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Product review–gadget edition

I figured I should talk about some of the gadgets I have been sent for grilling season before it’s no longer grilling season, so here are a few…..

Chef JimQuirky, the folks that bring us “inventions” at the retail level, sent two items recently. The first is called “Stem,” and is simply a spray nozzle with little perforation ridges that make it easy to slide it right into a citrus fruit such as a lemon, lime or orange. This thing is amazing! I stuck one in a lemon and had instant lemon spritz, perfect for a natural blast of juice for a salad or in a beverage or on grilled chicken or fish. I haven’t tried it with limes or oranges yet, but wow. This one is a keeper. I haven’t tried it on a slab of bacon yet, but maybe that’s for another day.

Chef JimQuirky also sent me “Sliders,” which are skewers–but not just any skewers. They are dual prongs so that your meat and veggies stay on there easily. They also have a function where you can push the items off the kebab once you are done grilling. That’s always a pain as you have to use a fork and try not to burn or stick yourself. But here’s the problem….the part where you push, which also has a handle, is suppose to be heat-resistant plastic. But mine started to melt from my grill’s heat. Oops. But still a cool product idea!

Chef JimFinally, we were sent this awesome 10-in-1 gadget from The Grill Daddy, their Heat Shield Series. This thing comes with interchangeable fork, spatula and tongs. It also has a heat shield and swivel action that protects your hand from the grill’s heat the whole time you are using it. They also have a basting brush, which they did not send, but I got the idea of how it all works. But here is my favorite part–there is a built-in meat thermometer at the tip of the handle. So while you are using the Grill Daddy Heat Shield you can whip out the thermometer and make sure your chicken won’t give you any diseases. Because that would suck. But the gadget does not suck!

  

Product review: TastingRoom.com Wine for Dudes Samples (for Father’s Day)

Okay, so this is really cool. TastingRoom.com is an online service where you can purchase wine by the glass. Imagine that. How often do you open a bottle, have one or two glasses and then dump the rest of the bottle? I know I’ve done it, and then before you know it you have red wine vinegar. This way, you get a single serving and then can even try a different glass of something else, or open up a second single serving bottle of the same wine.

However, what they sent us to sample was something even cooler–the Wine for Dudes Sampler. It’s a flight of six different wines, all from California vineyards, but in 1.7 oz. bottles that are perfect for tasting. If you’re looking to get hammered, look elsewhere, but if you are expanding your horizons and learning more about wine as you get older (yeah, I’m looking at you….as well as in the mirror), this is a great way to try some new wines. The flight was put together by blogger and wine expert Gary Vaynerchuk, and includes a message on the packaging that it’s “dude season–baseball, boating and good times,” and that the sampler is meant to expand our palates and exposes us to wines that we guys may not normally try.

Oh, and the wine itself? The wines are a Bugay Rose Syrah, a pink wine that most guys wouldn’t be caught dead drinking, but it’s really not bad; a Francis Coppola Winery Chardonnay that was smooth and refreshing yesterday when it was 80 degrees and sticky outside; Twisted Oak red blend, which was a light red like a chianti; Easton ’06 Zinfandel, which had a touch of that oak-y flavor associated with dark reds but was still smooth; a Jake Ryan Cellars ’07 Zinfandel which was bold and tasty; and a Feather ’07 Cabernet, which said, aptly, that it has hints of “blackberries and slight oak.” This sampler accomplished for me what it intended–trying wines I would not normally try. But they were all good and I’d drink them again. Well, maybe not the pink one.

TastingRoom.com has many other samplers and wines by the glass and is worth checking out, especially with Father’s Day around the corner. Cheers!

  

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