Andrew Zimmern Quarterly Box (#ZIM03): July 2014

So I’ve been putting off my review of the Andrew Zimmern Quarterly box since I was already dealing with the abysmal failure of my Nina Garcia Quarterly box. Let’s just say that this quarter, my Quarterly subs are no bueno. Like seriously no bueno, like what the !$#%@#% were you thinking, no bueno.

So before I get into this ridiculous box, let me ask you what you might expect from a sub box from Andrew Zimmern? Weird Food Items? Travel doodads? Cool gadgets to create aforementioned weird food? Because that’s what comes to my mind. His first box featured products from Spain, his second highlighted Asia, so where would this box take us?

Open Box

So as usual this box comes the the nicely put together Quarterly letter from the curator. Andrew Zimmern invites us to go on a road trip with him and says, “these days, I hit the road with my wife riding shotgun, our son in the back seat, belting out tunes and stopping for greasy burgers and shakes on our way to our cabin northern Minnesota.”

Oh an all American road trip! Sounds great! … There are so many cool and interesting directions we can go with this, and sadly we took a wrong turn—a lot of wrong turns.

North Cap
(Estimated Retail: $17.00)
Description: “When I’m on the road, I rely on ball caps as much for style as I do for sun protection, especially on the top of my head…”
Verdict: Another @%#$%#@%@# baseball hat.
Especially on the top of your head? Where the hell else are you wearing a baseball cap? This isn’t travel! This isn’t food! I hate to break it to these Quarterly curators but their personal memories don’t always translate to us. It’s great that you wear baseball hats for style and sun protection on roadtrips but for most us (especially the ladies) roadtrips do not equal ball caps. Nor do ball caps equal a food or travel subscription. If we wanted an Andrew Zimmern’s favorite stuff box, then we’d subscribe to it. You said food and travel. FOOD AND TRAVEL. Okay, okay I’m okay. I’m just tired of baseball hats and little rubber shoes.

Historic Park Sticker
(Estimated Retail: $2.00)
Description: “…road trips are indeed as much about the journey as they are the destination. It’s a time for being weird souvenirs (case in point: the historic park stickers I’ve included)..”
I agree with Zimmern’s sentiments, but are Historic Park Stickers really “weird souvenirs”? I’m thinking more like a hoola dancer dashboard girl or some kind of Elvis backscratcher or a Tshirt that says “I saw the world’s largest rubber band ball and all I got was this shirt”. In the category of “weird souvenirs” this doesn’t really break the top 10. Having said that, I know I can do something fun and crafty with the sticker itself it and the idea behind its inclusion is solid so I’m giving this a “like” verdict.

Pearson’s Salted Nut Rolls and Necco Wafers
(Estimated Retail: 99¢ each Nut Roll; 18¢ each roll)
Description: Along with the souvenirs, Zimmern says that road trips should have “guilt free snack” so he included his favorite candies.
Verdict: Sigh
Really? Of all the candies to ever candy, your favorite one is a Necco Wafer? They are like colored pieces of chalk. (And for the record I found an extra nut roll in the packaging later, so there were in fact 2 nut rolls in the box, despite only one in the photograph). Again, this isn’t an “Andrew Zimmern’s favorites” box – its’ supposed to be a travel/food sub with a roadtrip theme. How about some interesting, unusual snacks instead?

Lamb Jerky
Border Springs Farms Smoked Lamb Jerky
(Estimated Retail: $8.00)
Verdict: Okay so maybe I take that back…
Description: “Jerky is the ultimate road trip food….”
Nothing says driving cross country like dried pieces of meat. But I’ll give him a point and say that jerky makes sense for a roadtrip snack. I am not a jerky aficionado so I passed this along to my boyfriend who loves jerky, so he could give a review. “This jerky tastes like poop. Seriously, this is the worst jerky I’ve ever eaten—make sure you write that down.” He only managed one piece so we had to toss the rest. This would have scored some points if the jerky was palatable—but sadly another loser.  I couldn’t find it on the Border Springs online shop, so I’m just estimating it at $8.00

(Estimated Retail: $11.97)
Description: “Hours in the car always leads to great conversation, which is why I love Hypertheticals—Chuck Klosterman’s 50-question deck of cards that claims to lead to insane conversations….”
Okay, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t’ really need cards to help me have an insane conversation. Any moment I want one I can just call my mother and listen to her misinterpret something she saw on Dr. Oz.  And as for people I willingly spend time with, my friends are entertaining enough on their own (sometimes too entertaining).

Barnacle from Ilovehandles
(Estimated Retail: $4.95)
Not sure
Description: “What road trip would be complete without music? I’m a music fanatic and there’s no better place to crank it than driving with the windows down on a hot summer day.” He mentions you can follow is favorite driving songs on Spotify and continues “and play it from your smart device. In fact, you can use the Barnacle form Ilovehandles to stick your phone to the dashboard…….”
I guess I don’t know why I need this barnacle thing. Why do I need my phone on the dashboard? I  plug it into my sound system and then just leave it on the seat rest. I’m sure I’ll get creative and figure out something else to stick to the barancle, but right now I’m just not feeling it.

Full Box

Good idea, very poor execution.

I agree with a lot of the ideas Andrew Zimmern brought out: quirky souvenirs, guilty pleasure snacks, music and games for the car, but none of his choices really worked for me. It felt way too much like Andrew Zimmern indulging his own favorite items and not enough like Andrew Zimmern picking out things that we as subscribers would enjoy.

I paid $50 for this box and my estimated retail value (with just a guess at the jerky) came out to $44.80. In addition to the actual retail value being too low on this box, the usefulness and appeal of the items just wasn’t there. In comparison to his last boxes, this one seems to come completely out of left field. The others featured a destination and foods/items that jived with it. This one was a hodge-podge of random stuff, that I doubt most subscribers would enjoy.

Coupling this disastrous box with the fact that I started a diet that really limits the types of food I can eat, I decided to cancel this one.

I’d love to hear what you thought of this box? Did it adequately capture the Road Trip theme? Is this what you’d expect from a Food and Travel sub?

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