Two new Costco locations opened this week, in Perrysburg, Ohio and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin so if you live around either of those new locations, be sure to check them out and enjoy the grand opening deals. Also, if you’re in the US don’t forget that a new bunch of coupons just started on Thursday. There are some quite good deals in this new book.
Honeywell Tower Fan, HO-5500RE – I would guess that most people would be surprised that I felt the need to buy a fan at Costco, huh? I know it doesn’t get anywhere near as warm here as it does in any of the places where we lived in the US, but they all had air conditioning and our flat here doesn’t. The last couple of summers we have had a number of quite warm days, like almost 90 F and that feels pretty lousy when you don’t have air conditioning or a decent fan. Mostly we are fine just opening the windows, but we live in Central London and at night that can be a bit loud for sleeping, not to mention the sun is up at something like 4:30 am so unless we want to be too we need to keep the shades closed. And that’s the reason we wanted a fan. I like the tower fans because they don’t take up as much space, don’t seem to be as loud but still move quite a bit of air. In a flat though, the tower fans small footprint is really a plus because this means it can just stand quietly in the corner if we’re not using it. The fan is about one metre/3.28 feet tall, which makes it a good height for putting in the bedroom because you’ll still be able to get a breeze when you are in bed. It oscillates in a pretty wide arc and has three fan speeds. It also has a couple of neat speed features. There’s a breeze setting where they fan tries to mimic a natural breeze by switching between high and low speed. There’s also a night mode where the fan gradually slows down and remains at a low setting. There’s also a timer that you can set for 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, or 4 hours. I’ve tried out all of these features and they work well and are easy to turn on or off from the controls on the actual fan or from the remote control. The remote control is quite a useful feature if you’re in bed and you get too cold or hot because you can just change the fan accordingly without too much disruption. On the low setting the fan is pretty quiet, but obviously as you get the fan moving more air the noise increases. However, this is much quieter than other fans that I’ve had or seen in shops. There is about two minutes worth of assembly for the stand at the bottom that needs to be snapped together and screwed on to the fan body. You also need to pop some batteries into the remote, but they’re included, so it’s all pretty quick to get going. We’ve been pleased with our fan purchase so far. I assume that since we have a fan and are actually prepared for some warm days this summer that it will be cool all season long now. When we bought this there was a £7.00 discount that makes this a bit of a savings over buying it at someplace like Amazon, but without the discount it is about the same price there (once you include VAT). £52.99 (£59.99 – £7.00 discount); £63.59 with VAT. Item #: 0550000.
Footsteps Chorizo and Manchego Skewers – If you like chorizo, these skewers will make you very happy. There are little fat chorizo sausages interspersed with chunks of manchego cheese on little wooden skewers. We grilled these in the oven and the sticks were fine, but I might worry about them turning to cinder on a grill in the backyard, even though the package says they’re perfect for BBQs . If you’ve ever had chorizo you know that it can be kind of, em, fatty and rich and these skewers are definitely no different. Probably two or three of these would be okay to have at once but I wouldn’t suggest more unless you want a tummy ache. That’s not because they aren’t good, because they definitely are, but because of the “richness” (as in fattiness). The taste is delicious and will try to lure you back to just have another one, but just be aware that they could prove a little too much. I grilled these in the oven by putting them on a rack over a cookie sheet that I covered in tin foil. The tin foil is a good idea because they do release a lot of bright orange oiliness when you cook them and the rack helps to get the sausages up out of the fat where they can get grilled instead of stewed. And when they say in the cooking instructions to let them cool for a couple of minutes after you cook them, you really need to heed that warning. The oil is like lava in these little sausages and you just don’t want that in your mouth until they have cooled. I think we found that it took about seven minutes to get to the point where they were warm but not incendiary. These are great for a dinner party as an appetizer or as part of a tapas meal. 2, 235 gram packages for £4.99. Item #: 0185747.
Coln Valley Smokery Gravadlax with Dill Mustard Sauce – This is the Scandinavian version of cold smoked salmon, right down to the dill mustard sauce. To make their gravlax, Coln Valley cures raw Scottish salmon in a mixture of salt, sugar, black pepper, and dill over a five day period. Despite this coming from a “smokery” there’s actually no smoking involved, unlike cold smoked salmon though they do have a similar texture. The texture of this is really tender and quite nice. There’s a nice amount of dill on each slice so you have that nice dill-y flavour. There is a little bit of the unattractive brown fatty bits that are the evidence of the fat layer that salmon has beneath their skin. It’s perfectly fine to eat, but it is ugly and can have a rather potent fish taste. The slices were for the most part whole and a decent thickness that didn’t just pull apart when I removed them from the package. The dill mustard sauce packets that are included look small, each one is 35 grams, but it seems to be more than enough really. Well, at least if you’re not someone that likes a little bit of salmon on the side of your mustard sauce. The sauce has a little bit of tartness to it that is perfect for serving with the fatty gravlax. I like gravlax for breakfast with the mustard sauce and some capers and maybe a piece of buttered bread or some berries. This would also be great with a salad or scrambled eggs. And of course, this would work on a bagel with cream cheese too. This makes for a nice change from cold smoked salmon because even though the texture is similar the taste is different. Plus, for some reason, gravlax seems to always be a bit less pricey than cold smoked salmon. 430 grams salmon and 2, 35 gram sauce packets for £7.99. Item #: 0164787.
Kirkland Signature Men’s Athletic Shoes – Dave was casually looking for a new pair of sneakers and when we saw these for the remarkable price of £7.00 we figured that they were worth a try for that price. It is pretty unbelievable that you could find a pair of trainers for that price anymore. These aren’t like a super technical athletic shoe, though they do have a few benefits for your foot. The shoes are leather and have a memory foam footbed with a molded EVA midsole and a solid rubber outsole to keep your foot fairly pleased with low impact exercise. These are perfectly decent for walking (for exercise, not just casual wear) and things like that, but I don’t think they’d be great for high impact activities like jogging. Well, if they work for your foot. Dave’s been trying to break these in but these seem to rub his toes on the outside of his foot, his little toe really. They don’t look particularly narrow in the toe box but it might just be that they are the wrong shape for Dave’s foot unfortunately. He is hoping that if he wears them a bit more that the leather will relax a bit and the rubbing will subside. However, if they don’t start to feel better we’ll probably take them back on our next trip to Costco. And if you are wondering, the outside of these shoes are completely devoid of any type of branding, the only place that you can see they are Kirkland Signature is on the insole. Seeing trainers/sneakers for this price does make me wish that Costco here had shoes for women too. £6.99 (£10.99 – £4.00 discount); £8.39 with VAT. Item #: 0725854.