With less than two weeks remaining in the shopping season, we’ve finally finished putting together our list of the nicest, choicest, tastiest, funnest, hippest, sleekest items. This year- 2013- was TrulyNet’s biggest yet, with more reviews of more great stuff than ever before. We’ve narrowed our favorites down in a few categories, trying to find something for most every budget. Here are our Kitchen favorites, gear that has passed our tests and endured repeated use.
Let’s start with one of the cheapest ways you can improve your cooking: better measurements. Kitchen scales tend to be pretty awkward affairs, utilitarian by design. But we’ve continued to enjoy the JosephJoseph Shell Scale, which adds elegance to your counter, and can pack up neatly when not in use. The bowl is plenty large enough, and it’s proven to be precise enough that we use it commercially. $50.
If you’re looking for a New York-style gift that doesn’t seem touristy, why not encourage the baking of one of our main culinary triumphs- pizza. The single best pizza-related item we’ve reviewed ever, not just this year, is the Baking Steel. It’s takes a two man team to lift and stays hot for hours after use. But that’s precisely what you want from this great upgrade to a pizza stone. $80.
At $100, your options open up a bit. We just reviewed the Wüsthof Classic 9-inch Double-serrated Bread Knife, but thus far, it’s proven to be a very handy friend for bagels, sandwiches, and especially crusty French breads and baguettes. It cuts easily and looks great and feel good in the hand, but the real trick lies in the special double-serration which greatly reduces crumbs and mess.
You can also spend that same amount on about three weeks worth of cappuccinos from your local coffee shop… or you could pick up the Capresso EC50. Full disclosure: after a few months of heavy use, our machine broke. But their normal customer service replaced the machine quickly, and we still turn to this guy several times a day. It’s not much to look at, but it’s small and easy to use, plus best of all, perhaps the least expensive decent espresso machine we’ve seen.
But espresso fans who want more- and are willing to spend more- should pick up the Rancilio Silvia. It can be a bit tempermental, but our staff has gone wild for this lovely gal and the excellent results. Better-than-Starbucks results if you’re careful, the Silvia is durable, well-built, and incredibly capable. The least expensive commercial-quality espresso machine we’ve seen runs over $600.