and the fireplace.  There is definitely tons of ambiance.  Entrees include steaks, fish, chicken, pastas, and some delicious sounding salads.  Yelp rates the restaurant between $$ (moderate) and $$$ (pricey).

Want to head to Firebirds for your own date night or happy hour? (It's so cozy and sleek inside-  it'd be a beautiful place to meet up with girlfriends for a special drink!) Check out the Rafflecopter below and enter to win!! I'll be drawing all the winners for these contests on Christmas Day- my way of giving some presents to you guys :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were able to try a meal at Firebirds before offering this giveaway, also provided by Firebirds.  Winner assumes all liability.  All photo credits are to the Firebirds Facebook Page.

Welcome to Prince William County! The Cheesecake Factory!

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Published: 11/09/2012
I want to have an entire series of posts called "The Classy-fication of Hoodbridge" but I know you guys very seldom enjoy my humor about that, so I'm going to refrain....aside from just writing it yeah.
Anyway, The Cheesecake Factory with their MASSIVE menu and MASSIVE portions and Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake that you can only eat one bite of because the entire piece is like a series of mashed-together truffle-y goodness has come to Prince William County!  You'll find them located at Potomac Mills Mall outlying by the AMC Theatres side.
The restaurant is having its grand opening on Sunday, November 11th, but they had invited me out to see what the restaurant is all about.  I was so excited!

And then I woke up sick.

So. Not. Cool.
Rather than start a health crisis, I found some back-up reviewers to go for me.  Amanda Long from Prince William County Children's Choir and Jennifer Clifton from Pillar Church in Dumfries were able to go for me and get the scoop.
And by scoop, I mean tasty tasty preview meal. Wrote Amanda:
"We had a lovely time.  The food was extraordinary!"
That about sums it up.  Cheesecake Factory- Lovely Time, Extraordinary Food.  If you're planning to go, do plan to wait for a table, especially if you're bringing a larger party.
 Also to note, The Cheesecake Factory makes meals that are ideal for sharing, even the salads.  Cheesecake travels home very well (because I've never been and had room for desert even though I always split my meal and never even finish half of it!), just ask your server for your cake to-go! While you're at it, they also offer their sauces in Mason Jars to-go, so you can cook up your favorites at home! There's also a new "lighter" menu available with portions listed by number of calories, if you're trying to be good!

The very fabulous Andrea from also went to check out The Cheesecake Factory here in Prince William County, and if you'd like her tips and behind the scenes pictures, you can find them here.

The Cheesecake Factory Potomac Mills says this about themselves:
The Cheesecake Factory menu features more than 200 menu selections made fresh from scratch each day using only the highest quality ingredients. We have expanded our offerings with a low calorie menu aptly named SkinnyLicious™. Redefining low calorie flavor, the SkinnyLicious™ menu provides guests with even more choices. The Cheesecake Factory is famous for generous portions which are ideal for sharing or taking home – but be sure to save room to enjoy one of 50 legendary cheesecakes and specialty desserts. The Cheesecake Factory gladly honors requests to modify your order to suit specific health or dietary needs. Enjoy our high-energy atmosphere seven days a week, serving appetizers, lunch, dinner, late night dining, full bar, Sunday brunch, and Curbside To-Go service. Our passion for food drives us to deliver delicious food to all of our guests. That’s why we only use fresh ingredients to make everything from scratch daily in each of our restaurants – just like you would at home in your own kitchen.

The Cheesecake Factory's hours will be Monday-Thursday from 11:30am-11:00pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:30am-12:30am, and Sunday from 10:00am-11:00pm.  They do have a brunch menu!

Want to go? How about a date night? The Cheesecake Factory is offering a PwcMoms Reader a $25 gift card for their first meal at The Cheesecake Factory here in Woodbridge!

Enter using the Rafflecopter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good Luck!

Thanks to The Cheesecake Factory for the fun giveaway, and for inviting PwcMoms out for a preview.  Obviously all opinions are our own. is not responsible for your skinny jeans not fitting if you develop an addiction to Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. Not our fault.

Readers Recommend: Best Pizza in Prince William County

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Published: 06/22/2012
When I asked a reader question about the Best Real Pizza in Prince William County, I got a TON of responses! From Deep Dish in Dumfries to Meat Lovers in Manassas, you guys have some serious feelings about Pizza!! Here are the responses!  If you have a favorite location for the Best Pizza in Prince William County, be sure to leave a comment!!

Tony's in Bristow/Manassas/Bull Run/Haymarket x25
(Manassas Location is the Best, We moved to Manassas from Woodbridge to be closer to that place!) 

Astoria's 123/Route 1 in Woodbridge x15
(My husband's favorite and he went to culinary school! Best in the area!) 

Amici's Pizza off Hoadly Road x5
(Run by an Italian Family.  If you pick it up you get Buy One Get One free for Large One-Topping)

Presto Pizza in Merchant Plaza x5
(Woman is from Sicily, Run by Italian Family, Great Customer Service, grows her own basil)

Padrino's in Dale City x4

Pizza Margherita in Gainesville x4

Lake Ridge Pizzaria x3

Brooklyn Brothers in Gainesville (x3)

Papa Petrone's Take and Bake x3

zPizza x3

Brothers in Montclair x2

L&B in Dale City x2

Costco Pizza x2

Ledos of Liberia

Pizza Time in Manassas


Bella Vita in Manassas on Liberia

Roma Restaurant in Lake Ridge

Big Joe's in Manassas

Pizza Spot in Manassas Park

Joe's Pizza and Subs on Route 1


Pizzarama in Manassas

Where do MamaMafia Dons Dine?

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Published: 05/25/2012
Where do MamaMafia Dons Dine?

It sounds like there should be a punchline to that question- but the answer is anything but a joke.

This week I was able to spend some time (okay, almost 5 hours) at Carmello's in Old Town Manassas.  Y'all recommended Carmello's on our Reader Recommendation Restaurant Guide, and I've been wanting to try it ever since!  Andrea from Real Housewives of Northern Virginia set up a tasting, and from the moment we walked in, I was completely sold.  

Walking into Carmello's you'd never know that you're feet away from the Train Depot. Its warm colors and gold chargers invite you in, and even the sign glistens.  This would be the perfect location for a wedding or rehearsal dinner meal, and they are able to offer multiple room sizes to meet group needs.  Joining our dinner were Denise from Let Mommy Sleep/Mission Sleep, Rebecca from 3 Tiny Tyrants/Maguire Media Group, Laura from BeltwayBargainMom, and Micaela from SuperNovaMommy.  
Denise, Me, Micaela, the awesome manager Jacob, Rebeca, Laura, and Andrea
Rebecca selected a bottle from their extensive wine list for us.  There was what can only be described as the Cheesecake Factory Menu worth of wine on their list, but she picked out a fantastic red.  Twice :) (Please note- all photo credit is to Real Housewives of Northern Virginia who shared with me since I forgot to charge my phone before dinner) 
We were able to tour the restaurant.  This is the wine room.  Just for the reds.  
We had so much fun chatting with the manager, Jacob.  He selected a few dishes for us and I quickly shocked everyone since I love to cook and will try just about anything because I had never eaten ANYTHING that we had. I decided to try to handle it cultural-exchange style and just eat it :) It was all amazing, and I think I'm in love with scallops.  (Yeah, say that you've never had a scallop before at this table of women and you get 5 horrified gasps followed by two "Well you can pass them over here if you're not gonna try them!")

Okay, cell phones don't do food justice (sorry Andrea). This is shrimp and scallops over saffron rice with artichokes in a delicious creamy sauce.  I had never had a scallop before (gasp!) and am very selective about my shrimp, and since I'm not a seafood lover, let me say I loved all the seafood dishes here.  Everything was fresh and not the least bit "fishy".  Next we had veal medallions wrapped in bacon with a mushroom sauce, also over rice.

 I had (shocker) never had veal.  Also, let me confess to typically eating my meat "Well done, please, and then cook it a little more".  I didn't lick the plate....but I thought about it. This literally melted in your mouth.

Next we sampled the seafood ravioli, which had salmon (never had) and lobster cream sauce (never had lobster, either).  The salmon was probably the most out of my comfort zone, but the lobster cream sauce and I are now BFF's and I'm following it on twitter.

Now, all of this is very fancy and amazing, but it's of course special occasion/date night food.  And, when you have your next special occasion, this is where you should go.  Besides the food being amazing and the manager being friendly and knowledgable, the staff was attentive and I didn't see a single table that wanted for anything from water to clean forks.

But if you just need a little cocktail hour, Carmello's has you covered, too.  This delicious Pizza Margharita (yeah, I'd actually had this before!) Is actually from the adjoining bar, Monza.  If you're looking for a place for lunch, a light supper, or drinks with the girls, Monza has got to be it.  In addition, let me share something with you:
On Mondays, Monza has $5 martinis from a list about a mile long.  We sampled the pear, root beer float, grapefruit, a few I can't remember, and the awesome bar tender Jeff's espresso martini, which, if it were available at Starbucks, would land me in AA.  Meeting up with a few friends after work (even if work involves chasing toddlers!) at Monza would be epic. With the same warm and upscale feel, but substantially more flatscreen TVs (playing the hockey game!!) Monza is a great guy-friend or girl-friend meet up.

Also, now that summer is approaching, keep in mind that on Friday and Saturday nights, the patio is open and the side street shut down to accommodate live music.  What a great way to spend a warm summer night!

Carmello's- Entrees $23-30, elegant warm atmosphere. Going to the Hylton Performing Arts Center? Call ahead and bring your tickets and take advantage of their $35 Theatre Special before 6pm (Appetizer/Soup/Salad, Entree, Dessert).  Plan Carmello's for your next occasion and you definitely won't regret it!

Monza- $5-$17, fun upscale atmosphere, great for meeting friends! Don't forget the $5 martini Mondays, and that pasta is $4 off before 4pm, so a late lunch is an option!
Denise, Rebecca and me.  We like to segregate our Blondes and Brunettes when we dine out ;)

My group was provided with products or services for this review, however it represents my honest opinion, and I'd have written the same thing either way.  Just saying :)

Kids Eat Free in Prince William County

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Published: 05/10/2012

Whether you are looking for a kid-friendly meal in Woodbridge, Haymarket, Lake Ridge, Occoquan, Manassas, or Gainesville, a play place may help, but kids eating free is the ultimate!

Please CALL FIRST before using this list.  Restaurants make changes to their menus, policies, dates and times on a regular basis, but this is correct as far as I know as of the date of publishing.  If you encounter a change, please leave a comment and let me know so I can correct it!!

 Denny's 2 kids eat free with each paying adult.  Drinks are not included. All locations.
Smokey Bones kids eat free from 5-7 p.m.; one child with each adult entree.  2601 Prince William Parkway Woodbridge
Los Toltecos True Mexican Cuisine offers a free child's meal with each adult entree. 4120 Merchant Plaza Woodbridge
Dumfries Pizza Hut  Kids three-year-old and under are free for the lunch buffet and three to 10-year-olds are half price with each adult entree. 17982 Main Steet, Dumfries
At Cici's Pizza, kids three-years-old and under can have a free meal with each adult entree. 13600 Foulger Square Woodbridge
Amici's will give one free kid's meal to kids 10 and under for each adult meal purchase 12623 Galveston Court Manassas
Eggspectation has one kids meal free per adult meal purchased every Monday 8058 Crescent Park Drive Gainesville
Golden Corral offers free meals to children 3 and under with the purchase of an adult buffet every day 10801 Bulloch Drive Manassas
Columbus Grill, one kid's meal per adult meal every Monday and Tuesday 8349 Centreville Road Manassas
Salsarita's on Rte. 28 in Bristow (near Super Target). Free kids meals (1 per adult entree) from 3-7 p.m.
Cafe Rio in Manassas offers kids 6 and under a free quesadilla. 

 Denny's 2 kids eat free with each paying adult.  Drinks are not included. 
IHOP From 4-10 p.m. two children per adult eat free and drinks are $0.99. All Locations.
K2 Restaurant & Lounge  From 5-8 p.m., children 12-years-old and under eats free with each adult entree. 14633 Jefferson Davis Highway Woodbridge
Moe's Southwest Grill  On Tuesdays from 5-9pm patrons can receive one kids free meal with one adult entree. 12841 Galveston Ct, Manassas

Dumfries Pizza Hut  Kids three-year-old and under are free for the lunch buffet and three to 10-year-olds are half price with each adult entree. 17982 Main Steet, Dumfries
At Cici's Pizza, kids three-years-old and under can have a free meal with each adult entree. 13600 Foulger Square Woodbridge 
Mcdonald's inside the Walmart on Liberia Ave in Manassas. Kids' Night on Tuesdays from 5-9 p.m. Buy 1 Happy Meal, get 1 Happy Meal free.
At Applebee's on Tuesdsay, kids eat for $1. 13850 Noblewood Plaza Woodbridge 
Uno's Kids Eat Free with purchase of adult meal. All day. 2680 Prince William Parkway Woodbridge 
Bob Evans Kids eat free. One child per adult. 12 and under. 4pm-close. 14490 Smoketown Rd or 13900 Noblewood Plaza Woodbridge 
Silver Diner in Woodbridge (near Potomac Mills). Kid's Night from 5-8 p.m. features a weekly activity such as a magician, etc. Kids who join their kid's club get a free kid's milkshake.
The Lion and Bull from 5-9pm, one kids meal free per adult meal purchased 5351 Merchants View Square Haymarket
Golden Corral offers free meals to children 3 and under with the purchase of an adult buffet every day 10801 Bulloch Drive Manassas
Red Hot and Blue, 4-9pm one free kid's meal per adult meal 8366 Sudley Road Manassas

Columbus Grill, one kid's meal per adult meal every Monday and Tuesday 8349 Centreville Road Manassas
Panda Express, one free kid per paying adult, nearest intersection is Smoketown and Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge

Cafe Rio in Manassas offers kids 6 and under a free quesadilla. 

 Denny's 2 kids eat free with each paying adult.  Drinks are not included. All locations.

Cafe Rio in Manassas offers kids 6 and under a free quesadilla. 

All American Steakhouse offers two kids free meals with an adult entree all day. 4179 Merchant Plaza, Woodbridge
Ledo Pizza offers a free kids meal per adult entree from 4-9 p.m. 8971 Ox Road, Lorton

Dumfries Pizza Hut  Kids three-year-old and under are free for the lunch buffet and three to 10-year-olds are half price with each adult entree.17982 Main Steet, Dumfries
At Cici's Pizza, kids three-years-old and under can have a free meal with each adult entree.13600 Foulger Square Woodbridge
The American Steakhouse has kids eat free all day with the purchase of an adult meal.  In the evening, they offer free face painting, too. 4179 Merchant Plaza Lake Ridge
Golden Corral offers free meals to children 3 and under with the purchase of an adult buffet every day 10801 Bulloch Drive Manassas
Buffalo Wild Wings, Kids eat 1/2 price from 5-8pm. Any participating location.

 Denny's 2 kids eat free with each paying adult.  Drinks are not included. 
Dumfries Pizza Hut  Kids three-year-old and under are free for the lunch buffet and three to 10-year-olds are half price with each adult entree.17982 Main Steet, Dumfries
At Cici's Pizza, kids three-years-old and under can have a free meal with each adult entree. 13600 Foulger Square Woodbridge 
Captain D's one free kids meal per adult meal purchased.  8911 Centreville Road Manassas
Golden Corral offers free meals to children 3 and under with the purchase of an adult buffet every day 10801 Bulloch Drive Manassas
Chik-Fil-A at Manassas Mall. Kid's Night from 5-8 p.m. and offers a free kid's meal with a paid adult meal.
Chik-Fil-A on Liberia Ave. in Manassas. Kid's Night from 5-8 p.m. and offers free kid's meal with a paid adult meal. Also features clown entertainment.

Cafe Rio in Manassas offers kids 6 and under a free quesadilla. 


Cafe Rio in Manassas offers kids 6 and under a free quesadilla. 

 Denny's 2 kids eat free with each paying adult.  Drinks are not included. 
Dumfries Pizza Hut  Kids three-year-old and under are free for the lunch buffet and three to 10-year-olds are half price with each adult entree.17982 Main Steet, Dumfries
At Cici's Pizza, kids three-years-old and under can have a free meal with each adult entree. 13600 Foulger Square Woodbridge 
Golden Corral offers free meals to children 3 and under with the purchase of an adult buffet every day 10801 Bulloch Drive Manassas

 Denny's 2 kids eat free with each paying adult.  Drinks are not included. 
At Cici's Pizza, kids three-years-old and under can have a free meal with each adult entree. 13600 Foulger Square Woodbridge 
Golden Corral offers free meals to children 3 and under with the purchase of an adult buffet every day 10801 Bulloch Drive Manassas
Qdoba on Liberia in Manassas has free kids meals on Saturday and on Sunday. They also have B1G1 free adult meals on Tuesdays so you can get a free kids meal or even order an adult size meal for your child and have leftovers. 


Cafe Rio in Manassas offers kids 6 and under a free quesadilla. 

 Denny's 2 kids eat free with each paying adult.  Drinks are not included. 
Hard Times Cafe offers one free child meal for ages 11 and under with each adult entree from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. 14389 Potomac Mills Rd Woodbridge 
Panda Express on Liberia Avenue has kids eat free with adult meal purchase. 
At Cici's Pizza, kids three-years-old and under can have a free meal with each adult entree. 13600 Foulger Square Woodbridge 
Qdoba has kids eat free all day with the purchase of an adult entree and drink. 2824 Prince William Pkwy Woodbridge 
Golden Corral offers free meals to children 3 and under with the purchase of an adult buffet every day 10801 Bulloch Drive Manassas
Brass Cannon (in Stonewall Golf Club behind Wegman's). Sunday brunch buffet is buy one adult buffet get one free. Kids under 6 also eat for free.
California Tortilla in Bull Run Plaza in Manassas. Kids eat free on Sundays after 5 p.m. with a paying adult.
Carmello's in Old Town Manassas. Kids eat free on Sundays (open for dinner only).
Qdoba on Liberia in Manassas has free kids meals on Saturday and on Sunday. They also have B1G1 free adult meals on Tuesdays so you can get a free kids meal or even order an adult size meal for your child and have leftovers.

Milla's Playland A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years...