Friday, August 19, 2011

Restaurant Supply Adventure

I wanted to take a break from cooking this week to tell you about one of my favorite stores. No, not Nordstrom, but yes it is a favorite, not Target although I'm there 2 or 3 times a week. It's the Restaurant Supply and it's a great place for an adventure. If you live anywhere near a major metropolitan area you should be able to find one good restaurant supply store. They are usually in a warehousey type location and sometimes not in the greatest of areas (go during the day and take a friend.) but they are oh so much fun. Here in the Sacramento area I go to Cresco. They have everything including the kitchen sink. Literally, they sell kitchen sinks. You'll find any and every kitchen tool, pot, pan, and appliance that you can think of, in every variety imaginable. If they don't have it and they can't order it then it doesn't exist. The selection, quality and prices beats out the gourmet kitchen stores at the mall, the discount store and the bath and home store. Please go check it out:

They have a wide selection of graters.

If you need a strainer they've got plenty to choose from.

Even one as big as your head. WOW!

Perhaps you're looking for an ice cream or cookie scooper.
It takes all my will power not to buy one of each. I think it's the colors that suck me in.

How about a whisk.

This one is as tall as my 11 year old son.

Here's a pot for cannibals to envy. Seriously, how much chili do you need to make?

And who knew there were this many different thermometers?

Here's the best part of the Restaurant Supply Store: the prices. I bought one of these sets of measuring spoons for $10.99 at the high-end gourmet shop at the mall and the other for $2.19 at the restaurant supply. Can you tell which one is which? Really? Truth be told I like the $2.19 one better.
(Scroll down and I'll give you the answer.)

Here are a few of the things I got on my last trip (clockwise from top left.):
A 1/4 sheet pan, you really can't have too many of these and for $4.99 each, why not stock up.
A cover for a 1/4 sheet pan, this is going to come in handy.
A steamer rack. It's meant to go in the bottom of a big pot to steam stuff but I liked the size and the fold up feet on the bottom and am planning to use it to glaze cakes.
A cake ring. Because I've always wanted one, I know, I'm weird. I do plan to make the "Helga Cake" from Gesine's book. (click here for more info) and I'll need a cake ring.
A bowl scraper, because it was $.75.
Some spreaders, because they looked handy and again, under a buck, so why not?
This little cutting board because I had a wood one similar in size that I used all the time and it broke.

I also got a 10-inch cast iron skillet for under $8.00. I kid you not, UNDER $8.
All and all I only spent about $60.00 and came home with some great quality kitchen equipment and all sorts of ideas on how to use them. Oh man. . .I can't wait to get started.

So next time you're in the market to upgrade your kitchen equipment, skip the mall, skip the home & bath store and head over to your local restaurant supply. It's an adventure that won't empty your wallet.

Oh and the spoons on the left were $2.19 at Cresco, on the right $10.99 at Crate and Barrel.

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