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Grillfest Vol. 3 Mantry // August 2017
Maybe it’s a primal urge, a carnivorous craving of meat and fire. Maybe it’s the bonding comfort of the hearth, of communing ‘round its warming glow. Maybe it’s as simple as the promise of a cold beer. Whatever the reason, where there’s smoke, there’s a party: the grill is our great uniter. High class and low, friends or strangers, we are brothers in barbecue. Every culture knows this — every tribe has its outdoor cooking ritual — from frigid Midwest tailgates to backwoods spit roasts, rusty oil drums in empty lots to gleaming multi-burner gas rigs on loafer-scuffed pool decks. But perhaps the best is flame cooked food is had beachside, where lounging is a way of life, and the only things stronger than the Weber and the sun are the spice rubs and rum punch. Give your grillfest some Caribbean swing with this season’s crate of summery items, ready to party. Lace up your apron and slip on the flip flops. Time to mingle
Citrus Rosemary Cocktail Syrup // Raft // Portland, OR
From the fog-slicked slopes of the Pacific Northwest, as far from the south seas as it seems possible to get, comes an unexpected flash of island flavor, like beachside sun filtered through the pines. Natural cane sugar, bright bursting citrus, and a twist of woodsy rosemary (Oregon’s piney trademark). Dash it in seltzer for a healthier soda, or whip up a big-batch cocktail for self-serve at the party. We like adding it to gin and soda, and topping with a sugar-dusted and grilled lemon, sprig of rosemary, and serving — natch — in Portland-proven mason jars.
Smoke Shack Split Pea Crunch // North River Dry Goods // Brooklyn
A picky eating toddler and her parents’ search for better-tasting peas led yes, to improved baby food, but more important, to a treat for mom and dad as well. What’s in it? Potassium, iron, fiber and protein — necessary nutrients for all ages, wrapped in snack-friendly flavors like this rich and smoky barbecue. What’s not? GMOs, sugar, soy, and chubby babies on the label. Eat your veggies like a grown-up.
Buffalo Wing Jerky // Long Beach Jerky Co. // Long Beach, CA
It seems so simple on paper: meat plus time equals jerky. And the feed-lot’s worth of cured sticks and slabs and shredded snacks crowding gas-station counters and grocery-store munchie aisles attest to how easy it is to make beef jerky. Anyone can do it — and everyone seems to. But any old neanderthal can toss a steak on a grate and call it grilling; it takes a master to hone such elemental methods into art. Long Beach Jerky’s founder’s grandad was one such pro. His jerky was a legendary Christmas tradition, and the recipe hasn’t been altered since. Thick-cut brisket, tangy citrusy wing sauce — perfection in a pouch. We wouldn’t change a thing.
Mambo Sauce // Capital City Co. // Washington, DC
Think a flag pin and a briefcase mark a DC local? Look closer — it’s the hot sauce stains. Sweet and tangy Mambo Sauce is a staple of Washington take-out joints, but unknown outside the Beltway. Each one has its private recipe, and come last call, bar-emptied hordes crowd counters and pass squeeze bottles, Dems and Reps, Senators and drag queens, united in glistening, lip-smacking glory. The sauce goes with anything — especially as it gets late — but its classic pair is wings. Drizzle a batch with oil and salt, grill, and toss still hot in Mambo Sauce, then pop back on the fire to caramelize. And don’t forget to tuck in your tie before you dig in.
River Of No Return // Caboose Spice Co. // Middleton, ID
This spicy, savory mix of smoked salt, brown sugar, and earthy marjoram gets its beguiling citrussy snap from sumac, a deep crimson Middle Eastern spice. It’s a global blend, complex and broad, heavenly with salmon, but great on anything that swims. As long as you cook it right: mix with olive oil, brush on whatever’s fresh and local, toss on the barbecue, and watch closely — shellfish are done when they open up, prawns and squid in a minute or two, and grill-ready fillets or whole fish, depending on thickness, in two or three minutes per side.
Fresca Salsa // La Fundidora // Brooklyn, NY
Salsa is a grill-side staple these days, but those neon red jars of store-bought extra-chunky are as authentic as your shrink-wrapped buns are bakery-fresh. Grow up, hombre. Simple and fresh and bursting with flavors bright as beachside sun, La Fundadora makes the real deal: spicy serranos and tangy tomatillos, hot as sand, cooling as the waves. Give your fresh-grilled fish the dressing it deserves.
August 2017 Mantry | Grillfest Vol. 3 Mantry
Island Time Vol. 2 Mantry // June 2017
The desert island trope is dismal: a poor stranded soul, rag-clad and starving, unrelenting sun above, a pithy ironic caption below. Humor as dry as the unshaded sand. Marooned pirates, shipwrecked castaways — no one washes ashore by choice. At least, that’s what cartoonists and clever Caribbean tourist bureaus want you to think. “Nothing to see here, folks — keep sailing.” But here’s a secret map to paradise. Because for those in the know, those with properly sun-baked brains, those who talk to parrots and volleyballs, those, in other words, a little island-mad, these beaches bask in abundance. Here’s a hidden harbor where drinks are large and over-garnished, naps luxuriously long, soups slow-simmered, sauces spicy, and everything is zested in lime. The treasure is yours: Horde it close, and don’t tell any landlubbers.
Original Orgeat // BG Reynolds // Portland, OR
The secret to a real, islander-approved Mai Tai isn’t in the thread count of the bartender’s Hawaiian shirt, or the authenticity of the Tiki mug. It’s in the syrup. Authentic orgeat is made with almonds and cane sugar — sail-by-night imposters are all high-fructose this and artificially flavored that. Be sure to mix it right: a shot of golden rum, a dram or two of curacao, a squeeze of lime, a sprig of mint, and a few hearty dashes of orgeat, shaken with ice. You don’t even need a cocktail umbrella.
Haitian Pikliz // The Craic & Blonde // Boston, MA
The spicy Haitian slaw that anchors every island meal, stands sentinel on every beachside countertop, pikliz (yes, we spelled it right) is a Caribbean staple. So when Craic & Blonde’s founder landed in Ireland, the first thing she did was whip up a batch. And then, when her friends quickly depleted it, another. Now it’s a business — and Boston-based — but the sauce is the same: shredded veggies and fiery habaneros, delicious right from the jar or as a salsa or side, paired with an appropriately peppery protein. Try chicken, marinated in scotch bonnets and spice, butterflied and barbecued. Just make sure to let it rest, and keep a well-stocked cooler close at hand to tame the flames.
Coconut Lime Caramels // Salt + Flint // Lawrence, KS
The candy aisle is paved with compromises. We’ll put up with a lot when it comes to satisfying that sweet tooth: dyes and preservatives, silly names, and even — bless our sinning souls — artificial shredded coconut, as long as it’s coated in chocolate. But we draw the line at caramels. A candy so decadent and, let’s face it, one that if all goes well we’ll be chewing, and chewing, for ages, should be perfect. No cut corners. And these are. The coconut comes through, but subtly (fear not, Mounds-phobes) and is brightened and balanced with a refreshing spritz of lime. You’ll savor every tooth sticking morsel and not regret a bite.
Heirloom Black Calypso Beans // Rancho Llano Seco // Chico, CA
On this two-and-a-half-century-old central-California Mexican land grant, when the cowboys finish herding heirloom cattle, they ride the oak savannah, beckoned home by hearty farmhand soup: Caramelized onions, a charred jalapeño, a bay leaf or two, and these plump and polka-dotted beans, succulent and slowly simmered. A Caribbean native that thrives here in the fertile soil, Calypsos can give even landlocked cowpokes a taste of the islands. Hey, paradise is where you find it.
Lager N Lime Peanuts // Hops & Nuts // Greensboro, NC
Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink? No worries, as long as there’s beer, and, of course, some munchies to go with it. The best pairing for a lime-wedged lager, besides a hammock and a wave-rippled sunset, is, of course, a handful of peanuts. To properly satiate while you hydrate and luxuriate (hey, island life is hard…), reach for a bag of these North Carolina redskins, dusted in sea salt and spritzed with lime juice. Then kick back and watch for the green flash.
Teriyaki Brisket Jerky // Chops // New Haven, CT
Jerky was born of necessity — spoil-proof sustenance for long, backcountry rambles. And most these days still tastes that way. A chewy chore, not a choice: old cows, sunbaked into last-resort protein fuel. But can jerky be a treat? When it’s done right: USDA choice brisket, fresh and tender as a quality steak, popping with pepper and pineapple juice, tangy and tender and, dare we say, even refreshing. Fresh from the saddlebag or, as we like it, skewered with a few chunks of pineapple and chared quickly on the grill.
June 2017 Mantry | Island Time Vol. 2 Mantry
Umami Mantry // April 2017
Call it the fifth taste, call it the X factor, call it that certain something — hell, even call it MSG. Call it anything, or call it nothing at all, just a satisfied sigh. With our favorite foods, when words fail, we’re likely in the glorious grip of umami, that unplaceable but unmistakable salty-savory-something that makes us take just one more bite, that can give even the most monastic foodies the late-night munchies. First identified in a Japanese study of amino acids in seaweed (aminos called glutamates, and specifically, monosodium glutamate, that infamous acronym, banished, say the menus, from all your local chop suey joints), umami is everywhere: the smoke in your smoked almonds, the funk in your ferment, the velvety chew of your chocolate. And, as delicious mashups like fishy hot sauce and fermented sriracha show, we’re folding it into even more foods — for good reason. All of which means, you’re in luck, because even if we can’t exactly define umami, we can box it up and land it on your doorstep. Salivating yet?
Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha // Bushwick Kitchen // Brooklyn, NY
You squeeze it on eggs, you mix it with ketchup, you drizzle it on a peanut butter sandwich (trust us) — you know it, you love it, but you’ve never had the Rooster quite like this. Sriracha’s salty sour tang is a match made in umami heaven (puzzle no more over the PB&S hack), which is why it goes so well with funky fermented gochujang, the Korean sauce, staple of every banchan spread. It plays the rich, fermented bass note to the zippy highs of the hot sauce’s vinegary spice. Spoon, splash, and squeeze as you like — or tie on an apron and whip up this steak: marinate a couple pounds in brown sugar, soy, and garlic, sear fast, and serve naked, with a bowl of hot sauce and plenty of cooling toppings like onions, cucumber, radish, and cilantro.
S & P Smoked Almonds // AgStandard Almonds // Los Angeles, CA
Old-time diehards might prefer theirs naked as a jaybird, calling them “eh-monds,” in the Central Valley vernacular (“the fall from the tree knocked the ‘el out of ‘em,” they’ll say), and turn up sunburnt noses at blends and spice-rubs, all that summer camp trail mix foolishness. Well we say, nuts to them. With a wisp of smoke, AgStandard made a good thing better: California-grown almonds, lightly kissed with smoldering kiln-dried wood (almond, natch) have just the right earthy bite to balance their creamy sun-kissed sweetness. Call ’em what you want — we call ’em the perfect snack.
Five Spice Turkey Jerky // Pure Provisions // San Francisco, CA
Road trips do strange things to our stomachs: spinning down that ribbon of highway, we sit motionless for hours, but feel famished by the time our exit sign appears. And while we should, we know, be fueling healthy (and getting enough sleep, and signaling lane changes with ample distance, and keeping both hands on the wheel at ten and two…) our floor mats are soon swamped with candy wrappers and soda cups and that rawhide totem of the lonesome road, gas station jerky. So the boys behind Pure Provisions invented this, the biodiesel to your greasy unleaded: lean, clean protein infused with a beguiling mix of spices like anise and clove. Try with a good Thai beer — frozen, in the “bai wuh” way, if you can find it. Just make sure to pull over first.
Spicy Tangy Funky Dipping Sauce // One Culture Foods // New York, NY
You local Asian grocery’s condiment aisle (or aisles, typically) can be a daunting bestiary of unfamiliar labels — roosters and scorpions, sharks and ducks — that makes picking the right sauce a shot in the dark. One Culture makes it easy. Street-market-inspired, restaurant-quality goodness, right in your cupboard, with no filler and no secrets — it’s all there in the name. Spicy from fresh chilies, tangy with exotic tamarind and lime, and funky from fermented Southeast Asian fish sauce — first-pressed fist sauce, at that (damn right, it’s a thing). Wrap fresh shrimp-and-veggie spring rolls in lightly moistened rice paper, fill a bowl with sauce, and get dipping.
Black Rice Crackers // Laiki // Fremont, CA
So easy to munch, so hard to do so healthily: call it the cracker conundrum. In search of wholesome crisps (less salt, less processing), the folks at Laiki found either flavorless airy puffballs or tooth-cracking flakes of drywall. So, naturally, they made their own, with whole-grain black rice, good Thai palm oil, a pinch of salt, and nothing else — no frills, not even on their packaging. Perfect alone for mid-meal snacking, sturdy support for crudités and cheese, and — our favorite — a surprising snap when stuffed inside a sandwich or spring roll.
Matcha Green Tea Bar // Vosges Haut-Chocolat // Chicago, IL
A spoonful of sugar can help us take our medicine; give us a bar of chocolate this good, and we’ll endure the bitterest of pills, the chilliest stethoscope, the most outdated waiting-room magazines. But the hope is we won’t have to — because Trojan-horsed within this rich, 72% cacao bar (an antioxidant powerhouse itself) is detoxifying matcha powder and the nutritional superhero spirulina, with five times as much protein as tofu. Good for you, and tastes even better: a sweet reward for healthy indulgence.
April 2017 Mantry | Umami
Yes, this is a 144 min read….
All Day Breakfast Mantry // February 2017
It’s a happy coincidence the most important meal of the day is also the best. There’s a reason IHOP is international — the appeal of a good breakfast crosses all boundaries. And that’s the great thing about it. While it does come with some go-to standbys, sizzling in any hotel’s continental buffet — bacon, eggs, pancakes, bacon, did we say bacon? — breakfast is a meal that relishes a broken rule or two. From the accidental drizzle of maple syrup on the sausage patty to cereal and milk at midnight to the whole-hearted defiance of waking up to last night’s Chinese takeout (in bachelordom squalor, even that has its charms), the glory of breakfast is that anything goes. When we break the breakfast rules, and fire up the waffle iron after noon, we go all out: bourbon in the pancakes, bananas in the jam, peanut butter in a powder, bacon in everything. So as if you needed any more, here’s a crate full of reasons to get up in the morning.
Bourbon Pecan Pancake & Waffle Mix // Southern Culture Artisan Foods // Decatur, GA
It’s a shame that the best hangover helping brunch munchies can be the hardest to manage for not-so-bright-eyed risers. Perfect fluffy pancakes and crunchy, buttery waffles are the stuff of drunken dreams, as long as we’re not manning the griddle. This is the breakfast food we imagine waking up to someone else preparing, the sizzle of batter on pan luring us out of bed and bleary-eyed into the kitchen. So if your morning calls for a hair of the dog — and worry-free cooking — open a bag of this pre-sifted mix, add eggs and milk (that wasn’t so hard, was it?) and let the sweet and savory blend of bourbon-smoked sea salt and rich Georgia pecans set you straight.
Drunken Monkey Jam // The Jam Stand // Brooklyn, NY
Stranded on a desert island with nothing but a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich sounds like something out of a *New Yorker* cartoon — or it could be the inspiration behind Jam Stand’s tropical spread. Other jellies are syrupy slimes of chemicals and artificial sweeteners; Drunken Monkey is a boozy mix of rich brown sugar, real pectin, and the all-natural sweetness of bananas, lime, and a spirited dose of rum. Use it to top your morning pastry, make a PB&J that turns snack time into an oasis worth lingering at, or even spoon a dollop onto your after dinner — er, breakfast — ice cream dessert. Hell, on a desert island, who’s to judge?
Bacon Pickle // Unbound Pickling // Portland, OR
When in doubt, pickle it. That’s what the Portland couple behind Unbound learned, when facing down an overabundance of backyard garden beans. To which we’d add: when in further doubt, add bacon. Hence Unbound’s hickory smoked, dill-and-garlic-laced cucumbers. As with any pickle worth its brine, these salty, savory, sour snacks are unbeatable straight from the jar, of course. But added to a homemade egg salad, the side dish steals the show: roughly chop a half dozen hard-boiled eggs and mix them together with a few tablespoons of yogurt or mayo, a dash of parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, and a handful of diced pickles. Serve on rye, and watch even the vegetarians line up for a smoky bite.
Powdered Peanut Butter // Tru-Nut // Atlanta, GA
Peanut butter makes everything better, from chocolate to (trust us) even pickles. The only problem is, while peanut butter surely goes *with* everything, it doesn’t always easily go *in* everything, as any guy who’s cursed that unblended blob at the bottom of his smoothie knows. Pound your protein shake in peace, gym rats — Tru-Nut is here to help. Their PB is powdered, which means it blends almost instantly, letting you pack extra protein, nutrients, and peanutty flavor into anything from cake batter to morning shakes. We like ours with a frozen banana or two, almond milk, ice, and a scoop of jelly. Use it with abandon and, with less fat and less calories than regular peanut butter, feel good about it.
Borsellino Salami // La Quercia // Norwalk, IA
Italian salami from Iowa? We warned you about breaking rules. The secret’s in the name: The oak trees under which Parma pigs fatten up on acorns is also the official tree of the company’s founders’ home state. But when you use local, sustainable meat (fennel-spiked Duroc-Berkshire butt), do your work in an energy efficient factory, and hawk the finished product in biodegradable plant-based packaging, well, who cares where it’s made? Don’t sweat the provenance — focus on the pan at hand. For a perfect meaty sandwich spread, fry a few salami slices in olive oil until crisp, toss in a handful of mushrooms, turn down the heat and simmer, adding butter as needed. Spoon onto thick-as-an-oak-trunk toast, and top with a fried egg.
Cereal + Milk // Fatty Sundays // Brooklyn, NY
These Brooklyn sisters named their company in honor of the weekly day of family feasting, based around mom’s deliciously decadent baking. Days that often started early, ended late, and bristled throughout with mom’s special chocolate-dipped pretzels, an anytime indulgence, morning or night. The family recipe book now bursts with more than two dozen flavors, including our favorite, this breakfast-themed masterpiece of white chocolate and cinnamon corn flakes, meant to taste like the delicious dregs of morning cereal. Because slurping the milk from your plain old shredded wheat might be fine on a Monday morning, but Sunday is about fun.
February 2017 Mantry | All Day Breakfast
South In Yo’ Mouth Mantry // December 2016 Mantry
There’s comfortable food, and there’s crave-able food. Comfort is familiar — sick-day soup, hangover eggs. But no one craves the flu, even if it means a bowl of mama’s chicken noodle. It’s easy for Yankees to write off the south as a backwater of comfort cooking: traditions mired in molasses and gluey with gravy and do you want fries with that, hon? And yeah, there are butter and biscuits galore down here (no better place to nurse a hangover). But the real south — the south of foodies and farmers, makers and mixologists — is about craving: candy with a pasture-raised heart, hot sauce with a boozy secret, the oldest-school of cured meats, the newest of chocolate, soda pop gone high-brow, and health food brought down to earth. Exotic and indulgent, recognizable but with a twist, made with care, easy to love, impossible to forget.
Bourbon Barrel Aged Verde Hot Sauce // Red Clay Hot Sauce // Charleston, SC
Tired of the vinegary, over-salted stuff he could find at the store, chef Geoff Rhyne started making his own hot sauce in the back of his restaurants. Tired of his diners swiping bottles to take back home, he started selling it. Cold-pressed for the freshest flavor, and aged in barrels for a sweet boozy smoothness, our favorite is the verde: bright and biting with apple, fennel, cilantro, and serrano heat. Mixed with mayo and slapped on a baguette, it makes a perfect sautéed shrimp po’ boy. Bring a bottle to your next dinner party — and watch out for sticky fingers.
Spice-A-Delic Granola // Granola Jones // Independence, MO
Mellower munchies may fill most hippies’ plates, but the folks at Jones march by the beat of a different drum circle. Their granola jams with hearty oats, berries, and organic sweeteners, ja mon, but adds a hefty toke of spices strong enough to blow your dreads back. Add yogurt, mango, and a swirl of honey to make a morning meal that doesn’t taste like cardboard, no matter how unwashed your breakfast bowl. Just remember to keep your stash out of the communal pantry.
Sarsaparilla Syrup // Pink House Alchemy // Bentonville, AR
Wonder no more whence comes the “root” in your favorite soda. Root beer was, once, made with real-deal tubers; namely sarsaparilla, an earthy plant running wild through the Ozark hills. These days, though, the chemical concoctions likely come from a lab — and are best left for the kids. This syrup was born, instead, through old-school alchemy, in small, house-made batches (and yes, the house *is* pink). It’s all grown up, and so are the drinks it makes, like a sweet-and-spicy rye cocktail with an ounce of syrup, an ounce of whiskey, and a splash of seltzer. Pre-batch it to fill your own adults-only soda fountain.
Goat Milk Caramels // Fox Point Farm // Kellyton, Alabama
Fox Point Farm’s founders — plus five kids, three dogs, and four goats — started this 40-acre farm only a few years ago; already they manage a herd in the hundreds. And that means a lot of milk. Good thing we have a sweet tooth. These chews are as easy to love as the corner-store penny candy you remember, but with a soft, creamy finish (thank the goats) that means you can indulge without busting a jaw or worrying about the provenance of chemical dyes and artificial sweeteners. Dig in — this handful’s on the house.
Bourbon Cask Aged Chocolate Bar // Raaka Chocolate // Brooklyn, NY
The high-end, organic, flavor-grade cacao featured here makes one delicious detour from specially sourced Belize-grown bean to Brooklyn-made bar: It stops off for a drink. Bourbon, to be exact: resting in Berkshire Mountain Distillery barrels, where the nibs soak up the now-drained spirit’s spirit for a full month before being ground, melted, sweetened, and shaped. All of which means your after-dinner indulgence can get right to the point: a tipple, a treat, or both at once.
Dry Cured Pepperoni // Parma Sausage // Pittsburgh, PA
What’s a Pittsburgh-based company know about Italian food? Well, what’s a humble cobbler know about aging meat? A lot, it turns out. Parma’s patriarch — the founder’s grandfather — was a Corsican shoemaker who started making his own salami after a particularly frustrating antipasto he had at a dinner party. Today the tradition continues, with good Berkshire pork, loads of zesty spice, and lots of patience. Nibble with cheese and a good glass of porch-side bourbon, or pass out slices to satisfy grumbling bellies as your guests await the evening meal — just be sure to save some pieces to mix into the sautéed collards.
December 2016 Mantry | South In Yo’ Mouth
Tailgate World Tour // October 2016 Mantry
When foreigners think “America,” there’s a good chance pork is involved — football (the pig-skinned kind) and hot dogs. Or, more likely, both at once. And, yes, when this time of year rolls around, Monday nights echo with cheering fans and cracking charcoal. And, yes, we like a good grilled brat. But as obsessed as we are with the home team’s stats, we’re equally fanatical about food, and as far as we’re concerned, there’s nothing more American than irreverent international mashups. The land of the gridiron is also, after all, the birthplace of sushiritos and cronuts. So don your beer helmet, brandish your grill tongs, and dig into our multicultural tailgate feast, where the beer nuts speak Spanish, the hot wings are from India, the griddle sizzles with Baja heat, and the pig — we can’t forget the pig — is French. Because at Mantry, we think you should eat well, even if it’s from the back of your car, and eat global, even if it’s in a parking lot.
California Lime Olive Oil // Sutter Buttes Olive Oil // Sutter, CA
Inspired by the founder’s global travels, but brought home with olives grown within 30 miles of the eponymous buttes (a cluster of volcanic spires outside Sacramento) and a SoCal sunburst of zesty citrus, this oil makes a Baja-style fish fry to rival the taco truck in the next parking spot over. Fillet a flaky white fish (we like mahi mahi; East Coasters go for cod), marinate in oil and spices for a half hour, then quickly sauté, slap on a tortilla, and top with sliced mango.
Bloody Mary Elixir // Pacific Pickle Works // Santa Barbara, CA
Let us add to the list of non-salads in Errol Morris’s epic game-day beer ad, the Bloody Mary. Morris liked his mayo, we prefer our veggies spiced and boozy. And so do Pacific Pickle Works. They’re smart: They know you can easily — and cheaply — get your own tomato juice at the corner store, so their mixer gets right to the good stuff. Spicy, salty, briny, and all made from scratch, right down to the homemade Worcestershire mixed in. They’re smart so you don’t have to be. Just add booze, juice, and toppings of your choice. We prefer, well, all of them, including a healthy slab of sausage. Otherwise, no salad.
Saucisson Sec // Les Trois Petits Cochons // New York, NY
What started as a little slice — er, *un petite tranche* — of Paris in Greenwich Village has become a medal-draped charcuterie empire, with a factory in Wilkes-Barre and an Eiffel-sized spread of mustards, terrines, patés, and, of course, cured meats. The Three Pigs might not be *petit* anymore, but their work is just as tasty, like this air-dried sausage from the Pyrenees. At a Paris bistro, you’d top a slice with good Dijon and a crusty baguette — but stateside sidewalk cafes are made for brunching, and brunching means Bloodies, where a spear of sausage makes an indulgently irreverent garnish.
Tandoori Rub // Acanela // Los Angeles, CA
Not your typical spice shop, Acanela is more a travel company, leading adventure tours to artisan communities around the globe, so they know a thing or two about eating well, and eating exotic. Missed the boat on their latest expedition? At least you can take your taste buds. This rub is the classic mix of spices like cumin and turmeric with a special kick from a bit of dried mango. Mix with yogurt and honey for a sultry chicken-wing marinade: let them sit for a few hours then bake at 400 degrees during half time. Serve with cilantro and an IPA.
Dark Cocoa Chili Peanuts // Lush Gourmet Foods // Kalamazoo, MI
Whether you’re watching the game at the bar or in the stands, you won’t be far from a bowl of nuts. And we don’t mean your drunken buds. Ubiquitous mindless munchies, peanuts are like the foam fingers of sports food, and often just as flavorful. Not these. One pastry chef, one generations-old family recipe, a grad school cooking project, and a whole lot of peanuts means a simple snack with a ton of taste. These send Lush’s basic recipe — a little sea salt, a little sugar — south of the border with the rich, sweet and spicy earthiness of a great Mexican mole sauce.
Coffee Toffee // Dave’s Sweet Tooth // Detroit, MI
One who travels must, eventually, return — so let’s finish out our world tour with a domestic dessert. And this one is as local as it gets: simple stateside goodness, all Michigan-made. But the former firefighter behind the namesake tooth eschews the mechanical means of his Detroit neighbors — no assembly lines, no microwaves, just butter, sugar, hand-sliced almonds, and whole roasted beans from down the road in Ferndale. A sweet end to a long journey.
October 2016 Mantry | Tailgate World Tour
Out Of Africa // August 2016 Mantry
Defining African food — hell, defining Africa — is like fencing in the wind. The continent is, of course, humanity’s ancestral home and yet feels today ungainly vast, unknowably enigmatic. Nowhere on Earth seems so rich with mystery and chance discovery, where behind each savannah shrub might lurk a rare white rhino, where each hole dug might yield diamonds or bones, the mother lode or the missing link. Unexpected African encounters (why so often in bars?) are immortalized in song and film. Here’s where headless Roland found his killer, where Stanley found Livingstone, where Bergman finds Bogart, where Marlow finds Kurtz — here in this continent of fates and flukes and fortuitous rewards, we find, naturally, food. Lots of it. Our crate is sadly limited. The couscous just a grain in the Sahara; the spicy garlic sauce a drop in the Nile. But when it comes to Africa’s riches, even just a glimpse is better than being in the dark.
Golden Couscous // Bob’s Red Mill // Milwaukie, OR
A pin-sized pellet with a prodigious past, these tiny specks are the ubiquitous, unifying foundation of North African and Middle Eastern cuisine — not a grain, but tiny rolled pieces of pasta, made from ground, toasted wheat. The good stuff: chewy, nutty durum flour, a hearty strain native to that part of the world — heavy heritage with taste to match. Couscous cooks up fast, in only about five minutes, but goes anywhere, from salads to stews. We like cooking ours with a bit of ghee to heighten its earthy chew, and serving with spicy meatballs.
Harissa // EnTube // Los Angeles, CA
An ancient, North African paste, harissa is like a souk in a spoonful: heaps of sun-dried peppers, mountains of fragrant spice, pulverized into paste. It’s as common as ketchup in Tunisia, but a rare sight here in the land of, well, ketchup (which is actually Chinese — but we’ll get to that another time). Thankfully, there’s EnTube. The eponymous packaging isn’t the only modern touch: EnTube’s special mix adds the Amazonian Acerola berry, a citrusy powerhouse of Vitamin C. Clear out your cupboard — ketchup, mustard, hot sauce — harissa can replace it all. Drizzle on meatballs, or mix right into them: blend with ground lamb, minced onion, breadcrumbs, and egg, ball up, sear quickly, then simmer in tomatoes (and more harissa) for twenty minutes until cooked.
Ghee Butter // 4th & Heart // Los Angeles, CA
Started by a pair of business-savvy LA yogis (are there any other kind in LA?), 4th and Heart brings ancient health wisdom to the modern cupboard. And we do mean cupboard — ghee doesn’t need a fridge. That’s because while your stick of Land-o-Lakes is watered down with thickeners, perishable milk solids, and, well, water, ghee is just plain old butter fat: raw, clean, and vitamin-rich, an undiluted, unprocessed source of good nutrition from grass-fed cows. So flavorful, you can’t believe it is butter. Ghee holds up to high-heat cooking, so use liberally with roasted veggies, like a sweet-tart earthy blend of carrots, lemons, and spices.
Filfil Garlic Sauce // Filfil Foods // Brooklyn, NY
Based on a North-African staple called filfel chuma, what began as a secret family recipe in Filfil Foods founder’s private pantry can now drench your own home cooking in piquant, pungent goodness: a smoky, spicy, and — of course — garlicky blend of paprika, garlic, oils, and spices. If your make-out partner blanches as you ladle it on (and trust us, you’ll be using your largest scooping spoon), you can woo them back with garlic’s heart-healthy bonafides like lowering blood pressure and cholesterol — or just offer a taste.
Rooibos Tea // Teapigs // Brooklyn, NY
We’ve sung the glories of green; we’ve praised the pleasures of pu-erh; but what do you know about rooibos? Naturally caffeine-free with all the nutty, vanilla-and-honey richness of the sweetest full-leaf blacks, often mixed into herbal chais but a rarer sight solo. Stateside, at least — in South Africa, though, where rooibos grows wild in shrubby coastal forests called fynbos, it’s been drunk for centuries, by local tribes and colonizers alike. Sustainably sourced by this Brooklyn duo, rooibos is smooth and satisfying hot, rich and refreshing iced: a perfect start or finish to your African feast.
Biltong // Braaitime // Keansburg, NJ
South Africa’s Dutch settlers sun-dried meat and vinegar to pack on their tramping treks across the blazing plains, and that power-packed protein snack is still a staple there today. Trade a sunny boulder for a family-owned, state-of-the-art drying facility in New Jersey — but keep that time-honored blend of coriander, vinegar, salt, pepper, and all-natural grass-fed beef — and you get this peasant prosciutto, richer and meatier than run-of-the-mill jerky.
August 2016 Mantry | Out Of Africa
Take Me Out To The Ballgame // June 2016 Mantry
Food tastes better outside. We know this. An overdone burger, a handful of half-melted GORP, a greasy taco — Yelp-able offenses served indoors, but set with a backyard grill, campsite, or food truck parking lot, all become delicious. And no place does more for mediocre food than a ballpark, elevating goopy nachos and overpriced hotdogs to true-blue patriotic delicacies. But if minor-league snacks play that well on a sunny diamond, imagine a home team of all stars: home-run munchies no matter the setting, seasoned with the crack of a bat and the smell of just-mowed infield. A dream? Perhaps. But until your local stadium starts shooting gourmet PB+Js and crunchy hand-twirled pretzels from a mascot-fired air-cannon, we offer you this season’s crate.
Applewood Bacon Jerky // Chef’s Cut // New York, NY
While T-ballers stuff their cheeks with bubblegum and old-timers chew tobacco (both with the tooth decay to prove it), we’d rather something manlier — and meatier. And because the only thing worse than wads of gum and tobacco juice on the dugout bench is a cast-iron skillet splattering grease, here’s bacon ready to eat: hand-cut, uncured, and applewood-smoked until thin and crispy. Snack solo, or top a cheesedog — pop in the broiler for extra crunch.
Big John’s Habanero Chips // Preservation & Co. // Sacramento, CA
If you beeline to the fixins station after picking up your seventh-inning snack, if your nachos never quite singe to satisfaction, if an extra hot sauce packet is never enough, these are the pickles for you. Made from Cali-grown cukes and served at Sacto’s Raley’s Field, the hot habaneros and extra spice make for a daring nibble on its own, or a punchy topper to sandwiches, dogs, or nachos.
Honey Peanut Butter // HomePlate // Austin, TX
Imagined by a team of former pro ballplayers who snacked on spoonfuls of Jif and slapped-together PB+Js between innings, this grown-up spread swipes the extra sugar that pads lesser butters, mops up the oil that slicks those “natural” varieties, and tops it all off with a curveball twist: a swirl of honey. That makes for a switch-hitting spread, savory sweet, the perfect accompaniment to bananas, ice cream, toast, or, hell — cue the Elvis — all three.
BBQ Infused Honey // RogersMade // Chattanooga, TN
The husband-and-wife team behind RogersMade stocks an eclectic mix of handmade goodies from their southern artist and foodie friends, from soap to soda, but our favorite has to be their line of Bee in Your Bonnet honeys: locally foraged golden goodness infused with a whole hive of flavors, like this one, spiked with pepper, tomatoes, cider vinegar, and hickory smoked sea salt. While it might not fly in your sleepytime tea, it does wonders for — trust us — a nacho platter. Pile chips, chicken, corn, and cheddar on an oiled tray, bake until melty, and top with cilantro, cotija, and a lengthy drizzle.
Maple Sugar & Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds // SuperSeedz // North Haven, CT
Sunflower-snacking pros spend more time spitting shells and picking teeth than eating — you can cut to the chase with these husk-less wonders. Dry roasted in small batches with tons of natural seasoning — never sprayed — they’re packed with iron, zinc, and protein, each handful shrapnel-free satisfaction, no tooth brush needed.
Bourbon Bacon Caramel Corn // Liddabit Sweets // Brooklyn, NY
In baseball, tradition rules, and most are sacred — the pinstripes, the anthem, the seventh-inning stretch. And yet how cracker jacks became the timeless stadium candy they are today, we’ll never know — is it their stale, molar-sticking bite or the useless “toy” stuffed in every box? Let’s upgrade. Started at the Brooklyn Flea by two culinary school buddies, Liddabit is now anything but little: a confectionary powerhouse of candies, caramels, even a cookbook. Who better to breathe new life into that tired snack? Their version covers all the bases: salty, sweet, boozy, bacon-y, it’s barbecue in a box, no toy needed.
June 2016 Mantry | Take Me Out To The Ballgame
Grillfest Vol. 2 // April 2016 Mantry
Grilling: the great American past time. Or so we like to think. But come on — we can claim baseball, but food over a fire is a global phenomenon. Grilling knows no boundaries; its flames are stoked with cross-cultural kindling. Fuel yours with inspiring eats from Kenya to Korea, the New England hills to the Jamaican beach. We grill therefore we are. And so this month we present a crate that celebrates the society of the smoker, the brotherhood of barbecue, the far-flung family of food and fire. Light up, and dig in.
Chipotle Bourbon BBQ Sauce // Hak’s // Los Angeles, CA
Hak’s sauce has been field-tested in America’s toughest barbecue battlegrounds, from reality TV (Sharone Hakman cut his teeth on Master Chef) to, well, a real damn battleground, fed to 500 hungry Camp Pendleton Marines, so we think it can hold its own in your backyard. Thick, chunky, and rib-coating rich, the mix of molasses, vinegar, tomatoes, and spices starts tangy sweet then kicks with bourbon smoke. Complex enough to make a simple sparerib (salt-and-peppered, baked low until just tender, then finished on the grill) a prize worth fighting over.
Ashley’s Wild Maine Blueberry Vinaigrette // Well-Fed Farm // Searsmont, ME
Balsamic isn’t balsamic unless it’s from Modena, and while blueberries can’t boast the same governmental protections (yet), everyone knows the best — the truest — are Maine-grown. And so while Ashley went to Italy for this dressing’s oil and vinegar, everything else, from the tangy kick of mustard to the sweet kiss of honey, is local. Even the sea salt comes from Maine’s rocky coast. And while big-batch vins are boiled, this one’s sweetened, spiced, and gently blended. Drizzle on watermelon, mint, and a hunk of grilled halloumi for the perfect fresh, fruity side.
Korean BBQ Jerky // True Gentlemen’s Jerky // San Diego, CA
The ultimate low-brow meat snack trades its trucker hat for a stovepipe, and its mysterious, gas-station munchie-rack provenance for real-deal butcher-counter cuts from local SoCal cows. Spiced with sesame, chile, ginger, and a bit of smoke, then sliced into finger-friendly pieces so you don’t feel like a leather-gnawing caveman — but packaged with a spool of floss, just in case you can’t resist. Even gentlemen go wild sometimes.
Bodacious Bacon Beer Brittle // Stacey’s Sweet Spot // Moneta, VA
Her bona fides are fine and French — a professional chocolatier degree from the Ecolé Chocolat — but Stacey’s brittle is anything but. Fine Dominican cocoa nibs take a down-home southern turn with smoky local bacon, crunchy North Carolina pecans, hot habaneros, and a splash of roasty porter from the Sweet Spot’s neighbors at Parkway Brewing. For the lazy pitmaster’s dessert: An entire grilled-up meal, meat-to-nuts, covered in chocolate.
Steel Drum Plantains // Miss Marjorie’s // Seattle, WA
Barbecue was born on the beach — the word’s Caribbean, in fact — and it makes sense: with weather like that, why hover all night over an indoor stove? Island grillers are some of the best, especially when it comes to the accoutrements, from jerk sauces and rum cocktails to simple snacks like these, the signature appetizer from Seattle’s best Jamaican restaurant, just right to nibble while the fire warms, the meat cooks, the coals die, or — hell — all barbecue long.
Piri Piri Salt // The Chili Lab // Brooklyn, NY
Proper peppers should pack more than just heat — and no one knows that better than the Chili Lab, an iron-tongued group of adventurers who scour the Scoville scale for the world’s best, boldest sauces and salts. Swahili for pepper, piri piris have an herbacious, citrussy bite — thirty times as hot as jalapeños, but infinitely brighter and more nuanced. Give your grill some jungle vibes by tossing on a few salted pineapple slices, and serve diced with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
April 2016 Mantry | Grillfest 2
Bar Food // March 2016 Mantry
There’s food and drink, and then there’s drink and food. One’s fine dining, where booze comes second — the dinner-conversation lubricant, the palate cleanser. The other’s decidedly not. Bar bites are as old as bars themselves, from simple salty snacks to keep patrons parched and drinking, to multi-plate tapas feasts. But across centuries and cultures, pub grub emphasizes the grub: blue-collar, no frills. We don’t mean Red Vines tubs and expired bags of Chex Mix (though Bacchus forgive us, we’ve indulged) — we mean refreshingly simple, gently hedonistic munchies. Snacks like those in this month’s crate, a bar-side pantry of treats good enough to make you forget your dinner reservations altogether, and focus on the task at hand: drinking.
Old Fashioned Cocktail Mixer // Proof // Decatur, GA
The mixologists at the Decatur, Georgia cocktail lounge Pinewood whip up a mean Old Fashioned, if you’re willing to wait. Drinks made the right way — the old way — take time. And when you’re out on the town, the bar-side song and dance is part of the fun. But back at home, leave the mixing to the masters and get straight to drinking with this premade blend of bitters, sugar, and oleosaccharum — a 19th-century citrus-infused cocktail syrup. Using about a half ounce for each two-finger pour of bourbon, one bottle is good for 30 drinks or so.
100% Organic White Truffle Oil // Regalis // Brooklyn, NY
Almost every Michelin-starred New York restaurant worth its chef’s whites has truffles somewhere, somehow, on its menu — and almost every one buys them from Regalis. Want to savor those luscious Perigords with a three-figure Pinot? Get a reservation. We like our fanciest fungi lowest-brow: that is, fried. Cut up a few pounds of russet potatoes, drizzle with this white-truffle-infused cold-pressed Californian oil, and bake at 400 for an hour, flipping halfway through. Top with parmesan, serve without pretension.
Hatch Cheese Nibbles // Wackym’s Kitchen // Dallas, TX
Wackym’s Kitchen started as a home-oven operation, slinging a half dozen varieties of cookies at Dallas-area farmers markets; it’s now an empire of Texan proportions with flavors as, er, wacky (it’s his real name) as the owner’s trademark hats. Some, like chocolate snicker doodle, might be best when the drinking’s done and the sweet tooth kicks in, but before happy hour swings toward desert time, these biscuits hit the spot, with a savory, tangy mix of sharp cheddar, blue cheese, and New Mexico’s infamous Hatch chiles.
Beer Caramel Pretzel Nuggets // Roni-Sue’s // New York, NY
Another classic bar side bite, long gone stale: stripped of their brawny Bavarian glory, most bar pretzels are banished to dusty snack bowls, pawed through by dozens of drunken hands. Good riddance. Leave those for the unenlightened and get hip to Roni-Sue’s redux, a collaboration with her neighbors at the Brooklyn Brewery: sweet, salty, crunchy pretzel nibbles infused with, what else? Beer.
Sriracha Nuts // Sugar Plum // Forty Fort , PA
The humble peanut gets upstaged by chicer seeds like walnuts and filberts and, unshelled and unadorned, it’s not hard to see why. But doll ’em up a bit — and we don’t mean with a top hat and cane, Planter’s man — and the nut will draw a crowd. Cooked in Sriracha and vanilla, these are sweet enough to satisfy, spicy enough to keep you sipping: a communal snack bowl you’ll horde yourself.
BBQ Spare Rib Jerky // Lawless Jerky // Santa Monica, CA
If your local watering hole is the frontier type, from its sun-burnt swinging doors to its boot-buffed brass rail, drinks mean whisky, and bar snacks mean a nameless tub of mystery meats. Let’s not get too stylish with our mustaches and plaid, but those munchies could use some cleaning up. Tip your ten-gallon to these, cooked in the classic Sichuan rib sauce of tangy ketchup and salty soy, spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, and balanced with a drizzle of honey. Foodie-fied, but far from hifalutin.
March 2016 Mantry | Bar Food
Cabin Fever // February 2016 Mantry
Sometimes we pray for a snow-in. When the pantry is stocked and the fire’s blazing, we welcome weather that keeps us inside, where we can warm hands by the fireplace, and stoke hearths of another sort around the kitchen table. Food needn’t be fancy, as long as it’s plentiful. Against the icy bleakness of midwinter, we take comfort in excess: a bursting woodshed, a groaning fridge. So pile on the blankets, throw another log in the woodstove, and tuck in. It’s going to be a long, delicious winter.
Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter // Eliot’s Adult Nut Butters // Portland, OR
with banana and fried
As morning-after stains attest, we’ve been known to, in a drunken pinch, squirt Sriracha on our late-night peanut-butter toast. Delicious? Yes. Debauched? Assuredly. Here’s maturity in a jar. Cleansed of sugars and other artificial fillers, it’s a step up from kid-friendly spreads; made with deeply spiced chipotles and healthy honey, its rich chew and lingering burn makes a PB to savor, not smear on your PJs.
Berry Pasilla Jam // Primo Specialty Foods // Denver, CO
Peanut butter and jelly: the ultimate stuck-at-home quick snack. Why mess with something so simple? Indeed, we wondered as much, until we tried Primo’s jam. Sweet-tart rasp- and blackberries brighten the wintry dark; the soothing, slightly smoky burn of pasilla peppers warms the heart. A jam no sandwich can contain — let it shine, unadorned, beside a sharp sheep’s milk cheese.
Ethiopian Sidamo Coffee // Dave’s Coffee // Charlestown, RI
From little ol’ Rhody comes a little ol’ roaster coaxing huge flavor out of familiar beans. Straight from coffee’s ancestral seat — the plant was born in Ethiopia — this coffee is big and bright with bass notes of cocoa and a high-hat shimmer of citrus, like a chocolate-covered candied orange. It’s a bracing way to greet the day, or to say goodnight, especially when mixed with an ounce and a half of good Irish whiskey (try Red Breast), a bit of sugar, and a dollop of whipped cream.
Lamb Ch’Arki // Ranchline All Natural // Roswell, NM
Lots of jerky companies tout their paleo roots, but it’s hard to imagine ancient Incans messing around with nitrates and MSG. But a time-traveling hunter-gatherer wouldn’t miss a beat scarfing a ribbon of Ch’Arki — the real thing, from its 800-year-old Quechua name to the Peruvian-raised lambs it comes from.
Black Licorice Toffee // Laurie & Sons // Harlem, NY
Surviving a shut-in requires more than just sustenance — let’s treat ourselves for braving the wild indoors. But save the chalky chocolate bars for campfire s’mores once the snow thaws. If we didn’t have you sold at chocolate toffee, read on, choosy beggar: black licorice, fresh ground star anise, Hawaiian lava salt and — not satisfied yet? — a dash of Pernod. Shackleton would cross an iceberg for this one; lucky you, you’ve got a whole bag. For now.
Azteca Hot Cocoa // Cocoa Santé // Concord, MA
Started by a pair of moms looking to satisfy kids’ sweet teeth and parents’ consciences at the same time, Cocoa Santé tucks you in with a better nighttime cocoa: organic beans from small co-ops and lightly processed, natural milk powder. Their Azteca blend adds vanilla, cinnamon, and the spicy glow of chipotle peppers. Mix a package of cocoa with a splash of añejo tequila, top with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick, and throw another log on the fire — you’ll want to stay up and savor this.
February 2016 Mantry | Cabin Fever
Bacon Brunch // January 2016 Mantry
No one wakes up to the smell of cereal. Breakfast means bacon. Or, rather — let’s be honest — brunch means bacon. Breakfast is utilitarian, hence the name. Born of necessity: we sleep, we fast; we arise, we eat. But brunch is a toast to hedonism: we snooze late, and meals blur together. So let’s satisfy all your still-slumbering senses as only bacon can. The sizzle, the smell, the crunch, and, of course, the taste — bacon, a meal in itself, is meant to be savored. Profound alone, it deepens all it touches, from chocolate to cereal. Who else but bacon could turn lettuce and tomato into a world-class sandwich? Who else but bacon can make this weekend’s brunch the best meal of the year? Hit the snooze and let it sizzle — bacon’s on the menu.
Maplewood Smoked Bacon // Broadbent’s // Kuttawa, KY
Made with a hundred-year-old recipe so simple it can’t be much of a secret, Broadbent’s famous bacon is dry cured in salt, smoked over maple, and, well, that’s about it. But that sweet-savory smoke tickles noses far from this Kentucky holler — Momofuku and Zingerman’s serve the slices. So simple, but so good — so cook it right: in a heavy rustic skillet, slow and low with an occasional turn. And don’t forget that precious grease — crack a few eggs into the pan when the bacon’s done.
Srirachup // Sosu Sauces // Oakland, CA
Asian-inspired, American-made — just the cultural mash-up to link ketchup’s roots to the modern table (the sauce was, originally, Chinese, according to foodie lore). But how far the noble spread has fallen: ketchup and sriracha too, all red-dyed and plastic-clad. Not here. California-grown Early Girls, slow cooked for two hours and hand-mixed with spices for a complex flavor that shines best simply: eggs, bacon, bread, and a hefty drizzle.
Organic Apple Raisin Oatmeal // Farm To Table Foods // Brooklyn, NY
Some cereals tempt by excess: in a bowl of yogurt and honey, seeds and nuts, powders and fruits, chia-this and coconut-that, the granola is garnish at best. Here, grain reclaims the throne. But your bowl is far from boring: all-organic oats, rye, wheat, spelt, barley, and flax rattle and hum in farm-grown glory. A dash of apples and raisins gives just enough natural sweetness; a topping of bacon turns granola into gold.
Pure Hickory Syrup // Hickoryworks // Trafalgar, IN
A Florida family staking a claim in the Indiana wilderness stumbled onto this here old-school syrup on the advice of a wood-gathering neighbor. Turns out, they were homesteading the motherlode: a forest of shagbark hickory. Hand-harvested bark, soaked, distilled, sweetened, and aged, becomes a sugary sauce with a spiced-up kick (imagine the tang of hickory smoke, flavorized). That means it holds up better than other woody syrups in richer, creamier contexts — such as, say, a bacon-bedecked bowl of oatmeal.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Biscotti // Marlo’s Bakeshop // San Francisco, CA
A healthy, post-brunch food coma is one thing; a sugar crash is another. Which is why biscotti always sneaks onto our tables as the sidecar to an after-meal espresso (or two): satisfying, but not too sweet. Problem is, traditional twice-baked biscuits are usually too teeth-rattling to eat without a thorough dunk in your java. Enter Marlo — or rather, Marlo’s grandmother Ann, and her secret recipe. Not as sweet as a cookie, not as brittle as biscotti, it’s the best of both.
Baconluxious Chocolate Bar // Chuao Chocolatier // Carlsbad, CA
South American chocolatiers transplanted to Southern California, these brothers marry the quality beans of their home country (Chuao is the world-class chocolate-growing region of Venezuela) to American tastes. By which we mean, simply, bacon. Or, more specifically (this is SoCal, after all, where nothing’s that simple): Bacon, smoked sea salt, and maple syrup. Oh yeah, and good, ethically sourced cocoa from the motherland.
January 2016 Mantry | Bacon Brunch
Little Italy // December 2015 Mantry
Garlic-laced steam sizzles from pizza ovens, milk frothers hiss and espresso grinders buzz, fried dough and marinara and cigar smoke mingle in the neon-lit night air: a walk through Little Italy, where it always seems a feast to this saint or that, is a meal in itself. Your senses are full before you even pull up to that checkered tablecloth — Italian food is visceral. Or rather, real Italian food is. We can’t think of a cuisine with more distance between the low end and the high: From overcooked pasta in watery ketchup to grainy, al dente pappardelle; freezer-aisle pizza to hand-tossed wood-fired dough; thimble-sized, syrupy espresso to venti peppermint frappuccinos. “Italian” and Italian, like Sears and the Sistine chapel. But Italian by way of America needn’t mean Boyardee. In fact, some of the most authentic stuff is made here, in radically un-Italian towns like Oakland and Cincinnati. So this month’s crate is a taste of the motherland. A Little Italy closer to home than you think.
T Bone Spice// Greenpoint Trading Co. // Brooklyn, NY
But if you’d rather cook the cow yourself, we have you covered. Or at least the steak. Greenpoint Trading’s blending warehouse on the industrial outskirts of Brooklyn is an incongruously fragrant portal to paradise: baskets and barrels of paprika and cayenne, coffee and turmeric awaiting hand-mixing into rubs like this. A life-changing replacement for your plain table salt, it also makes a perfect rub for any meat, not just the eponymous cut. We like skirt steak, a half-inch thick, brought to room temperature, rubbed, and quickly grilled.
Rosemary Chickpeatos // Watusee Foods // Washington, D.C.
Good food takes time, but bellies don’t wait — and the better the smells from the kitchen, the louder the rumbles. We know, you gotta snack while the sauce simmers or the steak sizzles. Born as a semi-secret munchie snuck into med school study groups (the crunch gave it away), Chickpeatos have you covered, wholesomely. Crunchy as a breadstick, addictive as chips, sized for the fistful, and fragrantly spiced. Leftovers? We doubt it, but if the salad course arrives before the snacking’s over, dump the remainder on top. You’ll never use a crouton again.
Roasted Garlic Olive Oil // O Olive Oil // Petaluma, CA
Roasting garlic, like caramelizing onions, is a take-no-shortcuts proposition. Either spend the time to slowly stir, or fuggedaboutit. Or open a bottle. O began as the first company in the US to press real citrus with its oils, instead of flavoring them artificially. Now they add other goodies to their hand-harvested Mission olives, like fresh California garlic, slow-roasted for forty-eight hours. What do you do with it, besides breathe deep and dream? Try this: sauté some good mushrooms in oil for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper and thyme, and toss with pasta. Top with a drizzle of oil.
Pappardelle // Community Grains // Oakland, CA
Nothing’s easier than cooking pasta. Nothing’s harder than making it, starting with the hunt for real, whole-grain, California-grown flour. It took years to build the right supply chains, but Community Grains did, and you reap the goods: hard amber durum wheat, milled whole (bran, germ, and all), mixed, rolled, cut (with real bronze dies), and air dried ever so slowly. And that’s just the beginning. Now you have to cook it. Thankfully, that’s the easy part — after all the work it took to make that single noodle, you can surely wait for a pot to boil. With pasta like this, it’s worth it.
A&B Pepper Sauce // A&B American Style // Brooklyn, NY
There’s a hot sauce arms race on, and your local supermarket condiments aisle can feel like a bio-war munitions lab. Bottles come with warnings — better fit for stripping paint and clearing drains; just reading the labels makes our eyes water. But not A&B’s. They don’t call it hot sauce, because it’s not about the heat, it’s about the flavor: Fresnos, carrots, onions, vinegar, and salt. Forget your Ghost Peppers and Carolina Reapers — Fresnos are perfect for sauce, a bit spicier than jalapeños, but with tons more citrusy, fruity flavor. Finally, a hot sauce fit for civilians.
Bourbon Barrel Smoked Pepper Steak Cuts // Taste Of Prime // Cincinnati, Ohio
Quality cuts, naturally cured, hung for three weeks, and coated in a rub we had to taste to believe: cracked black pepper slow smoked over the staves of used whisky barrels. Taste of Prime is classier, chewier, and more flavorful than a snappy stick of jerky, and its leaner cuts mean less grease than more traditionally Italian pepperoni and soppressata. Forget pizza topping, this is a dish in itself, a cured meat worth getting the good tablecloth out for.
December 2015 Mantry | Little Italy
Comfort Food // November 2015 Mantry
There’s a time to push the envelope, to get adventurous, to try that foamed anchovy amuse bouche, to brave the twenty-course wild-foraged tasting menu. But when you dream about food, what dishes dance through your slumbering head? Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Mom’s Sunday roast. Cookies. Bacon. Mmmm… There’s food for the mind — and the Instagram account — and then there’s food for the heart. And this month, we’re putting the brain on autopilot and indulging. Comfort food often does its comforting in a blanket of butter. But for us, the beauty of these foods is their nostalgic simplicity (OK, a little bacon doesn’t hurt). In other words, comfort today needn’t come with regrets and bellyaches tomorrow. It might taste like mom’s, but it’s better for you — so your heart’s happy, and healthy too. Tuck in, and eat up.
Bacon Spread // The Bacon Jams // Philadelphia, PA
Leave it to this Philly-based team of food scientists, chefs, and engineers to crack one of life’s eternal quests: spreadable bacon. OK, we admit, this is one of those food “inventions” that, well, gilds the lily. Or rather, butters the pork. A fatty strip of crispy pig is pretty damn close to perfection. Still, this spread moves it one step closer. It’s simple: bacon — a half pound in each jar — sugar, onions and vinegar. And it’s best used simply, spread on a burger or the morning’s toast.
Mint Julep Cocktail Mixer // Eli Mason // Nashville, TN
A creaking porch swing, the twang of an acoustic guitar, the only blinking lights are fireflies, the only tweets from nesting birds. Cell phone’s long forgotten, the digital world’s at bay — in your hand instead, a frosty glass of ice, mint, and bourbon. The easy life just got easier. No muddler? No mint? No problem. One part mixer; two parts bourbon. Most commercial mixers just over-sweeten your booze, but this Nashville-made syrup highlights, not hides. Made from pounds of fresh mint, cane sugar, and real gomme syrup — that’s the old-school granddaddy of simple syrup, made with gum Arabic to make your drink as silky smooth as a southern breeze.
Victorious B.I.G Jerky // Righteous Felon // Philadelphia, PA
Snack time is the meal most ruled by the gut, not the conscience, in which we unthinkingly reach for the quickest, and often worst for us comforts. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, they say, and the same’s true for rumbling bellies. That’s why we love jerky: Soulful and satisfying, but morally righteous too: just quality protein. Despite its gangster-tinged aesthetic, this is wholesome stuff: pasture-raised black angus, dry aged for 21 days, then cured with Victory Brewing’s Storm King stout for a satisfying roast-coffee kick.
Burnt Sugar & Fennel Shortbread // Lark Fine Foods // Essex, MA
Homesick at summer camp, lovelorn in college, Mom’s cookie-filled care packages could make any cloudy day brighter. But stocking the cookie jar yourself is another story. Ending a stressful day with a dough mixer and a hot oven is salting the wound; ending it with a bag of cookies as good as mom’s is a kiss and a band-aid. As good as mom’s? Damn right — these crispy bites, studded with big chewy sugar pieces and spiced with savory fennel were made by a mother-daughter team and guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth and raise your spirit. But if your cloudy day was downright thunderous, blend them with ice cream and milk for a cookie shake.
Espresso Cocomels // JJ’s Sweets // Boulder, CO
Candy. CANDY. Yes, fine — go nuts, kid. But let’s trojan horse this a bit. Here we have a delicious chocolate caramel, and if that’s all you need, then stop reading right here, and bliss out in coco-land. But inside that chocolate coating, a good-for-you surprise. In case the locavore gym-rat on your other shoulder pipes up, dig this: These aren’t corn-syrup-ed Wonka bars. Cocomels are all natural, made with sustainably sourced, non-GMO cocoa and smooth vegan coconut milk. Candy even a mother could love.
Maine Blueberry Granola // Naked Granola // State College, PA
On busy weekday mornings, nothing’s as rare, or as relished, as a breakfast as hearty and warming as the blanket you reluctantly slithered out from under. A banana, a ‘spro, and a muffin to go? That’s a flimsy foundation for a go-get-‘em day. Instead, tuck into a bowl of almonds, blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranates. Yeah, we haven’t seen any pomegranates growing in Maine either, but you won’t care about provenance after a bite or two. High in fiber and all organic, it beats anything you’ll find on the super-store shelves. The breakfast of champions just took silver; granola steals the gold.
November 2015 Mantry | Comfort Food
Street Food Vol. 2 // October 2015 Mantry
Guidebook in one hand, fork in the other: travel means eating. And eating means street food. While the tourist hordes flock to this church or that, scenic overlooks, museums and monuments, we worship the drop of balsamic on our gelato, snap selfies with the swirl of sriracha in our pho, send postcards of pushcarts, blogpost the back alleys. The world is our kitchen. In fact — maybe all you need is the fork. Ditch the guide and follow your gut. Smells of curried popcorn beckon down this side street, the steam of roasted almonds leads you round that corner (if only Instagram had smell-o-vision!) Or, let us pick your route for you. From Punjab-via-the Rockaways to Thailand-via-Vermont, here’s the best street food mashups from around the world.
Maple Sriracha Verde // Vermont Maple Sriracha // Pittsford, VT
What’s a green mountain sriracha fan to do when he gets sick — literally — of the sulfites and preservatives in his favorite sauce? What any good Vermonter does: ask the neighbors. And like any good Vermonters, his neighbors make syrup. Thus was born this curious sauce, a mix of peppers, spices, and real maple syrup (the verde uses jalapeños, not red fresnos, for a citrusy bite and a bit more heat). Diehards may replace their pancake toppings, but we prefer it in a chicken satay: skewer cubed thigh meat on bamboo sticks, oil, and grill, then brush with a blend of Maple Sriracha and good fresh butter.
Salty Mango Lassi Taffy // Salty Road // Brooklyn, NY
Our first taste of street food is, in some ways, its psychedelic, carnivalesque epitome: summertime delights on boardwalks and county fairs, technicolor sno-cones, ephemeral candy floss, and the king of it all, saltwater taffy. But today’s reality is a far cry from that sunny childhood dream — most modern taffy doesn’t even use sea salt! Not so, Salty Road. These hand-stretched morsels, made first for a friend’s beachside stand on the Rockaways and now available to you, use all natural ingredients, from real vanilla beans down to the large-grain sea salt. Bonus: this particular batch was inspired by another street eat, the Punjabi summertime (hell, anytime) yogurt mango shake.
Pho Beef Jerky // Lawless Jerky // Santa Monica, CA
Some foods aren’t really, technically street food — but we wish they could be. Take pho. You need a big table, and plenty of napkins, for all the spooning, splashing, and slurping that the best bowls require. thats why we swooned for Lawless’s remix: all the flavor of the best broths, in a pocket-size bite, drool-worthy but splash-free. And while some pho comes with a side of mystery meat — is that tripe or tendon? — this jerky is made with real grass-fed beef, no fillers and no flavor-boosting nitrates or MSG. Just a little brown sugar, real pho herbs like anise, cinnamon, and cloves, and of course, a big pinch of jalapeño. No napkin needed.
Chai Masala Popcorn // Masala Pop // Portland, OR
Wander urban India, and if you listen hard through the clanking rickshaws, shouting street vendors, and constant droning horns that make up daily traffic-clogged life here, you might hear the familiar rat-a-tat snare of popping popcorn. But this Indian staple is far from familiar: heavily spiced and made in an iron wok, it’s the Bollywood version of your buttery movie snack. The Masala Pop founder first tried the curry spiced kernels in his mom’s homemade Indian trail mix; now he makes it himself, with the extra spicy touch of tea-infused caramel coating each crunchy bite.
Lemon Ginger Almonds // Clif Family Kitchen // Napa, CA
Nothing says winter in New York like the scent of roasting nuts, sizzling on street corners. There, the smoke dissolves into the city’s haze of subway steam, taxi exhaust, and, yeah, trash. But not in Napa. On the Clif family vineyard, nothing touches these almonds but a Mediterranean breeze through the grape vines. That, and a dash of ginger, lemon zest, and herbs de Provence. If only the 6 train made it this far.
Balsamic Nectar // Balsamic Nectar // Boulder, CO
Think you know balsamic? No way, Giuseppe. Most is just red wine vinegar with caramel coloring. But real-deal balsamic vinegar — the certified stuff, straight from only two regions in Italy, and only one kind of Modena grape — is a hundred-buck-a-bottle investment, each one at least 12 years old and each precious drop a life changing burst of flavor. Thankfully, a drop is all you need. Sadly, that drop can take decades to mature. Except at the hands of this Boulder, CO producer, who uses a secret shortcut to speed up the aging. The process may be new, but a traditional application is still best: toasted country bread, sliced tomato, a drizzle of good olio and a drop (or two) of nectar.
October 2015 Mantry | Street Food Vol. 2
Biergarten // September 2015 Mantry
A day of Bavarian boozing wouldn’t be the whole *gestalt* without fistfuls of salty snacks. What’s German for, “These pretzels are making me thirsty?” And that’s the idea, of course — the munchies just prep the palate for another round of barrel-sized steins. But as the afternoon wears on, that refrain will soon swing into its converse. All that beer, and you’ll start getting hungry — this time, for something substantial. While your average bar snacks might be purely functional — salt to prime the pump; starch to soak it up — traditional German bierhalls aren’t your average bars, and the snacks there are anything but. We’re talking real, belly-warming, hangover-abating Teutonic comfort food: hand-made mustard, gourmet sausage, pretzels, of course — though you’ve never had any like these. So fill a glass, grab a plate, and bring an appetite. You’ll need it.
Smoked Sea Salt // Bulls Bay Saltworks // McClellanville, SC
On every table, in every takeout bag, on every pantry shelf: shakers and packets, boxes and bags. Salt: ubiquitous and placeless. It’s everywhere, so it comes, it seems, from nowhere. But the funny thing about salt, is despite the industrial-scale machinations that dust it so liberally into our lives, it’s damn low-tech to make. One part seawater, two parts sun. Oh yeah, and the most important part — a person. At Bull’s Bay, that’s Rustin and Teresa Gooden, who wade out into the South Carolina seashore (a national wildlife refuge no less — the water’s filtered by delicious Bulls Bay oysters), to harvet seawater they then dry under the southern sun and smoke over oak chips. After all that work, these crystals deserve a proper setting: like a homemade artisanal pretzel.
Soft Pretzel Mix // Haldeman Mills // Manheim, PA
We’ll start with a disclaimer. Your hand-rolled pretzels won’t look anything like those perfect twists you’re used to. And that’s OK — because they wont taste anything like them either. Either tooth-caking and dry when hard or airy as a pool float (and even less flavorful) when soft, there’s a reason most bars give commercial pretzels away for free. Not these. Made with hearty whole grains from a family mill whose German stock runs centuries deep (they know from pretzels, in other words), these are the real thing, and they require a bit of effort. Mix the dough, wait for it to rise, roll out and twist (as best you can), dip in a mix of water and baking soda for that perfect crust, then bake. So good, no one will care what they look like.
Trees Knees Spicy Syrup // MixedMade // Brooklyn, NY
While the “hot” in your go-to hot sauce might come from an honest-to-goodness pepper, the “sauce” part is often a slurry of vinegar, salt, and water, resigning it, if not to the processed foods aisle, then at least to the savory side of things. But thanks to a base of Catskill-harvested maple syrup, Trees Knees is a spicy-sweet switch hitter. Eggs? Pizza? Of course. But why not morning oatmeal? Iced coffee? Cocktails? Or, our favorite, a perfect bath for pan-fried brats, just pour over and simmer to glaze.
Black Truffle Mustard // Mustard And Co. // Seattle, WA
Seattle’s first and only artisan mustardmakers — mustardmongers? — started simple, with a coffee grinder, some spices, and a dream. Founder Justin Hoffman wanted something a little classier than the distilled vinegar base of most mustards. His tux to their t-shirt? Rich balsamic. And thus a plain, white-bread spread turned fancy food. The coffee grinder is bigger now, and the flavors are varied (think honey curry, garlic dill). But the blackest of the black tie has to be this, their black truffle-infused mustard. Alone, a perfect spread. With a bit of lemon juice or good cider vinegar (anything but white) an epic potato salad vinaigrette.
Smoke & Stout Caramel Bar // Vosges // Chicago
Inspired by founder Katrina Markoff’s mix of traditional training (she’s a Le Cordon Bleu alum) and avant garde inspiration (she worked a stint at El Bulli), Vosges is as far from Hershey bars — in both directions — as it seems possible to get. Think Willy Wonka in a Saville Row suit: the Chicago-based chocolate factory makes everything from über-classic truffles to a whole shelf’s worth of bacon-infused bars to this particularly hybridized creation, a blend of Rogue Brewery’s chocolate stout, rich dark chocolate, and alderwood-smoked sea salt.
Alpine Soppressata // Schaller & Weber // Queens, NY
One hundred years ago, the original Schaller moved his Stuttgart butcher shop to Manhattan, but, as the saying goes, you can take the butcher out of Germany, but… well, the tongue-twistingly Teutonic names speak for themselves: bauernschinken, touristenwurst, nuss schinken. And so do the awards: a dozen gold medals at the Austrian Welser Fair alone. In fact, Schaller & Weber is the only American sausage maker to regularly challenge its German brethren on their home turf. Yeah, it’s that traditional. But should you need even more proof of their pedigree, slice into this German spin on a northern-Italy classic, an air-dried sausage made with good Berkshire pork.
September 2015 Mantry | Biergarten
American Desert // August 2015 Mantry
What’s more iconically American than the great western desert? The vast majesty of empty space, full of possibility; of beckoning horizons, open freedom, endless roadless trackless possibility. A blank — OK, desolate — canvas makes for thrilling adventure and damn pretty sunsets, but as easy as it is on the eyes, it’s tough on the tummy. Beauty beauty everywhere, but not a bite to eat. No worries, amigo — you bring the sombrero, we’ll handle the vittles. Load your pack mule with this month’s tote-able oasis of taste, and you won’t end up buzzard bait.
Blue Corn Piñon Pancake Mix // Sante Fe Culinaria // Santa Fe, NM
The Southwest’s busiest breakfast joints have been griddlin’ up Culinaria’s two-stepping blend of New Mexico’s iconic kernels — Hopi blue corn and piñon pine nuts — for twenty years. Now’s your chance to join the hoedown. Alas, the cakes ain’t turquoise — or even blue — but, sweet and nutty with a hearty chew, they still have all the spirit of the southwest. Whip a cup of mix, a half-cup of milk, an egg, and a glug of oil until barroom dance floor–smooth (that is, *just* lump-free enough). Then ladle on a skillet or pour into an iron until the edges bubble, and serve with fresh fruit and, no yankee tree-tappers here, agave cactus nectar.
Roasted New Mexico Green Chile // Santa Fe Ole // Santa Fe, NM
Some states have a smell (Cali smog); others a drink (Kentucky bourbon) — but nowhere claims a flavor like New Mexico owns the chile. And not just any pepper: the legendary Hatch Valley green chile, that sweet, spicy, smoky pod, sliced, sauced, and slathered over everything there from nachos to noodles. Flame roasted, salted, zested with lime and packed into jars, this salsa is a travel-friendly taste of Taos. Our favorite application: A few spoonfuls heated and stirred with scrambled eggs, then piled on a griddle-hot tortilla.
Machaca // People’s Choice Jerky // Los Angeles, CA
From an unlikely *ranchería* (downtown LA) but a no-surprises pedigree (a four-generation Angeleno butcher dynasty) comes this extra-traditional dried, shredded beef, the secret to many a sauce and scrambled *huevo* north and south of the border. Whole cuts, marinated, slow cooked (and we mean sloooow, *hombre* — five hours at least), get pulverized into a rich, spicy, filling cure-all, perfect for snacking on, jerky-style, or stirring into any dish for a stampede of flavor.
Cactus Candy // Cactus Candy Company // Phoenix, AZ
Well-regarded as slakers of thirst, stretchers of mind, and stickers of privates, the desert cactus has another trick in its holster: the less-known prickly pear fruit, which, like a quince or sour orange, seems only to shine in sugared-up jellies and sweets like these candy cubes. A Phoenix tradition since 1942, these sugarbomb nuggets are stuffed full of real cactus fruit juice — and, unfortunately for the sweeter-toothed among us, a hell of a lot easier to eat.
Garlic Green Chile Pistachios // Eagle Ranch // Alamogordo, NM
New Mexico’s oldest and largest orchards turn days of desert sun into nature’s perfect packable protein snack — the ever-nutritious pistachio. Ditch the cocoa-covered peanuts and over-salted almonds, and stuff your saddlebag with these, flavored — of course — with the state’s famous chile. Just be sure to pick up your shells, lest a hungry trail bum raid your private stash.
White Sage & Wild Mint Tea // Juniper Ridge // Oakland, CA
Delicious on its own, sure, but hot tea in the desert? Whoa, cowboy. Instead, concoct a frozen treat from this forest-foraged elixir: the Julep paleta. Steep a few teabags in a pot of hot water and mix in enough sugar to satisfy. Wait until cool, add a nip (or two) of grandpa’s liquid courage, pour the now fortified tea into popsicle molds, cover with foil, stab with sticks, and toss in the chill chest.
August 2015 Mantry | American Desert
Grillfest // July 2015 Mantry
The primal simplicity of summertime grilling is all well and good — man. fire. meat. *grunt*. — but we doubt even the most paleo cro-mag could resist a scoop of relish, a good pickle, a bit of spice, had his mastodon come with the proper sides. There’s no shame in glamming up your grill game. We don’t mean tofu burgers or — god forbid — *small plates*. Meat’s still king, and we wouldn’t dare challenge the throne, but the emperor deserves classy clothes. Let’s evolve. Let’s pay proper attention to the accoutrements: the sauces and spices, snacks and sides, the small details that’ll turn your barbecue into one worth civilizing for. *grunt* — er, we mean, *cheers*.
Elvio’s Chimichurri Sauce // Elvio’s Chimichurri // Los Angeles, CA
Barbecue is as American as, well, barbecue — but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it a little foreign flair. Still, of all the meat-plus-flame cuisines around the world, our favorite is also closest in spirit to our own cowboy culture: the Argentine gaucho, riding the pampas with reigns in one hand and jar of chimichurri in the other. Elvio’s grandpa first whipped up this sauce of herbs, spices, and oil for his fellow gauchos. Now made in LA, it hasn’t lost its range-land power. Like a well-stoked grill: rustic, simple, and utterly transformative of everything it touches.
Smokra // Rick’s Picks // New York, NY
You might begrudge your grill’s olfactory power when it beckons uninvited neighbors, but not when that fragrant smoke kisses these pickles. Spanish paprika and snappy southern okra turn run-of-the-mill vinegar sours into rich flavor missles, and with none of the stringy glue. They’re hard to stack on your burger, but that’s fine — we like ’em better straight out of the jar, mixed into a marinade, or dropped into bloodies (just make sure to add some brine to the tomato juice).
Soul Dust // Southern Soul BBQ // St. Simons Island, GA
Every state’s barbecue has its secret touch, from Kansas City’s sweet sauces to Texas’s slow-cooked brisket. Most, unfortunately, stay that way: tight-lipped pitmasters keep their tricks close to the vest. Not here. This gas-station-turned-grill is a mecca for Georgia’s famous dry-rubbed ‘cue, and lucky for you, happy to share. Their Soul Dust makes a perfect marinade, a lip-tingling replacement for the salt on your cocktail glass, or, if you’re crazy, both. Soak shrimp in olive oil and Soul Dust for twenty minutes and grill; then rim a glass with more Dust, fill with your favorite bloody mary, and garnish with shrimp.
Hickory Smoked Cheddar Popcorn // Quinn // Boulder, CO
Impossible to stop eating, and impossible not to regret finishing the bag when you toss its greasy, translucent, glue-fumed skin in the trash, most microwave popcorn is delicious — and disgusting. Quinn’s is just damn tasty. Organic corn mixed with Kentucky cheddar and double-smoked paprika in an all-natural compostable bag: all good, no grief. Perfect as-is, or a jazzed-up stand-in for stale croutons in your salad (we like it on grilled romaine drizzled with lemon-spiked dijon).
Q Mac & Cheese // Edison Grainery // Oakland, CA
You know the guy — maybe you’ve been one: in a bind for what to bring, he shows up to the block party with that infamous foil-covered casserole of slapped-together mac and cheese, a silver-topped dish of defeat. Noodles like inner tubes, cheese like tree bark, stale gut-filling ballast. Mix up this box of creamy cheddar and gluten-free quinoa pasta, though, and you know you’ll leave with an empty pan, and happy neighbors.
Hot Imperial Chorizo // Pata Negra // Gloversville, NY
Named after Spain’s famous acorn-fattened black-hoofed pigs, Pata Negra brings the best of Andalusia to the foothills of the Adirondacks: high-grade hams, authentic Iberian *pimentón*, and a languorous five weeks’ aging (if the Spanish know anything, it’s the glory of a good nap). Snack on slices as a tapa while the grill heats up, and if there’s any left over (we doubt it), mix it into side salads or mac and cheese.
July 2015 Mantry | Grillfest
Campfire Cookout // June 2015 Mantry
Food tastes better outside. Any camper since Hemingway’s Nick Adams, swooning over a humble tin of apricots after a long day of trout fishing — “better than fresh,” he says — knows this. Maybe it’s the open air and campfire smoke, the *au naturel* seasoning of trail dust and wayward pine needles. Or maybe it’s the primal memory of ancestral meals, of captured prey, of dinners on the savannah, proof of man’s power over nature. We have tamed fire! And we use it to toast marshmallows.
If a stump for a table and stars overhead can work wonders on canned fruit and GORP, imagine what god’s own dining room can do for the gourmet fare in this month’s crate. Best of all, you don’t have to to huff and puff it into the backcountry, and you won’t need to hide it from bears. Just hungry campmates.
Cinnamon Molasses Cashew Butter // Reginald’s Homemade // Rockville, VA
Another backcountry staple with newfound top-shelf chops. A dollop of peanut butter is the original energy bar, smeared on a pita or scooped with an apple slice, fuel for flagging feet. But its protein power boost often comes with extra baggage: sugar, salt, and preservatives. Not here. Reginald’s Cinnamon Molasses Cashew Butter is, well, exactly that: spicy cinnamon, sweet molasses, heart-healthy cashews and a bit of oil. It’s like cinnamon toast in jar — just add bread. Or a spoon.
Oatcakes // Effie’s Homemade // Hyde Park, MA
This old family recipe goes back four generations to a wind-racked Nova Scotia farm. But that barnyard chef knew his cookies: these snacks are a far cry from field-hand hardtack or the stale and mealy graham crackers you carry to camp (and that inevitably, inescapably get wet or crumble along the way). Rustically made but refined in taste, they’re crispy, nutty, just a touch sweet, and won’t lose their crunch even when smothered in melted marshmallows. Rain, though, is another story.
S’more Marshmallows // Wondermade // Orlando, FL
As after-dinner campfire spook stories go, there’s none scarier than the ingredients list on those Jet-Puffed. And while yes, part of the pleasure of s’mores is in the making — the flaming gobs of sugar, the chocolate stains on hiking shorts, the bits of bark stuck to the graham — what these pre-made chocolate-and-vanilla-flavored marshmallows, coated in crumbled cracker, lack in DIY appeal, they make up for in purity. No corn syrup, no chemicals; nothing to fear here but the bottom of the bag.
Drinking Chocolate // Treehouse Chocolate // Portland, OR
No backpack leaves the trailhead without a bag (or ten) of cocoa powder, easy comfort after a day’s trek. Or should we say, brown-colored sugar. Because most hot cocoas are just that. Not here. Company founder Aaron Koch had his chocolate epiphany at the source, living in a treehouse (whence the name) on a Hawaiian cocoa plantation. These bars are just as direct, sustainably sourced from small Peruvian farms — no workarounds, no fillers here. And at 72% cacao, they don’t skimp on flavor either. You’ve never tasted a richer cup, so deep and warming the sleeping bag seems overkill.
Brunswick Stew // Mrs. Fearnow’s // Sanford, NC
The one canned good we’ll allow at Mantry’s gourmet campsite, Fearnow’s was first simmered by a Hanover County, North Carolina farmer’s wife on her white enamel kitchen stove in the 1940s. What began as a family feast soon started racking up the state fair ribbons, and Sunday supper turned into a business. But even as the stovetop pot got bigger, the soup has stayed the same: Chicken, veggies and beans slow simmered to rich, creamy, rib-sticking potency.
Smoked Pepper Bacon // Broadbent’s Hams // Kuttawa, KY
Made with a hundred-year old recipe so simple it can’t be much of a secret, Broadbent’s famous bacon is rubbed full of cracked pepper, dry cured, and hickory smoked for an extra campfire touch. On the trail, a humble skilletful is a feast for a king, but at home your options grow. Why channel any old royal when you can summon the King himself? Nut-buttered bread, sliced banana, bacon (and more bacon), fried until gooey. Cue the campfire sing-a-long.
June 2015 Mantry | Campfire Cookout Vol. 2
Island Time // May 2015 Mantry
Summertime is fast approaching, but you can reel it in a little quicker with a jaunt to the islands. Hoist the sails, fire up the puddle-jumper, and head to warmer climes, where the living’s easy and time moves slow. Sand and surf turn us reptilian. We bask and broil in the heat, only letting loose when the sun sinks past the breakers. Minimal effort, maximum payoff, that’s the beach bum’s MO. Thus the beauty of island cooking: humble ingredients with easy flair; a simple spark of life, whether it’s the lime in your beer or the scotch bonnet kick to your curry. This month’s crate brims with those delights: a taste of paradise, whether you’re beach-bound or not.
Jerk Sauce // Jule’s Gourmet // New York, NY
Jule’s Jamaican jerk sauce first brought its Rasta flair to ’80s Manhattan at her mother’s famous chicken joints. Now this bottled taste of Trenchtown — ginger, scallions, spices, and, that infamous Jamaican trademark, the scotch bonnet pepper’s long-lingering fruity burn — can lively up everything from drumsticks (marinate overnight) to mellow old mayo (stir in a spoonful).
Pineapple Gum Syrup // Liber & Co. // Austin, CA
Corner-store colas and over-sweetened juices won’t cut it in quality cocktails. That’s why most bars worth their rim salt make their own mixers, like this old-school gum syrup. Where canned juice is tongue-numbing sharp, this syrup is a smooth island breeze of tropical flavor, thanks to real-deal gum arabic, a natural tree resin and the secret to a true Barbados rum punch’s creamy feel, no matter how many limes you add.
Candied Ginger // Reed’s // Los Angeles, CA
In the Caribbean, locals turn the root into fiery homebrewed hooch, but if you lack a backyard brewery, these candies are the next best thing: a stomach-settling snack (ginger’s health benefits are legendary) or, if you have any left on the bar-bites tray by happy hour, a garnish. World’s apart from corn-syrup-sweet soda, a stick (or two) makes the perfect spicy accent to any cocktail.
Pistach-A-Colada // Granola Jones // Independence, MO
For us bacon-and-eggers, healthy hippie breakfasts seem best only when slept through: muesli mush, plain-old oats. Pack your bowl with this instead. Granola, sure (all natural grains, brown-sugar-sweetened, mother-earth-approved), but mixed with nuts and honey, cardamom and coconut — sweet, savory, spiced. A sliced banana and drizzle of Pineapple Gum Syrup turns morning into cocktail hour — and who’d want to sleep through that?
Black Peppah Macadamia Nuts // Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company // Waimea, HI
Hawaii’s first macadamia tree was planted two centuries ago, and — legend has it — it’s still growing, somewhere on the verdant coast for which this company’s named. The island’s mac nut trade is still just as old-school: small producers, private farms, local families. Tradition you can taste (even when dusted in cracked pepper and sea salt). Savor them solo or grind up a handful with lemon and olive oil for a luau-ready crust on baked snapper.
Island Teriyaki Pork Jerky // Fusion Jerky // San Francisco, CA
Fed up — and under-fed — with cardboardy bland or overly sweet energy bars while climbing Kilimanjaro, Fusion’s founder KaiYen Mai decided to make her own, the caveman way. Real meat, and little else. American-raised, Asia-infused, these soy-soaked pork strips are soft, chewy, paleo protein; the perfect boost for a summit push, or post-hike hammock reward.
May 2015 Mantry | Island Time
Taco Truck // April 2015 Mantry
While every culture has its perfect portable food — from meats on a stick to meats in a handpie to the roast beef sandwich (invented, legend goes, to hold in one hand while playing cards) — our vote for the best is the humble taco, made to eat on the street. Juices dribbling under a neon glare, a brown bag beer in one hand, it almost tastes better this way. And the best, of course, are the simplest — meat, tortilla, toppings. But simplicity deceives — that perfect marriage of meat and heat, smoke and spice, is a hard target to hit. All the more reason to bow before the talented taco trucks. There must be some magic in the rhythm of the road — or is it the diesel fumes? Save for cooking in the backseat of your jeep, this is as close as you’ll get to the real thing. What to cook? We’ve handled that. How to eat it? That’s up to you — but note our crate’s conspicuous lack of fancy placesetting.
Mole Poblano // Hernán // Del Rio, Texas
The epitome of so-wrong-but-so-right flavor combinations, spicy chocolate mole sauce is rumored to have been invented centuries ago by an industrious gaggle of Mexican nuns, raiding the pantry to feed a passing archbishop paying a surprise visit to their convent. Should your own guests arrive unfashionably early, the only thing your pantry needs is this jar, and a bag of chips. Hernán’s take on the traditional sauce is a savory, spicy-sweet blend of twenty eight different chiles and spices, plus chocolate, nuts, raisins, and piloncillo, an especially rich kind of Mexican unrefined cane sugar. While your guests dip and munch away, whisk up a saucepan of water (or better, stock), add a scoop or two of mole and simmer cooked chicken or veggies for your taco filling.
Pickled Red Onions // Pernicious Pickling Co. // Costa Mesa, California
SoCal-made by a couple of transplants (one Mississippi, the other, England), Pernicious is anything but evil; the name’s ironic, the pickles are classics — veggies and vinegar, simple as that. These neon-pink slivers not only give your taco a burst of color, but a sharp spicy edge to slice through the meat. Should a platter of steaming stewed pork seem a tad indulgent, even for a midnight munchie, they’re also a repentantly tart kiss of health. Onions are a veggie, right?
Jalapeño Chips // Deano’s Jalapeños // Hardwick, VT
First tested at Doehne “Deano” Duckworth’s Cactus Café in Stowe, Vermont, these chips are like your lodge-standard apres-ski pepper-topped nachos, without those pesky tortillas (or gloopy, questionably-tinted cheeze). Simply sliced peppers, fried and dusted with all natural cheddar. Besides the obvious (right outta the bag, on the lift or in the deck chair), they make a great crunchy, kick-in-the-tongue topping for a breakfast taco of scrambled eggs and fried sweet potatoes.
Habanero Sauce // Yellowbird // Austin, TX
Some hot sauces are pure white heat, nothing but burn. Save those scoville-spiked scorchers for bar bets and paint stripping. This is a salsa worth savoring. Instead of high-octane peppers like the infamous ghost chile, this Austin-made hot sauce uses the humbler habanero, amping up its bright fruity undertones with an additional spritz of tangerine and lime juice — and its color with a blend of carrots. It’s perfect on tacos, but mellow enough for a michelada.
Mojo Jerky // Savage Jerky Co. // Lawrenceville, Georgia
When it comes to road eats, while a rare few gas stations are diamonds in the oil, so to speak (think great hole in the wall taco stands like Fuel City in Dallas or De Amigos in Pescadero), most, of course, are food deserts. Stomach rumbling, gas tank low, a fluorescent oasis beckons — while the car drinks its fill, you muse over hypnotic slushie machines and mystery tubs of no-name jerky. Their road trip grumbles unsated, the Georgia buddies behind Savage decided to make their own. Their classic, Mojo, is beefy with a slight kick of lime and cilantro. Good enough to gnaw as is, but save a slice for your end-of-the-road drink, to replace your bloody mary’s gringo celery stalk with a touch of gaucho swagger.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Walnuts // Old Dog Ranch // Bellota, California
This San Juaquin county farm has been shaking down and shelling walnuts for five generations — they know their nuts. Walnut trees can live for centuries, but times and tastes change, which means this Old Dog has some new tricks. While dad runs the farm, his daughter turns their buttery, rich, omega-3-packed nuggets into even tastier (and even more irresistible) flavor bombs like these Mexican-inspired morsels, dusted with rich cocoa, warming cinnamon, and a zesty pinch of cayenne. Trendy, but traditional: the ranch still grows, dries, and grinds the peppers themselves.
April 2015 Mantry | Taco Truck
Tennessee Road Trip // March 2015 Mantry
Road trips live and die by two ingredients: the tunes on the radio and the food when you stop. Plug into Spotify, eat at the usual roadside chains and you’ll miss all the local flavor. Cruise the backroads, spin the dial, order the chef’s special, and you’re bound for a real trip. In Tennessee, adventure comes easy. Honky tonk floods the airwaves and soulful grub abounds. And then, of course, there’s whiskey. Lucky for you, Mantry’s your designated driver on this tour. We’ve mapped the route, planned the stops, and packed a hell of a road lunch. So pour out a shot, roll down the windows, and crank up the country. Let’s roll.
JM Thomason Hot Chicken Rub // Nashville, TN
A Nashville staple since the 1930s, the city’s eponymous hot chicken puts other fried fowl to shame — acronym-ed birds that shall not be mentioned here cower in their cardboard buckets before its blistering crust of garlic, cayenne, and onion. JM Thomason’s been peddling rubs like this for decades, and their blend packs just the right punch. Rub on, chill, then dredge in a whisked mix of eggs, buttermilk and, if you want even more heat, a squirt of hot sauce. Then dust with flour and fry. For an authentic Nashville plate, toss onto a slice of white bread and top with pickles. No silverware, extra napkins, and lots of ice water.
Smoked Onion Jam // Blackberry Farm // Walland, TN
A match-made-in-heaven blend of two southern-grown heirlooms: sweet-as-an-apple Georgia vidalia onions and sesame-like benne seeds, an African grass brought over by antebellum slaves and more or less forgotten until now. Add to that another Dixie staple — barbecue smoke — and you get this perfectly tart, savory spread.
Country Ham // Father’s Country Ham // Bremen, KY
Stop for breakfast south of the Mason Dixon and you’ll find no fancy pour-overs, sizzling moka pots, or frou-frou latte art — it’s coffee, black, and country ham, hot. Bremen’s has made their dry-cured southern-style prosciutto the same way since 1840. They like theirs soaked in red eye gravy: browned bacon bits simmered in a half mug of joe and splash of water. Serve with biscuits made for sopping, and hold the ‘spro.
“Old Fashioned” Cocktail Caramels // Shotwell Candy Co. // Memphis, TN
Named after the company founder’s great-grandpa Shot, who kept his general store’s candy barrels brimming with caramels for sugar-toothed local kids, and perfected after months of simmering and stirring dozens of test batches in tarnished brass pots, these caramels are old fashioned indeed — right down to their grown-up cocktail-inspired infusion of bitters, orange peel, and booze.
Buffalovin’ Wing Beer Bread// Soberdough // Nashville, TN
The first thing we do when baking is open a beer — it’s a long, patient process, usually (and doesn’t often end well). When the dough don’t rise, booze helps lift the spirits. This bread is so simple, though, you won’t need the liquid courage — but it will. Mix the pre-weighed and sifted dough with a bottle of beer (for this hot and cheesy buffalo-wing-inspired loaf, we like a snappy American IPA) and toss in the oven. Then crack another cold one — that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Tennessee Moonshine Cake // Chattanooga Cookie Co. // Chattanooga, TN
You Yankees might munch hifalutin rum cake, but down south they douse their sweets in the local nectar — white dog moonshine. Dessert and nightcap in one, these cakes are moist and fluffy, kissed with lemon, and soaked in warming, white-corn-sweet mountain dew from Gatlinburg’s Ole Smoky distillery.
March 2015 Mantry | Tennessee Road Trip
Pizza Party // February 2015 Mantry
Click open your Instagram around dinnertime and it won’t take two swipes to see pizza has turned cult. Whether home-baked or from the spate of zendo-like “just-one-pie,” “just-two-toppings” pizza temples bubbling up around the country, fans swoon over secret dough blends and yeast starters, artisan-made wood-fired ovens, the very provenance of their pomodoros. Not us. At Mantry, the joy of pizza comes in its slap-dash sprezzatura, and easy, humble grace. From the charred crust to the tossed-on toppings, pizza should be a worry-free affair. So let us slice through the oozing hype with two perfect pie options — plus dessert. Preheat the oven and crack a Peroni. Tonight, pizza comes back to earth.
Pizza Flour // Hayden Flour Mills // Phoenix, AZ
In any good pie, the secret’s in the crust. Most chefs worth their marinara guard their recipes tight, those alchemical blends of science and magic, mixing precise blends of flour, calculating protein content and hydration levels to the percent; multi-day, temperature-controlled fermentations under great-grandma’s tea-towel, blessed over with ancient incantations… As they say, though, an over-worked dough never rises. Take it easy. The hardest part with this recipe is planning ahead: the crust is best if it rests a day before baking. Scoop three cups of flour — like this stone-ground, Arizona-grown mix of hard red spring and white Sonora wheat. Add three teaspoons sugar, half a teaspoon yeast, a pinch of salt and process with 1 1/3 cups water and a quick glug of oil. Knead for a few minutes, adding a little flour if it’s too sticky. Cup into a tight ball, pop in an oiled bowl, and tuck into the fridge. On party day, let your dough come to room temperature while the oven preheats to 500°, then bake for 12 minutes.
Classic Red Sauce // Jar Goods // Hoboken, NJ
Our first is the ur-pie, the classic: red sauce and pepperoni. More than mere adornment, sauce should be a peacemaker, a bridge, the hardworking mortar linking the sweet chew of the crust to the savor and spice of your toppings. You need a sauce with guts, and where better to look than Jersey? This one, swiped from Jersey City’s famed Jule’s restaurant does the trick, a slow-simmered stew of vine-ripe tomatoes, rib-sticking thick enough to keep even the most freewheeling toppings in place.
Smoked Pepperoni // Vermont Smoke & Cure // Hinesburg, VT
Pepperoni like you’ve never had before — smoked — has a spicy-sweet snap satisfying enough to munch as-is (legend has it some dedicated Vermonters have hiked the state’s Long Trail sustained on nothing but). But re-holster your multitool, Griz — it also makes the perfect earthy pair to a sauce so bright, thanks to locally-raised pork, fresh herbs, and the flavorful kiss of Vermont hardwood — maple, naturally.
Genovese Pesto // Scarpetta // Lynn, MA
For a lighter pie with a zesty herbal edge, bake your crust naked, then dress with a dollop of the world’s best pesto. From Liguria, the basil capital of Italy (and thus, the universe), a masterful mash of prime-plucked leaves, Italian cheese, fresh olive oil, and chewy pine nuts. As simple and fresh as a kitchen garden.
Prosciutto // Daniele // Pascoag, RI
Creamy, salty, unctuously sweet — damn near meat candy — sliced from American hams patiently dry-cured with a centuries-old mix of salt and time. But you needn’t wait — this prosciutto is ready to eat right from the wrappings. Don’t tarnish its mellow flavors with a smoking-hot oven; instead, wait till your pie is cooked then drape a few slices over top, drizzle with bright young oil and a basil leaf or two.
Lemon Sugar Cookies // Grey Ghost Bakery // Charleston, SC
Like a perfect crust, you could eat these sweet southern treats on their own and be plenty happy. But as with pizza, the right topping takes them, well, over the top. And for that, we turn to the greatest culinary innovation since sliced bread: sliced ice cream. Reach as far back into the freezer as you can and grab the most solid pint you find. (We got a raspberry sorbet.) Wielding your largest bread knife — and most carefully, we needn’t add — saw into discs, container and all. Peel off the wrapping, and sandwich.
February 2015 Mantry | Pizza Party
Tailgate Tour // January 2015 Mantry
It’s been said a TV’s flickering glow triggers our primordial brains — deep, distant memories of gathering the clan around a fire, of safety in numbers, of war tales told and battles re-lived. Times change, but our paleo nature remains. The mead hall’s now a man cave, the throne a couch, the battle now a big-screen game — but what is football, really, but an excercise in brotherly bonding? And that means a proper feast. This game day, when your tribe assembles, treat them well. Ditch the grab-and-go couch-nosh staples of Doritos and delivery and offer some more warrior-worthy fare. No matter who’s playing, we have you covered with crowd pleasers inspired from the country’s best — or at least most flavorful — teams.
The Classic // Owl’s Brew // New York, NY
(Dish Origin: Alabama Crimson Tide)
On the field, Bama’s crimson tide is a crushing tsunami; in the glass those waters run sweeter.
We’re talking summertime sweet tea. The weather outside might be frightful, but click-clacking ice cubes and spinning suns of sliced lemon will soothe even the bitterest chill — or defeat. And it couldn’t be easier to whip up a pitcher: icy vodka, a bottle of lemonade, and a healthy pour of Owl’s Brew. New York–mixed but classically southern, Owl’s is the first tea made specifically for cocktails. Their Classic is a traditional English black with a hint of citrus, sweetened with all-natural agave. Add sliced lemons and tons of ice, then drain — just not on the coach.
Mike’s Hot Honey // Mike’s Hot Honey // New York, NY
(Dish Origin: New York Jets)
If some tailgate traditions must remain unchanged — and when pressed, we’d preserve the stack of steaming delivery pies on the coffee table — at least give them a twist; as in sports, even dynasties evolve. And so, (once you towel off a bit of the grease), skip the tabasco, toss out the stale oregano flakes and tooth-sticking red pepper shrapnel, and drizzle that floppy New-York-style slice with this. You’ve had honey on your brie, and this is a similar idea — sweet and savory — but think of it as the R-rated director’s cut, with an extra spicy, herbaceous, kick.
Dry Cured Chorizo // Aurelia’s Chorizo // Boerne, TX
(Dish Origin: Houston Texans)
Chips and dip is the commercial of the Superbowl spread: the extra that outshines the star, the side dish that trumps the entree. When done right, at least. How? Instead of studding your cheese dip with dried out bacon bits, try this: Full-cut pork shoulder (no fillers), aged a full month with freshly mashed garlic and fine, smoked paprika. Fry some slices with a few cloves of garlic, then stir into a couple cups of shredded cheese — a mix is best, like spicy Jack with a creamy mozz or Oaxacan. For some bonus special effects, pour the dip in a cast iron skillet and pop under the broiler for a smoky char.
Smoky Black Bean Dip // La Esquina // New York, NY
(Dish Origin: Pheonix, AZ)
Nothing says southwest like smoky black beans, but nothing says smoky black beans like a particular Lower Manhattan taqueria, the once-secret, now cult-hit La Esquina. Literally, “the corner” — and indeed, a hole in the wall on a tiny, triangular SoHo intersection — the best part of this spot isn’t the tacos (though they’re incongruously *riquísima* given its gringo digs), but their sides: grilled corn, plantains, and especially these beans, a little smoky with a slight serrano edge, which you could order by the cup, topped with crema fresca. Now, their *casa* becomes yours — from Mexico via the Big Apple, but for all your guests know, *abuela’s* secret recipe.
Sweat Heat Pecans // Molly & Me Pecans // Holy Hill, SC
(Dish Origin: Atlanta Falcons)
Another sports-night staple we can’t live without is the humbly habit-forming beer nut. A cinch to serve and impossible to resist — your coffee table’s downright naked without a heaping bowl. In the grand tradition of southern cooking, wherein sugar and spice make everything nicer, these pecans, plucked from a 150-acre farm outside of Charleston, get a dusting of crunchy cinnamon sugar with an afterburner boost of chile pepper heat. No need to fear — the flavor’s balanced and subtle — just keep the beer glass close at hand.
Pork Clouds // Bacon’s Heir // Atlanta, GA
Dish Origin: San Diego Chargers (Chicharrón)
You say your beloved underdogs will win when pigs fly? Get ready for liftoff. These are the fluffiest, crunchiest *chicarrones* we’ve ever seen — the porky puffs practically float on air. The Georgian maker’s method is a Wonka-like secret, but involves kettle-cooking hand-seasoned salt-cured pig skin in good-for-you virgin olive oil — no goopy, deep-fat fryers here. So even if your team stays grounded, you can gorge away your suffering guilt-free. There’s always next game.
January 2015 Mantry | Tailgate Tour
Bourbon Breakfast Vol. 2 // December 2014 Mantry
Waking up is hard to do. Cold floors, frosted panes, and winter’s pre-dawn dark (but it’s already 7 a.m.!) don’t make the hop out of bed any easier. Days like these, just waiting for the coffee to start dripping can feel like a scene out of Jack London. But if that coffee comes with an extra, warming kick — hey, even Shackleton stocked his holds with booze — the wait might just be worth it. That’s right, we’re talking liquor for breakfast. No low-brow hangover helpers, though; these bourbon-infused delights will elevate your morning meal (if not the thermometer) and, we hope, help you up and at ’em as well. A better breakfast beckons. Man up, untuck the covers, and tuck in.
100% Pure Vermont Maple Syrup // The Syrup Shop // Burlington, VT
From the towering maples of third-generation Underhill Farms, nestled in the verdant shadow of Vermont’s Mount Mansfield, springs this heavenly elixir, glittering as gold and, we dare say, just as precious. Still, that doesn’t stop us from drizzling with abandon over oatmeal or grits, mixing into morning chai, slurping transmogrific thimblefuls straight from the bottle — if pressed — or, if we can labor longer over our morning meal, twisting it into a warming, winter’s dressing, like a hot toddy for your flapjacks: a slow saute of apple slices in butter, cinnamon, and a shot or two of bourbon, turned resplendent with a glug of syrup as they start to caramelize.
Hazelnut Pancake Mix // Freddy Guy Hazelnut Farm // Monmouth, OR
This mom-and-pop Willamette Valley farm, in the heart of hazelnut country, does the hard part for you, trundling tree-shaking harvesters and vacuum-on-wheels sweepers through 160 acres of some 20,000 trees, gathering hundreds of pounds of hazeln — er, filberts, in the local argot, and grinding them into everything from granola to pizza dough to this, our pancake-Sunday staple. All you do is add an egg and wait for the skillet to heat. A flip or two later and what you get is light and fluffy as a classic flapjack, with an undercurrent of earthy spice, the perfect balance to a hefty pour of syrup, and an extra pat of butter to brace against the morning’s chill.
Spicy Borsellino // La Quercia // Norwalk, IA
The name’s Italian, but the accent’s humbly middle-west: The majestic oak (or quercia) is Iowa’s state tree, and from little ol’ Norwalk come the masters of American-made, Italian-style salumi. Heritage hams (Durocs and Berkshires, humanely raised), cut with care, aged with patience, and even spiced and salted with Yankee flair — the sea salt is from U.S. shores. Fried eggs in need of a kick? Add a slice or two of this oily link, aged two months with pimenton and chiles for a bloom of soothing smoke and feisty kick of chorizo-like spice.
Bourbon Blueberry Jam // Jam Stand // Brooklyn, NY
Two gal pals, one humble, hard-working apartment stove, and a crate-load of mason jars turned to this: Brooklyn’s best and booziest jam-maker. Savory salt might warm the bones — a fried egg sandwich, say, on rich country toast — but something sweet will raise the spirits. Top your morning bun with a spoon or two of Jam Stand’s blueberry, the perfect blend of spritzy sweet fruit, mellow vanilla, and the spicy splinter kick of — you guessed it — bourbon.
Bacon Spread // Skillet Street Food // Seattle, WA
Bring home the best of Seattle chef Josh Henderson’s Airstream lunch cart. This scrumptious spread produced epic sandwiches, blocks-long lines, and turned a little truck into an empire — now it’ll revolutionize your mid-morning snack. Spreadable bacon? Goes with anything, naturally. But our favorite use is as the smoky-sweet bedrock to a smashed avocado on toast. Just make sure to pop the jar in the microwave for a few seconds before assembly, to make for easier spreading.
Hazelnut Whiskey Cookies // Whimsy & Spice // Brooklyn, NY
A husband and wife team — he a pastry chef, she a designer — so you know their treats will look as good as they taste. And vice versa. This little bit of edible art sandwiches Scotch whisky-infused Madagascar chocolate between two crunchy, hazelnut- and chocolate-chip-studded cookies. It’s not bourbon, and it’s not (necessarily) breakfast, but we couldn’t resist. On their own or dunked in a cup of coffee (Irish or otherwise), if the rest of this breakfast box won’t get you out of bed in the morning, a cookie sure as hell will.
December 2014 Mantry | Bourbon Breakfast Vol. 2
Leftovers // November 2014 Mantry
The last thing you need planning the year’s biggest food fest is more advice. By the time the first leaf turns, magazine racks groan with recipes, Facebook feeds become waterfalls of family secrets (orange peel in the cranberry sauce! No salt in the pie crust!). Hosting means a clogged kitchen — competing in-laws, rival teams, to-stuff or not-to-stuff. For us, the best part is the day after: a man and his leftovers, no pressure, and no rules. But instead of a fridge raid — cold turkey, stale bread — let us offer a dollop of help. Upgrade your tryptophan-hangover helpers with these artisanal accouterments.
Sriracha Mustard // Green Mountain Mustard // Richmond, VT
Devotees of the cult-hit hot sauce know it works on everything from popcorn to peanut butter sandwiches — mixing it into mustard is a no brainer. But what sets this spread apart is the Sriracha within ain’t your typical mini-mart rooster sauce, but instead a hand-made mix of fresh Fresno chilies, garlic, vinegar, and Green Mountain’s house blend of mustard spices.
Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickles // Brooklyn Brine // Brooklyn, NY
Fresh green discs, perfectly crinkle-cut, afloat in an onion-and-spice-packed brine: It looks like a pickle, it sounds like a pickle (crunch), but it tastes nothing like the sour dills you know, thanks to a swirl of organic New York State maple syrup and a shot of Finger Lakes Distilling’s spicy McKenzie rye. Like a pre-made pickle back, try ’em in a sandwich and we promise you’ll reach for the whole jar next.
Maplewood Smoked Bacon // Broadbent’s // Kuttawa, KY
Broadbent’s century-old masters of Kentucky-style country ham — that’s salt-cured, aged, and lightly smoked, Yankee boy — obviously know a thing or two about good bacon. These salty, smoky, sweetly spiced slices, hand-rubbed with Broadbent’s secret dry cure, aren’t as show-stopping as a traditional hog leg centerpiece, but make for more manageable munchies, especially post-feast. Add to your turkey sandwich, and use the good-as-gold grease to caramelize some leftover Brussels sprouts.
Chili Spice // Oaktown Spice Shop // Oakland, CA
Leftover turkey screams sandwich — and there’s nothing wrong with going classic. But for a bit of a twist, turn that bird into a bone-sticking bowl of chili by simmering some slices with tomatoes, beans, a bit of garlic, and a dash of Oaktown’s special spice blend (Santa Fe or Regular). Got a bowl of mash at hand? Top a ramekin with a scoop or two of potatoes and bake to brown for a shepherd’s pie worth selling the flock for.
Good News Cashew and Coconut Granola // Hudson Henry Baking Co. // Palmyra, VA
Say you’re feeling peckish the morning after but want something a little lighter than a turkey sandwich breakfast — wake up your tryptophan-numbed taste buds with a bowl of tart Greek yogurt, a dollop of cranberry sauce, and a few scoops of this nutty sweet nosh, made with oats, cashews, and, best of all, where most granola swings into junk-food territory with sugars and fats, real maple syrup and healthy coconut oil.
Chef’s Cut Turkey Jerky // Chef’s Cut // Naples, FL
Spice up your snacking day-of or day-after with these protein-packed paleo munchies. Made from all white breast meat with no nitrates or corn syrup, and beguilingly spiced with a chef’s secret blend, including tongue-kicking horseradish, tropical sweet tamarind, and plenty of cracked black pepper.
November 2014 Mantry | Leftovers
Entertain In Style // October 2014 Mantry
Boys’ night out can mean long lines and longer tabs; the bars might be swank and the cocktails topnotch, but shouting to your bros over the rattle of shakers and squeal of the latest Pitchfork-approved LP can turn any pub crawl sour. So bring it home — host your own. Leave the catering to us (hell, even some of the bartending) for a stressless soiree.
How-To Tip #1: Munchies Managed
Chipotle Lime Peanuts // Bees Knees Food Co. // Chicago, IL
Appetizers are more than just a way to quell anticipatory grumbles as your guests await the spread to come — they’re your first impression, and stale party mix is like a limp handshake. Upgrade the bar snack with a pop of lime, kick of cayenne, and the building burn of chipotle, to keep the cooling cocktails flowing.
How-To Tip #2: Bored Board?
Meat and cheese might be standard shin-dig fare, but that doesn’t mean it has to be your party’s meat and potatoes. Your brews are craft, your cocktails artisanal — your charcuterie should be made to match. Pep up that platter with these goodies:
Whiskey Salami // Creminelli // Salt Lake City, UT
From a family with 400 years of sausage making prowess — legend has it they cured meat for General Badoglio, Mussolini’s replacement — comes this Yankee twist on a Piedmont classic. Inspired by their neighbors at High West Distillery (and perhaps a tipple or two of their product) the guys at Creminelli marinated heritage pork in High West’s spicy-sweet Son of Bourye bourbon-rye blend.
Porter Crackers // Beer Flats // Cincinnati, OH
If beer is liquid bread, and crackers crunchy beer, these take the connection literally. A hearty mix of whole grains, butter, and, of course, a rich malty brew gives these crisps enough strength to support serious slabs of sausage, or sate your beer-munchies all on their own with notes of dark rye, molasses, and a touch of cocoa.
Raw Honeycomb // Savannah Bee Co. // Savannah, GA
Take 550 bees and 2 million flower blossoms and you get this: a gleaming golden ingot of pure Georgia honey, nothing added — not even air, since it’s still sealed wax-tight in the comb. (It’s edible, by the way, and good for allergies.) This is the good stuff, what the bees save for themselves. They’d gorge straight; we prefer a drizzle over your meat and cheese to balance their salt with a tangy floral buzz.
How-To Tip #3: Shelve the Shaker
Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned // Bittermilk // Charleston, SC
We know you want to roll up your sleeves and flash those vinyasa-toned forearms, shaking up cocktails for your ogling guests — but they don’t want to watch; they want to drink, and you should be shmoozing, not sweating it out behind the bar. So do what the trendiest mixology meccas do and plan ahead with DIY drinks. Bittermilk’s mixer is perfect. It has everything but the booze: a classic blend of real-deal herbs and spices like gentian root and cinchona bark, sultry sweet with burnt sugar and a dash of orange, and aged in Willett bourbon barrels. Mix four parts bourbon to one part Bittermilk, fill a couple swing-top bottles, set the bar with an ice bucket and bowl of orange twists, and save the shaking for the dance floor.
How-To Tip #4: Log Out
FDA Chocolate Salami // Dude, Sweet Chocolate // Dallas, TX
Take your dinner party full circle — with a twist. Deke your stuffed-to-the-gills guests (by now tipsy enough to fall for it) with a show-stopping salami log. More meat? they’ll whine, as you slice off a hunk. Not quite: Here’s richness of another sort, a decadent roll of dried figs and dates in dark French chocolate and almond marzipan. An idea born in a Dallas dive bar — as all such monstrous hybrids must be — the chocolate salami is so wrong, it’s just right.
October 2014 Mantry | Entertain In Style
EuroTrip // September 2014 Mantry
As summer slowly ebbs away and we fold up the swim trunks, sweep out the last grains of tracked-in beach sand, and brace for the long hunkering toward winter, there’s still time for one final fete. Don’t stash the sunglasses yet — you’re going to Europe! Or rather, inviting its best over to dinner. Stamp your passport the globe-trotting gourmand way, with sauce stains and coffee rings, one plate at a time.
Herb Pancetta // Aux Délices des Bois // New York, NY
If a little bacon makes any dish a five-star meal, French bacon turns it downright Michelin-approved. This unsmoked, read-to-eat pancetta is salty, fatty, and perfumed with thyme and rosemary — perfect for mixing into soups and sauces, or adding some Parisian swagger to your burgers and BLTs.
French Absinthe & Herb Vinaigrette // Race City Sauceworks // Charlotte, NC
This Carolina outfit is know for its tongue-numbing hot sauces, packed full of Scoville units and southern swagger. But its vinaigrette takes on a subtler Gallic charm with sweet roasted garlic, a bouquet garni of fresh herbs, and imported absinthe — the real stuff, full of licorice-y, and reportedly hallucinogenic wormwood. It likely won’t send you to sleep with the green fairy, but drizzled over sliced veggies and topped with grated parm, it’ll make a mind-blowing, if not mind-altering late-summer salad.
Everything Bagel Fusilli // Sfoglini Pasta Shop // Brooklyn, NY
Who says pasta has to be last-minute carbo-fuel? Turn ordinary noodle night decadent with these classy corkscrews. Sfoglini gives new-school twists like local, seasonal herbs to their old-school shapes, punched from vintage bronze dies (dig those sauce-catching dimples). These get a dusting of spices from their Park Slope neighborhood bagel shop.
Nonna’s Smoky Sauce // City Saucery // New York, NY
City Saucery’s hearty blends are New-York-born by way of the founder’s grandma’s native Calabria — the toe of the boot, known for great wine and tongue-kicking cuisine, all spicy pickles, rich meats, and roasted veggies, especially eggplant, which gives the smoky base note to this gourmet gravy.
Dutch Stroopwafel // Rip Van Wafels // San Francisco, CA
Update your coffee break from a paper-cup-and-pastry affair to the stately Dutch koffietijd, a mid-day ritual of patience, pleasure, and oh yeah — a gooey caramel filling. Balance this rich, buttery waffle on the rim of your mug and let the steam slowly melt its syrupy core as you gaze over the rippling Herengracht canal, or the latest cat video making the office rounds. Go Dutch, but don’t share a bite.
Garlic & Cracked Pepper Cervelat // Schaller & Weber // Long Island City, NY
This century-old, family-run charcutier is the real deal — the best of the wurst. When you picture a classic German sausage shop — plump, meaty butchers smiling behind the counter; plump, meaty links swaying in the window — you’re salivating over this: a traditional, slightly smoky dry-cured salami, studded with tangy garlic and pepper. A taste of the old country, no time-change, or time travel, required.
September 2014 Mantry | EuroTrip
Grill & Chill // August 2014 Mantry
It’s the T-bone of summer, the meatiest cut, when hazy days slouch sweaty toward the relief of afternoon storms and fireflied nights. Hovering ‘round a pile of red-hot coals seems a hellish way to beat the heat, and yet, gourmet grillables beckon. Chill, caveman. A primal, fire-cooked feast is possible without (too much) sweat. With these pre-made goods and easy recipes, we turn a day’s hot toil into easy outdoor dining.
Fire Roasted Pineapple Salsa // Zukali // Plano, TX
If the first cro-magnon to toss a mastodon shank on the fire thought he was smart, consider the moment of Newton-esque brilliance that brought us grilled fruit: a pineapple slice falls in the flames, and summer food is forever transformed. Inspired by the caramelized wedge atop traditional tacos al pastor, from the Texas plains comes an eminently spoonable, dippable, add-it-to-anything sauce of roasted fruit, cilantro, and mellow chilies.
Bourbon Smoked Sugar // Bourbon Barrel Foods // Louisville, KY
A spoonful of sugar can chase the toughest-to-take pill, as our favorite flying nanny told us — or with the addition of whisky, it can be the medicine itself. These raw crystals, smoked over smoldering bourbon barrel staves, will cure whatever ails you, from a lagging julep (sprinkle around the rim) to a last-minute dessert: mix a dash into melted butter, brush onto peach halves, and toss on the grill to caramelize.
Imperial Dry Cured Chorizo // Pata Negra // Gloversville, NY
Named after Spain’s famous acorn-fattened black-hoofed pigs, Pata Negra brings the best of Andalusia to the foothills of the Adirondacks: high-grade hams, authentic Iberian pimentón, and a languorous five weeks’ aging (if the Spanish know anything, it’s the glory of a good nap). Snack on slices as a tapa while the grill heats up, and if there’s any left over (we doubt it), wrap in foil with potatoes, onions, and a splash of aceite and grill for a juicy, bacon-rich potato salad.
Israeli Couscous // Bob’s Red Mill // Milwaukie, OR
Smoked Olive Oil // Holy Smoke // Charleston, SC
Time was, side salads meant gloopy mayo and cold ziti — no wonder the Miller Man scoffed. But if you’re sipping craft beer and grilling prime cuts, your pasta should stand proud. With nutty, chewy semolina-flour pearls from the grain gods at Bob’s, cold-pressed California oil, smoked over Carolina hickory and pecan wood, and a spritz of juice from a couple charred lemon halves, the gifts of the grill can kiss even the meatless.
Cold Brew Bean Bags // Grady’s Cold Brew // Brooklyn, NY
The only thing better than coffee is iced coffee — and the only thing better than iced coffee is New-Orleans-style cold brew, perfected, as only Brooklyn coffee snobs can do, by the folks at Grady’s. Steep this spicy-smooth mix of chicory and dark-roasted beans overnight and pour over ice the morning after, or better yet, mix in a few ounces of bourbon, some heavy cream, and a bit of sugar — bourbon-smoked, naturally — and freeze into grown-up creamsicles.
August 2014 Mantry | Grill & Chill
Street Food // July 2014 Mantry
For the late-night gourmand, a nose-full of diesel can be as tantalizing as a whiff of searing foie — proof that food trucks are near, and therefore, good eats. And yet these days the food scene’s one-time underground has breached the surface, which means big crowds and long lines. Good news, then, as the best of today’s street food comes indoors in this month’s Mantry. Serve up your favorite truck-bound fare in the comfort of your kitchen. Or, if you must, grab a flimsy paper plate and stand in the driveway. Either way, the streets have never tasted so good.
Butter Masala // Maya Kaimal // Rhinebeck, NY
If everything’s better with butter, it’s best with this creamy, aromatic all-purpose sauce from the queen of subcontinent fare, Maya Kaimal, scribe of two authorial texts on Indian cooking. Go traditional and ladle some over simmering chicken and veggies; or, for the street-side touch, slap it on oven-warmed naan, roll up some basmati and leftovers, and make the meanest roti wrap this side of Delhi.
Olo’s Chipotle // Olo Foods // Seattle, WA
Sure, you can buy the dried peppers, toast them in cast-iron, heft out the molcajete, mash them till your manos ache — and then avoid touching anything, er, sensitive for the rest of the night. Or you can crack a tube of Olo’s. Dial in the heat — two teaspoons is about a full can of chilies — smear it straight, or mix a dollop with mayo to spread on fresh-grilled ears for a classic elote.
Chipotle Adobo Jerky // Three Jerks Jerky // Venice, CA
Those unlabeled tubs at western fill-’er-ups bristling with spicy snacks are a road-trip staple, but one thing’s for sure: the meat therein’s a mystery. Not so with Three Jerks. Their lean, flavorful, buttery smooth jerky is all top-notch filet mignon. That highfalutin cut comes down to earth, though, with a gritty, Mexi-Filipino mix of smoked peppers and sweetly puckering, vinegary adobo.
Korean BBQ Marinade // We Rub You // Queens, NY
Marinate a hunk of flanksteak with a quick soak in the sauce, fire the George Foreman, and then sling your own K-town tacos. Quick-pickled cukes and carrots add a vinegary pop where the marinade’s perfect mix of soy, apple, garlic and ginger slowly burns. Like your wings extra-hot? Stock the fridge with ice-cold OBs and brave We Rub You’s spicy Gochujang sauce.
Big Hibiscus // Steven Smith Teamaker // Portland, OR
For pepper-heads, the best part of truck-stop tacos is sometimes the styrofoam big gulp of sweet-tart jamaica you chug to extinguish a hubris-induced chili burn. Steven Smith balances that refreshing hibiscus zing with a pinch of ginger, sweet rose, and exotic Indian sarsaparilla. Cold, with a squirt of honey, handful of summer fruit, and shot (or two) of your booze of choice, it’s a perfect sangria; piping hot, a morning-after soother.
Grey Ghost Bakery // Cinnamon Pecan Cookies // Columbia, SC
The humble pecan cookie, a down home southern staple — this recipe goes back generations — gets a new-school twist with all-natural unbromated flour, European butter, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bet you can’t stop at one — especially when a pair makes a brilliant bookend for the best ice cream sandwich you’ll have all summer.
July 2014 Mantry | Street Food
Salty Dog // June 2014 Mantry
Let’s be clear: These six craft makers may not have nautical themed tattoos or boast a repertoire of boating knots, but they are crafting some the best products inspired by the sea in America.
The Filthy Liar // White Whale Cocktails // Durham, NC
When it comes to being on the water you want something light — but that doesn’t mean your average, sugary, supermarket cocktail mixer. Instead, a botanist, and a home brewer help you craft a whale of a cocktail using fresh lychee and the herbal tag team of rosemary and clove. Just add equal parts gin, shake over ice and serve. Perfect pre-game for one of life’s great pleasures, the afternoon snooze.
Wild Pacific Albacore // Island Trollers // Whidbey Island, WA
For generations man has relied on canned tuna to merely hold him over. Captain Larry Mason moves the pantry staple from last resort to lead role. Sustainably caught by American fishermen off the coast of Washington State, Larry and his crew have had a top-notch commitment to quality for 37 years. The result? An impeccable can of sashimi grade albacore, gently marinated with fresh Jalapeno, that becomes the basis for a the Tuna Sandwich that will change your idea of well…the tuna sandwich (Recipe: Mantry.com)
New England Clam Chowder // Bar Harbor Foods // Bar Harbor, ME
Obviously we’re not going to cover an ocean crate without a nod to chowder, as comforting as your go-to Sunday sweater. This is simply one of the best canned chowders we could find. For the New England locals, who spend more time breaking down chowder than Bill Belichick spends on game film, a bowl of Bar Harbor has been the Maine attraction for over 85 years.
Coop’s Hot Fudge // Coop’s Micro Creamery // Watertown, MA
Marc “Coop” Cooper has been packing heat for 28 years in Watertown, just a cardigan’s throw from those wicked smaht Harvard Law Kids. Who he must have had cooped up for a couple days to get a 1993 Patent on his “drippy lid” packaging design. Our advice? Feed the masses Massachusetts style with our sweet and salty Hot Fudge Banana Split topped off with Halfpops (recipe: mantry.com)
Butter & Sea Salt Halfpops // Halfpops // Woodinville, WA
In 2000, Mike Fitzgerald became the 3rd American Race Car Driver in history to win the Porsche Cup awarded to the world’s top professional Porsche driver. In 2009, Fitzgerald became the 1st American Race Car Driver in history to call out Orville Redenbacher for overcooking his Popcorn. In one of the great career pivots in history, Fitzgerald is now the outright champ of half-popped kernels.
Liddabit Sweet // Sea Salt Caramels // Brooklyn, NY
In a little nook in Brooklyn, a hustlin’ team are measuring, cooking, dipping, and wrapping at one of the coolest treat shops in America. Churning out everything from chewy candy bars that would have you snickering at a snickers to lollipops hand poured on bamboo sticks (which means no little sludgy bits of paper in your mouth). For these flavor hits, pure ocean sea salt is stirred into buttery caramel made with locally sourced Ronnybrook Dairy Cream.
June 2014 Mantry | Salty Dog
Campfire Cookout // May 2014 Mantry
You may have never made fire with two sticks (we haven’t either) but you’ve probably enjoyed a good meal with good company around a campfire. Mantry rounds up six American products fit for the great outdoors, even if your campsite happens to be the backyard.
Herbed Coffee Rub // Just Cook // San Francisco, CA
The quickest way to wake up a couple steaks is a good rub and 20 year veteran to software sales Scott Lucas has developed a foolproof formula. Wait, what? A software guy making spice rubs? Yep, like the quiet kid in the corner of the class that secretly knows Karate, Scott has a knack for kicking things up. In this batch, the richness of coffee is cut with smoky chipotle and rounded out with cumin. Just dust on a hanger steak or elevate your morning with our Herbed Coffee Summer Sausage Hash (recipe: Mantry.com).
Summer Sausage // Vermont Smoke & Cure // Hinesburg, VT
Deciding the pre-made refrigerated gas station burger was a lost cause, Chris Bailey took a run at another ubiquitous pit stop offering and set out to upgrade the Summer Sausage. Scratch made in small batches using all natural meats from local farms, Bailey has somehow made the age old combo of crackers, sharp cheddar, summer sausage and an ice cold beer…better.
Bourbon Nib Brittle // Olive & Sinclair // Nashville, TN
Scotty Witherow is a standup guy with a stand out southern chocolate shop that’s hand roasting and stone grinding single origin cacao beans in the music city. Witherow trained in England at Le Cordon Bleu, the Fat Duck and Nobu before combining cacao beans aged in old barrels from local distilleries and bourbon to bang out this buttery bliss. Upgrade some store bought vanilla ice cream for your girl by swirling in some broken brittle, arguably more flattering than dropping “You’re the only Ten-I-See” around Nashville.
Green Chile Cheddar Brew Bread // Soberdough // Nashville, TN
It’s easy to get mystified by baking, but Soberdough has simplified the process to three steps (on the bag) and you get creative control over the beer. Jordan at Soberdough recommends a Pale Ale or American Lager. We recommend the near bulletproof plan of getting a 6-pack, drinking five and putting one in the bread. Fresh out of the oven, smother it in butter and honey or Fuego Salsa.
Fuego Salsa // La Fundidora // Williamsburg, NY
Mexico City may have little in common with Williamsburg but thanks to La Fundidora they share sublime salsa. Founders Lorena, a Mexico City expat and her husband Vitali set out to revive the lost art of small-batch, traditional salsa making. That means ground down ripe tomatoes are combined with a hefty dose of tomatillos and select guajillo and arbor Chilies. Take a shortcut to tasty by tossing in your scrambled eggs or swipe a piece of Green Chile Cheddar Brew Bread through it.
Hickory Smoked Bacon // Broadbent’s // Kuttawa, KY
A still sunrise, a mug of strong coffee and the aroma of bacon crisping in cast iron might as well be an American pastime and Broadbent’s has been woven into many such moments for over 100 years. The proof is in the pork, with over 14 Kentucky State Fair Championships. Broadbent’s is dry-cured and smoked the old-fashioned way, resulting in a bacon perfect for our Bourbon Bacon Baked Beans (recipe: mantry.com).
May 2014 Mantry | Campfire Cookout
Thai Game // April 2014 Mantry
Say Thailand and much of the western world thinks scruffy backpackers, full-moon parties and styrofoam take-out containers (blame Instagram). Thankfully, these American makers dive deeper to help bring some far east flavors to your next game day feast.
Thai Chili Sauce // Apinya // Herndon, VA
Finding authentic Thai in Virginia sounds about as easy as trying to find authentic Southern Food in Bangkok, but since Adam Ross began bottling his wife Apinya’s homemade sauces (she learned them from working at her mother’s restaurant in Khon Kaen) the duo has made Herndon, VA an unlikely home for the bright, tangy flavours of the Kingdom. Apinya celebrates the workhorse of SE Asian eats, the fiery, fragrant, thick-fleshed bird’s eye chili, adding just enough ginger and garlic to have you hitting this bottle early and often. Revamp your game-day wing recipe with a basket of sticky, sweet Thai Chili Wings (Mantry.com/recipes).
Sriracha Lime Jerky // Dried & True // Venice, CA
It’s no secret that Sriracha rules the sauce stratosphere of late but few people know the Rooster is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in Eastern Thailand. Matt Lauster proves he has one of the best jerky recipes in the bag using 100% USDA-certified American Beef and cutting the chili hit with fresh lime. Call the audible and send Jack Links to the bench for this perfect teammate to a Pok Pok Som Cocktail.
Toasted Coconut Chips // Dang // Berkeley, CA
A family business, “Dang” was named after mom and inspired by Bangkok street hawkers. The recipe is adapted from the toasted coconut chips founder Vincent’s mother would put in her homemade thai lettuce wraps. Ditch the doritos dusted fingers for this perfect companion to frosty beers, screaming at the tv and living room touchdown celebrations.
Thai Curry & Lemongrass Peanuts // Lord Nut Levington // Dallas, TX
If there’s one flavour Thai food doesn’t do well, it’s bland. The reigning champ of bland may be the bar peanut. The stale, lifeless decoration found at your local sports dive gets the royal treatment as Lord Nut Levington creates something to look forward to between swigs of Miller Singha. Stay at home, grab a handful and be grateful the suds are ice cold, the couch beats a bar stool and you are the master of your snacking domain.
Thai Basil Som // Pok Pok // Portland, OR
Andy Ricker has done for American Thai Food what mall food courts haven’t. His Portland joint Pok Pok, which recently set up outposts in NYC is helping properly introducing America to Northern Thai Cuisine. People flock for his fiery, fragrant dishes armed with authentic flavors foreign to the ubiquitous take-out variety, washing it all down with refreshing gulps of Pok Pok Som which is served in all of Ricker’s restaurants. Ricker suggests 4:1 soda to Som or nab our unauthentic Thai Basil Margarita recipe at Mantry.com.
Thai Basil Jalapenos // Gordy’s Pickle Jar // Washington, D.C.
Your Jalapeno experience is most likely minimal, maybe a half eaten can once occupied the back of your fridge or they were an after thought atop a taco. We were in the same boat until Gordy’s rock it. Packed fresh, these jalapenos are infused with the herbal, citrus notes of Thai basil. Listen, Thai-Mexican fusion is dicey territory but throw these on a plate of Nachos doused in some Apinya chili sauce and we promise you won’t regret it.
April 2014 Mantry | Thai Game
Health Nut // March 2014 Mantry
It’s a tough world out there — from pre-dawn wake ups and venti coffee cups to late-night cocktails turned 6ame-mails, people are stretching themselves more thin than ever. Are we recommending a sea kelp smoothie? No, but Mantry has rounded up six products to inch you one step closer to being superhuman(er)…
Jonty Jacobs // Biltong // Brooklyn, NY
A staple of Indigenous South African peoples such as the Khoikhoi, Biltong was developed to preserve meat without refrigeration. Long active days, meant a lean protein source was imperative and if this snack can fuel a wild game hunt in sub saharan Africa our guess is it’s not a bad 3pm hunger suppressor at the office. Until recently, it was reasonably difficult to attain stateside before a set of Springboks set up shop in Brooklyn. Eat it out of the bag or treat Biltong like prosciutto in an arugula salad with fresh mozzarella and pomegranate seeds (recipe: Mantry.com).
Natural Delights // Medjool Dates // Bard Valley, CA
A powerhouse packed in a tiny, portable package, the sweet fruit of the date palm tree is one of the oldest cultivated ingredients in the world for good reason. How to use them? two words, date shake. The iconic roadside standby of southern california desert towns, we spruce it up as a potent pre-workout energy booster using almond milk, bananas and Peguero Farms Pistachio Butter (Recipe: mantry.com)
Peguero Farms // Roasted Sea Salted Pistachio Butter // Merced, CA
When mom used to slip you a PB & J sandwich in your lunch bag she knew what she was doing. An honest hit of protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc, elevate the childhood favorite with this 100% California Grown Pistachio Butter. To enter further into grown-man territory turn up the fiber with whole grain bread and sub jam for TruBee raw honey.
TruBee Honey // Tennessee Snow Honey // Arlington, TN
Beekeepers Jeff Otto and Laura Kimball opt to jar raw honey (unprocessed), aka more of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are preserved making it a bona-fide superfood.
One too many shots of Jameson? Skip the McMuffin for a dab of Honey on toast says the Royal Society of Chemistry, the natural fructose in honey helps the body rapidly metabolize alcohol and sets you on express lane to recovery.
Quinn Popcorn // Lemon & Sea Salt Popcorn // Woburn MA
After observing years of popping, denial and generally reckless behavior, Quinn founders Coulter and Kristy decided to hold an intervention and finally clean-up microwave corn. Coulter explained Ol’ Orville’s recipe had a some PFOA, PFCs, Poly and GMOs but we just took his word for it when he said he wanted to “Quit putting that stuff in people’s bodies”. After overhauling from bag to hull, Quinn (named after Coulter’s son) squeezed in California meyer lemon and Atlantic sea salt to has nuked the competition.
Vosges Chocolates // Coconut Ash & Banana Super Dark // Chicago, IL
Crushing a Crunchie bar won’t get you very far but high grade dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, boasting benefits that include stress reduction, heart health and improved brain function. Chicago based Vosges combine amino acid rich coconut ash with hawaiian bananas, encasing it all in 72% cacao. The result? a solid substitute for a snack attack.
March 2014 Mantry | Health Nut
Coffee & A Smoke // February 2014 Mantry
We celebrate two of America’s oldest vices and discover six makers using smoke and coffee in their process. No need to stand in line for this pick-me-up.
Franklin BBQ // Espresso BBQ Sauce // Austin, TX
The BBQ debate will continue to rage on but no one these days is denying Aaron Franklin has some of the best. What started in an East Austin parking lot out of a travel trailer has morphed into a brisket slingin’ shrine boasting a 3 hour lineup and serious accolades, Bon Appétit Magazine recently named Franklin’s the best cue’ joint in the country. Here’s your chance to skip the line and douse a lil’ Franklins on your next batch of ribs (recipe: mantry.com), but we recommend you stop by next time your roll through the Republic.
Lark Fine Foods // Espresso Chip Shortbread // Essex, MA
Let’s face it, typically going whole grain means a fraction of the flavor but Lark has found a shortcut to a better shortbread. Makers of “cookies for grown ups” this mother daughter duo have been waking and baking since 2008. On any given Sunday, this Espresso chip cookie is the perfect partner for an Iced Dave’s coffee. Double down on your coffee buzz, just dunk, eat, drink and repeat.
Olive & Sinclair // Buttermilk White Coffee // Nashville, TN
Maker Scott Witherow gave Mantry the nod to debut his newest bar, an ode to his dixie roots combining the special twang of buttermilk with smooth white chocolate and local coffee from Bongo Java Roasting Co. Scott stone grinds every batch offering the first raw cocoa to bar process in the South and the perfect partner for an afternoon cup a joe or glass of good ol’ bourbon.
Granola Jones // Mocha Hazelnut Granola // Independence, MO
Granola is no stranger to the usual suspects of oats. brown sugar and birkenstocks, but Hippie Chow kicks things up by adding crop to cup coffee, cocoa and roasted hazelnuts into the mix. Spike your morning caffeine routine with this Kansas favorite by topping a dollop of yoghurt with Hippie Chow, sliced banana and a drizzle of Dave’s Coffee Syrup.
Dave’s Coffee // Coffee Syrup // Charlestown, RI
Rhode Island may not know what the hell an island is, but the locals sure know Coffee Milk. So much so that on July 29, 1993 the bevvy narrowly beat out Del’s Lemonade (who let’s face it, looked soft that night) as the Official State Drink. Puritans mix 8 ounces of cold milk with 3 tablespoons of Syrup and for 70 years locals siphoned back the regular grade fuel known as Autocrat. Enter Dave who decided to offer a high octane, handmade equivalent to Autocrat derived from small batch roasted beans.
La Quercia // Smoky Borsellino // Norwalk, IA
We’re not the only one’s who think La Quercia has a good thing going on. Paul Kahan, a five time James Beard Outstanding Chef nominee and the man behind the likes of Chicago’s Avec, Blackbird and The Publican says it better than we ever could.
“La Quercia is simply the best American cured ham. I met Herb Eckhouse before he was selling commercially at a farmers market in Iowa and have been supporting him ever since. He uses the finest raw ingredients to make the best cured ham.”
February 2014 Mantry | Coffee & A Smoke
Retox Vol. 2 // January 2014 Mantry
There’s two ways to approach a New Year, a kale acai smoothie and an elliptical at 6am or with what truly made you happy a month ago, booze, food and good friends. Mantry takes a stab at the latter as we raise our glass to celebrate six of America’s best booze-infused products.
Morris Kitchen // Ginger Syrup // Brooklyn, NY
Enjoying a well crafted cocktail doesn’t have to mean paying 15$ in a pretentious bar. Morris Kitchen’s handcrafted ginger syrup reminds us quality cocktails at home can be cheaper than coors light. Go for the Dark & Stormy, just fill a glass with ice, add 3 oz seltzer, ½ oz Ginger Syrup and lime. Slowly pour 2oz rum on top to keep color separate, garnish with a lime. Make a round of these and we promise nobody will care you may not have the proper glassware…
Butter & Scotch // Green Chile Margarita Corn // Brooklyn, NY
There’s small-batch and then there’s making every single batch on a tabletop popcorn maker in a makeshift Brooklyn kitchen using Hatch Chile peppers smuggled in from New Mexico. Due to Butter & Scotch’s tiny production capacity, we had to wait a couple months to feature this product..however we suggest you tear into this bag before anyone else in the house gets a crack at it.
Wondermade // Guinness Marshmallows // Orlando, FL
Short of some paranoid leprechaun tripping balls about kids after his lucky charms and inadvertently making marshmallow torches at a bonfire, your mallow experience is most likely minimal. Enter Nathan Clark, who after maybe one too many pints of Guinness, may have stumbled on the perfect light as air bar snack to Ireland’s true liquid based breakfast. Cozy up this winter with our take on the Irish Hot Chocolate..just add Bailey’s, these guinness marshmallows and a good mug (recipe: mantry.com).
Reginald’s // Bourbon Pecan Butter // Sabot, Virginia
Named after a childhood dog (not a boozehound), Andrew Brooker gives a nod to his favorite pooch by slipping some hooch into a batch of fresh roasted Virginia peanuts and pecans. Our call? Fire a banana atop a couple smears of pecan butter and fresh ciabatta, finish with a drizzle of good honey.
Dogfish Head Brewery // Hardtack Chowder // Rehoboth Beach, DE
If you’re a believer that the addition of beer makes most things better, you may be happy as a clam with this can. One of the nation’s most celebrated breweries Dogfish Head partnered with a local clam harvester and ripped the recipe for Herman Melville’s classic American novel “Moby Dick” to produce a whale of chowder. Sustainably harvested Quahog Clams, Pounded ship biscuits, and salted pork is enriched with butter. Just add 8 ounces of half and half and 3oz of brown ale (try Dogfish Palo Santo Marron) and simmer over low heat, a chance to tuck into a super bowl early.
Olli Salumeria // Calabrese Salami // Mechanicsville, Virginia
A fourth generation salumi maker slow curing world-class salami in small town Virginia? Believe it. It might not be the rolling foothills of Italy by Olli Comlignoli has a foothold on building an Artisan empire stateside. Based on 160 year old family recipes this salami gets a healthy pour of Sangiovese and a light smoking over Applewood. No need to reinvent the wheel here, your favorite bottle of red, good cheese and crusty bread.
January 2014 Mantry | Retox Vol. 2
Mountain Man // December 2013 Mantry
Before man exchanged coonskin caps and buckskins for Xbox and the snuggie, traders, trappers and sap tappers wandered the woods of America in search of their next meal. Mantry explores the nation to uncover six staples inspired by our rugged forefathers.
Mikuni Wild Harvest // Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup // Quebec, CAN
For many a self respecting woodsman, packing whiskey and maple syrup was as essential as a bushy beard and body odor. Maker Tyler Gray brings these two burly staples together to create barrel aged greatness. He begins with procuring the highest quality Maple syrup from heritage sugar shacks in the ancient maple orchards of Quebec. The syrup is then matured in charred American oak barrels from Tuthilltown Distillery (New York’s first whiskey distillery since the age of Prohibition) and finished off with a nip of fine Tuthilltown bourbon.
Buttermilk Pancakes // Dancing Deer Co. // Boston, MA
Trust us, nothing will silence your extended family during the holidays like a stack of syrup soaked flapjacks. Helping you recreate the serenity of nature around the breakfast table, Dancing Deer’s old fashioned buttermilk recipe reminds us the only thing light and fluffy about early pioneers were their pancakes.
Juniper Ridge // Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea // Sierra Nevada, California
Typically, if you discover a bearded guy distilling in a van in the woods, you’re probably going to go blind if you sip whatever he’s drinking, the exception is Juniper Ridge. Next to crafting award winning wild fragrances year round, Juniper also harvests Douglas Fir Tips once a year, every Spring. When steeped for ten minutes, the precise timing results in a drink with a subtle citrusy, forest aroma that was historically the primary source of vitamin C for local Native Americans. Need a go-to holiday cocktail? We got you covered with our Dougas Fir Gin & Soda (Visit Mantry.com/recipe).
Vermont Smoke & Cure // Pepperoni // Hinesburg, Vermont
With origins in a 250 year old woodland town literally chiseled from stone (immigrant Italian granite workers built the community) Vermont Smoke & Cure’s pepperoni recipe was able to satisfy some lofty expectations. Using age old techniques (Like smoking over corn cobs and maple wood) along with all natural ingredients the 50 year old smokehouse churns out Pepperoni that belongs more on a charcuterie plate rather than jammed beside a piece of cheddar at the gas station.
Real Steak Jerky // Chipotle Cracked Pepper // Naples, FL
Indigenous people helped tip off early european settlers on jerky, after pioneers recognized the need for a protein fuel that could be readily available during exploration.
Fast forward a couple centuries and two golfing buddies, Dennis Riedel and Blair Swiler finally decided to apply their natural tendency to slice to pieces of choice USDA meat. Unlike almost any other Jerky makers around, the two opt to use premium flank steak, marinating it in Chipotle (smoked jalapenos) and fresh cracked pepper. The result is a tender jerky that breaks away from the pack and makes a solid companion for another wilderness essential….beer.
Dragon’s Blood Elixir // Dragon’s Blood Elixir // Woodstock, Connecticut
Historically traded as potions to “cure one’s ills and prolong life” elixirs were all the rage for pioneers of the past. Although sauce boss Doug can’t confirm life altering health benefits, his concoction of of connecticut apples and habaneros is a cure-all for flavorless foods. Details Magazine even called it one of the “Best Undiscovered Hot Sauces in America”. For the big game, try benching Frank’s and mixing Dragon’s blood with a knob of melted butter to coat some wings (recipe: Mantry.com).
December 2013 Mantry | Mountain Man
Bacon Nation // November 2013 Mantry
America has been overrun by a bacon epidemic, but rising from the ashes of bacon frosting and bacon vodka comes a selection of makers who nailed the application of the nation’s favorite breakfast vice. Explore six degrees of bacon from some of the nation’s most talented indy food acts.
Empire Mayonnaise Co. // Bacon Mayo // Brooklyn, NY
Chefs, In-N-Out Burger, annoyingly good home cooks. Their burgers are great for two reasons: 1) Quality fresh ground beef (2) A secret sauce. Empire Bacon Mayo, could be the Morgan Freeman of burger condiments, subtly and artfully upgrading a collection of ingredients from good to great by being deceptively good in the supporting role. Chef Sam Mason and designer Elizabeth Valleau emulsified to give mayo the royal treatment using non-GMO oils and local, pasture-raised eggs. Visit mantry.com/recipes to see how we took a run at a Bacon Burger sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Stu’s Kitchen // Stu’s Bloody Mary // Chicago, IL
Like most truly revolutionary ideas, Stu’s Bloody Mary Mix was conceived over a booze-infused brunch, where two college buddies decided to take a stand after yet another flavorless Bloody Mary. Luckily, Stu was a Cordon Bleu trained chef who sweated in the kitchen of Alinea (the 15th best restaurant in the world right now) and Rudi had sweated out enough Bloody Mary’s to spot a good one. With the help of Stu’s see how we gave the Bloody Mary the Bacon treatment complete with the overkill Bacon Salt Rim (mantry.com/recipes)
Kevin Bacon Movie Pairing: Wild Things
Broadbent’s // Applewood Smoked Bacon // Kuttawa, KY
Since starting out in 1909, Broadbents has locked down over 14 Kentucky State Fair Championships, knocking down more Blue Ribbons than your friend from college who still demands everyone drink the cheapest beer in the bar.. Unlike traditional bacon, Broadbent’s is dry-cured the old-fashioned way with these slabs of pork belly being hand rubbed with their signature cure and smoked over Applewood. The result is a surprisingly good stir stick for a Stu’s Bloody Mary.
Vosges Haut Chocolate // Mo’s Uncured Bacon Caramel Toffee // Chicago, IL
Ask any top pastry chef in the country what the secret to elevating good chocolate is and they’ll most likely say salt. Which explains why Katrina Markoff isn’t just another hack pandering to the bacon craze sweeping the country after all. The graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris offers refuge from gutless chocolate to craft what can described as a baconized Skor bar, melty, crunchy, salty, meaty. The only thing that rivals devouring this bar straight up is crumbling it over ice cream with red head peanut brittle and crispy Broadbent’s to complete a Sundae fit for bacon folklore.
The Redhead // Bacon Peanut Brittle // New York, NY
Red hair occurs naturally on approximately 1–2% of the human population. So we can be almost certain that Louisiana native Meg Grace is the only redhead making Bacon Peanut Brittle, but we’re dead certain it’s the best around. Owner of, well, The Redhead, an East village watering hole serving up southern comfort food, Meg’s bar snack reached cult status and she began bagging it up a couple years back. Peanuts, natural cured bacon, cayenne, maple syrup, thyme. Planters? you’ve had a good run.
Bacon’s Heir // Pork Clouds // Atlanta, GA
From doughnuts to dogfood we officially live in a world where almost everything has been slapped with the artisan tag. Tackling one of the last frontiers, Brett Goodson reached for the sky and perfected the rolls royce version of that storied gas station staple, the fried pork rind. Made from salt cured pork skin fried in a special olive oil blend these light, fluffy crisps (also referred to as Chicharrón) provide the ultimate Beer companion. For more revolutionary ways to use Pork Clouds and all Mantry items, visit Mantry.com/recipes.
November 2013 Mantry | Bacon Nation
Hecho En America Vol. 2 // October 2013 Mantry
Sure, we have a soft spot for pounding coronas and 3am burritos, but we dug deeper to uncover six small-batch makers hawking Mexican inspired goodness north of the Rio Grande.
NW Elixir // Verde Hott // Portland, OR
Toss on a blindfold and walk the streets of Mexico City and you’ll find a life altering taco faster than a peeking cheater can hit a piñata at a birthday party. Part of the reason is properly made Salsa Verde. This revelation of roasted tomatillos, fiery serranos and fresh cilantro is traditionally mashed up in a molcajete (a mortar and pestle made of volcanic rock) and is a staple at most street carts south of the border. Up in Portland, Chef Andrew Garrett took a swing at replicating the stuff and has since cornered the market on mind blowing US of A Verde.
Just Cook // Ancho Rub // San Francisco, CA
Despite the proliferation of Old El Paso dust packets in households across America, 50 year old Scott Lucas decided to leverage 20 years of software sales experience and take a stand. Wait, what? A software guy making spice rubs? Yep, like the quiet kid in the corner of the class that secretly knows Karate, Scott has a knack for kicking things up. Ground ancho chiles (the dried version of a poblano, which originated in the Mexican state of Puebla) are cut with smoky chipotle and aromatic orange peel. Just rub on chicken or snapper, grill and toss in a tortilla with a stripe of Verde. Tasty and easy enough to execute after one too many tequilas.
Liber & Co. // Texas Grapefruit Shrub // Austin, TX
It can be tough to remember that tequila expands beyond the cuervo soaked college kids of Cancun and neon green blended slushies, but the “Paloma” is worth its salt. Traditionally, a combo of tequila, grapefruit soda and lime in a rimmed glass and more popular than margaritas in many areas of Mexico, we sub in Liber & Co’s Grapefruit Shrub. A shrub is an infusion of fruit, vinegar and sugar that traces back to American colonial days and a couple Texan boys pay tribute to their hometown grown Rio Star grapefruit with this one. Mix with soda for a fresh-off-the-tree brightness that’s fit to wash down any plate of chorizo and eggs (Paloma Recipe: Mantry.com/recipes)
Fiddyment Farms // Chili Lime Pistachios // Lincoln , CA
Recently turning 90 years young, David Fiddyment has definitely shelled a pistachio or two in his day and is not the gent you want to find yourself in a thumb war with. But you are going to want to get your hand on a cerveza and start chasing swigs with these zesty gems. A popular Oaxacan bar snack (traditionally roasted in pork fat) lime and chile flavored nuts can also be bartered off vendors throughout Mexico. We’d like to cheers this pistachio pioneer on 30 siesta-less years of growing, roasting and packing premium pistachios on his family farm in the heart of California.
Olive & Sinclair // Cinnamon Chili Bar // Nashville, TN
The Music City knows a thing or two about duets and producer Scott Witherow allows fragrant ceylon cinnamon and a hint of cayenne heat to play off each other in this handcrafted number. A recipe sampled from the Aztec and Mayan people, who would grind cocoa with spices and chile, Scott starts each bar off with whole beans that are slow roasted and stone ground. Around his tiny factory, Scott (who has a Grande diplome from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy) makes sweets with a distinctive Southern twang. Buttermilk White Chocolate?` Smoked Brittle? No need to find a golden ticket to celebrate.
Aurelia’s // Dry-Cured Chorizo // Boerne, TX
One of the most memorable parts of eating your way around Mexico are the breakfasts. Waking up steeped in a morning fog from one too many foamy beers the night before, it seems as if Mexican food was devised with a hangover in mind. Stumble up to any roadside stall and within minutes appears a plate of nourishing beans, sizzling eggs and garlicky chorizo all adorned with fresh pico de gallo. In a small town an hour north of Austin, Leslie Horne makes some of the best dry-cured chorizo in America, packing similar punch to the fresh Mexican variety. Slept through breaky? Nothing says ‘¡Vamos!’ at kickoff like chorizo nachos (Mantry.com/recipes)
October 2013 Mantry | Hecho En America Vol. 2
Craft Beer Belly // September 2013 Mantry
Don’t look now but everywhere from gas stations to sporting arenas have boarded the craft beer train. In celebration, Mantry rounded up a six pack of makers inspired by small-batch suds.
For our anniversary edition, Mantry would like to say thanks (and raise a glass) to everyone that has been involved in the past year.
SlantShack Jerky // Bronx Pale Ale Beef Jerky // New York, NY
Sure, Jerky and “Mantry” can be a cliché, but when we stumbled across (no comma) Dave Koretz and Josh Kace using sustainably raised grass-fed beef from Vermont Highland Cattle Company and craft beer for this artisan meat treat, we took notice . This dried and true rubdown includes a blend of locally sourced Bronx Pale Ale and Tin Mustard. Tear into a bag of this dehydrated goodness, while rehydrating with an ice cold brew and seeking refuge from that convenience store stuff.
Beer Flats // Porter Crackers // Cincinnati, OH
Beer and baking came hand in hand around 4000 BC in the Fertile Crescent, when an innovative Mesopotamian used beer instead of water in a recipe for grain cakes, the precursor to bread. Beer, clearly unhappy with being a “replacement” largely parted ways with baking, until Beer Flats’ Baron Maria Walley hopped in and brought the two back to their ancient culinary roots. She uses the malty complexity of beer mixed with whole grains to produce a sturdy flatbread cracker that can stand up nicely to our take on smoked salmon and mustard sauce (recipe: mantry.com).
P&H Soda Co. // Sarsaparilla Syrup // Brooklyn, NY
Sarsaparilla is small, deciduous woody vine, historically used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes which eventually stocked the shelves of Wild West saloons in the form of a soda in the 19th century. Commonly referred to as the “original” Root Beer, P&H’s take boasts a lighter, cleaner flavor extracted from the real thing with no chemical crap. We recommend introducing the float to adulthood by filling a frosted mug with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, Sarsaparilla and an ounce of Bourbon.
Liddabit Sweet // Beer & Pretzel Caramels // Brooklyn, NY
In a little nook in Brooklyn, a hustlin’ team of just five are measuring, cooking, dipping, and wrapping at one of the coolest treat shops in America. Knocking out everything from chewy candy bars that would have you snickering at a snickers to lollipops hand poured on bamboo sticks (which means no little sludgy bits of paper in your mouth). For these flavor hits, Brooklyn Brewery Ale is stirred into buttery caramel made with locally sourced Ronnybrook Dairy Cream. The final touch is chunks of salty Martin’s Pretzels, hand twisted and stone-hearth baked in the heart of Pennsylvania Amish country.
Anarchy In A Jar // Spiced Beer Jelly // Brooklyn, NY
Two things Brooklyn is really good at right now: beer and canning. Laena McCarthy packs both under one lid starting with Sixpoint Craft Ale and local apples from Terhune Orchards in Jersey, finishing things off by infusing the mix with exotic spices like grains of paradise and black cardamom. Revel in this smearable beer by swiping some on a Beer Flat with a hunk of aged cheddar or enjoy the only PB & Jelly sandwich that mom wouldn’t have snuck in your school lunch box.
Broadbent’s // Dry Cured Bacon // Kuttawa, KY
A still sunrise, a mug of strong coffee and the aroma of bacon crisping in cast iron might as well be an American pastime and Broadbent’s has been woven into many such moments since starting out in 1909. The proof is in the pork, with over 14 Kentucky State Fair Championships including a Grand Champion Ham that was auctioned off to charity for 1.6 million in 2010. Unlike traditional bacon, Broadbent’s is dry-cured the old-fashioned way with every slab of pork belly being hand rubbed with a special cure. The result is a bacon salty in nature that plays perfectly layered between gooey brie, pear and spiced beer jelly on crusty bread.
September 2013 Mantry | Craft Beer Belly
Italian American Picnic // August 2013 Mantry
Like turtlenecks, picnics are rarely associated with masculinity, but when pulled off correctly can elevate any being to a Class A gentlemen. We know we’re not here to tell you how to live your life but we humbly submit lounging horizontal in the sun and drinking crisp bubbly as one of summer’s great pleasures. So we lined up an Italian inspired spread from a handful of the nation’s most talented makers, now all you gotta do is choose your dining room.
Sfoglini Pasta Shop // Cavatelli // Brooklyn, NY
“Sfoglini are generations of ladies in Bologna who make pasta by hand.” explains head honcho Steve Gonzalez whose pedigree includes primping pasta at El Raco de Can Fabes, a Three Star Michelin spot in Spain. Steve and his partner Scott give a nod to this tradition of handmade pasta, pumping out seasonal varieties using American semolina flour and locally sourced ingredients like wild foraged ramps and Bronx Brewery Ale. This Cavatelli’s curved shape and long rolled edge helps hold thicker sauce, so no reason to look any further than Nonna’s Sweet Sauce, some fresh torn mozzarella and basil (equally as good at room temp).
Nonna’s Sweet Sauce // Spicy & Sweet // New York, NY
Posing the question of what an Italian grandmother, a Venezuelan expat and a native New Yorker have in common sounds like the setup for a tasteless joke, but it’s actually the recipe for one of the tastiest small-batch tomato sauces in America. No this isn’t some East Side Mario’s schtick, “Nonna” actually exists, hailing from Brooklyn by way of Calabria she raised co-owner Michael on her family table tested recipe. Jorge found a seat at that table and the trio has been turning out home-made sauces using vine-ripened New Jersey tomatoes ever since.
Tartufo Salami // Creminelli // Salt lake City, UT
Truffles. For a short stint truffle oil was getting used and abused in restaurants across the nation as a quick and dirty reason to ring up the price tag on underwhelming pungent risottos and dollops of potato purée. It’s easy to forget that the delicate, earthy aroma of truffles when used correctly heightens pork to luxurious levels. Meat maestro Christiano Creminelli helps his pigs fly by hand tying and slowly curing local heritage pork with a blend of spices and black summer truffles. Nominated for two national specialty food awards both for outstanding meat product and outstanding new product Cristiano passes his skills he learned from his father to a lawn near you.
Tuscan Chèvre // Bell Chevre // Elkmont, AL
You know those pictures of Southern Italy — the ones where rolling hills are painted with winding roads, and free running animals dot the countryside like some photoshopped fairy tail? Well it was rural Alabama. If you turn up the right dusty road in Limestone county, you’ll arrive at the hand crafted haven of Tasia Malakasis, a native Alabamian (gracing the cover) who’s trophy case trumps even the state’s college football programs with over 50 awards from famed institutions. Recruit these marinated medallions of farmstead fromage for a simple arugula salad or smear on bread with tartufo salami and hatch chile pesto.
Hatch Chile Pesto // Gracious Gourmet // Bridgewater, CT
It’s a long way from Genoa to New Mexico, but the birthplace of Pesto meets it’s hatch in this American take on the Italian staple. You know a chile has a rabid following when it’s national festival manages to attract 30,000 visitors to the stifling sands of Hatch Valley, NM each August. Nancy Wekselbaum is graciously drinking the Kool-Aid of these chile-heads and has developed a unique hatchling spun off from traditional pesto that showcases southwestern flavours. We would go goat cheese and hatch chile panino or simply tossed with some spaghettini and pecorino.
Parmesan & Rosemary Popcorn // Quinn Popcorn // Woburn, MA
Quinn founders Coulter and Kristy have been poppin’ off of late catching a new wave in popcorn game. Overhauling from bag to hull, the two decided it was time for zappable corn to clean up it’s act, introducing chemical free bags and Non-GMO organic kernels coated in actual ingredients (eureka!) to nuke the competition. What’s left is a salty, herbaceous bowl that pairs equally as well with Shawshank as it does champagne.
August 2013 Mantry | Italian American Picnic
Indian Summer // July 2013 Mantry
Classifying the regionally diverse, expansive cuisine of 1.2 Billion people as “Indian Food” is about as descriptive a blanketing Beethoven’s 5th Symphony as “noise”. So is this authentic? Probably not. But we tracked down 5 artisan makers capturing at least a sliver of the vibrant, aromatic and flat out electric flavors of India stateside. Put the take out menu back in the drawer and have at it.
Tipu’s Chai // Missoula, Montana
You mention Montana and most people think Marlboro man-esque characters on sweeping cattle ranges and A River Runs Through It. Well, Bipin Patel has been on a one man mission trying to make big sky country big chai country ever since he set up shop in ’97 and started churning out authentic indian goodness in Missoula. Patel creates spicy bold blends along side his Nestle Quik-ified version that doesn’t skimp on quality but packs pure convenience. Take a cue from a nation that knows a thing or two about quenching thirst, just follow the instruction on the side of the bottle and get swept away to Montana or Mumbai, wherever you prefer.
Tamarind Fusion Granola // Granola Lab // Brooklyn, NY
Granola is no stranger to the usual suspects of birkenstocks, brown sugar, maple syrup and dried fruit. But Granola Lab stirs things up with Tamarind, the sticky, sweet and sour pod like fruit found throughout India. We recommend topping off a dollop of greek yoghurt with granola, pistachios, fresh grapefruit and a drizzle of honey, wash it all down with an iced Tipu’s Chai to spice up any rise and shine ritual.
Carolina Plantation // Aromatic Rice // Darlington, South Carolina
Rice? Yes we sent rice. One of the most understated and unappreciated aspect of Indian meals. Good rice and bad rice exists …. and the gents down at Carolina Plantation are growing as good a crop as anywhere in the country. In 1997, Campbell Coxe had a rice day and planted 20 acres on his family farm near Darlington, South Carolina. Boasting the highest rating on the aromatic scale, the rich soil, climate, water and northern latitude makes Carolina Plantation Rice the perfect landing pad for Calcutta Kitchens sauces.
Calcutta Kitchens // Coconut Coriander Simmer Sauce // Norwalk, CT
Aditi Goswani packs 20 years of travel and tutelage into her small batched sauces. Short of jumping a flight to the bustling back alley’s of West Bengal she wings you on crafting Calcutta in your own kitchen. There’s no shame emptying the contents of a jar especially when few people have a chance in hell of replicating the delicate, aromatic nuances of these sauces. We recommend firing chicken into the Tikka and prawns to the Coconut Coriander Simmer Sauce, just don’t forget to nab some naan bread to sop up the leftovers.
Curry Salami // Chop Butchery & Charcuterie // Portland, OR
Don’t look now, but a new frontier of old world style salami slingers are butchering, hanging and curing meats all across America. At Chop Butchery, located inside City Market in NW Portland, Eric Finley cranks out top-notch salami in limited 50 lb batches to ensure optimum quality. His Curry infused stick is a no brainer with an IPA or any ice cold brew.
July 2013 Mantry |Indian Summer
Breakfast With Pops // June 2013 Mantry
At your age, he was most likely cooler than you, could drink you under the table and talk his way into more places.… He used a straight razor out of necessity and built things like dog houses. Here’s a pretty good reason to ditch the embroidered towels and make a gesture from scratch.
Noble Maple Syrup // Mikuni Wild Harvest // Quebec, Canada
Whether it’s a the morning after a summer bender, the first morning your girl crashed at the house or when he wanted you to chop wood for the next 12 hours, Dad seemed to be genetically predisposed to prepare breakfast at precisely the opportune time. Return the favor with a short stack doused with this matured maple syrup which packs all the complexities of a fine whiskey. To avoid being too sappy, this medium amber grade maple syrup from the heritage sugar shacks of Quebec is enriched by the buttery apple-like flavor of chamomile and the smooth finish of Tahitian Vanilla…
Stone Ground Buckwheat Pancake Mix // Burnt Cabins Grist Mill // Burnt Cabins, PA
There’s “The Old-Fashioned Way” then there’s genuinely stone grinding whole grain with original millstones since 1750. This family owned operation is one of the last grist mills in America still putting their nose to the grindstone to mill genuine buckwheat, considered a gluten-free, nutritional superfood. Aside from buckin’ up your health game, if you Flapjack up your morning routine, you may find yourself siding with the late American Journalist John Gunther’s notion that “All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.”
Steven Smith Tea // Steven Smith Teamaker // Portland, OR
Steven Smith is a crafty tea maker whose taste buds are behind some of America’s most recognized tea brands. He launched Stash in the early 1970’s and Tazo which he sold to Starbucks in 1999 before retiring to the French countryside. But “after a year of wearing scarves and eating lunch for two hours” this vet came out of the bullpen one more time and brought his passion back to Portland, where he handcrafts tea in small batches from a 100-year-old former blacksmith shop.
Drunken Monkey Jam // The Jam Stand // Brooklyn, NY
If a sun baked, Tommy Bahamas clad Dad was holding a scone instead of umbrella accented Mai-Tai, this jam would be on that scone. The talented ladies responsible for Brooklyn’s Jam Stand add a nosh of cane rum to a cleverly concocted base of banana and fresh lime juice. Use to top off your cakes or swap out for Grape Jelly in a PB & J.
Skillet Bacon Spread // Skillet Street Food // Seattle, WA
Whether you dig eating 9$ Kimchi Hot Dogs out of a van or not, there’s no denying some of the most innovative eats in America are originating out of food trucks and Skillet is no exception. While slangin’ Bacon Jam packed burgers from a vintage airstream trailer, Josh Henderson actually listened to the “dude you should totally bottle this” guy and the rest is bacon history. Best served warm, mix into hashbrowns or a fried egg and avocado sandwich, or scope some more uses at mantry.com
HalfPops // Halfpops // Woodinville, WA
In 2000, Mike Fitzgerald became the 3rd American Race Car Driver in history to win the Porsche Cup awarded to the world’s top professional Porsche driver. In 2009, Fitzgerald became the 1st American Race Car Driver in history to call out Orville Redenbacher for overcooking his Popcorn. In one of the great career pivots in history, Fitzgerald is now the outright champ of half-popped kernels. Plunk down in front of the game and chase a couple handfuls with a couple cold beers and that time-tested language used to bond father and child: sports.
June 2013 Mantry |Breakfast With Pops
Smoke & Whiskey // May 2013 Mantry
Woodford Reserve Bourbon Sorghum Vinaigrette // Bourbon Barrel Foods // Louisville, KY
Sure, Bourbon from a glass is pretty damn good, but have you tried it on Bibb lettuce? Well, a purebred Kentucky native offers up as good a reason as any to spike your salad. Made in Louisville, this dressing contains pure Kentucky sorghum syrup, a labor intensive southern staple similar to molasses — that has been cultivated by family mills in the south since the 1850’s. The sweet complexity of sorghum is mixed with Woodford Reserve, apple cider vinegar and tabasco assuring bbq guests will show up for the steak but leave talking about the salad.
Bourbon Smoked Peppercorns // Bourbon Barrel Foods // Louisville, KY
Matt Jamie uses Bourbon Barrel Staves to slow smoke cracked peppercorns taking pepper in the opposite direction of those sand shakers adorning diner tables. Sub in early and often for regular pepper to add a wispy hint of smoke. We recommend dressing down some arugula with bourbon sorghum vinaigrette to cap off a Smoked Pepper Crusted Steak Sarnie on crusty bread.
Salted Bourbon Goat’s Milk Caramel // Fat Toad Farm // Brookfield, Vermont
We are hard-pressed to find a product teeming with more passion, dedication and commitment than what’s captured in each jar of Fat Toad Farm “Cajeta”. There’s “Artisan” and then there’s raising your own goats in central Vermont, milking them, then standing over copper pots for hours on end reducing down the milk until the sugars naturally caramelize to produce this mexican answer to dulce de leche. Add a little Bourbon and Sea Salt for good measure and this tangy grassy caramel is on the cutting edge of what we’re coining as the “teat to table” movement.
Bourbon Marshmallows // Wondermade // Orlando, FL
Short of some paranoid leprechaun tripping balls about kids after his lucky charms and inadvertently making marshmallow torches at a bonfire, your mallow experience is most likely minimal. Enter Nathan Clark, who believes every sidekick deserves to be the hero (well except Robin of course) and started handcrafting magic in Orlando. If you’re still wondering why the hell we sent you marshmallows, just try them in a Goat Caramel S’more Slider (recipe Mantry.com)
Bourbon Nib Brittle // Olive & Sinclair // Nashville, Tennessee
Scotty WItherow is a standup guy with a stand out Southern Chocolate shop that’s hand roasting and stone grinding single origin cacao beans in the music city. Witherow trained in England at Le Cordon Bleu, the Fat Duck and Nobu before combining cacao beans aged in old barrels from local distilleries and bourbon to bang out this buttery bliss. Upgrade some store bought vanilla ice cream for your girl by swirling in some broken brittle and Fat Toad Caramel, arguably more flattering than dropping “Your the only Ten-I-See” around Nashville.
Natural Summer Sausage // Vermont Smoke & Cure // Hinesburg, Vermont
Deciding the pre-made refrigerated gas station burger was a lost cause, Chris Bailey took a run at another ubiquitous pit stop offering and set out to upgrade the Summer Sausage. Scratch made in small batches using all natural meats from local farms, Bailey has somehow made the age old combo of crackers, sharp cheddar, summer sausage and an ice cold beer…better.
May 2013 Mantry |Smoke & Whiskey
Awards Night // April 2013 Mantry
Smoked Onion Jam // Blackberry Farm // Walland, TN
It was a no brainer to go back to back on Blackberry Farm when we tasted this slow cooked combo of smoked Georgia vidalia onions, sherry vinegar and benne seeds (southern for sesame). Consider it your go to condiment to dress up any down home eats, from beefing up a burger to elevating a grilled cheese sanny.
In May, The James Beard Awards (aka. the Oscars for food) showcases some of the top chefs and restaurants in America. Mantry brings you six can’t miss products from past winners and nominees.
Buttermilk & Sage Brined Fried Chicken Mix // Blackberry Farm // Walland, TN
Boasting a butchery, a brewery, a creamery, several gardens, and two restaurants on site, Blackberry Farm is a culinary compound in the foothills of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. Not a bad team to have in your corner for Sunday supper, just follow the back of the bag for a surefire crowd pleaser.
Sweet Potato Habanero Sauce // Cochon // New Orleans, LA
Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski have dotted the Louisiana dining scene such that you can eat your way through NOLA and never visit a joint not run by them. Tuck into gumbo at Herbsaint and crawfish pie at Cochon or hunker down over housemade charcuterie and some of the best sandwiches in the south at the neighboring Cochon Butcher. Use this unique sweet potato heat to bring a lil’ bayou to your Blackberry Farm Fried Chicken or wake up a plate of eggs.
Pork Rub // Hot Hot Fish Club // Birmingham, AL
Chef Chris Hastings is celebrated for bringing modern refinement to Southern ingredients, working closely with local farmers and gulf fisherman to churn out plates that netted him the 2012 JB award for Best Chef South. This gent has also spent enough time in Bama to know a thing or two about pork. Guarded almost as closely as Nick Saban’s playbook, his house blend is a smoky rub that will perk up anything from ribs to a blackened fish taco.
Som Drinking Vinegar // Pok Pok // Portland, OR
Andy Ricker has done for American Thai Food what mall food courts haven’t. His Portland joint Pok Pok, which recently set up outposts in NYC is an institution that’s properly introducing America to Northern Thai Cuisine. People flock for his fiery and fragrant dishes armed with authentic flavors foreign to the ubiquitous take-out variety, washing it all down with refreshing gulps of Pok Pok Som which is served in all of Ricker’s restaurants. Drinking vinegars actually date back to the colonial era in the US when they were commonly referred to as “shrubs”. Ricker suggests 4:1 soda to Som or nab a Pok Pok cocktail recipe at Mantry.com.
Acorn Borsellino Salami // La Querica // Norwalk, IA
Paul Kahan, a five time James Beard Outstanding Chef nominee and the man behind the likes of Chicago’s Avec, Blackbird and The Publican shares one of his favorite artisan meat producers in America.
“La Quercia is simply the best American cured ham. I met Herb Eckhouse before he was selling commercially at a farmers market in Iowa and have been supporting him ever since. He uses the finest raw ingredients to make the best cured ham.”
April 2013 Mantry |Awards Night
Georgia On My Mind // March 2013 Mantry
Stripling General Store // Pork Jerky // Cordele, GA
For 45 years the Stripling’s team has been raising fresh whole hogs out back and selling hand-crafted sausage out front of their original country general store. Family built over three generations, this roadside stop’s peppery pork jerky is far from general, outmatched only by the store’s slogan “You Never Sausage A Place”.
Pearson Farms // Georgia Pecans // Crawford, GA
Can a lazy day watching March Madness actually be approved upon? Well, sub in a couple pints & pecans for that guy complaining the #11 seed screwed his bracket and there’s a shot. Pearson Farm Pecans get shelled out everywhere from michelin star joints like Per Se in Manhattan to man caves across the Empire State South. Crack em’ like a local: squeeze two together in the palm of your hands and chase with a frosty brew and college sports.
Savannah Bee Co. // Raw Honeycomb // Savannah, GA
Boasting a bio and awards mantle that parallels the The Karate Kid Savannah Bee founder Ted Dennard boasts an unparalleled dedication to unique single-origin honey native to the South. Ted was a 12-year old boy on his father’s Coastal Georgia property when a battered old pickup carrying beehives rattled into his life. Luckily the truck was also carrying Roy Hightower, an elderly beekeeper who taught Dennard the sweet science. 100% edible, treat honeycomb as you would honey, but for a recipe that’s the bees knees: 1) Mix pecans, honeycomb and salted butter in a food processor 2) Turn out on plastic wrap, roll into a log and chill 3) Capp off a batch of hotcakes with a coin and your guest will surely be buzzin’.
Nora Mills Granary // “Georgia Ice Cream” Grits // Helen, GA
We’ve invented the lightbulb and put a man on the moon but when it comes to grits, humanity can’t top the process of a water-powered grist mill, stone-grinding local corn to order. Luckily for Nora Mills they haven’t flinched on the process, as these old hand baggin’ sons of b’s have been up to the same old tricks in the North Georgia Mountains since 1876. New to grits? All good, it cooks up like oatmeal and you don’t even have to rely on us because top chef judge and award-winning Georgia Chef Hugh Acheson helped out and offered up his recipe for Shrimp & Grits (recipe: mantry.com)
Georgia Olive Farms // Arbequina Olive Oil // Lakeland, GA
Georgia is as synonymous with olive oil as Naples is with Nascar, but Jason Shaw has been turning heads since since turning out the first harvest of EVOO east of the Mississippi in 150 years. Leading chefs agree it’s worth the wait as gents like Sean Brock and Hugh Acheson have taken notice to Shaw’s commitment to quality, popping bottles of his small-batch, cold-pressed, extra virgin oil for their patrons.
Southern Soul BBQ // Hot Georgia Soul // St Simons Island, GA
From Powerball tickets to moon pies many of life’s cheap thrills are had at a gas station. You just don’t always expect to find the best damn BBQ in the state. That’s exactly what’s going down at the most decorated joint in Georgia Southern Soul BBQ, where a 1955 pit stop has been revamped into a refuge for all thing wood-fired and slow-cooked. Although we don’t endorse open-fire cooking in your home kitchen, we highly recommend tossing this sauce on some ribs and hosting a sud fueled shindig for your mates.
March 2013 Mantry | Georgia On My Mind
Retox // February 2013 Mantry
Reginald’s Bourbon Pecan Butter // Sabot, Virginia
Named after a childhood dog (not a boozehound), Andrew Brooker gives a nod to his favorite pooch by slipping some hooch into a batch of fresh roasted Virginia peanuts and pecans. Our call? Get some crusty ciabatta and go Elvis with a Grilled Bourbon Pecan Banana Sandwich.
Creminelli Whiskey Salami // Salt Lake City, UT
Hailing from a state where 63% of the population is mormon, in a few short years, High West Distillery has been able to grab some high praise of it’s own. In 2007, High West became the first distillery in the state since 1870 and it didn’t take long for Creminelli to take notice and call them in off the bench. The combo of one of the nation’s top distilling little guys and an artisan salami powerhouse has made this duo the Utah grog and hog equivalent of Stockton and Malone.
Jack Rudy Tonic // Charleston, SC
If 2 L plastic bottles of Tonic are the bottom shelf, you’re surely going to need a step ladder to reach Jack Rudy Small Batch. This concentrate features the traditional ingredient of quinine paired with lemongrass and orange peel to create a concoction that dates back to the early 19th century. British officers sought the malaria fighting benefits of quinine but often mixed it’s extract with gin in order to make the drink more palatable. Look no further than Hendrick’s Gin and the recipe on the side of the bottle to re-discover the Gin & Tonic.
Ovenly Bacon Caramel Corn // Brooklyn, NY
Smoky bacon from the pasture-raised hogs of award-winning Benton’s Country Hams is tossed with organic popcorn and smothered in a Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale caramel. The greatest thing in caramel corn since the worst thing, Cracker Jack last year debuting their caffeinated popcorn aptly named “Cracker Jack’d”.
Scarpetta Tuscan Vodka Sauce // Lynn, MA
Douse some penne in this stuff and take satisfaction in completely pulling the wool over the eyes of your guests. It helps to fire in some shrimp and finish with fresh herbs. Massachusetts makers “Sauces ‘n Love” take care of the sauce and the love, so you can get sauced and spend more time at the table rather than the stovetop.
Brooklyn Brine Hop-Pickle // Brooklyn, NY
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Brooklyn Brine have collaborated on a “first-of-its-kind culinary leap of taste”, well… it’s a damn good Pickle. The all-natural, earthy Hop-Pickle is made with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, caramelized onions and Cascade hops and is packaged by hand in Brooklyn Brine’s small artisanal kitchen. Consider going full hipster and knock back a “pickleback” by chasing 1 ounce whiskey with an ounce of pickle juice, full sleeve tattoo and inner urge to be a barista is sure to follow.
Bourbon Marshmallows // Wondermade // Orlando, FL
Short of some paranoid leprechaun tripping balls about kids after his lucky charms and inadvertently making marshmallow torches at a bonfire, your mallow experience is most likely minimal. Enter Nathan Clark, who believes every sidekick deserves to be the hero (well except Robin of course) and started handcrafting magic in Orlando. If you’re still wondering why the hell we sent you marshmallows, just try them in a Goat Caramel S’more Slider (recipe Mantry.com)
“Retox” | February 2013 Mantry
Hecho En America // January 2013 Mantry
Wade through the beefy, cheesy gorditas and volcano sauce doused liquor sponges and you can find that America has not entirely mutated Mexican cuisine. We sussed out six craft makers who are fighting the good fight.
Olo’s Chipotle // Seattle, WA
2012 saw Frank’s Red Hot and Sriracha have a dominant reign on the oh sh*t I need flavor category of condiments. We introduce Olo’s. Tessa’s Lowe is a one woman wrecking crew combing the smoky, complexity of Chipotle with the accessibility of toothpaste. Our call on Gameday? Mexican Street Corn: 1) Grill off some cobs 2) Slather on chipotle mayo 3) Roll in cojita cheese 4) Serve with a wedge of lime and a Tecate.
La Esquina // New York, NY
Ask somebody in NYC about La Esquina and they’ll most likely tell you about how it’s historically hard to grab a table. Rightfully so, the cavernous room downstairs hosts a 1:1 Model to mind-blowing dish ratio with the bar boasting a tequila list that reads like an Applebee’s menu in length. Thankfully, you can at least jump the line for a taste, with this new line of small batch charred salsas.
Rancho Gordo Beans // Napa, CA
You may be wondering why the hell we chose to include dried beans, well Mantry believes in treating guys like home cooks not cavemen. Although it would be easy to offer an endless assault of jerky and convenience store cuisine, we frankly think you’re better than that. Also, these beans are world-class stalk popping up at the 3 Michelin Star French Laundry Restaurant and on the esteemed Saveur Magazine 100 list. In cooking, they are Aurelia’s perfect one night stand. Visit Mantry.com for a dead simple Bean and Chorizo soup recipe that can double as laid-back dinner date or hearty hangover cure.
Aurelia’s Chorizo // Boerne, Texas
This Mexican meat in tube form is as ubiquitous as 16 year old girls with braided hair in the Cancun airport. Found from dawn to dusk either fried up beside huevos in the AM or nestled between tortillas after the open bar ends, chorizo is a street food staple. Aurelia’s offers the Spanish influenced version, a close cousin that upholds all the smoky, spicy elements along with benefiting from the added depth of being dry-cured for 3 weeks.
San Angel Mole // Los Angeles, CA
Typically you’re gonna wanna steer clear of products with 25 ingredients, however Tim McCarthy’s San Angel Mole is a rare exception. In Mexico, Mole is most common in the central and southern regions of Puebla and Oaxaca, where seven unique versions of the sauce originate utilizing ingredients such as pumpkin seeds, chili peppers and dark chocolate. In America, nobody in their right mind should trust a guy named Tim to replicate this authentic sauce, but don’t sweat it. This Gringo worked his way around some of LA’s most respected kitchens and uses his wife Florence Guerrero’s family Mole Negro recipe. Do the “wa-ha-ka” buy grabbing the recipe off the side of the jar or more at Mantry.com
Hernán Hot Chocolate // Del Rio, Texas
Stone ground by local artisans in the Mayan Region of Chiapas (an area known historically for nailing cocoa but not calendar predictions) HERNÁN offers the opportunity to experience this regional specialty without having to do all that smuggling stuff. Take a pass on those powder packets and melt one square in a cup of hot milk. Authentically, a Molinillo (wooden whisk) is used, but the American variety or blender will get that frothy finish you want. Try with a nip of your favorite liquor, like completely un-authentic Frangelico.
January 2013 Mantry |Hecho En America
Into The Wild // December 2012 Mantry
Because wandering alone into the Wilderness isn’t as fun as getting drunk with your family (usually). Mantry has scoured from Sitka, Alaska to the Sierra Nevada to uncover the top-shelf craft, artisan and small batch makers from places you’ve probably never been.
Douglas Fir Spring Tip Tea // Juniper Ridge // Sierra Nevada, California
Typically, if you discover a bearded guy distilling in a van in the remote foothills, you’re probably going to go blind if you drink whatever he’s serving, the exception is Juniper Ridge. Next to crafting award winning wild fragrances year round, JR harvests Douglas Fir Tips once a year, every Spring. When steeped for ten minutes, the precise timing results in a drink with a subtle citrusy, forest aroma that was historically the primary source of vitamin C for local Native Americans. That is before they started crushing Emergen-C packets.
Birch Syrup Caramel // Kahiltna Birchworks // Palmer, Alaska
In some Birch Syrup equivalent of Hall and Oates the duo Dulce and Michael East have been cranking out smooth, silky goodness for over 23 years. This stuff is rare. Of the 3000 gallons of syrup being slanged worldwide, Kahiltna Birchworks accounts for half. This is probably because trees have to be hand-tapped in the freezing wilderness and it takes 100 gallons of evaporated sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup. Spoon some warm over coffee ice cream with a sprinkle of Alderwood salt and you too will be makin’ dreams come true.
Alder Smoked Sea Salt // Alaska Pure Sea Salt Co. // Sitka, Alaska
One morning, Jim and Darcy Michener awoke to find salt forming on the surface of a pan of sea water they’d left on their cabin stove overnight. Luckily this sparked an idea (not a fire) and for the next 10 years the two tweaked turning buckets of pristine Gulf of Alaska water into a flaked salt that has graced the tables of some of the nations top restaurants. Jim, that old salty dog, was not only the Wilderness Survival Instructor for the US Coast Guard but NFL locker room legend. Indianapolis Colt Lineman Rick Demulling would often rile up his teammates telling the ’07 tale of a fateful fishing trip when Jim (his guide at the time) ditched his rod, gaffed a free swimming Pink Salmon and bit it’s head off. Jim, who happens to be a salt of the earth type of a guy, was “more impressed Rick drank 30 beers”.
Buffalo Strips // Gary West Meats // Jacksonville, Oregon
Other than the fact they don’t have to root for the Jaguars, the folks of Jacksonville, Oregon are thankful that they have one of the nation’s best jerky makers. Since 1966, Gary West Meats has been quietly shrinking, smoking and straight west coastin’ premium cuts of meat into hand-crafted strips of heaven. The product still adheres to the local recipes of the original pioneer town, using simple local ingredients and smoking over Pear and Hickory wood. If it’s Christmas morning… hide…this…now.
Honey Lavender BBQ Sauce // Motherlode Provisions // Gold Hill, Colorado
Originally a mining camp (go figure), Gold Hill was the site of the first major discovery of Gold during the 1859 Colorado Rush. The dusty road, rocky mountain town 8,300 feet in the sky was also where local Leland Oxley unearthed one of the burliest uses of Lavender in recent memory. Slather on Baby-Back-Ribs or drop a nip into baked beans, it’s also a damn respected stain on your white t-shirt in mining country.
December 2012 Mantry |“Into The Wild”
Thank You, New England // November 2012 Mantry
Vermont Smoke & Cure Pepperoni // Hinesburg, Vermont
Although the words smoking and curing are rarely used in the same sentence, a couple folks in in Vermont have been on fire since ’62. With origins literally chiseled from stone (Italian granite workers built the community) Vermont Smoke & Cure was founded off the realization that the pepperoni needed to meat some pretty lofty expectations. Time consuming techniques(Like the 70 year old steez of smoking over corn cobs and maple wood), along with all natural ingredients lead to a Pepperoni that belongs on a charcuterie plate rather than jammed beside a piece of cheddar at a gas station.
Coop’s Micro-creamery Hot Fudge // Watertown, Massachusetts
Marc “Coop” Cooper has been packing heat for 28 years in Watertown, just a cardigan’s throw from those wicked smaht Harvard Law Kids. Who he must have had cooped up for a couple days to get a 1993 Patent on his “drippy lid design”. Our advice? Feed the masses Massachusetts style: 1) Unload a bucket of ice cream in the biggest bowl you got 2) toss in a handful of candied nuts and spoons 3) Zap the fudge for 10 seconds and do your best Jackson Pollock.
Dave’s Coffee Syrup // Charlestown, Rhode Island
Rhode Island may not know what the hell an island is, but the locals sure know Coffee Milk. So much so that on July 29, 1993 the bevvy narrowly beat out Del’s Lemonade (who let’s face it, looked soft that night) as the Official State Drink. Puritans mix 8 ounces of cold milk with 3 tablespoons of Syrup and for 70 years locals siphoned back the regular grade fuel known as Autocrat. Enter Dave who decided to offer a high octane, handmade equivalent to Autocrat derived from small batch roasted beans with no artificial sweeteners and most importantly, no fake colors (something that can’t be said about the Jersey locals to the south).
Quinn’s Vermont Maple & Sea Salt Popcorn // Woburn, Massachusetts
After observing years of popping, denial and generally reckless behavior, Quinn founders Coulter and Kristy decided to hold an intervention and finally clean-up microwave corn. Coulter explained Ol’ Orville’s recipe had a some PFOA, PFCs, Poly and GMOs but we just took his word for it when he said he wanted to “Quit putting that shit in people’s bodies”. After overhauling from bag to hull, Quinn (named after Coulter’s son) leveraged the celebrated team of Nebraska Corn Huskers and Kentucky Ched heads to nuke the competition.
Dragon’s Blood Elixir // Woodstock, Connecticut
Doug Crane, is hot sauce folklore, his elusiveness has gained him the nickname “The Whooping Crane” and he respects ingredients in their natural habitat enough to use Connecticut habaneros and apples to produce what Details Magazine called one of “America’s Best Undiscovered Hot Sauces”. Eggs, pizza and if you’re in college, your best friend’s eyelid (who just passed out), is highly recommended.
Bar Harbor Clam Chowder// Bar Harbor, Maine
Obviously we’re not going to cover New England without a Chowd reference, but this one isn’t corny. This is certainly not the famous corn chowder of nearby New Hampshire, but it’s the best damn canned chowder we could find. For the locals, who spend more time breaking down chowder than Belichick spends on game film, a bowl of Bar Harbor has been the Maine attraction for over 85 years.
November 2012 Mantry |“Thank You, New England”
Born In The USA // October 2012 Mantry
Stu’s Bloody Mary // Chicago, IL
Like most truly revolutionary ideas, Stus Bloody Mary Mix was conceived over a booze-infused brunch, where two college buddies decided to take a stand after yet another flavourless Bloody Mary. Luckily, Stu was a Cordon Bleu-trained chef who sweated in the kitchen of Alinea (the 7th best restaurant in the world) and Rudi had sweated out enough Bloody Mary’s to spot a good one.
Clancy’s Fancy // Ann Arbour, Michigan
Pie-eyed Delta Phi Polo Poppers have had the pleasure of dousing Clancy’s Fancy on grease laden goodness since 1979. Hailing from within a beer pong shot of the Big House in Ann Arbour Michigan, it’s time to blow the top off one of the best undiscovered sauces in America. Clancy concocted the sauce out of desperation while at international boarding school in Ireland. She was forced to sneak exotic spices from her Asian, African and Central American classmates to liven up the Irish fare that had less bells and whistles than a Sinead O’connor Video. In true Ann Arbor fashion, use liberally on a plate of eggs or in a bowl of guac.
Half Pops // Woodinville, WA
In 2000, Mike Fitzgerald became the 3rd American Race Car Driver in history to win the Porsche Cup awarded to the world’s top professional Porsche driver. In 2009, Fitzgerald became the 1st American Race Car Driver in history to call out Orville Redenbacher for overcooking his Popcorn. This all lead to one of the great career pivot’s in history since Sly Stallone started hawking a line of high protein pudding (we’re working on it). Half pops helps you battle through The Notebook as a movie snack or doubles as a great ingredient in Salted Caramel Crunch that you’ll probably never make for your girlfriend (see Mantry.com).
Blue Ox Jerky // Troy, Michigan
Widely known for beating on weaker gas station jerky and fleecing it for its lunch money since 2011, Blue Ox is a divine bovine garnish to beef up a Stu’s Bloody Mary to be shared with the boys.
Olive & Sinclair // Nashville, Tennessee
These days, the word Artisan gets thrown around more than a Dolly Parton boob joke in Nashville, but rest assured Olive & Sinclair is the real-deal and it’s spectacular. Scotty Witherow Stone grinds every batch offering the first raw cocoa to bar process in the South, not to be confused with the raw coca leaf to bar process crafted by many young NYC investment bankers, most weekends.
Sir Kensington’s // Brooklyn, NY
No one has ever questioned Sir Kensington’s ketchup making prowess just like no one has ever questioned his reputation as a womanizing, unrighteous scoundrel and scallywag.
October 2012 Mantry |“Born In The USA”