[photo post] A Long Weekend

Well over a week late but here are some photos from our recent long weekend going to see the Aquabats at Bogart’s in Cincinnati and hitting the eastern wing of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Our stops included:

As always, if you’re interested in seeing a bigger selection of photos in high-res, check out my Flickr account. Otherwise, here are a few I picked out for the blog:

Mantry Unboxing: Bourbon Breakfast + November Favorites

So I missed posting about my favorites from the October Mantry box, GQ: How to Entertain in Style, but looking back, I don’t think it was as much “I forgot” as it was “I wasn’t that impressed.” The salami was good, as most cured meats are, and the chocolate “salami” was as tasty as it was an interesting concept but nothing really hit right-on for me. Thankfully our November Mantry box, Leftovers, was different and I want to share some of the things I enjoyed most:

  • Good News Cashews and Coconut Granola by Hudson Henry Baking, Co.
    Just before starting on this blog post I ate about a handful and a half of this stuff. Something about granola makes me think it’s going to be a terrible snack but if you can look past how messy it can be if you eat it by itself, it’s really not. I paired it this morning with a bit of blueberry Yoplait Light yogurt. The bag it’s delivered in is sizable – probably one of the most impressively large items I’ve had delivered via Mantry, and the flavor it provides is not lacking in either the cashew or coconut categories it draws its name from. Fresh and crunchy, this is some A+ granola!
    Buy it Here

  • Maplewood Smoked Bacon by Broadbent’s
    This was the first thing I tore into upon receipt of the box. The bacon is thick-cut and fries up beautifully. I added nothing to it or the pan aside from some fresh-cracked black pepper and even it wasn’t necessary. Mine and Erin’s tastebuds were assaulted with the strong, salty flavor you’d expect from country ham with a texture that was much thicker and sort-of chewier than your average bacon. There’s very little grease when you fry it up, likely because of how it’s cured, so you feel like you’re getting a nice fatty protein without as much of the fatty part. I enjoyed this bacon so much I ordered some for my parents and for my sister and her husband for Christmas.
    Buy it Here

  • “Ragin’ Rooster” Sriracha Mustard by Green Mountain Mustard
    Last week I made up some hamburgers that were equal parts lean ground beef and breakfast sausage. With a side of hand-cut cheese fries, the burgers didn’t need anything extra to assist with flavor but the addition of this Sriracha Mustard was a wise one. The mustard was a nice flavor compliment to the spice in the sausage while the Sriracha aspect provided a spicier “kick” while also adding a hint of sweetness that you don’t normally find in your average hamburger. We were both big fans of this one!
    Buy it Here

  • Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles by Brooklyn Brine
    Also going on the aforementioned sausage burger, these Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles stood well against the strong flavors of the sausage and Sriracha mustard, allowing for an even fuller range of tastes that basically attacked the palate on every front. I’m not a huge pickle-eater but these pickles along with the tiny onions floating around with them brought forth a nice extra bit of spice (but not too much) and a sweetness to the table. Again, not a big pickle eater, but I think these would stand well even on their own, let alone a kick-ass burger.
    Buy it Here

I’m trying to keep up the practice of utilizing my newborn Pinterest account to maintain a list of the Mantry items I’ve reviewed. You can find that board here.

December’s Mantry crate’s theme is Bourbon Breakfast and aims to give us a legit reason to look forward to waking up in the morning, especially during these cold, dark winter mornings most folks are currently experiencing (I say most because it was 53 degrees on the way to the gym at 5:30am here in east Tennessee). So maybe it isn’t as cold here as it is other places and maybe I’m more of a morning person than most but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to enjoy some of these bourbon-infused and inspired breakfast delights in this month’s box! Let’s get going:

Going left to right:
Hazelnut Whiskey Cookies from Whimsy & Spice, Brooklyn, NY
Bacon Spread from Skillet Street Food, Seattle, WA
100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup from The Syrup Shop, Burlington, VT
Hazelnut Pancake Mix from Freddy Guy Hazelnut Farm, Monmouth, OR
Bourbon Blueberry Jam from Jam Stand, Brooklyn, NY
Spicy Borsellino from La Quercia, Norwalk, IA

Saying I’m excited to get down on some of these breakfast goodies is an understatement. I struck out when I made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chai Protein Shakes from PaleOMG this morning – a little too bitter for my taste and, according to Erin via text message, adding honey doesn’t do it any favors. I do intend to give these another shot on Wednesday, though, and will be adding some things I think will make them taste better (and still keep it Paleo-esque) since serving them in our Butterbeer cups we picked up in Diagon Alley back in October apparently didn’t do the trick on its own!

Fingers crossed for good results from everything and tasty breakfasts!

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Mantry Unboxing: GQ How To Entertain In Style


Let’s get something straight: If you’re going to use the #foodporn tag, your food had better be pornographic in some way. Gratuitous – maybe even exploitative. I hate scrolling through my Instagram feed and seeing people heating up jarred tomato sauce and pouring it over some chicken that was pre-breaded and frozen situated on an ugly plate and captured forever on a digital camera with the flash on. I felt like it was my job to make up for such a disservice to the #foodporn community by making my own chicken parmesan recently. I texted a friend Boys bake pre-breaded, frozen chicken and call it chicken parmesan. Men bread their own fresh chicken but not before they stuff that shit with mozzarella and chorizo. You just received a text from a man. And it was true and it was tasty.

But I didn’t take a photo, therefore no #foodporn, therefore I didn’t do my part to cancel out some other dude’s culinary laziness. I am a bad food pornographer.


Last month I got my first crate from Mantry, a monthly box-subscription service that delivers artisan tasties from all over the country to your front door. As you could probably tell from my review post Mantry aren’t messing around when it comes to bringing you food lovelies that are top of the line and not packed with typical grocery BS.

Last month’s box had a Euro Trip theme and featured food inspired by a true European culinary experience. For this month’s theme, Mantry have teamed up with GQ as part of #GQHowToMonth and put together some foodie staples meant to wow your guests. Erin and I rarely ever entertain so for the most part we’re wowing ourselves but at least the delights are classy. I can dig it.

Let’s get into this months box:

From left to right:
Chipotle Lime Peanuts from Bee’s Knees Food Co., Chicago, IL
Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned from Bittermilk, Charleston, SC
Raw Honeycomb from Savannah Bee Co., Savannah, GA
FDA Chocolate Salami from Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Dallas, TX
Whiskey Salami from Creminelli, Salt Lake City, UT
Porter Crackers from Beer Flats, Cincinnati, OH

As usual, I plan on reviewing these items as they’re prepared and start hitting my belly. I’m very excited about getting down on the whiskey salami and chocolate “salami”. We’ve already snuck a bite of the crackers and I’m looking forward to utilizing the honeycomb and the bitters because I’m a big fan of a classic Old Fashioned but I sometimes hate ordering them when I go out because I’ve heard some (lazy) bartenders complain about the few steps that are involved. Heck, maybe I’ll complain, too, after making one or two at home, who knows?

While I’m merely a home cook that just knows a little bit of something about food, I can still certainly appreciate the experiences provided by a nice culinary adventure whether it be trying a new restaurant, cooking a new food, or simply being surprised by the contents of the monthly Mantry crate and the enjoyment and inspiration it provides. It wouldn’t hurt if you did some of the same – you might even learn something!

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