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Samsung UN65HU8550 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV (2014 Model)
Samsung UN65HU8550 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV (2014 Model)
Offered by US-Appliance
Price: Click here to see our price
30 used & new from $1,753.47

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top notch LED TV for image quality but not perfect., February 24, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've had the 65" version of the 8550 for two months now. Overall its a Top notch TV but its not perfect. But now that Plasma is pretty much dead and OLED is a long way from being affordable this TV represents some of the best image quality available on 2014 LED TV's. So if you need a TV today its a great choice. But there are some qualifiers to that. Some things I've noticed:

1. Blu-rays look astoundingly good upscaled on this (DVD's are somewhat soft but certainly as good as can be expected considering they are being upscaled 500% and the screen is so large). Screen uniformity is kind of amazing (especially given its edge lit) and generally blacks are super impressive.

2. The imperfections of older movie content shot on film really get accentuated by the edge lighting on this screen. Film grain in dark scenes can sometimes look like its pulsing or strobing with noticeable lighter areas on the left and right edges where the LED's are. This is not really present in modern movies. So 2001 A Space Odyssey on blu-ray might disappoint a bit but Gravity will blow you away. If you are not a purist about film grain you can alleviate a lot of these issues by enabling Digital Clean View.

3. The menus are pretty bad (lots of diving down into sub menus to change things that should be top level) and the inability to create your own custom viewing presets is kind of crazy for a TV this expensive. You can sort of get around this by just doing your adjustments to the 4 included presets but some picture settings apply system wide so they will effect other presets. People in your household will get annoyed by you constantly bringing up on screen menus to make changed to settings while they are trying to watch something.

4. The 4K streaming is really good and all the apps that do it right now are here (Netflix, Youtube, Amazon and Xfinity). The interface on all of these Samsung apps is not as good as an standalone Apple TV, Fire TV, or Roku Box but they do the trick for the time being.

5. Sitting 9 feet away from a 65" UHD screen I can say that the difference between UHD and HD content is noticeable, albeit subtle. You will mostly see it in graphics with crisp edges, text, hair, grass, fur, etc.

Overall most people are going to be quite happy with this set but like all technologies, edge lit LED sets (even excellent ones like this with local dimming) have some drawbacks. If you are OK the points above you really can;t get a much better (non-curved) UHD LED TV right now.


Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi
Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.06
94 used & new from $14.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Bold vegetarian dishes for the adventurous home cook., January 19, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Plenty More is an even more adventurous followup to Ottolenghi's excellent cookbook, "Plenty". If you are an passionate home cook looking for a new challenge or just someone who loves to seek out new flavors this is the book for you. If you want to eat less meat and include more vegetables in your diet and are looking for interesting new ways to prepare them then, again, this is the book for you. I love the way the chapters are divided into preparation types (steamed, mashed, baked, roasted, etc)_ instead of the standard appetizer, salad, soup, main course, divisions you see in most cookbooks. Thinking about cooking in this way lets you make complete vegetarian meals with a nice balance of textures and flavors.

A few warnings though: . This is not for home cooks looking for get meals on the table quickly nor is it for beginners intimidated by long ingredient lists that might require a trip to an ethnic market or two. Neither is the book vegan nor is the chef strictly vegetarian (he loves eggs and cheese and yogurt and often advises how a little meat could take the dish in a new direction).

But if you are game for Ottolenghi's vegetable-centric style of cooking, you will love this cookbook.


Treme: Season 4 [Blu-ray]
Treme: Season 4 [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Various
Price: $17.99
23 used & new from $14.25

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent ending to the show. Grossly overpriced blu-ray/dvd set., July 31, 2014
Season 4 was a decent, if rushed ending to a truly great series. But it's way overpriced at 35 dollars for the blu ray when this season consisted of only 5 episodes. HBO cut the season short to save production costs and then charge fans the full season disc price. Seems like a cynical money grab on the part of the network.

I will be buying this when the price drops because I am a fan of the show and I have all the other blu-ray sets. In the meantime if you have to watch it Amazon and Apple both sell the entire digital HD season for just 14 dollars. That's 2.80 cents and episode as opposed to 7 on disc.


No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars Much better deal than official Fuji adapter and hood., November 9, 2013
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Looks and feels just like the official Fuji hood and adapter for a fifth the price. Doesn't feel cheap in any way.


No Title Available

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice enough leather case. Wish it had a bit more character and worked with the adapter ring., November 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pros:

High quality and good fit.
Protects whole body (especially rear screen) when in bag.
Handy flap on bottom that allows fast access to battery and SD card.

Cons:

Lacks character. Leather and stitching is dyed a very generic shade of dark brown.
Won't fit on camera with the Fuji adapter ring.
A bit expensive (although a better fit than the cheaper leather cases out there)
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 25, 2014 5:45 PM PDT


Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand
Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand
by Andy Ricker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.98
97 used & new from $18.25

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Thai food with demanding ingredient list and confusing layout., November 6, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Having eaten at Pok Pok and having cooked more than my own share of Thai food I can say that this book is one of the most thorough (and time intensive) cookbooks on Thai food out there. The Northern Thai recipes contained in this book are delicious and filled with complex flavors that go way beyond the standard pad Thai and lime chili spiked larb you'll find at your local Thai place. As long as you are aware of what you are getting into with this book you will enjoy it. Just know that there are very few dishes in here you can whip up on a weeknight without extensive pre-planning. You are not going to be swinging by your local market to find pig blood, galangal, or hot basil.

The one star knock I gave the book is really less about the difficulty of the recipes and more about the needlessly jumbled layout. Graphically, the book has the same ramshackle hole-in-the-wall feel that most of the Pok Pok restaurants seem to have... bright colors, multiple typefaces, numerous wordy asides peppered all over the page. I get the charm of this grphical style, but it's certainly not helping us follow complex, multi-step recipes here. Nor is the constant referencing condiments, etc on other pages. A cleaner design with numbered step by step instructions would have gone a long way towards making these recipes feel more attainable.

Don't let that stop you from getting the book though if you are a lover of Thai food because there really are few other books out there that go this deep. Even if you use it more as a reference and less as a day to day cookbook its contains a lot of fascinating information. But even as an experienced cook of Southeast Asian foods I find this book daunting. its one I'll save for a rainy day when I have plenty of time to run around town gathering all my ingredients and a lazy afternoon to spend in the kitchen.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 9, 2013 6:32 AM PST


Thai Street Food
Thai Street Food
by David Thompson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $38.45
39 used & new from $31.97

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic but fussy recipes. Best for experienced cooks., June 17, 2012
This review is from: Thai Street Food (Hardcover)
The dishes I've cooked from this book and David Thompson's previous book Thai Cooking have been delicious. Without a doubt this guy is expert when it comes to Thai food.

The recipes tend to be incredibly fussy though with crazy detailed ingredient lists and long, rambling cooking instructions. Homemade curry paste is indeed a sublime thing. But can you really taste the pinch of nutmeg in his green curry with copious amounts of birds eye chilis, garlic, shallot, galangal and the dozen or so other spices already in the mix? Or the cassia bark or the single cardamom pod in the braising liquid? Professional kitchens have well stocked spice cabinets and and plenty of extra hands for prep so I imagine this level of detail is no big deal for Thompson to pull off in his restaurant. But something tells me that street vendors in Thailand work with what they have available to them. An inexperienced home cook unfamiliar with Thai flavors could pull their hair out chasing down every little ingredient in these recipes and spend hours slavishly following each step (not to mention a lot of money in the process). Which is why I recommend this books for people with some experience cooking SE Asian food. If you've made a curry paste before you know not to sweat the small stuff and you know how to cut through complicated instructions and achieve a perfectly delicious result.


Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours
Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours
by Mario Batali
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.29
91 used & new from $0.93

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for the vegetable dishes alone., January 24, 2012
We are trying to eat more seasonal, vegetable heavy meals in our household and this book has been immensely useful in helping me get a good meal on table in a reasonable amount of time. Most Italian cookbooks I have (including Batali's previous ones) always leave me wondering what to serve alongside the the glut of pasta and meat dishes they contain. Not so with this one. The chapters are broken down by month of the year and a they are side heavy (I'd say a third to half of each months recipes are vegetables or salads). Some of the highlights I've cooked so far have been rutabagas with maple, chili and mint, roasted kohlrabi with parmesan, and roasted parsnips with horseradish, chives and poppy seeds.

My only word of warning is that the recipe measurements and cooking times sometimes seem a bit off so you'll need to use your experience and judgment, but all in all I'm very happy with this book. It's been in heavy rotation in my kitchen for the last month.


Speck Products MacBook Air 11-Inch TrimSleeve Black (SPK-A0294)
Speck Products MacBook Air 11-Inch TrimSleeve Black (SPK-A0294)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad fit and damaged snap closure, September 15, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This "slim fit" case for the 11" Macbook Air is about half an inch too short which means the snap closure can not reach around the end of your the laptop. On top of that my case arrived with a mangled, bent snap closure which could not be fastened even with an empty sleeve. Very poor quality control on the part of Speck. Too bad because the thick faux saddle leather design is actually quite nice.


Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia
by James Oseland
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $28.33
82 used & new from $17.22

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic recipes but lacks brevity., August 9, 2011
The recipes seem authentic and there is plenty of variety. But the author is extremely wordy providing way more information than is necessary (does he really need two lengthy paragraphs to tell us exactly how to wash and drain rice for lemongrass scented coconut rice?) A good editor could have gotten to the point and halved the volume of this book (then again maybe the publisher wanted the book to be thick enough to warrant a 35 dollar MSRP). I don't mind extra information or asides but keep the main recipe simple. Digging through a small novel each time you cook to find your place is not much fun. The lack of pictures is not a deal breaker but it would have helped give readers an idea of the consistency and color of the final dishes. Still, I've had good luck with all the recipes and always enjoy dipping into this book to try something new and unexpected. Recommended.


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