For years I have been using a three-bin system of composting, and I detested the waste of space. Mantis, of the “Mantis Tiller/Cultivator” fame, asked me if I would be willing to try out their Mantis Back Porch Compost Tumbler. Seeing how I have been composting for years and not loving the process I now use, I readily agreed. Preparing my recipes do produce a fair amount of waste product that ends up in the compost pile on the side of the house, so I was happy to try a new method that takes up far less space than I currently use.
My current compost system initially took up a 3′ by 12′ space over in my garden and out of frustration, I reduced it to a 3′ x 6′ space. It works great as it is but uses a good portion of my side yard/garden area, and the dog loves to sneak in there and gobble up some of the delicacies. Messy in every sense of the word and her breath could stop a freight train on some days.
My new Mantis Back Porch Compost Tumbler arrived claiming it only takes up a 31” x 26” space, a considerable reduction of garden space, and with its locking lid, the dog will be losing a few much-needed pounds. I want to go over the assembly and first impressions in today's post.
Back Porch Compost Tumbler – Small box, large capacity!
The assembled size of Mantis Back Porch Compost Tumbler is 37″ high x 31″ wide x 26″ deep and hold a generous 30 gallons of compost material (think of one of those large 32-gallon green garbage cans that most people have to get an idea of the capacity.) A handle and two wheels make it easy to move in your yard too.
The Mantis Back Porch Compost Tumbler is packaged very well to prevent any damage during shipping.
There are very few parts to assemble.
Impressively detailed instructions make assembly very easy to follow with step-by-step illustrations.
Parts are conveniently packaged in bags and clearly label by assembly steps taking the guesswork out of the assembly.
Assembly took roughly an hour to complete and required one beer plus some music (not required by Mantis to assemble.)
I love the sage green color of the Mantis Back Porch Compost Tumbler, making it naturally blending into the backyard.
The wheels allow for smooth movement and the completed assembly is so good looking that I won't be hiding it in the side yard.
There are more wins than loses with this composter!
Easy to assemble
Small finished space profile
Great color (Sage Green)
Large access door
Fluid spin rotation for composting
Perfect for most small yard applications
Potentially heavy when full making it difficult to move
I couldn't be happier with the finished product. Makes the three-bin composting system seem clumsy and messy. With the Mantis Back Porch Composting System, you should be able to make as much compost as you need without the dog eating all those tasting morsels in the three-bin pile.
Though I have started composting with the Mantis Back Porch Compost Tumbler after the initial assembly, I had to stop due to my moving into a new home. Mantis states that you can complete a batch of compost in 4 to 6 weeks depending on temperature and contents being composted. I am looking forward to putting my Mantis Back Porch Compost Tumbler through the Fall composting season, which for me, includes moving my new Outdoor Kitchen to its new home and configuration (more details on that soon!)
Full disclosure: Mantis provided the Mantis Back Porch Compost Tumbler and no charge for me to use and review. All words, photos, and opinions are my own and published without stipulation.
There is no better way to explore a new city than taking a food tour, and Fort Wayne Food Tours delivered a 5-Star Experience during my recent trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Now in its 2-year of guiding their guest to delicious food experiences at local restaurants and sharing whimsical historical background about Fort Wayne, they also inspire you to step out on your own and explore.
The 3 1/2 tour takes you to five different gastronomical locations to experience the best of what Fort Wayne, Indiana has to offer. Mostly visited by the locals, you get a first-hand experience that takes you beyond the menu with visits by the chef and/or owner of the restaurant you are visiting. Insight into how and perhaps why the food is prepared, the best way to enjoy your meal and exciting tidbits about the restaurant.
During your 1.25 mile walking loop through downtown Fort Wayne, your guide, local historian, and owner of Fort Wayne Food Tours, Randy Harter takes you past many historical landmarks sharing trivia and nostalgia that will keep you entertained between meal stops. Randy is very entertaining in his delivery of Fort Wayne history, often pausing to point out landmark details that you may never discover without his guidance.
Though you could certainly visit every restaurant on Fort Wayne Food Tours agenda on your own and Fort Wayne would love for you to do so, you would miss out on these specially prepared samples provided during the tour.
Don Hall's Old Gas House Restaurant & Bar
The first stop on our tour, and it started out impressively. After introductions and a bit of background information from our guide Randy, we started to eat!
Beautiful filet with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms along with a glass of wine. The filet was masterfully prepared and divinely delicious.
Our next stop, warmly received by our group of food lovers and beer enthusiast. The Hoppy Gnome serves up and impressive food and beer selection that will keep everyone in your group happy.
First off, ordering some beer (not included in tour), a delightful Colis Smoked Porter delivered to my seat with a smile!
Samplings included a 48-hour braised Borracho Short Rib with Honey Stout Glaze, Mole Sauce, Black Bean & Corn Relish, Pickled Peppers served with their spectacular Caramel Apple Salad (Arugula, granny smith apples, gorgonzola, toasted almonds, prosciutto, brown butter caramel vinaigrette).
A hearty dish of their in House Potato Salad finished of the sampling nicely.
Rounding out Fort Wayne Food Tours food sampling was a traditional Irish Shepard's Pie filled with Lamb, carrots, green peas and onions in a traditional gravy, topped with mashed potato. Served with a Scotch Egg Hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, deep-fried and served with honey mustard sauce
878 Harrison Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Fort Wayne Food Tours 5-Star Experience
From the second Randy introduced himself to the final goodbyes an hour and a half later, there were constant smiles from our group. Randy is gifted with the ability to make you feel appreciated and welcomed during his Fort Wayne Food Tours. The walking was mildly easy with plenty of stops to point out the local history between our food adventures. The food was just spectacular, with generous quantities, fresh ingredients, and delivered by proud patrons of the culinary arts. Randy Harter has discovered and enthusiastically shares some of the must-visit restaurants in Fort Wayne with servings that bring to life the adventurous soul of the region's diversity and hospitality.
Highly recommend taking this food tour!
Go hungry, or you will explode with the multi-course servings!
Grilled Steak, Roasted Vegetables, and Risotto on the Grill video from December 2016. (I have no idea why I never shared this on the Cooking-Outdoors blog but I am correcting this oversite now.)
One of the recipes I enjoyed immensely, from my visit to “Telefonica Gastro Park” in Tijuana an outdoor collection of amazing food trucks pushing the culinary edge of Baja California food scene, was the Grilled Steak, Roasted Vegetables, and Risotto that was served. This just captured everything I could ask for in a Tijuana Food Truck experience, freshly grilled meats, vegetables, creamy risotto, and local seasonings, served with pride and enthusiasm.
Grilled Steak, Roasted Vegetables and Risotto on the Grill! - YouTube
So far I have made two Baja California Food Adventure trips and each time I have come back in awe of the amazing culinary art that I have encountered. In fact, all of my trips to Mexico have left me craving for more of their cuisine and I am not taking about streetside vendors handing out tacos. Many of the chefs I have met are from the U.S. and abroad but a large portion of them are Mexico born and trained. They have a passion and fever for their food that results in a cornucopia of amazing food served with pride.
My last trip resulted in some fun food discoveries that have left lasting impressions on my heart and perhaps around my waist as well. Four days is a short time to spend in food paradise but it was a Baja California Food Adventure that took me from Tijuana to Ensenada and back to Tijuana again with several stops in between.
Some of my trips took me along the Wine & Cheese trail, running through Ensenada around the Valle de Guadalupe area and the Ojos Negros Valley, or up the coast back to Tijuana again. Always a new discovery awaited at the next stop, even stopping at places just to see the food being cooked or visit a market and enjoy the excitement of the experience.
Baja California Food Adventure is around every turn at every stop with no possible way to try everything, though I certainly want to, there are several that I was able to enjoy and a couple that I will be stopping at next time!
La Tradicion Restaurant, Tijuana
Not far from the border, an easy taxi ride away, you will find the best breakfast in Tijuana (IMHO). They serve up amazing Molcajtes, freshly made tortillas, fresh orange juice, and killer chips & salsa.
Part of the Baja wine & cheese trail, Cava de Marcelo is well worth the visit. The road may be bumpy and dusty but the wine and cheese are a welcome surprise. With over 100 years of cheese production, the first man-made cheese cellar, plus stellar wine production, Cava de Marcello is a delight in traditional family farming history. Their restaurant serves up a delicious menu of local foods and wines to enjoy. Taking the cheese tour gives you access to wine and cheese tasting in the below ground cellar with an introduction to the four generations of the Castro family.
Carretera Ensenada-San Fe KM 46, 22810 Ojos Negro, Baja California, Mexico
+52 646 117 0293
MV Steak House, Ensenada
Located in the Marea Vista Hotel the MV Steak House offers premier upscale dining in Ensenada. With a young and talented chef, fresh local menu items and a strong wine selection, an evening dining next to the ocean should be on everyone's list.
Family run since 1947, this incredible French restaurant is Mexico's oldest, it offers beautiful interiors and impeccable service. I enjoyed a Sunday breakfast there, enjoying both traditional Mexican dishes, American dishes, and delicious French pastries.
In the heart of Baja Californias wine country, Valle de Guadalupe, Viña de Frannes fits the motto of “Go for the wine, stay for the food” perfectly. While sitting outside on their patio, overlooking the grape vines and Mezcal plants growing at the base of the foothills, you can sample their wines and enjoy some of the many culinary delights their kitchen has to offer.