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Otis Maxwell RSS Feed (Saratoga Springs, NY)
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

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Metrokane Rabbit Zippity Two Step Corkscrew, Walnut
Metrokane Rabbit Zippity Two Step Corkscrew, Walnut
Price: $22.50
4 used & new from $22.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Retractable foil cutter does not retract, November 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Okay, here's the answer for those of us who have been wondering why an apparently manual pocket knife blade--the foil cutter--is billed as retracting automatically when the levers are opened.

Look at the product listing for the standard Zippity at http://www.amazon.com/Rabbit-Zippity-2-Step-Corkscrew-5622/dp/B00849F36K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415555546&sr=8-1&keywords=Rabbit+Zippity+2-Step+Corkscrew and you'll see the cutter is at the opposite end of the handle, next to the hinge for the lever. So it would be easy to put a cam in there to do just what the description says.

On the walnut version, for some reason, the cutter has been moved to the opposite end, eliminating the retractable feature. So you'd probably not use it at all vs taking the bother to open or close the knife and worrying about cutting yourself.

The walnut is handsome, the heft of the tool impressive, but they don't justify paying extra and getting a retractable foil cutter which doesn't retract. This is my first Zippity and I love the high-efficiency spiral (the point of which can be used for removing foil, of course) and the two-step system for better control of wine bottles with recalcitrant corks. But these features can be found on the basic Zippity at less than half the price.


Inateck 2.5 Inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Disk HDD External Enclosure Case with usb 3.0 Cable for 9.5mm 7mm 2.5" SATA HDD and SSD, Tool-free HDD Installation, Compatible With Windows 2000/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS 9.1/10.8.4
Inateck 2.5 Inch USB 3.0 Hard Drive Disk HDD External Enclosure Case with usb 3.0 Cable for 9.5mm 7mm 2.5" SATA HDD and SSD, Tool-free HDD Installation, Compatible With Windows 2000/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS 9.1/10.8.4
Offered by Inateck Online
Price: $24.99
2 used & new from $13.99

5.0 out of 5 stars No tools needed!, November 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A great choice for those who don't have a selection of torx or jeweler's screwdrivers to deal with tiny screws. Just slide the top open, pop in the drive and you're done.

One tip: there are some support ridges on the inside edges of the case and my salvaged Macbook Pro drive got hung up there initially, till I realized the mounting screws on the drive had been left on by the shop that took the drive out of the computer. Carefully removed those screws (used a pair of vicegrips) and I was good to go.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 1, 2014 10:12 AM PST


Curious Chef 16-Piece Cupcake and Decorating Kit
Curious Chef 16-Piece Cupcake and Decorating Kit
Price: $19.99
6 used & new from $18.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cupcake molds great, frosting decorator not so much, October 26, 2014
The components of this set are sturdy, but there are a few problems. The non-stick silicone baking cups are great. But the frosting decorator leaves a lot to be desired. You need a soft, creamy frosting or the plunger will not be strong enough to push it out through tip. We tried with melted chocolate and had a mess, though delicious. It would be nice if they included a recipe of a frosting that works well with the kit but no recipes (not for cake either) are provided.

Another gripe is that the plunger components are very hard to clean. They're too light to put in the dishwasher and have lots of hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

I'd buy this kit for the cupcake molds but would advise some experimentation before you use it with a kid. As a fallback, you can make a frosting decorator by putting your frosting into a small ziploc bag then cutting off a tiny piece of the corner, maybe with an interesting pattern, and squeezing the frosting out through that.


Men's Leather Wallet Hybrid Bifold Trifold Luxurious Lambskin Leather Soft & Dressy
Men's Leather Wallet Hybrid Bifold Trifold Luxurious Lambskin Leather Soft & Dressy
Offered by Alpine Swiss Store
Price: $10.00

2.0 out of 5 stars If you don't use a driver license, this may be ok, October 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Ok wallet except for the clear plastic over the driver license window; the glue failed on two of the edges about 1 day after Amazon's return period so the plastic is sticking out of the wallet (other two sides the glue is holding fine so I can't just remove the plastic) creating an ugly unsecure mess. if you don't need a driver license or ID card then I guess this wallet is fine.


Peugeot Clef du Vin "Travel" Wine Tool
Peugeot Clef du Vin "Travel" Wine Tool
Price: $43.34
3 used & new from $43.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll love it or hate it, and that's why it's so much fun, August 24, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a guaranteed conversation starter for folks interested in wine. It is sort of like "Cards Against Humanity": it will likely make some people angry, but everyone else will have a lot of fun.

The elegant, vaguely shoehorn-shaped metal stick has a disk of mysterious metal embedded in its tip. Insert it in a standard glass of wine (which is a bit unscientific since different wines have different standard pours, right?) and the wine will "age" one year for each second it is left in the glass. There are two reasons you might want to do this: to judge the future taste and quality of a wine you are thinking of buying young and storing, or to instantly "age" a young wine to make it more enjoyable right now.

I tried it on a Trader Joe/Charles Shaw "Two Buck Chuck" Merlot and there was no discernable difference; this confirms internet chatter which says it can't do much with cheap wines. I then tried a $15 bottle and the effect was noticeable. Some initial sharp tannin smoothed out and became more oakey.

Speaking of the internet, if you search Clef du Vin you will find a fairly even division between people who swear it works and those who think it is complete hokum. There is a conversation at chowhound dot chow dot com slash topics slash 720288 which became so vitriolic the moderators shut it down.

There was an earlier Clef du Vin that was a pocket version on a chain; using that must have been like dipping your house key in a bottle of wine at a fine restaurant. The upgrade is far more elegant and comes in a nice gift box, with a sleeve for the device so you can slip it into pocket or purse. I'm giving it five stars because I can't imagine a better holiday gift for that oenophile friend or relative.


Thai Street Food
Thai Street Food
by David Thompson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $37.29
35 used & new from $27.96

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I have serious problems with the premise of this book, August 11, 2014
This review is from: Thai Street Food (Hardcover)
I was eager to own this book when it first came out but aware of the irony... $60 for recipes of street cuisine in a third world country? Now someone has given me a copy and I have dug a little deeper and I find myself with some pretty serious misgivings.

The pictures are beautiful, you bet. Makes me want to go to Thailand but, since I can't do that, make some of the same dishes at home. But there's a disconnect between David Thompson's recipes and what is available to the home cook even in a large and sophisticated city. Betel leaves? Really? I'm going to find those at my Asian market? Or how about lime paste? Many of his recipes call for a "pinch" but when you look at the recipe key in the back you see that the method is to precipitate the paste in water then use only the water. So I'm supposed to add a "pinch" of water?

I originally suspected the author simply took pictures in street markets and interviewed the cooks. Then I found he has/had a restaurant in Bangkok so presumably makes these dishes and many of the photos are in fact of dishes he has prepared. But when I don't have access to many of the ingredients, I think it's unconscionable that he did not put more effort into decoding some of the exotic ingredients and giving us workaround. I'm not talking about using ketchup in pat thai. I'm talking about analyzing what specialized ingredients contribute so if you don't have those you can understand the essence of the dish.


(25) CR2025 Lithium Cell 3V Batteries
(25) CR2025 Lithium Cell 3V Batteries
Offered by hobbytoolsupply
Price: $4.97
6 used & new from $2.38

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Won't hold a charge, July 4, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
i got this when the battery in my Fitbit went out, and a single 2025 was $5 at the drugstore. Unfortunately, these only last about 2-3 days. Fitbit's manual says you will need to replace the battery every 4 months, and that's about how long my original lasted. Considering the inconvenience of changing the battery, this is no bargain at all.


Galil Green Pitted Olive 15-17 + 20% Extra, 24-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6)
Galil Green Pitted Olive 15-17 + 20% Extra, 24-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6)
Price: $17.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tastes like cocktail olives, June 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I needed a briny, almost bitter Greek-style olive to make olive bread and gave these a try. Not what I'm looking for. The taste is pleasant but mild. It's exactly like what you get when you bite into a cocktail olive containing a pimento, but without the pimento.

On the plus side, the olives were consistent in size, no black spots or uneven pitting or other potential defects, and a good value. If you're looking for a mild green olive to toss into a salad, this would do the job.


Five Star School Backpack, Angle Zip, Holds 14 Inch Laptop, Blue (72382)
Five Star School Backpack, Angle Zip, Holds 14 Inch Laptop, Blue (72382)
Price: $20.28
4 used & new from $14.32

3.0 out of 5 stars A small, light, simple backpack, May 28, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The most distinctive feature of this backpack is the angle zipper back, which gives it a bit of style and an extra-large entrance to the back pocket. However, half the pocket is above the zipper so it's not usable except for a large item (like a notebook) that you can maneuver to fit under the top section. Inside is one roomy area and a smaller mesh pocket for organizing smaller items.There's also one mesh pocket (not two, as in the description) on the side for a water bottle.

The exterior dimensions are approximately 14x10x4 inches which is on the small side. It would not be useful for a high school backpack meant to carry several textbooks, though it could be useful for a younger student to carry lunch and a couple of notebooks. It's extremely compact and light weight--the box from 'Amazon was so small and light I wondered if there was anything inside. This would make it a good choice if you are traveling and want to put something in your luggage for day hikes.

Construction appears to be fine, good solid zippers and no defects in the workmanship.


Tartine Book No. 3: Modern Ancient Classic Whole
Tartine Book No. 3: Modern Ancient Classic Whole
by Chad Robertson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.91
97 used & new from $3.95

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and beautiful Old World-style breads made by you!, May 21, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have baked countless loaves of the basic Tartine recipe and it's an excellent and popular bread (one change: I use 20% whole wheat flour vs the 10% called for). I don't think I've ever had a failed loaf. I realize many people feel it's difficult to make but I think that's because the instructions (in the previous Tartine baking book) are so detailed, really more of an essay than a recipe. Don't second guess yourself. If you are comfortable handling wet doughs and building gluten through a multi-step process, you will do fine. Oh, and use a cast iron dutch oven unless you are in total control of the steam level in your home oven. That's essential.

Now to the new cookbook. I was excited to try the porridge and sprouted grain loaves after tasting some of the breads at Bar Tartine. I have made the Koji and a couple of other porridge breads and sprouted barley and sprouted smoked rye. You need a good source of untreated grain berries, like a bulk department in a well stocked natural foods store. I bought "regular" barley and had the same problem the author describes with the husks not softening. Actually it adds an interesting texture to the loaf... fiber! I've seen the purple barley he describes in the bulk bins at Rainbow Grocery in SF and will make an effort to get it for a future bake.

The smoked rye bread is simply amazing... the vegetarian daughter of a friend described it as having a "meaty" taste... an unintended compliment. A very experienced baker told me it was the best rye she'd ever tasted... and technically it's not even a true rye. Do follow the instructions for smoking but be aware your kitchen will smell like a BBQ smokehouse afterward, even with the vent hood going full blast. For my second bake, I used my outdoor smoker and saved my marriage.

An additional benefit to these moist, dense breads is they have excellent keeping characteristics. In fact, you shouldn't even consider tasting it until the day after you bake it. I have a slice of a week old smoked rye on my plate right now and it is tender and delicious.


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