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Updating the Kitchen Essentials


Stone
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It's time for me to get new dishes, knives and forks.

For dishes, I'm thinking that basic white with some texturing (i.e., the ring textures that French Laundry uses) is the way to go.

For knives and forks, I think it's time to do away with black plastic handled utensils. Actual flatware this time. The stuff that adults use.

Reasonably priced. Please post links for your suggestions. Gracias.

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I agree with you about the white. My favorite place of all time for dishes is Crate & Barrel. The prices are amazing.

Click here for white porcelain

I have had the "Diner" dinnerware for about 8 years now. No chips. The stuff is amazingly durable. I think I see some embossing in some of the patterns. I'm not sure they are what you are after but it is worth a look.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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White porelein is durable and some is more durable than others. Some W-S folks who have gotten the Brasserie

stoneware report it chipping and regret not get

ing their porcelein (Apilco) instead.

BTW, what are you shooting for in each category as

"reasonably priced". If you can give us a range we may be able to be more helpful.

Edited by Richard Kilgore (log)
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If you are willing to buy by the dozen, your best price/performace bet is to find a decent-sized restaurant supply shop in your area. Many claim to sell to the trade only, but I have never had problems walking in, picking out what I want, and paying cash.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

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Gosh, so many options....

Are you near any likely stores or will this be strictly Internet/mail order? I usually like seeing this kind of stuff in person before I buy, but everyone's different, of course.

Ditto Richard, what is "reasonably priced?"

I've found good stuff at various times at W-S, Crate and Barrel, B B & B, TJ Maxx, Marshall Fields, restaurant supply, etc., etc.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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I bought a very nice set of oversized Oneida flatware at the East Bay restaurant supply store. It's heavy, like the stuff Williams-Sonoma sells, but much cheaper!

A couple of suggestions for white plates, both more expensive than other suggestions. Villeroy and Boch makes beautiful, bullet-proof china. They have some off-white dishes w/ various swirls on the rim. Sur La Table sells some pure white dishes by Revel (French) that are very elegant-nice weight, nicely proportioned.

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i'm using plates i got from bloomingdales about 3 years ago.  we use them all the time, and they're still in perfect condition.  check here, although i don't think ours are as ornate.  or maybe they are, and i'm just used to it. either way, it's pretty subtle.

I assumed you ate everything off Chinet. :biggrin:

Thanks everyone. I would like to check stuff out first, but that involves more time and leg-work. As for reasonably priced -- I don't know. For example, I don't have a problem paying Williams & Sonoma prices, but I've always felt that their stuff was overrpriced. I'd like to find a place where I can get quality stuff, but not get fleeced. But if these are like everything else in my life, I'll end up spending more money than I expected. I don't know where the restaurant supply stores are in SF (the one I knew about closed up). Other than that, we've got the basics, W&S, C&B, Macys, Bloomies, etc.

Edited by Stone (log)
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Mikasa makes very high quality dishes at very reasonable prices. Here's what I'd order from Amazon, were I in your shoes: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00...9/egulletcom-20 -- that's not a textured pattern per se but it has a similar visual impact and it's good understated china for a guy to own.

Likewise, Oneida is a really good manufacturer of sturdy, attractive, well-priced stainless flatware, for example: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00...L/egulletcom-20

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The Mikasa looks very elegant but the only problem is, as with the Oneida, it comes in a set. Now it's fine if the set has everything you want but where are you if you want to add other pieces, either as a supplement or to replace damaged stuff. You need to identify ranges which are reasonably extensive and you can get by the piece. Unless you're planning to replace them again in a few years make sure you don't buy a "one-off" or end-of-line special because replacements will be impossible in the future. Nearly 30 years ago we bought a beautiful set of WMF flatware for 4. A couple of years later we wanted to increase the number to at least 6, probably more. Discontinued. Couldn't buy it anywhere, including direct from the manufacturer. Learned that lesson well. Since then we bought stock lines and always more than we needed at the time.

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They're both very popular sets. It's possible to go to the Mikasa Web site to get an extra soup bowl for $6.49 or a capuccino mug for $3.88. The Oneida site has three pages of selections available in the sand dune pattern -- if you need 4 extra forks it's $11.95. Of course, no pattern gets made forever. Even the ones with long-term manufacture, like Old Country Roses or Napoleon Ivy or whatever, change from era to era so the plates made now don't look much like the ones made 50 years ago. So it's often sensible to buy a whole bunch up front -- ever since we got married we've refused to buy anything unless we get 12 or more of it. But Dave's a single guy. He's not going to have this stuff forever. He'll give it away to a friend when he gets married. All he probably needs is service for 8.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I shopped every source of china available, locally and on the web. I was never able to beat Crate & Barrel for quality/price/choice. I made a spreadsheet on the data for chisakes. Their stuff is also open stock. I hate sets. If I saw something I liked and it was in a set, it always had cups and saucers. I haven't used cups and saucers in years. I drink my tea and coffee out of mugs.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I think it's safe to say that most people these days, when they're alone or eating with spouse or nuclear family, don't use cups and saucers. But I also think many people do use them with guests. Presumably, Stone wants to have a set of dishes that performs both everyday and guest duty. If that's the case, standard 5-piece place settings are a useful option.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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For example, I don't have a problem paying Williams & Sonoma prices, but I've always felt that their stuff was overrpriced. 

i'm not positive, about this, but knowing how liberal their return policy is, i don't doubt that you could return a plate if you chipped it, or even broke the thing. they have a crazy mad return policy that might be worth considering along with the cost. although, as i suggest, my plates haven't seen any damage in three years of heavy use.

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While I adore Crate and Barrel, and this is more of a girl thing, patterns come and go. I'm having fun hunting down a few pieces from their Water Music pattern, now discontinued. But that's a problem with all manufacturers, even Wedgwood. :angry:

Last I was in Seattle, I stayed with my cousin and was admiring how he had a decent set of dishes and flatware. I expected chinet, or mismatched pieces that he used in college. He took himself shopping at Ikea. Attractive, and very reasonably priced.

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I suggest you find out which companies that produce china have a factory store near you, especially the ones that sell seconds. Our everyday dishes are Pfaltzgraff. When the movers broke a bunch of the dishes, they were very easy to replace by the piece. In fact, I learned that our pattern was being retired, so I stocked up. The seconds weren't bad either -- usually just a mark on the bottom of the plate from the glazing process. Also, whatever your patter, check the manufacturers website and register your pattern. That way they can notify you if your pattern is to be retired.

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Absolutely, for the kitchen dishes we have Ikea, a few years ago they had square plates and bowls, all white - and colorfuldessert, cereal bowls and other little stuff - the stuff is pretty strong, it's part of their 365 range, which goes in freezer, micro and oven (to 365f....go figure)

Even if one style goes out, the new ones blend in, and you can buy one dish or 55..

For stainless, we have Christophle from Bloomies - great quality, does not need cleaning and always goes in the dishwasher

www.nutropical.com

~Borojo~

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Another option is what I enjoy doing.

Go to your local Goodwills and shop there .Who says that every plate has to match? As long as they are all the same size, it's kind of fun to have different patterns going. And if one breaks, replacing it isn't a problem!

I've done that with great results. A white table cloth ( or none, depending on your table ) and mixed china. It's kinda charming.

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Stone, if you don't have good taste, you need to let other people pick your stuff for you. :laugh::raz:

But yes, especially for your primary set of dishes, you should have white or at least majority-white plates. Otherwise a lot of what you serve will look dreadful unless you spend a lot of time coordinating and garnishing it properly.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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