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Contigo 20 oz Thermalock Water Bottle

The Contigo Thermalock water bottle is a great deal at Costco. With a capacity of 2½ cups, it keeps my cold drinks cold throughout the day and allows me to monitor my fluid intake more easily. This was my first insulated water bottle. Of course, the first thing I did was test whether it could keep cold drinks and hot drinks at a stable temperature. It works so well that I have not grabbed my other uninsulated water bottles at all.

The positives are (1) it’s insulated; (2) the $6.50 per bottle price; and (3) the strap that keeps the cap attached. The design is a bit utilitarian. Not as good looking as the S’well, but also not four times as expensive either.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillets at Costco

Costco is selling a set of Lodge cast iron skillets for $36.99. The skillets come in 10.25-inch and 12-inch sizes. I started using the 12-inch one at first, but switched over to the 10.25-inch skillet just because I had a lid that fit that skillet perfectly.

For quite some time, I’ve been thinking of getting a cast iron skillet, but avoiding it at the same time. My concerns were about the (1) weight, (2) bare handle, and (3) maintenance.

Lodge Cast Iron SKillet

In terms of weight, I don’t find using the skillet to be too strenuous. I leave it on the stove top, and don’t touch it too much while cooking. As for the bare handle, Lodge included two silicone handle holders. However, I did see some heat damage to the silicone handle holder after one week of use.

As for maintenance, the skillet comes preseasoned. The pan isn’t too difficult to clean and adding a light coat of oil after cleaning has been sufficient so far.

Zojirushi NL-AAC18 Micom Rice Cooker

The Amazon Mobile iPhone App is a great way to “trust, but verify.” I spotted the Zojirushi NL-AAC18 for “sale” at 99 Ranch Market, with an enticing $30.00 off label. However, just because a product is selling for less than the MSRP, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bargain if everyone else is selling for less.


So, I opened the Amazon Mobile app and scanned the bar code, which revealed a $217.49 price with a $50.51 savings. Not sure how these have different list prices. So much for how bricks and mortar cannot compete with Amazon.


Amazon v. Costco

A while back, there was some controversy over Amazon’s price check promotion. The assumption in all the complaints is that Amazon offers the lowest prices and that bricks and mortar stores simply cannot compete. That is not true.

Lately, the weather has been blazingly hot. So, I was thinking ice cream during a recent visit to Costco.


Costco was selling the Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Ice Cream Maker for $39.99.


Using the Amazon iOS app, I scanned the bar code and came up with this:


Costco beats Amazon by almost 30%!

Next item, which must be a Cinco de Mayo special: Casa Maria Natural Stone Mortar & Pestle.


$14.99 from Costco.


From Amazon, it was $45.87 + Free Shipping. This stone mortar and pestle is heavy. So, shipping must cost the retailer a small fortune. When I searched for the same item again today by scanning the bar code, Amazon returned a price of $32.89 + $12.99 Shipping (or $45.88).


The lesson is don’t buy into the myth that Amazon always offers the lowest prices. For large bulky or heavy objects, this is particularly true. What Amazon does offer is convenience. You don’t have to drive around town to find a specific item that a bricks and mortar store may not have in stock.

Chef’s Select Parchment Paper

Last March, I was looking for parchment paper at Costco. But, they were out!

Well, parchment paper turns out to be a seasonal item and along with the Thanksgiving roasting pans and Christmas decorations and gifts, parchment paper is back. Great for home baked pizza.

12-inch Saute Pan

I was using a Calphalon 12-inch non-stick pan that I had purchased from Target for about 40+ dollars. As with all non-stick pans, the nonstick interior started to degrade over time. Since Calphalon has a lifetime guarantee, I thought about returning the pan for a replacement. But, a quick trip to the UPS store gave me second thoughts since postage was going to run about $15, not to mention another $5 for the shipping box.

At Costco, I was evaluating the alternatives. The Tramontina Sauté Pan Set ran $23.99 for 8, 10 and 12-inch pans. I only wanted a 12-inch pan, since I already had relatively new 8-inch and 10-inch pans. But, the $23.99 price was compelling.

For a tad bit less, the Tramontina 12-inch covered everyday pan was selling for $21.99. I already had a 12-inch lid. However, I would have preferred a long handle instead of the shorter side handles. The difference is that you can control the pan with one hand with a long handle, but need two hands when gripping both side handles.

So, the Tramontina 3-pack ended up in the shopping cart. Let’s see how long this set will last.

Pedrini Clips

Costco was selling a 12 piece Pedrini clip set for $9.99. The clips work great for the various bags of cereal I have in the pantry. But, what really caught my attention was that photo in the bottom right-hand corner of the box.

The clip set includes eight magnetic clips. Is that a magnetic clip on a stainless steel refrigerator door? I love the clips, but unfortunately these magnetic clips did not work on my stainless steel refrigerator door.

OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler

I have never been a fan of mandolines. Pushing food across a sharp blade seems a bit too treacherous for me. When I heard about the OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler, I wanted to give this kitchen tool a try.

OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler

I love the OXO Good Grips Vegetable Peeler because it sits so comfortably in my hand. The Julienne Peeler is about the same size, but shorter.

OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler

Step 1. Peel a carrot with the Vegetable Peeler.

OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler

Step 2. Run the Julienne Peeler over the carrot. I used a fork to anchor one end of the carrot to the cutting board. The Julienne Peeler handled the carrot with ease, but as I reached the end of the carrot, the Peeler had a tendency to clog. The Julienne Peeler worked great on long objects, like carrots. For a short nub of ginger, I found it difficult to produce enough julienne ginger to make it worthwhile before the jamming problem cropped up.

OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler

All-Clad at Costco

Last weekend, I spotted All-Clad cookware for sale at Costco. Costco was selling a 1.5 qt All-Clad D5 brushed stainless steel saucepan for $49.99. The same product on Amazon is currently selling for $72.99.

Snapware Glasslock

Costco has the Snapware Glasslock 18 piece set in stock again for $29.99. If you have any concerns about reheating food in plastic, the Glasslock is an option. However, if you only want a lunch box, consider whether the set contains the right mix of containers in the sizes that you want.