This is another review post where half of the items we purchased in the UK (the first two) and items we purchased in the US (the last two). Although, I’m pretty sure you can get Orville Redenbacher popcorn in the US Costco locations too; we used to get it there in Austin. Also, don’t forget that the UK and US both have coupon books that run through February 26, which only gives you another week of shopping time if there are any items you were wanting to purchase. I was planning to go to Costco this weekend but Zipcar conspired against me (they reduced the number of cars available near me by half I think) and didn’t have a car available near me. So, I have to wait until next weekend now to get all of my laundry supplies re-stocked with the current coupons.
Francesco Mazzei Salsiccia Piccante Pepperoni – This was so delicious! It’s got a bit more of a spiciness than the average pepperoni but not so much that it is all that you can taste. Plus, it isn’t as hard either as a lot of pepperoni. Of course, that softness could be because it is studded with not an inconsiderable amount of fat. But it is so so good, you can overlook that, I think. This is made with peperoncino and fennel seed for that perfectly authentic Italian taste. We ate it with olives, cheese and some fresh bread for a really good combination. However, I can imagine that this would be absolutely incredible on a pizza. We will probably have to get another package to try it that way too. But mostly, we just really like it without anything else to get in the way of the flavour. The other way that we used a bit of the pepperoni was by cutting it up and adding it to pasta. It adds a little bit of a spicy touch to the pasta without being too overwhelming or making the pasta too meaty. If you can’t quite come up with a recipe on your own, there’s one for Spaghetti Calabrese on the back of the package. I was just winging it with my pasta but their recipe sounds pretty delicious and I will certainly try it next time I get some of this. Oh yeah, it is nicely sliced too so you don’t have to worry about doing that and getting them thin and even. 200 grams for £4.99 (US: $7.90). Item #: 0123537.
Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Movie Theatre Butter Popcorn – Dave is a big fan of popcorn of most any flavor, but his favorite is just butter; not fancy, just classically tasty. If there was any doubt, this is the kind of popcorn that you get in the little flat packets that you put in the microwave to pop. It makes a nice snack because it is quick to make and quite filling as well. Plus, popcorn isn’t the most unhealthy thing you could choose to snack on either; one serving has 25% of your daily grain intake according to the box. So, now instead of eating something super bad like a chocolate bar, Dave can grab one of these bags and have a delicious snack in just a couple of minutes. And of course, since it is movie theatre butter flavored it has this big buttery flavor and smell, which makes it seem even better. Occasionally, there Dave will get a bag where there are an usually high number of unpopped kernels, unfortunately. Luckily, that doesn’t happen too often and mostly you just get a bag of fluffy, delicious popcorn to enjoy. 32, 3.3 ounce packs for £6.50 (£9.29 – £2.79 coupon) (US: $10.29). Item #: 0095683.
Seagate GoFlex Portable Hard Drive, 1.5 TB – We bought when we were visiting my mom in Kansas, this USB3 hard drive advertises it is meant to work out of the box for both Windows and Macs, the latter through installation of an NTFS read/write driver on the Mac. Yes, the drive comes pre-formatted as NTFS. However, the driver wouldn’t work properly on OS X Lion (10.7). Checking the company’s website that provides the driver (it’s a 3rd party and not Seagate), they do have a version for Lion available but Seagate support told me they couldn’t provide it, and thus we ended up reformatting the drive explicitly for our Macs. Which is good I guess because the NTFS driver wouldn’t allow the Mac’s TimeMachine to use the drive, but since I primarily wanted it to host large virtual machine files to move them between Windows and Mac, that wasn’t originally important to us. Anyway, the drive is working fine with the Mac’s USB2 ports thanks to the backwards compatibility of the device and the cable plug — both features built-in to the USB3 spec. (But you should know that you need a USB3 cable as the drive’s plug won’t allow use of the USB2 cables you already have — luckily a USB3 cable comes in the box.) Another nice feature of this drive is that it is manufactured in such a way that you can separate the external interface connection from the actual drive itself. This allows you to swap the USB3 connector for something else – Firewire, USB2, etc. IF you buy the other connector part (they aren’t in the box you get at Costco.) This is great because Seagate has already announced they will be making a Thunderbolt connector available in 2012, which will give recent Macs a super-fast connection to the drive making it a breeze to move large files around. I should also point out that this is a terrific deal at Costco. We compared this drive to others that were just 1 TB of hard drive space, for around the same price ($139-ish). So, it is like you are getting 500GB of storage space for free. $149.99 (UK: £94.74). Item #: 576519.
Paradise LED Rope Light – When we were visiting my mom in Kansas, we all took a trip to Costco (as I’ve mentioned before) and one of the things she picked up was this LED light rope. She thought it would be really great for under her cabinets because of how easy it is to install. Basically, there’s no wiring except a plug, like a regular wall plug. So, that part is super simple. Unfortunately, the rope turned out to be less than ideal for her cabinet situation for a few reasons. The worst part is that the length is 18 foot long (with 216 white LED lights) and you can not shorten it in any way or adjust that at all to fit around things like your stove top. So, you must have a straight shot of 18 foot length to put this up ideally. Or, you could have a multiple of 18 foot lengths because you can hook them together (they have a limit but it was pretty high). The light rope is made up of LED lights and necessary wiring are surrounded by a clear plastic tubing. And that tubing creates the second issue my mom has with this LED light rope The tubing is super rigid and hard to deal with or straighten. The light rope comes coiled up, so you will definitely need to uncoil it fully and then let it heat up a bit to have any hope of manipulating it into a straight or even length. My mom has now had it sitting out straight for over a month and it still has a little bit of lumpiness to it and is just as rigid and difficult to manipulate as it was initially. My mom is still trying to decide if she is going to return it or not. She is considering putting it around her deck or the ceiling of a covered patio she has on the back of her house. The good news is that it is definitely okay to put it outside if she decides to do that. Also, it does come with necessary mounting hardware. I think if you had the right place this would be great but it needs to be either straight or a gentle curve maybe. 18′ length for $16.99 (UK: £10.73). Item #: 988464.