Friday, July 30, 2010

The plot to replace my kitchen stove

So, I've been complaining about the lousy stove-range which came with my appartment for some time now. For several moons, I was unable to duplicate certain recipes shown on the Food Network with success because of this lousy stove.

Any recipe which called for high-heat, or a nice sear was very likely to fail on this stove. Anything calling for medium or low heat would work out fine. I came to discover, through research and testing, that the top burner on my range produces a paltry 8,000 (8K) BTUs. It's supposed to be 9,000 BTU, but you know how life is... Life is a product specification, ruined by an ugly test.

That is extremely weak. That is weaker than the backburners on most professional ranges. Also, my oven purportedly can generate 500 degrees worth of heat. No thermometer I own would confirm that. 474F is the highest figure I ever saw.

Granted, you can cook with such heat. Only certain recipes will fail. However, those recipes that fail are the best recipes. That sucks. In fact it is intollerable.

This is the reason I so-recently placed $1,200 worth of BBQ equipment on the Balcony. The results there have been good to great, and getting better, but lugging propane around is tiresome, and weather won't always be so splendid. Natural gas doesn't work so well with BBQ equipment, so I am still certain I made the correct decision in selecting propane. However, I can visualize a day in rainy November when the wind is blowing, and the rain is coming down, and I really don't want to lug a fresh can of propane up and down those stairs. There will be moments in winter for indoor cooking, even in sunny SoCal.

So just make low and medium temperature dishes on those wet, windy days, right? This was my thinking a week or two ago. However, my thinking has begun to change. Why restrict myself? Why not get rid of the eyesore? Why not fix the problem in my kitchen? Presuming I can get the apartment manager to haul this lousy Tappan POS out of my apartment, what would stop me from buying a great range? Well, there is the little matter of the extraction hood, but we will deal with this issue later.

I recently paid off a 12 month, no-interest loan on some furniture, and this had a nice effect on my credit rating. My thanks to Wells Fargo. Such loans are available through most vendors of kitchen equipment, like Warehouse Discount Center, or Fry's Electronics. I could get an outstanding range, take 12 months, or even 18 months, to pay and not be charged a dime of interest. This should provide me another positive 10 point bounce on my FICO.

Frankly, it is a win, win, win situation. I can see no downside to the transaction. Fuck it, why not?

So my pals at the BBQ and Fireplace shop set me wise to a little company named Dacor in Diamond Bar, yet another suburb of Los Angeles County. My informants tell me that Dacor is the hottest rising star in the kitchen. Viking Range, Electrolux, Thermador and Wolf are a couple of the other major players in this game.

I can't quantify the amounts of disinformation, counter-information, and straight-up shillin' lies I've heard about everyone's equipment. Times are tough. The market for high-end kitchen gear peaked in 2007, and it has been all down-hill from there. New housing construction is way down, energy efficiency demands are way up, house remodling projects are also way-down. We may be on the verge of a double-dip recession. It sucks to be in the kitchen stove business right now. These guys are fighting dirty to stay alive.

With that said, I have whittled the list down to just two finalists: Electrolux and Dacor. Interestingly enough, Dacor is in the lead.