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December 20,2006

The RainyDayKitchen folks have been reviewing espresso makers all year.  This is a crowd not easily impressed when it comes to automatic coffee machines.  They have reviewed a wide range of machines, from the $20 AeroPress all the way up to the $3000 Jura.

This week UPS dropped off Le Cube from Nespresso.  We were amazed at how great this machine looks.  It is compact, retro, and high-tech.  The dark grey color blends well into most decors.  The wide selection of pods lets everyone in the office make their favorite blend any time they want.  How great is that?

The package came with the machine, instructions, a box of sample pods, and some espresso glasses.  We also got a sizeable Nespresso Club intro pack: 12 pods, a single espresso glass, a double espresso glass, and saucers to match. 

Before we can use the Le Cube, we had to prime it by running water through it a few times. The pump was pretty quiet and the water heated very quickly.  The temperature of the water averaged around 163º. 

The machine was very easy to use...lift the lever, insert a pod, press a button.  The pics below show the pod after it has been used. It clearly shows how the water was injected into the pod via the two holes at the smaller end and the espresso is pushed out the grid at the silver end.

The first cup we made with the Le Cube looked great...nice crema, rich dark color, great espresso aroma.  The taste was everything we had hoped for...rich and smooth.  This unit is definitely worth checking out (click on any of the images to get a closer look) if you are in the market for an espresso machine this Holiday Season.


October 20,2006

Like other automatic coffee machines we had tested in the past, the Impressa Z5 must be primed before using it for the first time.  The "priming" step brings water into the system.  It is always smart to follow the manual (we know some folks don't like to read them) instead of just plowing ahead. Good thing we checked because the one thing we thought was obvious, and would have been wrong, was we would have installed the water filter before priming the machine. 

Priming the unit was pretty simple.  In fact, it was the simplest of all of the system we have reviewed to date.  All we had to do was fill the water tank and hit the power button.  The prompts were clearly displayed in the LED panel at the front of the machine.

We weren't sure how much liquid would be pumped through the system before it was primed, so we decided to measure it.  Water was pushed through both the main dispenser and the hot water tube.  The instruction said to discard the first two cups.  In total, we captured about 6 oz of waste liquid.  Now we are ready for our First Cup!!!

The best part about this machine, it is ready for that second cup in just a few seconds.  No need to clean the grounds or grind the beans.  Everything is done with just a push of the button.  If you wan to see just how fast the Impressa Z5 is, check out the video of the First Cup.

We will have more updates on the machine as we continue to use it over the course of the next several months.  We are interested in how easy it is to clean and maintain.  We'll also make some other coffee drinks and check out the various accessories in our update in about a month.

Next week... a detail look at the Dual XDVD8182, the next generation of in-car entertainment.


October 18,2006

The folks in the RainyDayKitchen have set up and tested a lot of different coffee makers during the past year.  But the arrival of the Jura Impressa Z5 was the first time we can remember them actually having to read the instructions before pressing a single button. 

While the setup was quite simple, it was still important to understand all the steps before hitting "brew."  The unit came with a lot of accessories, none of which was needed to set up the unit and brew an espresso.  Today, we'll take a quick tour of the Impressa Z5.  Tomorrow, we'll go through the steps of priming the unit and making that magical first cup.

The top front of the unit is the main control center.  Most of the buttons are self-explanatory.  Click on the images to get a closer look. 

The rear of the unit houses the grinder.  There is also a secondary chute for adding a different kind of coffee for a single cup...perfect for that occassional "decaffeinated" visitor.

Water for brewing is stored in a removable unit on the left side of the machine.  The container has a built-in handle for portability. 

However, we find it easier to fill it using a pitcher rather than take the unit to the tap...less splashing and spilling.  There is a clear water gauge (red arrow) on the side of the container, making it simple to check on the level.

Since the Impressa is an automated espresso maker (beans are ground just before brewing), there is a bin for catching the grounds.  The bin is accessed from the front by pulling out the drip tray.

Friday we'll press the power button for the FirstUse review and a video of the brewing of the first cup.  In the meantime, go check out all the other machines in the Jura line here.


October 17,2006

Quite a few readers wanted to know more about the Jura that our young barista was using to make the espressos.  We will have the FirstLook and FirstUse reviews of the Impressa Z5 posted over the course of the next few days.

Today, we are just going to get our coffee taste buds tingling.  Get a closer look at images by clicking on the shot of our first cup.  As the instructions said: when running the machine for the first time...toss the first two cups, the third one will be perfect.  It was.  More tomorrow.


October 15,2006

Everyone had a great time at yesterday's SausageFest.  Now that we have sponsored this event four times, we have come up with the perfect SausageFest flow: Guests register their sausage entries upon arrival, then are led out back where they choose which grill they will use for cooking their own sausages.  This frees up the RainyDayKitchen staff to actually enjoy the event.

As always, all of the sausages from the Buffalo Guys were gone in a flash.  Our Man Gordon brought his Chinese-style sweet sauage (below), a previous two-time "Crowd Pleaser" champion (now officially retired).

Coffee drinks were served up by Sebastian, one of our young RainyDayIntern baristas.  The Jura Impressa Z5 is so simple to use that anyone can make a perfect espresso...which, of course, was exactly what everyone needed to complement the Simply Divine Brownies

Today is officially TDATDB (The Day After The Day Before) and we are spending it digesting. The event had tons of food, and most of it managed to find good homes (in people's tummies) by the time the event was over.  There is already talk of "secret sources" for next year's ultimate sausage competition!


October 14,2006 (SausageFestSaturday)

Products from The Buffalo Guys are always a HUGE favorite at the RainyDayKitchen events.  For SausageFest, we featured four different kinds of Buffalo Sausages (Bratwurst, Polish, Andouille, and Hot Dogs).  Just click on any of the images if you want a closer look.

For guests who want a little more heat with their meat, we have salsas and mustards from Dave's Gourmet.  Dave's Gourmet flavorings are just "insane!"  We have been reading some pretty great things about grapeseed oil.  So this year, instead of olive oil for the cous cous salad, we are using lemon-flavored grapeseed oil from Salute Sante

BTW... our new QuadTimer (gadget on the left) also got quite a workout today.  It was especially useful when we had multiple things cooking on top of the stove...by different people! The QuadTimer let everyone track their time without confusion.

There is, of couse, plenty of beer and soda to wash everything down.  Guest are always welcome to mix up their favorite flavor using our Soda Club machine.  This year we have the new Apple + Peach flavor for the event.

SausageFest IS a competition.  This year we had three different grills going at the same time.  Guests can choose their favorite style from our collection of grills (charcoal, open flame gas, or griddle).  They were responsible for cooking up their entries.

We will have to count up all the entries, but needless to say, as typical of past SausageFest events, there are a LOT of different types of sausages.  We are also indoctrinating the next generation of sausage lovers at this year's SausageFest. 

We would post more, but we are all in a bit of a food coma right now...


October 13,2006

The RainyDayKitchen folks are hosting the Fourth Annual SausageFest this weekend.  There will be the usual varieties of amazing sausages on the grill.  In addition, for dessert, we'll have a bonus treat for our guests.

This year everyone will have a chance to taste some amazingly delicious Simply Divine Brownies.  We met the folks from SDB at the Fancy Food Show this past Summer.  As soon as we had a taste of their samples, we knew we had to have them as a part of our next 'Fest.

The story of the Simply Divine Brownie is a wonderful one.  We encourage our readers to visit the Simply Divine Brownie website to see the large assortment of flavors (and shapes!) they have available.

Whatever you do, you MUST NOT kid yourself about sampling a small bite.  We told the RainyDayKitchen folks that we just needed to take a brownie out of the wrapper for a "better" shot.  We then convinced ourselves that YOU, the readers, would want to see the inside of the brownie.  Well...you can guess the rest :-)

If you can't join us this weekend, we can still share the taste of these wonderful brownies with one of you.  Just tell us the names of all the different brownies we'll be serving this weekend. Send the entry via email with the subject line "I need a chocolate brownie fix."  Get your entry in by the end of the day.  We'll have our guests pick somebody's name out of the hat during SausageFest. 


October 8,2006

After a day of lounging on the deck watching the tide, we had worked up quite an appetite.  Even though some of us had lobster for lunch yesterday, the lobster dinner (for those of us who don't mind ripping into our food) is one of the group's Columbus Day weekend traditions. 


October 7,2006

Food is, of course, a huge part of the weekend.  For lunch, some of us went in search of the ultimate lobster sandwich.  We found a pretty good one at the Fisherman's Catch a few miles away.

For Saturday's dinner, Irfan cooked up an amazing Indian spread.  Incredibly, all of us still managed to find room for pie :-) We would post some of the recipes if we could convince Irfan to share them :-)


September 17,2006

The one exciting discovery we made at this year's Fancy Food Show was grapeseed oil.  The RainyDayKitchen folks use both olive and peanut oils in their cooking.  They use them for health and taste reasons.  What they didn't know was grapeseed oil has the other oils beat on all counts.  If you want to know more about how it is made...go check out the video, it's pretty amazing.

Food & Vine's Salute Sante! is one of the premier brands of grapeseed oil.  Apparently more and more top chefs are beginning to agree with the folks at Food & Vine.

We got a shipment of a variety (regular, lemon, roasted garlic) of Salute Sante! grapeseed oil this week for the RainyDayKitchen.  Click on the images to get a closer look at the labels.

The RainyDayKitchen folks are quite eager to try some recipes using grapeseed oil.  Some of us are just going to hook up the new Harmony 890 and control the world from the couch in the media room.


September 7,2006

We are no strangers to pod based coffee brewers, so when the Flavia Fusion Drink Station showed up in the RainyDayKitchen, we were all over it.

The machine was a breeze to set up and even easier to use.  The sample pack came with quite a collection of different coffees, teas, and toppings.  The hardest part was for folks here to decided what they want to try first :-)

The central column adjusts with the push of a button to fit different size cups.  The brewing is done by pumping water through the filter pack and the content goes directly into the cup. 

This has the advantage in that no cleaning is needed and there is no "carry-over" of flavors from one brew to the next.  We are almost done sampling the various flavors...write-up of the Flavia Fusion Drinks Station will happen as soon as we are done with the last cup.  In the meantime, just click on any of the images to get a closer look and this stylish machine for the kitchen.  If you want a Flavia Fusion for the office, check out the S350 and SB100.


September 1,2006

When we were down in Chinatown a few weeks ago, we came across a new bar/restaurant called District on Lincoln St.  The entrance may be easy to miss in the day time, but if you show up around 10 PM on a weekend, it will be easy to spot.

The decor is an interesting mix of textures...hard and soft, edgy and funky, and definitely good for starting conversations ;-) 

The bar just opened a few months ago and they are tweeking the menu based on feedback from their customers.  We were there last Thursday and did some first hand sampling of their offerings... amazing food, great prices!  You can wait for our full write-up or you can head down to 180 Lincoln St this Labor Day weekend and see for yourselves!  Go soon...word is going to get around fast!!!

American Innovative came up with an easy way for users to program their alarm clocks.  They have now taken that same interface and incorporated it into the kitchen timer...four timers, actually.

The Chef's Quad-Timer uses the same easy to program dial as the NeverLate alarm clock.  The inner knob selects the timer, the outer ring sets the time.  Rotate the ring quickly to move the counter quickly, slow up to set the time precisely...how more natural can it get?  We hope they take this concept to other types of timers (VCR remotes, light on/off timers, etc...).  Folks would never have to struggle with remembering how to program their timers again!

The Chef's Quad-Timer allows the user to see more than one timing event at a glance...perfect when there are several things happening in the kitchen at once (sauce on the stove, roast in the oven).

The layout of the four timers are similar to a typical four burner stove.  It is an intuitive and clever solution for associating a timer with what is being timed.

August 15,2006

We were watching the Food Channel on Monday night and got this incredible craving for Chinese Roast Duck.  So today, we got Toby, his friend Francesca, and headed to Boston's Chinatown for some tasty treats!

If we were in the mood for DimSum, we would have gont to the Imperial Tea House.  If the craving was for an egg custard, then it would have been to the Hing Shing Pastry shop at the corner.  However, since the crving was for roast duck...then the only place to go is to the Vinh Sun BBQ Restaurant.

The owner used to have a small store front on the opposite side of Beach Street.  We had been purchasing ducks from him since 1982.  The restaurant opened in 2004 and have been our favorite when ever we get that hankering for things barbecued.

Vinh Sun is both a shop and a restaurant.  You can just pop in and get what you need or stay and enjoy one of their deliciously authentic dishes.  We opted for the latter.  Lunch lasted for a bit longer than we had planned...especially with the 2 hour nap which followed :-)  We'll be back for dinner with a larger group in the future!


August 11,2006

Can something as simple as a Chinese Wok go high tech?  All Clad thinks so.  They have created a stainless steel version of the wok with some very impressive specs.   This wok should be available in stores starting in August.

We did the FirstLook on All Clad's Stainless Steel Wok at the beginning of the Summer.  This past weekend, we had a few folks over at the RainyDayKitchen and gave the All Clad Wok a full workout (steaming, stir-frying, etc...).

The general concensus is the All Clad Wok heats up evenly and retains heat a lot longer compared to the traditional iron wok. This made it great for frying and steaming. 


Due to the wok's stainless steel multi-ply construction it is also a lot heavier than the traditional wok.  The extra weight made the wok a bit harder to handle.  The heat retention took a little getting used to, especially when making several dishes and clean up was required between each one. 

The even heating quality of this wok really showed when we made the Kung Pao Chicken dish.  It is easy to burn the Kung Pao sauce, but we had no trouble making the dish in the All Clad Wok.  Overall, we were quite happy in our FirstUse with the performance of the wok.  Go check out the details here.  We'll try it with a few more dishes and will have an InTheWild update after Chinese New Year. 

When we cook, sooner or later someone will have to clean up...just WHERE are those interns???  SimpleHuman has made it easier with a precision soap pump.  Loading the soap is easy...just slide back the cover and fill.

Using it is also pretty simple.  This pump is single-hand operated and can dispense up to 2cc of soap with one push. In fact, you don't even need opposable thumbs.

The entire unit appears to be very well engineered...smooth lever action, cast metal housing.  SimpleHuman backs it up with a 5 year warranty on the whole thing.  We'll let you know how it stands up to the crew in the RainyDayKitchen!


August 4,2006

The AeroGrow herbs have definitely taken longer before they were usable (as compared to the AeroGrow lettuce).  The herbs seemed to take longer to grow and are meant to be used before they flower. We think it might be the two basil plants have a faster growth cycle than the others--cilantro, dill, chives, mint, and parsely--and so might be blocking the other herbs' light. Perhaps the outside spots might be a better location for the basils... 

We are currently on Week6 and the folks in the RainyDayKitchen have used all of the herbs for something...including the mint for a few mojitos!  The dill never did sprout.  Hopefully we'll be able to have the garden going all Winter. 


July 11,2006

The Gourmet FancyFoods Show was fabulous:-) There were over 2,000 vendors at the show.  Since the show was geared toward wooing distributors and buyers, samples were freely offered. We samples delicacies from all over the world. 

We'll have a more thorough review of the show once we have had a chance to sort out the notes...and finish eating the samples :-)  A few vendors did stand out, though.  A company called IceRocks is taking water products a step further with premium sealed ice cubes. 

Their customers were initially whiskey drinkers who demanded the best...both in the liquor and the ice used to cool it!  The water is ultra-purified comes ready for freezing.  Since the cubes are sealed, they will never pick up any flavors in the freezer nor will they evaporate while waiting to be used.  We brought some samples back...now if we can just find us some 100 year old Scotch.

There was also a company called FunEnergyFoods showing a new product in the fast growing energy drink/sports bar market called KickButt Energy Ballz

Energy Ballz are a little larger than malted milk balls, a little chewy, and both flavors (cherry and carmel) were quite tasty.  We liked the convenient size and that the product provides both nutrients and caffeine...without the liquid.  We are going to have to get some more for review for our RainyDaySports section of the magazine!

We had a  very interesting chat with Valentin Humer of Food&Vine.  Valentin was extolling the virtues (high cooking temperature, lots of vitamins, and OPC) of grapeseed oil.

We will follow up with Valentin and will definitely try using some of the Salute Sante! in the RainyDayKitchen.  Look for our review toward the Fall.

While most were food vendors, there were a few who were related to food, but were more "hardware" focused.  PicnicTime is a company who offer baskets and picnic/grilling accessories for those who like to enjoy their fancy foods out in the wild or just out in the backyard.

Hopefully, we'll have a chance to check out some of their gear and report back.


July 10,2006

The 2006 Gourmet FancyFoods Show is in NYC this week. A few of us made the trip down yesterday for it, but it is so nice out today that we may just poke around the city for the day and go to the show tomorrow :-)


July 1,2006 (RibFest Weekend)

It was a PERFECT day for a RibFest.  The temperature was a balmy 83º, the air was dry, and a light breeze kept the bugs away.  We couldn't have asked for a better day.

There were enough folks coming that we decided to fire up all three grills again.  Now that we've had some experience setting up the grills, it was a quick no-fuss task.  It also meant we had plenty of time to grab a beer before the guests start arriving.

We also had time to make some fun little parting gifts (BBQ fridge magnets, Dry Rub instructions) with our Xyron 900 laminator.  This laminator is so easy to use that the time between idea and "parting gifts" creation was about 15 minutes.

Our guests were treated to six different kinds of Dave's Gourmet flavor infused meats.  We were too busy eating and drinking to take any kind of survey, but it is safe to say that ALL the dry rubs were a HUGE hit with the crowd. 

If you want a quick and elegant way of spicing up grilling meats without having to do a lot of work, you can't go wrong with the dry rubs from Dave's Gourmet!


June 28,2006

This weekend is the RainyDayKitchen's 4th of July RibFest.  Lucky readers chosen at random who have received their invitations should expect a finger lickin' good time!  We'll be featuring a few recipes made using spices and rubs from Dave's Gourmet

As always with any RainyDayMagazine events, no one leaves until all the food is gone :-)


June 23,2006

Fresh herbs are great, but keeping the wine and Champagne fresh is what the Epicurean Preservation System is all about. 

The Epicurean Preservation System is a hand held pressure / vacuum pump designed for simple one handed operation.  The system comes with the EPS pump, charging base, a couple of wine stoppers, a stopper/pourer, and a Champagne stopper.  Once we have the unit fully charged, we'll crack open a few bottles and give this a test :-)


June 16,2006 (FoodFriday 12:56PM)

Everybody wants to go to the party but nobody likes to stay and clean up.  We realized it was time to clean the grills from the FirstGrill event, especially since the July 4th RainyDayMagazine RibFest is fast approaching!

Today is going to be a clear 80º day... perfect for this outdoor task.  Our trusty Summer helpers were assigned the job while the rest of us stood around and had our morning coffee.   Cleaning the Coleman RoadTrip LXE at first looked like it would be pretty messy... mostly because food was able to fall between the slots of the grill. 

The Thermos Grill2Go had a grease trap on the side which got filled with water from the rain.  The surface is a one piece and should be very easy to clean.

However, cleaning the Grill2Go's grease trap turned out to be a problem.  Folks here have some ideas on how to "modify" the container to make it easier to clean this grease trap.  We will post our results later today.

If you want to just enjoy a great meal without all the clean up, the L'Epicureo restaurant at the Hotel Providence in RI is hosting their first Wine Dinner on June 20th to celebrate their new location at 311 Westminster St.  It is a seven course dinner with a wine pairing for each course....yummm.

Tickets to the event must be purchased in advance.  Give Bethany Robert a call (401-490-8119) if you are interested.  Tell her you read about it on RainyDayMagazine :-)


May 26,2006

The RainyDayKitchen folks put on quite the FirstGrill event last Sunday!  We have recovered from our food coma and wrote up our comments (Prep, Coleman grill, Thermos Grill, the Event, the Movie) just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

If you need to get a portable grill for your tailgating parties this season, both the Coleman RoadTrip and the Thermos Grill2Go are great choices.  If you need to move the grill around a lot, the RoadTrip is the one you need.  If you also want to cook pancakes or eggs on it for breakfast, the Grill2Go is your baby.

For amazingly delicious meats, you can't go wrong with Kobe beef from Morgan Ranch or steaks and sausages from the Buffalo Guys.

Go check out the write-ups and see if there are anything else you might need to complete your grilling gear for this holiday weekend and the Summer!


May 24,2006

Everyone here loves spicy food.  Some love it more than others.  When we read about a "variable hot sauce" from Dave's Gourmet, we knew we had to try some!

The split-bottle design allows the user to dial up the desired "hotness" of the sauce...clever!  It would have been a great addtion to the FirstGrill event this past Sunday.  I guess we'll have to come up with something just to test out all the spices... this is a crazy job.

There is a large collection of other spicy goodness on the site.  If you love stimulating those nociceptors with large amounts of capsaicin... and who doesn't?  Then you need to check out Dave's offerings!


May 22,2006

The RainyDayKitchen's FirstGrill event over the weekend was just amazing.  Both the Kobe beef from Morgan Ranch and the sausages from the Buffalo Guys were a huge hit.  All the guests had a chance to try their hands on the various grills...as well as some of the other new gear (i-Roast2, EspressoPRO, fitness scales, etc...) in the RainyDayKitchen. 

Some of the staff and guests were determined not to leave until all the food was gone.  We'll have the complete write-up by the next FoodFriday edition of RainyDayMagazine.


May 19,2006

The FirstGrill Event is this weekend.  It looks like the timing for the event will be perfect.  The crazy weather we have been experiencing should be gone by the end of today.  Fortunately, all of the food and gear we needed for the event made it here on time.

The Kobe Beef from Morgan Ranch was delivered by FedEx yesterday.  The quality looks absolutely amazing.  The marbling on the steaks are the most we have ever seen.  We can't wait to get them on the grills! 

The original schedule was to unpack and assemble the grills yesterday, but our little SoftSocket adventure threw the plans off a bit.  We unpacked the grills this morning and will be assembling them today. 

Both the Coleman and the Thermos grills will require some final assembly.  We'll let the interns have at them and see how they do by lunch time.

The Coleman RoadTrip Grill LXE appears to require less work, but we don't know for sure.  All we can tell at this stage is there are less pieces in bubble wrap as compared to the Thermos unit.

The Thermos Grill2Go had a bit more stuff under the hood.  Both of them came pretty much in the state you see here.  They both look quite transportable...as long as you have an SUV.  After this FirstGrill event, we'll take them on the road and see how they fare.  I guess it would mean more grilling...it is going to be a long, hot Summer :-)

The interns took one look at the grills and went out for coffee.  We couldn't blame them as the assembly instructions were sparse for the Coleman and non existent for the Thermos.  This didn't fazed the more experienced in the group.

The Coleman Roadtrip was pretty much all assembled.  It just needed the handle inserted, wheels attached, and propane valve installed.  Total time: 15 minutes.

The Thermos Grill2Go took a little bit longer.  The grill itself was factory assembled and did not require any work. The stand came in three pieces and had to be assembled.  It was a bit unwieldy until we figured out that it was easier to work with it on the floor instead of trying to stand it up while putting it together.

Once we got the stand together, the rest came together quickly.  Although things were pretty obvious in how they should go together, it would have been a bit easier with SOME instructions.  Total time: 35 minutes.

The two grills are now ready for the FirstGrill event this weekend!  I think it is time to get some lunch...and some propane.


May 12,2006

Last Friday we showed the EspressoPRO in action.  Today we'll show how we get the perfect grind for the espresso maker and we'll also complete the rest of the coffee obsession with the FirstLook and FirstUse reviews of a coffee roaster called i-Roast2.

The Capresso Burr Grinder give a consistent grind and is a perfect companion for the EspressoPRO.  Burr grinders gives a much more consistent grind than their blade counterparts.  It also does not generate coffee dust, which can clog the fine mesh filters of an espresso maker.

Roasting coffee was a lot simpler than we thought.  The machine was easy to set up.  15 minutes was all it took and the result was definitely worth the effort.  If you love drinking coffee, you will enjoy it even more if you roast it to just the way you like it. 

The RainyDayKitchen staff will be hosting the First Grill of the Season event next weekend.  The guests will get some first hand exposure to some new and interesting summer grilling gear.  We have grills from the following vendors:

  1. Coleman RoadTrip Grill LXE (gas)
  2. Thermos Grill2Go (gas)
  3. Weber OneTouch (charcoal)

Our guests will also have a chance to take a closer look at some of the new kitchen gear such as the All-Clad Stainless Steel Wok, the Waterless Cooking System, and the Epicurean wine/champagne preserver.

They will also have a chance to sampling some new sausage offerings from the Buffalo Guys and some American Kobe beef from Morgan Ranch.

We'll be serving four different kinds of buffalo sausages (Polish, Bratwurst, Andouille, and Hot Dog).  The sausages from the Buffalo Guys are free of gluten (...especially important for our friend Rachel), MSG, Nitrates, or other strange stuff.  We have had meats from the Buffalo Guys before and we can say speak from experience...they are delicious.

If you are a steak lover, then you probably have heard of the fabled Japanese Kobe Beef.  The folks at Morgan Ranch have been producing Kobe Beef since 1994.  We are looking forward to sampling their offering!


April 24,2006

It was a rainy weekend in Boston.  Some of the folks were here at the RainyDayKitchen playing with the new coffee gear (i-Roast2 coffee bean roaster, Capresso burr grinder, EspressoPro espresso maker).  It seems the caffeine gave everyone lots of energy.  Not only were there LOTS of photos, but plenty of videos as well! 

We'll let the writers catch up during the day, but here are some videos of the roasting, grinding, and brewing.

The i-Roast2 home roaster was surprisingly easy to use.  The entire process took just 15 minutes. There wasn't really much smoke, but enough to set off the alarm.

Watching the beans change color was pretty cool...and the aroma... delicious! Once the beans cooled, we fed them to the Capresso Burr Grinder for a test run.

We had a blade grinder, but according to the instructions for the EspressoPro, burr grinders give a more consistant grind and don't generate as much "coffee dust"...which could clog the filter.  

Our first cups of espresso were a little thin.  The staff experimented with the fineness setting of the grinder and did a few more shots.  We found that grind setting 2.0 gave the optimal powder for use with the EspressoPro machine.  We were all quite "energized" by the end of our little coffee experiments.


April 21,2006

If we hadn't been so taken by the Solar LED House Number from Matterinc yesterday, you would have been reading more about coffee today.  Instead, you will have to wait until tomorrow :-)

We had not fired up the new espresso machine yet because we wanted to wait until we got the Capresso Burr Grinder.  The espresso machine had warning about using a blade grinder...too much coffee dust which could cause clogging.  In the meantime, we thought we might as well go all the way and got in a home coffee roaster.  We'll unpack both today and get the entire crew totally wired.  Look for posting well into the night :-)

April 19, 2006

Some of you have been asking when are we going to try some of the lettuce from the AeroGarden.  Well, today was our FirstHarvest!

We enjoyed our hydroponically grown lettuce on a whole wheat english muffin with what else...a veggie burger!  Amazingly delicious.


April 10, 2006 (MochachinoMonday)

We RainyDayKitchen folks are not strangers to coffee making devices.  There is a pretty good collection of French Presses, drip filters, and pod brewers in our collection.

However, when one of our readers asked us about the AeroPress, we were stumped.  We had never heard of it.  A quick Google search revealed that the AeroPress is from the company that invented the Aerobie flying ring...which we have heard of.

Can a company who invented one of the longest human-thrown objects create something that will make a great cup of coffee? Read RainyDayKitchen's AeroPress review and find out!

For the past six months, we have been reviewing various pod-based (SimpleHuman, Tassimo, Keurig) coffee and espresso makers.  These machines have their advantages, especially for a home or office where not everyone wants the same thing.

We have been impressed with the wide variety of available flavors and drink options available for these units.  All of these machines worked as advertised and we use them around the office all the time.

For the next six months, the RainyDayKitchen folks are going to take a look at a new category of coffee machines...home machines with professional grade features.  These machines may require a little bit more work (grinding the beans, cleaning, etc...), but the promise is a level of flavor and intensity not available from pod based brewers.

The first machine on the list is the Capresso EspressoPRO.  This machine is designed for the coffee drinker that wants quality, convenience, but is not willing to compromise on taste. 

We just got the machine on Friday, so it will take us a few days before we can give you our impressions, but rest assured...it will be thoroughly tested.  I have a feeling the folks here will be VERY awake all week long :-)


April 8, 2006 (WeekendEdition)

Two indicator lights came on today (Add Water, Add Nutrients).  This was the first time in 2 weeks we had to do any type of maintenance on the AeroGarden.

We replaced about a quart of water and added two nutrient tablets to the tank.  When we opened the tank, we also noticed the roots have reached out of the pods and have grown quite long!  This may explain the faster growth rate we have been seeing the past few days.


April 7, 2006 (FitnessFriday)

Getting on a weight scale is intimidating enough for a lot of people.  Some don't WANT to know their "% body fat".  Others would rather step on a rattlesnake then on a "talking scale". 

We did manage to find a few brave souls who were willing to step up and on these fine machines (WeightWatchers WW71, Phoenix TBF440, Soehnle Rio) to show that "it is just a number" and knowing your "% body fat" is the first step to a better and healthier body. 

We'll have more to say about the "% body fat", BMI, and other calculations from these scales soon. 

Most of us don't get enough water in a typical day.  However, it is even more important to stay properly hydrated when exercising.  One way to make sure we drink enough water is to carry it around with us.  A good way to do that is to get a quality water bottle.

Nalgene, long known for it high quality laboratory containers, has been expanding its product lines to serve the outdoor and fitness market.  In our upcoming SpringOuting, we'll be taking some of these with us on our Boston City Hike.  We'll report back on them at the end of April.

Two weeks have passed since we flipped the switch and started the AeroGarden.  The progress has exceeded our expectations! 

The RainyDayKitchen folks have started naming the individual pods.  I hope it won't be an issue come harvest time!  I think there is even a pool going as to which pod will grow the fastest.


April 1, 2006

If you have a pod based coffee system at work, most likely it would be a Keurig machine.  Keurig also make machines designed for small office and home use... like this Ultra B-50 Premium Coffee System.

The machine itself is extremely simple to operate.  There is a lever, a drip tray, the water container, and a few buttons.  We really like the pod holder design.  Clean and efficient.  The two depression on the side gives easy access for pod insertion and removal.

We think this machine is perfect for the small office or home, especially if you have folks that may want different flavors of coffee, don't want the hassle of cleaning up, but demand great taste in each cup.


March 24, 2006

Is coffee...food?  Most folks here at RainyDayMagazine think so.  That must be the reason why we keep getting new coffee machines for the RainyDayKitchen!  Our lastest is the Keurig B-50 Single Cup Coffee System.

A few of us have already tried the B-50 and have found it quick, easy to use, and makes really good coffee.  We got a lot of different pods in the sample pack.  We'll HAVE to try them ALL before we can give you our opinions on this unit :-)

Another "machine" the folks in the RainyDayKitchen are testing is the Aerobie AeroPress.  The AeroPress is totally mechanical and takes a bit more work.   However, for some coffee purist, it may be just what they have been looking for!

We plan to drink a LOT of coffee this weekend and will have a full review of the Keurig B-50 and the AeroPress next week.


March 14, 2006

Grill cheese sandwiches are a favorite choice for lunch in the RainyDayKitchen.  We had been using the George Foreman Grill for making them.  The GF grill works well for the thinner sandwiches, but not so well for thicker stacks.

We got this grill from Cuisinart for the temporary kitchen in the RainyDayRenovation project in Somerville.  However, we couldn't resist unpacking it just to see if we should get another one for the RainyDayKitchen!  We'll have a review once we have finished eating our sandwiches :-)

Another item we got for the temporary kitchen is a toaster oven.  Not just any toaster oven, but one large enough to roast a 4 lb chicken.

No mechanical sliders or rotary knobs on this Cuisinart toaster oven!  The unit also features ExactHeat sensors and AlwaysEven shade controls for perfect toasts :-)  We'll let you know if this unit can serve as a temporary replacement for a full size oven.


February 25, 2006

The office will be buzzing this weekend as everyone here is getting ready for the Year Of The Dog celebration.  Chinese New Year was almost a month ago, but we have not had time to celebrate RainyDay style until now :-)  Some of the RainyDayKitchen folks went out to a local market to shop for the stuff they needed for today's banquet.  We asked them to take a few snaps so we could share with you their shopping experience.

The best Chinese grocery market outside of Chinatown in Boston is the Super 88 in Allston.  They have pretty much everything one needs to make a dinner for four or forty.  We'll post more pics as they come in from the field :-)

The key to cooking for 30 is preparation...chop everything ahead of time,  make sure all the sauces are measured out, and don't let any one into the kitchen.

This was the first year that ALL of the food were consumed...and as Lisa said "This may be the Year of the Dog, but it sure wasn't the Year of the Doggie Bag!"


February 24, 2006

The folks in the RainyDayKitchen have been prepping all week for The Year of the Dog celebration this weekend.  These events are also be a good opportunity to try out some new products :-)

We love the flickering glow of votive candles , especially when we are having folks over for one of our famous RainyDayEvents!  Making sure all of the candles have been extinguished after the party is sometimes a hit or miss thing. 

With the Smart Candle, we no longer have to worry about some of our staff's more creative candle placements.


We realize it may be difficult to judge the quality of the "flame" from a still photo, so here are a few clips of the Smart Candle in action :-)


February 20, 2006

What's music without the mood?  With SmartCandle, we can now create the proper mood without the associated hazards.

RainyDayKitchen reviewed a similar product from Vessel last year.  The difference between the SmartCandle and Vessel's Candela is that SmartCandle flickers like a real flame.  We'll post a video of this in the writeup later this week.

Of course, the type of mood lighting is dependent on the type of crowd.  After a few nips of the cooking sherry, the RainyDayKitchen folks will start reaching for the harder stuff.   At which point, flickering tea lights will give way to the glow of the Envious shot glass! 

Slam this glass down on any hard surface and the LED will glow brightly for a few seconds, signaling that a refill is needed.  We'll be testing these out at our Year Of The Dog celebration this weekend :-)


January 27, 2006

Somebody in the RainyDayKitchen read an article about this place in Boston's Chinatown that makes their own noodles.  So being FoodFriday, four of us decided to check it out.

Noodle Alcove is a small walk-up restaurant at 10 Tyler Street.  We got there around 12:45 and the place was packed.  The noodle maker was putting on quite a show at the front window; he can make 4,000 noodles from one hunk of dough...we couldn't get a photo because we couldn't get the camera up, was so packed :-)

Most of the locals were there to pick up their take-out orders, so getting a table was actually easier than we would have thought judging by the size of the crowd.  We ordered four different kinds "hand drawn" soups.  This was the first time we have ever had "fresh noodles."  The texture was surprisingly springy and very delicious.

We chatted with the staff after the meal and they suggested that next time we try the fried noodles...apparently it is what all the "regular customers" order :-)  I guess we'll be back next Friday.  Next time we'll see if we can get some video footage of the noodle-making process.

RainyDayMagazine hosted the first annual RainyDayKitchen SteakFest a few weekends ago.  The SteakFest was a crazy idea hatched by one of our RainyDayKitchen folks so we could compare the taste of the buffalo meat with that of the regular bovine variety.

The goal of the SteakFest was to compare the steaks from The Buffalo Guys to other steaks to see if we could taste the difference.  We got some fresh boneless ribeye delmonico steaks from McKinnon's Meat Market in Davis Square.  We also got some mail-order steaks from Omaha Steaks.

With all that red meat, it was the seemed the perfect opportunity to pair it with some interesting red wines.  The folks at the Charles River Wine Company made some great suggestions (Joel Gott Zinfindel 2004, Epison Shiraz 2004, Waterstone Cabernet 2003).  Go read about the whole food orgy here.  

We have since come out of our "meat coma" and have started to think about the next "food event"...maybe lamb for Spring?


January 20, 2006

We have made over 140 bottles of soda with the SodaClub Edition 1...and have FINALLY exhausted the canister!  The canister was rated for 110 fillings, but we guess that would depend on how much gas one puts in each bottle of soda...go checkout our InTheWild report on the SodaClub Edition 1 and see what was our favorite flavor :-)

We eat a lot of energy bars and other types of trail foods when we hike.  After a while they all start to taste the same.  So some of us started to look for an alternative.   Interestingly enough, we ended up rediscovering one of the "original" trail foods...the beef jerky!  The Final Frontier Jerky was first one we tested.  Go read what we thought of these "World Famous" pieces of pepper coated dry meat.  I guess it was a good thing we recharged the soda machine!

Not that the folks in the RainyDayKitchen don't make great food, but once in a while it's great to go out for a special treat...especially if they get to put it on RainyDayMagazine's tab :-)

Some of the folks were up in Jackson NH last week testing a bunch of winter gear for RainyDaySports.  While the warm weather didn't make for the best snowshoeing, they reported that they had the most amazing meal at the Wentworth Inn.  We don't remember anybody bringing any doggy bags home for those of us back at the office!




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