Mantry Unboxing: Tailgate Tour + December Favorites

Erin and I have always had a pretty interesting time watching the Super Bowl. The first year I remember us watching it together was in 2008. We weren’t married yet and she was living in North Carolina. I would come down to visit for the weekend late on a Friday night and would be on my way back to Kingsport sometime Sunday night. On the night of Super Bowl XLII, the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 17-14 and we watched on a small-ish TV that was in the floor because we didn’t have anything to put it on which worked great because if I remember correctly there wasn’t a couch or any furniture to speak of so we sat in the floor on blankets, pillows and sleeping bags. We likely ate a pizza from Buck’s and I made the 2 hour trek back to east Tennessee that night so I could be at work in the morning. This situation was hardly “hard times” or considered “roughing it” – it was two people that loved each other’s company no matter the circumstance and both loved to see the Patriots lose.

As the years passed, Erin got a little more interested in football and Super Bowl Sunday became more of an event that I could’ve hoped for. In 2009 (Super Bowl XLIII: Pittsburg over Arizona) we were still in NC only I was a resident and we had furniture. The game was also likely accompanied, again, by a pizza from Buck’s. Super Bowl XLIV (New Orleans over Indianapolis) took place while we were in Oak Ridge and we chowed down on a tray of fried chicken sliders and banana pudding from Wishbones. All this to say, the Super Bowl is usually on at our house – even after “cutting the cord”* several years ago, after which we began streaming it online using our Macbook Pro and a DVI to HDMI converter on our bedroom television – and we’ve always accompanied it with some kind of typical sports night bar food.

And this is because typical sports night bar food is to be expected when it comes to any sporting event but especially the Super Bowl. So it comes as no surprise that my favorite box subscription service Mantry have taken it upon themselves to up the bar food game for those of us fortunate enough to give a shit about what we serve with this month’s crate theme Tailgate Tour.

From left to right:
The Classic from Owl’s Brew, New York, NY
Mike’s Hot Honey from Mike’s Hot Honey, New York, NY
Dry Cured Chorizo from Aurelia’s Chorizo, Boerne, TX
Pork Clouds from Bacon’s Heir, Atlanta, GA
Smoky Black Bean Dip from La Esquina, New York, NY
Sweet Heat Pecans from Molly & Me Pecans, Holly Hill, SC

So what’s not to like in this month’s crate? Heck, I’ve even already ripped into the Smoky Black Bean Dip last night with some chips we brought home with our takeout from Moe’s. Creamy, beany and spicy in the end, the bean dip has already proven to be a hit in our house and I just opened the crate yesterday afternoon! I’m extremely excited to bust open the chorizo since it’s one of my favorite foods to eat / use and I’m intrigued by the booklet’s recommendation to utilize the Mike’s Hot Honey on slices of pizza. These items are made to make you up your Super Bowl snacks but that’s still a week away and I just can’t guarantee these things will still be here when it comes…

As usual, I want to go over some of my favorites from December but in an attempt to not just review everything from the crate (seriously, it was the best crate yet) I want to just say that the Hazelnut Whiskey Cookies from Whimsy and Spice (Brooklyn, NY) were unreal , definitely bringing out the hazelnut taste we’ve come to know and love between two cookies that bring in a crunchy, crumbly, whiskey punch. I also paired the lovely Bourbon Blueberry Jam from Jam Stand (Brooklyn, NY) with the Spicy Borsellino from La Quercia (Norwalk, IA) and a fried egg on a toasted English muffin for a tasty, though messy, breakfast sandwich that hit every tastebud and left them wanting more.

But the stars of the December show were…

Hazelnut Pancake Mix by Freddy Guy Hazelnut Farm (Monmouth, OR) and the 100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup from The Syrup Shop (Burlington, VT).

Yes, both items together. Because syrup is made to go with pancakes. The first time I made these it was a straight-up operation: just pancakes and just syrup. Following the instructions on the back of the pancake mix exactly will make about 5 decent-sized pancakes. I fried them up in butter in my cast-iron skillet until browned and what came out was some buttery, fluffy goodness with chunks of hazelnut throughout. The pancakes alone would’ve been enough but the pure maple from Vermont was incredible. No filler, no chemical – just pure maple syrup – and the flavors were all there to prove it. I warmed it a little which made the already-perfect syrup even better and a perfectly complimented the pancakes.

So if it was so perfect why try to make it even better? As my mother used to say: Because I said so! The booklet from last month’s crate had a serving suggestion for the pancakes and syrup where instead of topping your flapjacks with the pure maple syrup only, you make some fried apples caramelized in some butter, a bit of the syrup and (my choice) some Jim Beam Devil’s Cut 90 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. I thought it was the best, Erin thought it was the best so I think it’s safe to say it very well could’ve been the best breakfast I’ve made in a while if not ever!

In the spirit of keeping up the lame Pinterest board I started where I pin items I’ve reviewed here, I’ve done the same with these guys and you can find that board here.

Do me a favor and make yourself something sexy for the Super Bowl – I know I’m going to!

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*Just wanted to add that I was hesitant to refer to Erin and I as “cord cutters” or even took part in “cutting the cord” as those are both phrases that I absolutely cannot stand. There’s a certain pretentiousness about it that I don’t want to be associated with. We merely stopped watching television for the most part and couldn’t justify paying $80 per month for DirectTV so we could watch football one time per year.

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