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Luxury versions of everyday products.

 
 
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:07 pm
I'm wondering about high-end versions of things that you use to cook with -- things that you swear by.

I can't deal with imitation vanilla, for instance so I buy the outrageously expensive stuff for baking. A bottle of vanilla will last me a long time so it seems like an okay splurge.

Not long ago I ordered a tomato, mozzerella salad in a restaurant and the basalmic vinegar they used was heaven! Who knew? I wish I would have asked about what brand it was.

With the holidays coming up and my small family staying home I thought it would be nice to maybe splurge on a few things to make a really special meal.

What luxury version of everyday products make a big difference?

What do you splurge on?

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 3,344 • Replies: 36
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:15 pm
Re: Luxury versions of everyday products.
boomerang wrote:
I'm wondering about high-end versions of things that you use to cook with -- things that you swear by.

I can't deal with imitation vanilla, for instance so I buy the outrageously expensive stuff for baking. A bottle of vanilla will last me a long time so it seems like an okay splurge.

Not long ago I ordered a tomato, mozzerella salad in a restaurant and the basalmic vinegar they used was heaven! Who knew? I wish I would have asked about what brand it was.

With the holidays coming up and my small family staying home I thought it would be nice to maybe splurge on a few things to make a really special meal.

What luxury version of everyday products make a big difference?

What do you splurge on?

Thanks!



Fresh first pressings of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.


In small bottles (it goes off).




Hazelnut oil.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:17 pm
Where do you find that olive oil? Is there a certain brand?

What do you use hazelnut oil for? That should be easy for me to find as there are hazelnut orchards all around here!
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:21 pm
boomerang wrote:
Where do you find that olive oil? Is there a certain brand?

What do you use hazelnut oil for? That should be easy for me to find as there are hazelnut orchards all around here!



We grow olives here, so there are lots of little orchards that press their own.....you can find local oil in good supermarkets. There are tastings and everything.


But...just look for extra virgin, first pressing...cold pressed if you can get it.


Hazelnut oil is delicious in salads and such.


Grape seed oil is nice, too.


Using vanilla pods is the ultimate! Ummmmmmmmmmm.........
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:23 pm
Thanks!

I'm going to keep my eye out for both.

I love hazelnuts. Now I'm even craving some Frangelico! Yum.
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:25 pm
Real maple syrup.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:27 pm
I also pay more for good olive oil, and balsamic vinegar
Safron is rather expensive but soo good in rice dishes
I pay quite a bit for bread from a local source that makes very good bread,
and I splurge on various imported cheeses.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 08:28 pm
Chai wrote:
Real maple syrup.


Yes, what a difference that makes. I hadn't realized how good
real maple syrup tastes vs. the cheap brands.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 09:16 pm
On the rare occasion when I can afford it:

Real Canadian bacon or Italian prosciutto rather than the smoke-flavored strips of fat we usually buy.

Real blocks of parmesan cheese rather than the powdered stuff.

Premium butter rather than margarine.

Special-flavored honey or raw sugar rather than white sugar.

Sweet Whole-grain mustards rather than the yellow hotdog stuff.

Chutney rather than jams, relishes or dips.

Whole vanilla beans rather than extracts.

Gourmet olives rather than black olives from a can.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 09:31 pm
Some day, I'm going to get around to ordering a dedicated onion chopper from the Chef's site, if I've got the name right. It's the most hateful part of making spagheti sauce.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 09:42 pm
Charmin Ultra Toilet Paper. Laughing
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 11 Nov, 2007 09:54 pm
good maple syrup

vanilla pods (well, look at penzey's catalog for a wonderful assortment of herbs and spices.) There is now a better place in Santa Monica, I hear, quite the specialist, but I forget the name.

good real prosciutto and pancetta - I want to check out the Batali connected place in Seattle, and one in Iowa, for mail order, failing having a genuine ital deli around here (they all have this urrrrg Molinari stuff).

good cheese, worth every penny - I have budget considerations, so sometimes it's that and good veggies instead of any meat.

Harris ranch meat, or Humboldt grass fed...

real local wild salmon (I am so jealous you can get that, on occasion, boomer)

Good bread, again, worth it, and indeed, crappy bread is not all that cheap any more.

I hear irish butter is to die for, and not the one at Costco's, but I haven't had it.

I like good coffee, in particular, Peet's. I am buying that now, and drinking much less of it - tea more often.

Really good wine and single malt scotch are out of my wallet range, but I love them when I can get them.


I'll think of more...

oh, yes, great olives. Schniff, the olive bar at Oakville grocery... in particular the lemon picholines (sp?)... And the cheese bar at Oakville grocery. And the olive oil selection at Oakville grocery. And the balsamic vinegar selection at Oakville grocery. And the chocolates by the cash register at Oakville grocery. And the local wines at Oakville grocery. Waaaaaaah.
0 Replies
 
Bohne
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 05:17 am
Fresh pineapple instead of the tinned version.

Meat from the butcher's instead of the supermarket.

Chocolate...
Have you tried Godiva's?

Ridiculously expensive, but sooo good!
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 05:41 am
a really flavorful 10 or 20 year old Balsamic Vinegar (Alico srl of Modena makes some good ones). The more aged the more flavorful and , although you can get a 40 yr old version, its almost like pancake syrup, its more a dessert flavoring.


Locally made steel cut oats. makes Quaker oats taste like wallpaper paste.


Ohio AMish Swiss cheese(those guys make a nutty flavored cheese with a nice bite)

Claudio Asiago cheese-


Heritage breeds turkey(fresh only)--This has become such a niche industry around here that the true free range turkey farms cant fill all their orders and we have to re-up for next years turkeys when we order this years.


Home grown sweet taters .

OH yeah, heritage apples , like Cortlands or winter bananas. New cultivars of apples , like strawberries, arent bred for taste, theyve been bred for long keeping from farm to store.

SLAAAAB BACON.
0 Replies
 
Mumpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 05:55 am
Cheese (ordinary feta for everyday use, marinated goat's feta for "good").

In fact, most cheeses have a delicious (& usually much more expensive) version than the everyday variety.

Oil - must use good quality olive oil all the time, not cheap vegetable oils.

Honey - good Australian yellow box honey.

Chocolate (no wait, ALL chocolate is good!!) (no, but really, some chocolate is more equal than others).

The list could go on.

And of course, most home grown vegetables, fruit & berries (a fresh Roma tomato, basil, snow peas straight from the bush...)
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 06:31 am
The delicious chocolates from the Szamos Marcipan coffeehouse instead of standard fare supermarket bonbons or, worse, candy bars..

Like Butrflynet said, a real block of Parmesan cheese rather than that pre-grated stuff.

Good imported cheeses, period, no need to list.

Back in Holland I used to sometimes go to some length and a two-or three times normal price to get quality bread at one of the two specialty bread shops in town - or at least get the bread from the bakery in the V&D dept store instead of the crap sold in AH supermarkets - but there's nothing comparable here.

I am, however, particular about other bakery products. Pogacsak, for example. The cukraszda (patisserie) in Kiraly Street, by Hollo Street, has small ones with pumpkin seeds that are really good, while their other ones are meh. Good cheese pogacsak you can get at the Vajas Sutemeny shop on Oktogon, the Europa cukraszda on Istvan Korut (next door to the coffeehouse), or you walk into the Muvesz coffeehouse and buy them there to take away. The Jewish bakery in Dob Street, on the other hand, has crap pogacsak, even as some of their other stuff is quite delicious. It's amazing how good - and how bad - pogacsak can be depending on where you buy which ones.

Same with cakes - most cukraszdak have Flodni's, which can be pretty good or so-so; but they got the best ones at the Sport cukraszda in Bank Street, even though much of their other stuff is mediocre. It's like they all have their own specialty thing.

Good coffee - I'm not much of a coffeedrinker, but Zsuzsa at the Semiramis coffeeplace on Nagymezo knows exactly how I want my latte: mild and with hot milk (for some reason they prefer it with tepid milk here). And the coffee is quality.

Oh, and there's this other little Semiramis coffeeshop by Rumbach street where occasionally they have these small-cookie-sized Italian almond pastries with a cherry inside that are delicious - in Utrecht you could always buy them at this specialty tea and coffee shop on the Vismarkt, sigh. You also had these two Italian delicacy shops in Utrecht that had all kinds of good stuff with, on the cookies front, Brutti ma bonis for example.

Just like a former colleague of mine ran a Turkish take-away place round the corner from where I lived - Ana's Kuzin - she was trying to elevate the genre above the kebab style thing and attract a wider clientele, and with an always changing menu of all kinds of delicious dishes and salads and smaller things, she was succeeding well. Yeah, well, not everything in Budapest is better.

What I also miss: the half a litre bottles of freshly squeezed juices (orange, orange/banana, orange/kiwi, etc) and smoothies you can buy in most every AH supermarket in Holland. Here fruit juice is what we had until the early 90s - dull, watery tasting juice "on the basis of juice concentrate" in cartons, or the occasional 100% orange juice in cartons - but never fresh, and nothing beyond that. Sigh, the yuppification of Holland did have its good sides.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 06:35 am
nimh wrote:
The delicious chocolates from the Szamos Marcipan coffeehouse instead of standard fare supermarket bonbons or, worse, candy bars..

Like Butrflynet said, a real block of Parmesan cheese rather than that pre-grated stuff.

Good imported cheeses, period, no need to list.

Back in Holland I used to sometimes go to some length and a two-or three times normal price to get quality bread at one of the two specialty bread shops in town - or at least get the bread from the bakery in the V&D dept store instead of the crap sold in AH supermarkets - but there's nothing comparable here.

I am, however, particular about other bakery products. Pogacsak, for example. The cukraszda (patisserie) in Kiraly Street, by Hollo Street, has small ones with pumpkin seeds that are really good, while their other ones are meh. Good cheese pogacsak you can get at the Vajas Sutemeny shop on Oktogon, the Europa cukraszda on Istvan Korut (next door to the coffeehouse), or you walk into the Muvesz coffeehouse and buy them there to take away. The Jewish bakery in Dob Street, on the other hand, has crap pogacsak, even as some of their other stuff is quite delicious. It's amazing how good - and how bad - pogacsak can be depending on where you buy which ones.

Same with cakes - most cukraszdak have Flodni's, which can be pretty good or so-so; but they got the best ones at the Sport cukraszda in Bank Street, even though much of their other stuff is mediocre. It's like they all have their own specialty thing.

Good coffee - I'm not much of a coffeedrinker, but Zsuzsa at the Semiramis coffeeplace on Nagymezo knows exactly how I want my latte: mild and with hot milk (for some reason they prefer it with tepid milk here). And the coffee is quality.

Oh, and there's this other little Semiramis coffeeshop by Rumbach street where occasionally they have these small-cookie-sized Italian almond pastries with a cherry inside that are delicious - in Utrecht you could always buy them at this specialty tea and coffee shop on the Vismarkt, sigh. You also had these two Italian delicacy shops in Utrecht that had all kinds of good stuff with, on the cookies front, Brutti ma bonis for example.

Just like a former colleague of mine ran a Turkish take-away place round the corner from where I lived - Ana's Kuzin - she was trying to elevate the genre above the kebab style thing and attract a wider clientele, and with an always changing menu of all kinds of delicious dishes and salads and smaller things, she was succeeding well. Yeah, well, not everything in Budapest is better.

What I also miss: the half a litre bottles of freshly squeezed juices (orange, orange/banana, orange/kiwi, etc) and smoothies you can buy in most every AH supermarket in Holland. Here fruit juice is what we had until the early 90s - dull, watery tasting juice "on the basis of juice concentrate" in cartons, or the occasional 100% orange juice in cartons - but never fresh, and nothing beyond that. Sigh, the yuppification of Holland did have its good sides.


Show off! <is insanely jealous>
0 Replies
 
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 06:35 am
Good cheeses -- though a lot of fine cheeses (like that tasty raw sheep's milk brie at the co-op) are made locally, so they're not all that high end.

Balsamic -- the little bottle may be expensive, but a little goes a long way.

After dinner grappa at the Italian place around the corner. They're kitchen is nothing to write home about, but they stock a mean bar.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 07:17 am
patiodog wrote:
They're kitchen


I bet the people who run the Italian place around the corner can spell.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 07:23 am
Speed "beef".

http://www.southtexashuntingclub.com/potential06MVC-049S.JPG
0 Replies
 
 

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