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Thoughts on BlueStar Ranges?

Rschuster: I'm not really unhappy with it, I guess in this day and age, you expect products not to live up to their billing. I was bummed the first few times I went to use the BlueStar broiler only because I was thinking I can broil a steak close to what the restaurants do. After a while, I started looking at my broiler like I did on my $300 Tappan in our old home, for browning. Now my frustration is that the broiler is so small, I'm constantly rotating what ever it is I'm browning. As far as the burners go, I'm used to cooking on them and don't really dwell on it. I have a diffuser on the simmer burner and keep that on the lowest for most. If it's something I really need low, I stack burner rings. We do 90% of our cooking on the front middle burner and just keep an eye on it. The front corner burners are just too hot, unless you have them on the lowest setting. I'm just curious, is your convection fan loud? We can hear ours throughout the house. It's just a loud hum, but noticeable.

We had their trained BlueStar tech install it and we've just always assumed these (the burner issues, average broiler temps, fan noises, leaky glass) were quirks; all brands have them. There were so many quality control issues, I just assumed it's what we bought and we were stuck with it. After our second year I quit calling, I left a bunch of voicemails and none were ever returned. I was hoping he valves were just an adjustment issue and I could get them tweaked. I'm glad you're happy with yours.

Nov 06, 2013
lapresle in Cookware

Thoughts on BlueStar Ranges?

You're right, it's a 22k burner (two of them actually), not 15k as I said. As far as the broiler reaching 1,850, it's far from it. No where near 1,850. It's not bad, it's just not 1,850. Shooting a heat gun directly at the broiler with no racks in the oven, the broiler registered 800 one time after leaving it on for about 10 minutes. Most of the time it was around 700. They can say 1,850 all they want in the brochures, the heat gun and their technician say otherwise. Anyhow, Bluestar put 3 broilers in our oven over the course of the first 18 months (delayed ignition problems). Not a single one consistently registered above 800, most of the time it was around 700 degrees. Which isn't the end of the world. It's just not what they say it is. I use it for browning food, but not for cooking.

Our oven has a convection blower, so I was off on the year we got it. We use the convection feature occasionally, it's really loud at first, then it quiets down after about fifteen minutes. Its a new house, custom built when the range was purchased, so there aren't any electrical issues. The six burners show no difference in flame height as you turn the knob. It goes from very small to full height within the first few degrees. For the sake of explanation, simmer goes clockwise from 12 o'clock to 1 o'clock, then full flame height from 1 o'clock all the way to 11 o'clock. No such thing as a medium height flame. It's that way on all six burners, even the simmer burner in the back, so I doubt it's an adjustment issue. You just have to get used to cooking that way. They have a few quality control issues too, the glass in the door had a leak down the inside the first time we cleaned it and the residue is still there and I already mentioned the convection noise. I found the customer service to be spotty. There was one woman that seemed on top of it and worked hard to get our broiler issue squared away, even going beyond the service period. But once she left, we could never get calls returned or emails answered.

You could certainly do worse and I don't hate it, like I said, we've just learned to live with it. It's just not in the same league as the more commonly known ranges, but it's not as expensive either, so purchasing one requires weighing the pros and cons. Like I said before, the others are over priced, these are overrated but less expensive. It's a trade off.

Aug 21, 2013
lapresle in Cookware

Thoughts on BlueStar Ranges?

They're not bad products, but they aren't great. We've had ours for about 5 years now. A few things, they say their broiler gets up to 1,850 degrees and their burners get up to 15,000 BTU's. This is just not true. They get hot, but no where near those temperatures. When we had our range installed, the White Glove technician, (their name for their service tech) said the broilers are no hotter than any other. They get up around 700-800 degrees which is about standard. There is no range of control on the burners, it's either simmer or full which is frustrating, but we've learned to cook on it. The inner oven parts remove easily which is nice for cleaning, but the glass window has stuff on the inside which is frustrating when you're trying to get it clean. One of the plusses for us is the lack of electronics. We wanted simple in case of a power outage (we live in the mountains).

The Wolfs and Vikings are overpriced, the BlueStars are overrated. Its a toss up.

Aug 20, 2013
lapresle in Cookware

Are Yelpers Foochebags?

I take Yelp lightly; it's either negative or the best ever with nothing in between. It would have more credibility if there were rating guidelines but as someone else said, it's been taken over by the Facebook crowd. I use it as a locator to quickly find something to eat when I'm in an unfamiliar area and that's about all it's good for.

Mar 26, 2011
lapresle in Features

Looking for suggestions for a small group of guys

Wow! I have to say thanks to the people that took the time to reply. This is my first time on Chow and I wasn't sure if I'd get any responses. Thanks for offering so many great ideas. I'll let you know what we do. At our last gathering, Patrick from Arroyo Chop House put together a 3 page primer on ordering wine, sending back, deciphering a wine list, etiquette... It was great as none of these guys had the slightest idea what to do. A couple of them boned up on their notes before dates and it was so gratifying to see the light come on and see their confidence.

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Arroyo Chop House
536 S Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, CA 91105

Mar 17, 2011
lapresle in Los Angeles Area

Looking for suggestions for a small group of guys

OCshooter & Yogachik, I'm thinking along the same lines. I was thinking Catch or Water Grill (seafood is so foreign to some of them) as omakase suggested or traditional French. I've had good experienced at the other Bouchons, but the reviews for BH were steering me away. I'll check out Chameau and Brodard. Thanks again, the suggestons are really appreciated.

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Water Grill
544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Chameau Restaurant
339 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Brodard Restaurant
9892 Westminster Ave, Garden Grove, CA 92844

Mar 13, 2011
lapresle in Los Angeles Area

Looking for suggestions for a small group of guys

Great suggestions! Thanks for the input; these are places I wouldn't have thought of. Water Grill sounds interesting, I'll check it out.

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Water Grill
544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Mar 13, 2011
lapresle in Los Angeles Area

Looking for suggestions for a small group of guys

Greetings, I'm new to the community and I've spent some time searching under various headings; feeling like I'm not finding what I was after, I thought I would tap the collective wisdom.

I recently hosted a dinner for about fifteen guys at the Arroyo Chop House and I'm looking for a venue of the same caliber for our next evening, but it doesn't have to be a steak house. Our budget is $250 a head, including wine and a nice tip and we order off of the menu.

The back story: I'm 49 and I work with a bunch of guys in their late 20's-early 30's. I noticed one guy asking a woman out via text. Another stopped by the station on his way to a wedding, wearing a polo shirt, nice jeans and white tennis shoes. None of them had ever written a thank-you note. Few of them own a suit. I challenged them to step up their game and be gentlemen. From that, spawned our dinner group and I implemented a dress code and a steep budget to weed out the less than serious. Each dinner centers on the camaraderie and food, but I've also brought in people to talk to them about how to order wine or write a thank-you note. For all but one of them, it was the first time they had worn a suit or jacket to something other than a wedding or a funeral and they loved it and what I was trying to do.

I've looked at a lot of places, from Cut and BOA to the chains like Ruth's Chris. Does anyone have any suggestions for a group of guys? Is a steakhouse the way to go? I'd be grateful for any suggestions.
Thanks in advance, Kevin

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Arroyo Chop House
536 S Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, CA 91105

Mar 12, 2011
lapresle in Los Angeles Area