2016 Holiday Gift Guide

As lovers of all things cooking and baking, we each have a list of dream gifts we would love to receive for our kitchens! This week, our team tells you about their most coveted gift in the store, without budget limitations. (For our 2016 picks under $50, see last week’s blog post here.)

Finex 12” Covered Skilletbm2016

This beautiful piece of artisan cookware is put together by hand in Portland, OR. The attention to quality detail makes this piece stand out from other cast iron cookware. The smoothly machined surface resists sticking and is easy to clean. The heaviness of the skillet allows for even heating, and its coil handle stays cool to the touch while cooking. A must have piece for the artisan foodie in your life!


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Kyocera Ceramic Knives

Kyocera CollectionIf you’ve never handled a Kyocera Ceramic Knife, you don’t know what you’re missing. When it comes to effortlessly slicing fruits, vegetables, and boneless meats, ceramic knives are in a class of their own. Of course, for most home cooks, a ceramic knife will not replace your tried and true steel chef’s knife and paring knife for some tasks, but they sure do make an excellent addition to your collection.

Kyocera‘s ceramic knives are made from a high-tech ceramic recipe called zirconium oxide. What makes Kyocera stand out from other ceramic knives is the super-fineness of the processed raw materials and the amount of compression and heat that sinters them into an extremely dense final product. So you get knives take a finer edge and are much more chip resistant than the competition.

Kyocera also produces mandolin slicers and vegetable peelers with the same high quality ceramic blade. We recommend these products time and time again to our customers who desire great quality tools that are both functional and easy to use.

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Knife Sharpening

Pros know the importance of knife maintenanceProfessional cooks know the importance of having high quality tools in their kitchen, the most important of which are knives. However they’ll tell you that having good knives is just the first step. Often overlooked is the equal importance of sharpening and properly maintaining your knives.

To quote from a memoir of the same title by Kathleen Flinn, “the sharper your knife, the less you cry”. Using a dull knife crushes the onions while cutting them and draws out more of the tear causing oils, making you cry more than if you had used a sharp knife.  Of course, you could just use onion goggles to solve that particular problem, but I digress.

In addition to crying a little less while chopping onions, a sharp knife is much safer to use than a dull knife. For example, a fingertip cut by a sharp knife heals faster than a jagged gouge from a dull knife. Statistics show that far more kitchen knife injuries are caused by a dull knife. Dull knives require the use of more pressure to cut. Because the edge of the blade will not easily penetrate the food, there is a chance the knife will lose traction and slip, potentially landing in the cook’s (or an unsuspecting bystander’s) unfortunate foot.  Using a sharp knife helps the cook to maintain control, requires less pressure and will ultimately be safer and more efficient than a dull knife. Read the rest of this entry »

Wusthof Cutlery

Wüsthof is known worldwide by the distinctive Trident logo, and has been a leader in high quality forged knives for a respectable 198 years.

Wusthof Logo Through the Years

Evolution of the famous Trident logo since Wüsthof’s founding in 1814

We like their environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. And we appreciate that this seventh-generation family-owned company maintains absolutely strict guidelines to produce their consistently high quality knives, which are made in Solingen (Germany) with an expert team of 300.

Wüsthof’s varied selection includes over 350 forged knives within various lines, including such greats as the Classic (our favorite) and Grand Prix. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by their large selection, however rest assured that we’re always here to help you choose the knife that’s right for you.

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Meet Tony Luke

Tony Luke at Fante's

Tony Luke Jr

Philadelphia: home of the Liberty Bell, Rocky, the Phanatic, and the famous Philly cheese steak.

Pat’s King of Steaks claims to be the creator of the iconic sandwich, around 80 years ago, and among tourists, the Italian Market’s Pat’s and Geno’s have become the “go-to” places in Philadelphia. However, ask any true-blue Philadelphian who makes the best cheese steak, and more often than not they’ll direct you to the innovative newcomer, Tony Luke’s.

Tony’s original family eatery is at 30 East Oregon Avenue, and their franchise has grown to eight locations, from Atlantic City in New Jersey to Bahrain in the Middle East.

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Staying Sharp

Continuing our running cutlery conversation, let’s visit one of the more frequent (and open-ended) questions we receive: when and how do my knives need sharpening?

To begin to understand this question is to understand the fundamentals of sharpening vs. honing… “Sharpening” is the process by which metal is literally ground from the blade, and a new edge is formed, while “honing” simply straightens an edge that already exists.

Hard-chromed honing steel

Hard-chromed honing steel

When you use your metal knife, the edge will gradually roll in on itself on a microscopic level, causing the blade to dull. Honing should be done each time before using your knives, with a honing tool like a steel. This straightens the edge, returning the blade to a consistent sharpness. (An important exception is ceramic cutlery, which can be damaged by honing with a steel.)

Sharpening, as a more abrasive process, should only be done when honing will no longer “bring back an edge.” Think of it as using styling gel in your hair versus clipping it off and starting from scratch.

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Now that’s a knife!

Perhaps a paring knife sir?

With all due respect to Crocodile Dundee, we don’t all walk around with an all-purpose bowie knife. For people who don’t chase down gazelles for a living , cutlery is confined to the kitchen. When you find yourself facing the decision to purchase one or more pieces, you can feel like a fish out of water. Not unlike our friend Mr. Dundee.

There are many considerations: price, manufacturer, type of knife…the list goes on. However, we consistently tell our customers that the most important characteristic in choosing a new knife is “feel.” If it feels awkward or tough to manage, you won’t use the knife or, worse, you’ll use it incorrectly. Along with that, we recommend knives that have:

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