Inside the Box: Mantry

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I recently threw a fantastic Thai dinner party, and I owe it all to a hip, new monthly subscription service called Mantry.

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Each month they send high-end, artisanal food products matching a theme such as coffee, bacon, or in our case –  Thai.

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Once I surveyed the box, which included  products such as Dried & True Sriracha Beef Jerky, and drinking vinegar from the world-famous Pok Pok restaurant, I knew that a get-together was in order. The stuff was just too nice not to share!

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We carefully read their enclosed product guide, gathering ideas for what to make.

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Then we rounded up a few extra ingredients, and set off to our friend’s house to do the cooking. (His house is much, much nicer than ours – plus he has a fully stocked bar.)

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We snacked on a few the items as we cooked, including the Dallas-based Lord Nut Levington’s Thai-Dyed Peanuts.

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I took full advantage of our host’s prior bar-tending experience, and had him make delicious summer cocktails from the drinking vinegar.

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I essentially had a house full of men all doing the dirty work (cooking) for me.

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We made shrimp and used Apinya for the dipping sauce. It was fantastic – I think I may prefer it to sriracha now, and normally nothing tops that condiment for me.

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I sampled a few of the other enclosed ingredients, and secretly wished that we had thought to make Thai nachos.

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We meandered through all of the enclosed delicacies until at last we arrived at the coconut chips, which alongside raspberries helped to elevate our simple vanilla ice cream dessert.

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If you’re looking for a creative, delicious, and unexpected Father’s Day gift, be sure to check out Mantry. The items they will send you are normally hard-to-find, and make eating an exciting adventure, as opposed to an everyday chore.

Disclosure: I received this box free of charge for reviewing purposes, but opinions expressed are my own.

Thai Dinner: Satay

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I was gifted a Restaurant.com coupon to Satay, and couldn’t wait to use it once I saw their extensive menu. After researching further, my excitement began to wane. Poor Satay just could not get a break press-wise. The Yelp reviews were dismal at best, and I learned that they had been featured Cooking Channel’s Restaurant Redemption. Once I finished trudging through various opinions of the restaurant online, I decided that it was time to find out for myself.

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We started with the kampung udang, a delicious red curry shrimp dish. The service was a little on the slow side, but sitting on their small patio next to a bubbling fountain eased the pain of waiting.

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Not one to stray from tradition, my partner ordered a curried beef dish, which trust me… he always orders. He said it was delightful, and on par with other fine Thai restaurants he’d tried.

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Ever the adventurer, I went for the seafood laksa, which one of the more positive Yelpers recommended. It wasn’t cheap, but it was well worth it. However, if you love insanely spicy things, I’d recommend avoiding it, and going for a green curry instead. I’m a spice fanatic, and though my soup was good, it didn’t have enough heat to keep me interested. (If you go home and add sriracha, like I did with my leftovers, it becomes simply delectable.)

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We sat around to enjoy the patio over a few more Singha beers, and the verdict was that Satay doesn’t deserve a bad rap at all. The food and ambiance were on par, and I only had one minor complaint. Next time you’re in the area, or if you see them pop up on Groupon (which they so often do), give them a try and judge for yourself.

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