r

renov8r's Profile

Title Last Reply

Breakfast Tuesday morning around Lombard/Oak Brook

From the Westin I'd head west to Finley Rd and seek out Juicy-O in the same strip mall as Margaritaville.

Fresh made little donut holes and on sight squeezed OJ are the big draws.

Mmmm donuts.....

Jul 08, 2008
renov8r in Chicago Area

Gas range help

For a bargain on new gas range check out Hotpoint -- $500, not too many bells and whistles, but top rated by a consumer magazine for broiling and reliable service.

If you have a Sears outlet near by, or a independent appliance dealer with a section of their showroom dedicated to "scratch & dent" models you might track down a pro-style range deeply discounted due to being "dropped off the truck" by the delivery team. Good way to go for a gas range, as there is not nearly as much electronics that can be damaged...

Jul 01, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Referidgrators - counter depth vs built-in, why the 3K jump in cost?

I was thinking about the idea of hollowing out a 'hidden' interior wall and while I can't say that I've never seen it in DIY situations I am not sure if is truly going to meet building codes. I can't say for sure it won't, because codes do vary, but I would have reservations about where the plumbing & electrical are concerned...

Jun 03, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Blue Star question

Didm't the old Vulcan's & Garland have stars? Thermador has stars or daisies, doubt they're worth 5K btu, but they do have a following...

May 30, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

24" range

If you have 6" of dead space just get a 30" range!

There is at least one company offering a 24" pro-style range, it is essentially half of a 48", I've seen it at the trade show and maybe even a dealer. BUT 24 oven's are very tight (as you probably know...) and the pro style is not really any cheaper than a nicer standard 30"...

I would not recommend replacing with a standard 24" range because they just scream "cheap apartment" to everyone...

May 30, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Blue Star question

Five Star's Chicago area distributor went belly up about 6 months ago. Real disaster for MANY brands in the market. I think the firm is working with a few of the independent dealers to try and get into the market, but with the housing troubles the dealers are understandably reluctant to take on financial risk.
Currently the nearest Five Star dealer is in Michigan, about 2.5 hours away. If you take a trip to SW Michigan it can make for a nice little outing. Many Chicago folks (including the five star spokes chef...) spend a lot of time in the New Buffalo region...

May 30, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Referidgrators - counter depth vs built-in, why the 3K jump in cost?

They may look the same, but there can be a lot difference in how they have to be put together quite differently. A built-in has a kind of "chassis" that allows the cabinetry to support it. A counter depth just rolls in and out.

SubZero is the "benchmark" in built-in with top mount compressors that are separate for fridge & freezer. Obviously this adds to the complexity/cost. If the competitor does not have these features it probably is going to be less expensive to build, but as the shear volume of built-in is a FRACTION of counter depths they will always cost more...

Personally in the right kitchen, like new construction or true luxury remodel, a built-in is the way to go for looks and convenience, but it is like any marriage. Cost is not the only trade-off. SubZero has a high repair rate. Some calls are probably traceable to picky owners, and SubZero generally is generous with replacements, but it is still something to be aware of...

May 30, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Group Lunch near Elmhurst?

Roberto's on Spring has been there forever. They have a private room and generally are not too busy on weekdays.
http://www.robertosristorante.net/ban...

-----
Roberto's Ristorante & Pizzeria
483 Spring Road, Elmhurst, IL 60126

May 27, 2008
renov8r in Chicago Area

Blue Star question

All the burners are capable of getting quite low. This has come up on these boards before. If you look at the configuration of the Nova & Super Nova burners they have more ports or individual "flamelets". Turning these burners down will actually cut off the outer flamelets and not spread the heat over as wide an area.

The simmer burner has a low heat spread over a bigger area. This is ideal for keeping a pan with a large diameter at a lower temperature. Things are not going to be hot enough in such a pan to require constant stirring. Further you would not want the SuperNova burner in the back as the type of cooking you'd do on it would require constant attention and/or good access.

May 27, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Nuking steak?

Right. AND the key take aways from all the above discussion:

#1 No such thing as "cooking from inside out", though the surface may not get as hot as in more traditional methods

#2 Microwave preferentially heat fat and water, in that order, so that you will end up losing moisture more readily when microwaving.

#3 Thickness matters a lot. Microwaves will completely be absorbed about an inch or so into the surface, so that the interior of thicker pieces of meat will not be warmed at all.

#4 It is better to finish cooking steaks to desired doneness in a medium-hot conventional oven if you don't have the skills or setup to use a multi-level fire and do this on the grill.

May 23, 2008
renov8r in Home Cooking

Rubbing oil on steaks before grilling...what's up with that?

Oil displaces water. On the TV shows they have cold steaks and hot lights, a combination guaranteed to get surface condensation. The oil chases off the moisture.

At home you should make sure your steak is nice and DRY so that you don't cool the grill with WATER and you will get the nice sear/char that you desire. For all the major cuts(t-bone, sirloin, filet, porterhouse) this is perfect. If you are doing something with a fresh herb rub (like with basil or rosemary) or particularly lean cuts (like flank) the oil is a good way to get the herbs to stick and provide some needed lipids, but I really don't think that if you have the grill nice and hot (over 500) that olive oil is adding flavor -- all the aromatic properties will flare right away...

May 23, 2008
renov8r in Home Cooking

Are these close to St Charles, Il?

No offense, but Western Springs is not even close to "dead east" of St. Charles.

Vie is a lovely restaurant and might even be worth the trip from St. Charles, but the route is less than direct -- http://maps.google.com/maps?daddr=447...

Probably about 45 minutes, not really much time savings from heading straight to one Sixty Blue, which about an hour:

http://maps.google.com/maps?daddr=140...

May 23, 2008
renov8r in Chicago Area

Asko Dishwashers

They seem to wax and wane in popularity. I think that a few years back they did a crazy thing on their top three or four models where the units were EXACTLT alike except for the final control panels, literally by ordering a the least expensive and then replacing the control pad you got all the features for hundred less. Pissed off dealers and customers alike. They seem to use quality components, but if the price is more than a couple of hundred more than a Bosch then that seems a waste.
Bosch makes nice units and lots of 'em, maybe not the low price Chevies of DW or the exotic Maserati like Asko, but a pretty solid Honda...

May 21, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

24 hours to order, Range, Dishwasher, microwave- Need a few opinions- LOOK!

I'm with Sheri. Do more research. JennAir & KitchenAid are all part of the Whirlpool family now. Not too many differences, like comparing Buick to Pontiac...

Generally a dual fuel range is going to be hardwired 220, just like an electric oven. The circuit is generally easy to add to most houses, but it is extra.

A slide range has the same width requirements as a freestanding range, but the cabinet maker needs to have at least the toe kick and filler, as well as proper trim on the counter. You don't just spring these things on your contractor...

May 21, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Corned beef left-over

If you don't want hash another great brunch option is chipped beef. I know it is staple of military recruits, but what is not like about a bechamel, and beef? Fancy it up with asparagus tips and chives, served over some crumpets and no one will suspect that this is a way to "get rid" of anything...If you don't want hash another great brunch option is chipped beef. I know it is staple of military recruits, but what is not like about a bechamel, and beef? Fancy it up with asparagus tips and chives, served over some crumpets and no one will suspect that this is a way to "get rid" of anything...

May 06, 2008
renov8r in Home Cooking

Should I buy a DCS or a Dacor Drop-in Cooktop?

while I know that all the companies that make pro style ranges also make cooktops I my experience almost all service issues have been with the ranges. Except in the rare instance where an igniter will fail there is not much to go wrong with a cooktop.

If you want to get a matching oven there are a lot more differences, and if you were asking about a very very high output cooktop that might prompt different response but I don't see many differences in any of the cooktops you mentioned . Honestly unless you have some sort of particularly slovenly stovetop habits I don't even see how there is much issue with the cleaning pan of the affordable Windcrest -- you slide out the catch pan, wash off the burned, crusty spills, maybe a bit of Dawn to degrease and it slides back in...

May 05, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Full Extension Kitchen Cabinet drawers

Sheri is correct. I am not going to come right out and scream "liar liar" but slides come in "regular extension that leaves several inches (as much 1/4 of the full length) in the cabinet and full extension that, as the name clearly suggest extend the full stated projection. Are these 24" deep cabinets? 27" 30" -- those are all "stock" sizes from some manufacturers. That should have been spec'ed ahead of time. If they are BUILDING the drawers themselves, full extension slides do cost more than the 3/4 type and I would NOT insist they "find some" for you unless you can peacefully understand that these are going to cost more and that is an upcharge. If you squeeze them for stuff you can see they will squeeze you even harder for stuff you are unlikely to see. Not good at all.

I also think the "granite of your choice" type promise is really "choose from the standard list of X". which is not a bad way to go, but different from acknowledging that different colors/grades of granite do in fact have some significant prices. Again, upcharge from the standards is not a bad way to run a business, but smart contractors like to deal with people in an "up front" way.

How many quotes did you get? What made you pick these guys? DID THEY COME to you? Or did you get a referral???

Please, for your own sake and sanity, keep an eye on everything they do, if you have to wave 'em off it'll be cheaper in the long run than if you have to hire somebody to undo their hidden screw-ups.

May 05, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Kitchen cabinets-quote that almost gave me a heart attack!

See, now you've saved enough for some really nice appliances...

Apr 29, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Barbeque sauce?

You know it is not that hard to start ketchup with about 6-cups of tomato paste, vinegar, salt and simple spices like clove and cinnamon. The fun is adding small amounts of the odd flavors like tamarind, anchovy, and celery seed that are more muted in Worcestershire. Regular candy making.baking corn syrup seems to help the texture more than sugar and probably is not the same as the commercial HFCS stuff.

To make the basic ketchup into BBQ you can add heat from peppers and/or some horseradish/wasabi. Smoke flavor pretty much has to come from the extract/liquid -- it is potent stuff and not all that bad in a sauce. You can go crazy with the onion and garlic too, again I have played with fresh and extract, the extracts have a more uniform flavor and more all purpose texture. Similarly if you start with fresh tomatoes you end up with some really tedious labor and after cooking may find that the tomatoes you bought/grew don't have the flavor depth of a high quality paste. A tiny dab of juice from fresh or frozen tree fruit, like peaches, plums of pears adds a neat fresh finish.

The tough thing is that you end up with A LOT of sauce, as even going dropwise with the extracts you need a fairly large amount of the basic ketchup sauce to keep from having some flavors overwhelm the base.

Apr 29, 2008
renov8r in Home Cooking

Henckels Dishwasher Safe??

This stuff? http://www.blueheronorganics.com/serv...
What the heck does "contains no harmful chemicals" even mean??? If I let an infant suck down the contents of a standard size table salt shaker the kid would probably die before he could even vomit it back up, does that make table salt 'harmful'?

And is the implication that Cascade DOES contain 'harmful' chemicals? Huh? I don't think I an going to eat either product. Very very curious. Seems like some real PT Barnum marketing tactics in play here...

Who is to say that "all natural" detergent is not harsh as all get out -- have you ever been to a strip mine where they get phospate? This is "all natural" but looks like something from science fiction: http://virtualguidebooks.com/Utah/Sal...

Apr 29, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Family trip to Chicago- need help with places to eat

The powers that be at the various museums seem to like to keep the patrons unaware of eating anywhere other than their onsite food service operations...

For MSI there are cluster of resturants about 6 blocks due west on 57th, but the underpass at 57 is one way east, so few people both if they are not familar with the University of Chicago. In nice weather there is no reason not to walk, and there is usually on street parking with meters right in front of the college food pizza/hamburgers/bakery sandwiches at Medici or a Thai/Asian place almost next door- Noodles Etc (not affiliated with any chain that sounds similar)....

For the Sears there is an acceptable Giordano's Pizza just east of the SkyDeck on Jackson, there is also a decent hot dog/pasta/beef sandwiich shop known as Lukes...

For the Shed you are going to have to go further, as there is nothing way out on the penisula. Maybe if the kids are well behaved you could make the walk to Chicago Firehouse which has a lunch menu that is not out of line at all for the quality of food that they serve. It is, as the name implies, inside a coverted firehouse and really quite nice: http://www.zagat.com/verticals/Menu.a...

a few blocks away is place that is more casual, put not much cheaper. You'd definitely be splitting sandwiches from the deli-style Eleven City Diner: http://www.elevencitydiner.com/pdf/me...

I'm making myself hungry. You'll love the trip. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather.

-----
Luke's Italian Beef
215 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60606

Medici On 57th
1327 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637

Noodles Etc On Campus
1333 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637

Chicago Firehouse Restaurant
1401 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Eleven City Diner
1112 S Wabash Ave Frnt 2, Chicago, IL 60605

Apr 28, 2008
renov8r in Chicago Area

Freezing Homemade Gnocchi

Freeze before cooking. You can either freeze then individually on cookie sheets in the freezer and them seal up the frozen nuggets in a ziploc of vaccum bag. OR let them get fairly dry in a coolish kitchen for an hour or two so that they firm up and won't stick to one another and then freeze them in bags as above. Both have disadvantages/pluses depending on whether you have more freezer space or counter space and one trip or two to freezer.

You need a ton of water to cook 'em but there is no reason to thaw first -- the large volume of boiling water pretty much instantly thaws them and they cook in probably 5 minutes -- takes way longer to get the gallon or so of water boiling...

Apr 28, 2008
renov8r in Home Cooking

Kraft Cheese -- maybe your store brand, too!

I think this may be a more complete explanation:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontr...

Doesn't look good for those looking for a traditional style slow aged cheese...

Apr 28, 2008
renov8r in General Topics

Stainless or hard anodized roasting pan?

Your experience is the same as mine. I think that has to with radiative heat transfer. Dark materials absorb and reradiate heat much more quickly than shiny materials. Even in a house, when we put on the roofing felt you can burn yourself to a blister on a sunny day. There are companies selling "radiant barrier" insulation for attics to reject the heat that dark shingles would otherwise radiate into the house.

If you like the effect of your dark cake pan an anodized roaster will perform similarly. Pryex is a insulating type material and does not really reradiate like a dark pan, and shiny SS will be a reflector. All will have different effects, and you may want all three for different purposes.

Apr 28, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Wolf v. Bluestar v. Viking? Help me decide?

I am talking about making a countertop fit into a niche so that it looks nice but is still replaceable with out tearing apart anything...

Apr 24, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

Kitchen cabinets-quote that almost gave me a heart attack!

A lot depends on the actual number of boxes that you'd need and the layout of the kitchen: three wall, four? All covered with new cabinets that could be almost 40 linear feet. That is a lot of boxes.

Refaced cabinets would be one way to save money. It is actually not a bad option -- if the layout is good and the boxes are solid why throw out everything just to get a new look and overhaul the appliances?

Granted most people that actually hire somebody like me find out that reface places can't /won't move windows, add new space or getting into complicated re-plumbing situations.

If you go for $20k/120 sq ft you are talk about $167/sq ft -- not an outrageously low price...

Apr 24, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

tuna steaks

LOT longer list of allowed than not:

http://www.kashrut.com/articles/fish/

http://www.kashrut.com/articles/fish/...

What deli doesn't have tuna?

Apr 24, 2008
renov8r in Kosher

Oberweis Dairy - a Chicago thing?

They've been making ice cream and serving it for a looooong time -- the picture on this page is from 1951: http://www.oberweisdairy.com/web/dsfa...

That store was on Lake St in Aurora BEFORE the tollroad went out that way! They used to have the HQ of their investment firm right up the street in a little office like an insurance agent might have...

I think the first dairy store /scoop shop out side of Aurora that opened was in the 90's on Roosevelt in Glen Ellyn, probably still there. I did some work for one of the first marketing people, she has a lot of foodies connections and was way ahead of the whole "organic" thing but did not want to get into the whole "spokesmodel" or lifestyle issue. Their skim milk tastes better than anybody elses' because they really process it better than any other dairy would care to.

If expensive to do it that way and they charge about double what any other milk costs but it is worth it.

Apr 24, 2008
renov8r in Chicago Area

Inexpensive dishwasher recs needed

My mother had a nice old Hobart Kitchen Aid. When it finally gave up the ghost she wanted CHEAP after the sticker shock. She got a plainish white GE that is 99% plastic inside with some "Rocky 14" style name for {? PotScrubber 21???} and it works good. It is crazy loud compared to the Askos & Boschs, but quieter than the old Hobart. She has had it for at least 7 or 8 years and it has been totally trouble free, she only uses the cheap dishwashing powder for WalMart and barely any JetDri. It beats up some glassware but I can't talk her into anything else...

Apr 24, 2008
renov8r in Cookware

wok in charcoal grill?

Use a nice big charcoal chimney starter with about half a quart of charcoal -- very efficient/ I have done this on rainy camping trips when I got fed up with the pathetic cook stove in the cabin and it was to wet for a proper cooking fire.

The big Weber chimney is more stable than the cheaper smaller ones. It works fine to sort of wok and sit or squat or you can stack some concrete blocks and put a piece of patio block on top to make an impromtu fireproof table.

Use a wok with a one loop handle and one pot style handle so you can move it around.

Apr 24, 2008
renov8r in Cookware