I was so excited this week because my Zipcar was something other than a Volkswagen Golf, but it turns out that the Audi A3 is pretty much the same on the inside. Sadly, I didn’t find it as nice to drive as the new VW that I normally zip in lately. Oh well, it was fun to try out a new car. In any case, on to the important stuff like Costco reviews. Also, don’t forget that new coupon books started in both the US and UK this week.
Kirkland Signature Enamelled Cast Iron Grill Pan – We’ve been looking for a nice grill pan for a few months now. I’ve looked at my favourite brand for this type of thing, Le Creuset, and wasn’t sold on any of their choices. I like the Le Creuset best for this type of thing because it is cast iron with an enamel coating, so it holds the heat incredibly well but also cleans up easily. However, the biggest size they have was a 26 cm/10.2 inch square, which seemed a bit on the small side to us when we were looking at them. Plus, it is a pretty hefty £75.00. They also have the slightly larger rectangular 32.5 cm/12.8 inch grill pan for £70.00. The rectangular pan doesn’t seem all that much better sized and I was worried about getting it in and out of the oven without burning my fingers. So, as luck would have it, before we bought one, we found the perfect grill pan at Costco. It was a total stroke of good luck, because I wasn’t even planning on going down the aisle but Dave started down it and then we both saw the Kirkland Signature Grill Pan. Seriously, it was like the clouds parted and a shaft of sunlight lit it up. The KS grill pan is pretty much just like Le Creuset, with the cast iron core coated with an enamel finish. I’d guess that they are made by Le Creuset or someone doing a might good imitation of them since the KS version is also made in France (the markings on the bottom are very different but that might just be to throw us all off LOL). The pan is a 30.5 cm/12 inch square with little handles on two sides and pouring spouts on the other two sides. The ridges on the inside are high enough that your food can actually grill and the fat or whatnot that drips off of them won’t be getting the bottom all soggy. Plus, the interior is enamelled and very easy to clean, as a result. It definitely isn’t what you would call lightweight, I mean, it is cast iron after all. But it isn’t as unwieldy as I was worried it might be actually. I think having the two handles means that you won’t be trying to carry it by one long handle and that makes it not seem as hefty, nor as likely to break your wrist. Since the cast iron is enamelled, this means you won’t have to mess with the whole seasoning routine either, which if you’ve ever done that you know what a blessing not having to do it again is. So far we’ve used the pan twice for grilling steaks and found that if we heat it up in the oven and get it nicely hot, it leaves beautiful grill marks on the meat. It also seems to cook them slightly faster and more evenly than our other frying pan that we were using for this task. It is a tremendously good pan, as you would expect since it is a Kirkland Signature product. And it is a phenomenal bargain since it is less than half of the price of the Le Creuset pans. If you’ve been wanting a grill pan, or know someone that has, this is the perfect choice and can’t be beat for the price. £29.99 (US: $47.13). Item #: 0633530.
Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil – We use quite a bit of extra virgin olive oil because it is our oil of choice for most cooking, and for things like salad dressing, to toss with pasta, to coat our vegetables when we roast them, dipping bread, and even some odd things like making brownies. Basically, it is our all purpose oil. Normally, I buy the Kirkland Signature brand in the big two pack of two liter bottles. It’s a nice quality oil with a good flavour. However, this time when I ran out and we were going to pick up the KS version but imagine our shock when we saw it was quite a bit higher than the Filippo Berio oil. The KS version was more than any of the extra virgin olive oil actually. At £14.99 for four liters, it is significantly more than the £7.99 for 3 liters that we paid for the Filippo Berio; £3.75 per litre for the KS oil and just £2.66 for the FB oil. Not only is the FB cheaper, but it has a nice fruity flavour too, as all good olive oils should. I really like the smaller bottles of the FB oil too because they are more hand friendly. Each of the three bottles is one liter, or 50% of the big KS bottle, so you’re actually getting three liters altogether in this package. The only complaint I have is that the oil comes out a little fast from the big opening on the bottle but I can get used to that. And I will just say that if you’re whipping up some brownies using the delicious, and Costco stocked, Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix, you should really consider trying it with olive oil because it gives the brownies a lighter taste somehow and really compliments the chocolate quite well. 3, 1 litre bottles for £7.99 (US: $12.56). Item #: 0133800.
Kirkland Signature Cashew Clusters – These are like delicious, nutty crack! The cashews are mixed with almonds and pumpkin seeds, and a bit of honey to get it to all stick together, and made into a thick sheet of nutty goodness that they then cut into little cubes. The good thing is that it is very filling, and that is good since it is so tasty you’ll want more but you’ll be unable to eat more. And that brings up to the less good news, which is that it isn’t calorie free as far as snacks go. For a 100 gram serving there are 575 calories. However, I’ve measured it out a few times and to me it seems that a hefty serving is really only 50 grams. And honestly,you’d be satiated after somewhere around 30 grams, at least in my opinion and the person that made the nutrition info for the package, since it says a serving size is 28 grams for 150 calories. But nutrition wise, you do get a good amount of protein since it is all nuts, nuts, and more nuts. I think all of that protein makes for a good mid-afternoon snack since it gives you the energy you need to make it through your day until dinner, without being drawn to a candy bar or something like that. I do better at not snacking on stupid stuff when I have something protein rich like this, instead of something that is just a bunch of sugar (though sometimes I do like that too, I’m not going to fib). The cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds really make an interesting combination, and actually taste much better than I had thought they might. Amazingly, it doesn’t taste super strong of any of the nuts but you can taste the nuts and pumpkin seeds pretty well, just not one overpowering the others. And then of course, you get that little bit of sweet from the honey and cane sugar. Yum! Dave is sort of on the fence about whether he likes this or not, but I love it. And if he doesn’t want any, then that leaves more for me! I’m pretty sure that they must sell this at all of the Costco locations since it is made in the US and the back of the bag is clearly labeled for the locations in Asia, Australia, and the UK. Though, it doesn’t list Canada or Mexico, I would imagine they sell it there too. 907 grams/2 pounds for £7.99 (US: $12.56). Item #: 0994444.
Revlon Touch Control Mirror – The mirrors in our flat’s bathrooms are not the best for things like makeup and they are even worse if you need to do something where you need bit of a super close view, like eyebrow maintenance. As a result, I’ve been looking for a mirror that I could use for all the girlie mirror necessities that I require. I had looked at this exact Revlon mirror on Amazon but thought it was a little high at £39.99, but when I saw for £15.00 less at Costco I decided to give it a try. The mirror has a nice, clean, design with a shiny chrome finish, so it will probably blend into just about any decor. When I had looked at it in the store, I thought it was cordless and that the light ran on batteries, which I thought would be really nice because that makes it super easy to move around. However, when I got it home and popped it out of the box, I was a little disappointed to see it does actually have a cord. Luckily, the cord is long enough that you won’t have to sit on top of the outlet though; it’s about 6.5 foot in length I think. The mirror has two different sides, one is normal, while the flip side is 3x magnification. The side that is 3x magnification is really as close as I ever need, or want, to be to my skin. The addition of the ring of light around the entire circumference of the mirror also means that you are perfectly illuminated (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on how early it is in the morning) and shadow free. Since the light isn’t as harsh as regular bathroom lighting typically is, you’ll be able to apply your makeup a bit better. The light has three settings and is controlled by a touch of the base. This is great for giving the mirror a nice sleek, switch-free, appearance, but you may find that you accidentally change the brightness or turn the light off altogether by inadvertently touching the base. I did this a few times but think that I’ll eventually get used to it and quite bumping my hands against it so much. They say that the mirror is fog free but I haven’t tested this feature at all and probably never well since there’s no way I would have space for the mirror in my bathroom and I definitely don’t have an outlet in there. I do like how the mirror is able to swivel all the way around making it really adjustable to any type of standing or sitting arrangement you might need. Before I used it, I had thought I would take it back because I was unhappy about the cord, but after using it a couple of times, I realised how useful and nice it really is, so I’ll be keeping it. £24.99 (US: $39.27). Item #: 0009428.