Category: "Food & Drink: General"

Wüsthof Le Cordon Bleu 8 inch Cooks Chef Knife

September 1st, 2011

The cooking enthusiast's best friend and the most essential knife in the kitchen for cutting, chopping, slicing, and dicing fruits, vegetables, meat, and poultry. This high-performance knife has been created to meet and exceed the most exacting culinary standards of the world's greatest chefs, those of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. The knife is precision forged from a single blank of high carbon steel and has a thinner blade and a redesigned bolster that reduce the overall weight of the knife for improved comfort and control; the redesigned bolster allows for precision cutting with the heel of the blade. The knife is incredibly sharp: the knife has a specially-polished cutting edge which eliminates the microscopic teeth and allows for more precise cuts. The seamless, completely hygienic handle construction features a durable Hostaform-C handle, triple-riveted to the fully-visible tang. Wüsthof knives offer a harmonious blend of precision cutting performance, integrity of materials, safety, and comfort. The knife is hot-drop forged by hand from a single blank of high carbon no-stain steel, a specially alloyed surgical steel consisting of exacting proportions of carbon, chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium. The blade is perfectly tapered from bolster to tip, and from the back of the blade to the edge, and is honed by hand. Perfect balance is assured by the full extension of the tang through the length of the handle. A seamless, totally hygienic fit is achieved by the durable Hostaform-C handle, triple-riveted to the fully visible tang; the handle is buffed and polished by hand.

Size: 8"
Materials: High carbon steel blade with Hostaform-C handle
Care: Dishwasher safe, although hand washing with a mild detergent is recommended

Product of Solingen, Germany

My first Wüsthof knife was given to me two years ago and I'll never look back. I never really understood the benefits of a good, sharp knife. Until you have one, it is hard to know better. The prices seem high, but the value is off the charts.

And now Wüsthof has this new Chef's knife, born from a design partnership with Le Cordon Bleu. Put world-class knife engineers together with world-class culinary minds and what you get is a beautiful knife that simply glides across the cutting board. I have used this knife for herbs, garlic, nuts, potatoes, vegetables and meats; it does it all. This is the only knife you need.

Also, BE CAREFUL. Always respect your knives, and this one was designed to be better at doing what knives do than other knives and this could result in injury to you if you are not careful. Remove your distractions and focus on the task before you. Then wash it by hand and put it in a protective case and put it away.

When the blade begins to dull, run it through your sharpener and bring it back to life. This knife will last a very long time, especially if you take good care of it.


Weber Vegetable Basket

August 15th, 2011

Vegetables are not and never have been...impossible to grill, but they do tend to be inconvenient. This grill "basket" makes a significant difference. Gone are the days when an asparagus spear or a zucchini slice would slip between the grill grates. Now the peppers and onions you sliced can be grilled right along side of those sausages without need for a foil pouch.

You are going to set aside nearly half your grilling surface for this basket, but you can fill it with a good number of veggies. Obvious comment disclaimer: Make sure you have an oven mitt or a towel to protect your hand; this thing is metal and it is sitting on your hot grill, it will get very hot.

Cleaning the stainless steel is a breeze. Let it cool and then hit it with warm water, soap and a sponge and you're all set. No hard scrubbing or crazy products required.

If you do not grill very often, or ever grill vegetables for that matter, there is no need for this product. But for less than $20, this is a great asset for those of us who grill so many of our meals.


Sodastream Fountain Jet Soda Maker

August 9th, 2011

I guess I have to admit that I was skeptical of these contraptions at first. Even though I do not drink much soda pop, this is a neat appliance. The kit comes with everything you need to get started...except any syrup to actually make anything. To start, I recommend the SodaStream Sodamix Variety 12-pack so you can get a sense for what you will want to buy in bigger quantities.

The "carbonator" screws easily into the back of the Maker. The plastic bottle screws easily into the front of the Maker. When you have filled your bottle to the fill line and connected it to your Maker, press the button on top until you hear the loud buzzing noise that your bottle is fizzed and ready to go. Unscrew the bottle and pour in one of your variety pack samples (or a cap full from the bigger bottles of syrup). Gently rock the bottle back and forth to mix and enjoy.

This is a great way to have a frosty beverage on demand without having to keep a fridge full of cans or bottles. The taste labs have done a great job of coming close to the major brands, so you can get just about any fix you're after.


Wendy's kicked me right in the nuggets!

January 12th, 2009

It is a sad day any time the honeymoon is over. Consoling words never help. "It was a good run...while it lasted." "You will always have the memories." "It is better to have had $0.99 5-piece chicken nuggets and lost than to never have had $0.99 5-piece chicken nuggets at all." The tough economic times have finally trickled down all the way to the house that Dave Thomas built. Sure that redhead on the sign is cute, but she no longer shines like a $0.99 5-piece chicken nugget beacon in the night.

I know that each Wendy's location has the option to play along with various price initiatives. That is what gives us the "at participating locations" disclaimer. And I know that not every Wendy's offered 5 tasty chicken nuggets for $0.99. But mine did. And now it is gone.

Qdoba Rewards Card (scandal?)

July 3rd, 2006

I lost my Q-card. I am not happy about it, but there is nothing I can do about it unless somehow I happen upon it in the future. What is lost? Nothing really. Unless I happened to meet someone who would be overwhelmingly impressed if I showed them my purchase history...

Basically it is the principal of the thing. I don't like to lose stuff.

In the past, had you lost your Q-card you could return to your local Qdoba and take a new card and simply link your two cards together under your account. This would add any old stored rewards to your new card and you would pick up right where you left off.

That option is no longer offered.

I wrote Qdoba asking why they took away my ability to link cards in the event I lose mine. Here is the response I received:

Dear Privatjokr,

Unfortunately Qdoba Cards/points can no longer be linked. We experienced many issues with fraud and theft; therefore, in order to maintain our Loyalty Program, we have had to discontinue this feature. We apologize for any inconvenience.

If you would like, I can void all previous registration information we have for you from our system. This would enable you to register a new card, using the same user name. However, if we do this, your old card will no longer be valid.

Thank you, in advance, for your understanding,

Qdoba Web Administrator

Theft. There you have it. Some bad apples would steal other Qdobers' cards and they have now ruined it for all of us.

Anyway, in case you were wondering (you probably weren't) why you can no longer link Q-cards, you now know.

You're welcome.

KFC Famous Bowls

May 25th, 2006

If someone asked me to put fill a bowl with pure deliciousness, I would have to assume it would involve mashed potatoes, corn, gravy, fried chicken and cheese. What else could they possible add to this thing to make it better?

I had one for lunch today. I ordered two KFC Snackers, too, just in case. I did not think with those succulent ingredients KFC would be too generous. KFC has a reputation with me for charging a lot and giving little, though their food is so good. I was surprised to be full after the Famous Bowl**. A combo, which includes a medium drink, was $4.99. The price is right; the food is great.

I love that someone was probably just messing around at KFC one day making his/her own lunch when the Famous Bowl was created. A coworker must have overseen the concoction and marvelled in its glory. I wish I could walk down the street and tell people that this was my idea. We have all made a plate of food that looked just like this, but rarely do my dietary habits make their way into a commercial setting.

This thing was fantastic! Like I was Miss Cleo, I see another trip to KFC for a Famous Bowl in my future.

*The Famous Bowl also comes with rice instead of mashed potatoes.
**And yes, I still ate the KFC Snackers. Both of them. Good gravy am I full right now.

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Gift Card Etiquette

January 6th, 2006

I had lunch this afternoon with one of my sisters and our mother. We sat down together at a well-known Tex-Mex chain restaurant and had a decent meal. Almost everything went as you might expect. The confusion enters the picture at the time of payment.

As a stocking stuffer this year, Santa Claus brought me two gift cards to this particular restaurant. Convenient, really.

One gift card was for $5 and is valid from January 1, 2006 through February 28, 2006. The expiration is important, so remember that detail.

The other gift card is for $25 and has no expiration.

Rather than trying to make sure to eat at this place again sometime in the next two months, or better yet try not to lose the card, my plan was to burn the $5 card. Have the waitress use that one and then deduct the remaining balance on our bill from the other card.

When she came back to the table to collect payment, I handed her a stack: bill on the bottom, $25 in the middle, $5 card on top...with the expiration date staring up at you. I figured maybe, just maybe, she would realize that I wanted her to use the card on top first. Apparently I made some outrageous assumption that she would realize what I had meant.

She came back to the table and said, "I don't even know why you gave me this one." As she handed me the $5 card. "This one had more than enough," she said reassuringly of the $25 card.

Oh, I'm sorry, miss. How silly of me.

So here I am with two cards, still, to keep track of; one of which expires at the end of next month. Rather than having one card with almost $15 on it, I have two cards that carry the balance between them.

Am I the only one who finds this slightly bizarre, and even a little inconvenient?

A Thanksgiving don't.

November 23rd, 2005

One of my professors was telling our class the other day how she does not cook. When her children were growing up she said they would be disappointed to learn that she had made them a homecooked dinner. For Thanksgiving, she now buys the turkey, takes it to her sister's house and she says she gets to clean up. That part she is good at. Only once did she try to make a Thanksgiving turkey.


As she had never done it she was following a recipe; though a little too closely it would appear. "Baste often," read the instructions and that is just what she did. She admitted to us that she basted her turkey every 5 minutes...

For those of you who do not spend much time in the kitchen and those of you who do but still don't get why this is hysterical, when you open your oven door you release all of the heat and doing so every 5 minutes is a pretty fantastic way to ensure that your turkey will not cook at all.

When her timer rang, she pulled out the bird and sure enough, it was not all. To her credit (I think) she did not throw in the towel. She refused to be beaten by the one mistake so to cook her turkey, she placed it in the microwave to finish it.

And that was the first time, and thus the last time, she attempted to make a Thanksgiving turkey.

Maybe the meal you'll have isn't so bad now is it? Just a little story that I thought I would share with you before your hearty feasts tomorrow. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!


November 14th, 2005

A few milestones involving both me and fish eggs:

November 12, 2005: First time I tried caviar.

November 12, 2005: Last time I will try caviar.

Big Montana

October 5th, 2005

This is a formal goodbye to Arby's Big Montana. It pains me to do it, but I feel it is the right thing to do. The sandwich of sandwiches has been gone for a few months, but I have not been able to talk about it until now. Not until now have I been able to admit to myself, let alone to others, that it was taken away from us.

If you are unfamiliar, Arby's had a sandwich called the Big Montana that was nothing more than a hefty pile of roast beef between two pieces of a sesame roll. Other sandwiches looked up to and admired the Big Montana, and with good reason. And now it is gone.

The "Large Roast Beef" is what they ask me to call the replacement. Their fascist propaganda claims that it contains just as much roast beef as did the Big Montana, only on a smaller bun. Let them make their outrageous promotional statements. It is not the same.

I still go to Arby's and order the Big Montana...out of respect...and they "correct" me as they ring me up for a Large Roast Beef, then assure me it's the same amount of roast beef. It is not the same amount. It is not the same sandwich and we will never get it back.

I can understand the rationale from Arby's perspective when we, as a society, have (unfortunately) adopted a "less is more" approach to carbohydrates, so less bun on your roast beef sandwich looks like a good idea. And even more than that, now you have however many roast beef sandwiches on your menu and only one size roll (I repress all thoughts of their onion roll). From a cost stand point, I am sure it saves Arby's plenty of money.

I am not without reason, their excuses are fine with me. Oops, did I say excuses? I mean...explanations. But save the talk, I don't want to hear it. I want a Big Montana and I do not think it is ever coming back.

Please, next time you are together with friends, pour one out for the Big Mo'.

R.I.P. Big Montana