My wife loves to cook, and she’s always talking about how she wishes she had better knives. So we decided to go out and find the very best knives we could for a budget not to exceed $500.
Now, if you think spending upwards of $500 on knives, this review probably isn’t for you. For most of us, the standard knives we receive in a box set work well enough. But for someone like my wife who cooks all the time, having a few really good knives makes a world of difference. Personally, I don’t cook enough to even understand the difference in knives, so I set out to get educated as a first step.
I enlisted the help of my friend Haidar, an award-winning professional chef at Proof, an award-winning DC restaurant known for its cuisine. In fact, Haidar recently won an Iron Chef-style “Capital Food Fight” competition hosted by Anthony Bourdain and cooking legend José Andrés.
In Haidar’s professional chef world, he uses knives are so good they are can be used to cut sushi, and are only sharpened on one side.
This post was originally posted by me on a different blog on May 21, 2012:
My wife and I took a road trip from San Francisco to visit the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, AZ this past weekend. The best way for me to describe it is a mecca for overlanders with copious amounts of offroad vehicle porn. If you’re at all serious about overlanding, it’s a can’t-miss event.
We’ve been considering a slide-in pop-top camper (like the one Tom & Janet put on a Nissan Titan in this article), so we went primarily to learn more about slide-in pop-top camper vendors. Here’s a review of what we learned, and what we experienced at the event.
About the Overland Expo:
This is a three day event in its third year. It’s a mix of exhibitors and attendees who participate in overlanding, or want to get into it. Overlanding is a somewhat new term to describe self-reliant overland travel where the journey is the goal – what one might’ve called “traveling the world” before. Although we’re interested in taking a boat around the world at some point, interestingly there is almost no overlap between overlanders and those who travel by sea, despite the vast similarities. The closest we came to seeing a crossover is the Turtle V vehicle created by Gary & Monika Wescott, who have been traveling the world in various vehicles for over 30 years. I took a video of Monika describing how they used marine-grade equipment in their Turtle V vehicle because the typical RV gear isn’t strong enough for extended overland travel.
Phoenix campers wasn’t originally on our list of places to visit, but someone on Expedition Portal mentioned that they were also in the Denver area, so we added them to the list.
The reality was that although the owners were very nice and accommodating, it’s just not in the same league as Hallmark based on what I observed. (I’d put Outfitter a few very solid notches above Phoenix, but still far below Hallmark). However, one reason you may want to choose Phoenix is for their uber-customization. They’ll build to any type of vehicle in ways that other manufacturers won’t, and that’s a plus.
When we visited, the only camper available for us to see was a personal unit the owners were making for a Ford Bronco. A horse trailer they were adding some living quarters to was also available, but I didn’t see any actual customer campers being built. So the opinions here are limited just to what I saw in-progress at their shop.
The craftsmanship will probably be evident in the video below (you can find a full gallery of pictures here), but this photo of the stitching on the outside of the camper they were building sums up our entire experience well:
Three years ago, I reviewed several juicers in detail before settling on the Omega masticating juicer, and it's been great.
But ever since, my buddy Frank has been trying to convince me to get a Vitamix. He says he uses the Vitamix several times per day, vs. less than once a week for his juicer. I was over at his house the other day, and he gave me the full court press sales pitch. So of course I video taped it! Let me know what you think: Is a Vitamix more useful than a Juicer?
Also, the Vitamix isn't cheap! The 750 professional series is $650 on Amazon. There are cheaper ones though, as low as $481. If you don't mind refurbished, you can get an older open box version from Amazon Warehouse for the mid $300s.
Devina in her first race, an 8k, with dad and uncle Sam!
As I've mentioned before on this blog, Sue and I are not planning on buying a stroller because we want to carry Devina close to us as much as possible, to maximize our 'skin-to-skin' contact time. So to that extent, I did a pretty in-depth review of baby carriers, and the Baby Bjorn ONE took the prize in a last-minute upset.
However, I've always wanted to take Devina on races with me, and so I went on the hunt for a great jogging stroller. After doing a bunch of research, I found the Chariot line of strollers, which Thule picked up awhile back, so now they're branded as 'Thule Chariot.' Their top of the line jogging stroller is the CX-1, which MSRPs at $1,049.95. Yikes.
But here's a pro-tip: If you are willing to pick up one of the CX-1 strollers just branded as "Chariot" and not as "Thule Chariot," you can get one of those for $697 on Amazon -- and that's with the jogging attachment, which usually runs an additional $75. But there are only four left on Amazon, so they won't last forever. The differences between the old model and the new Thule model are very minor; the biggest one being disc brakes vs. drum brakes.
Languages are a beautiful thing. Although I grew up mainly speaking English, I had an opportunity at a very young age to learn and speak Spanish, and my dad's family is all in Costa Rica so I have family members who I primarily speak to in Spanish. That gave me the tools I needed to work in Argentina and Brazil for part of the time I was with GE. GE would've never sent me to Latin America right out of college if I hadn't had those language skills. Sue and I want Devina to have that same kind of opportunity.
Sue is in a similar (but stronger) position with Korean, as she speaks it primarily with her parents, and always did growing up. So we have an opportunity to raise Devina speaking multiple languages, but we knew that figuring out a way to do so would take work, because Sue and I speak to each other in English.
So we agreed that, from the start, I would speak to Devina exclusively in Spanish, which I've been doing for the past six months. At first, I didn't know if it would be hard or easy because it's been a long time since I've gotten an opportunity to speak in Spanish on a regular basis. And while it's not hard, it's not exactly easy, either. It's kind of like going into a room in a house that you don't enter very often. You haven't forgotten where things are, exactly, but you need to do a bit of spring cleaning to really make the room usable again.
But a funny thing has happened since I've forced myself to speak to Devina exclusively in Spanish: When I look at her, my brain now automatically switches to Spanish. Whereas at first it was strange to break out my Spanish on this new person in my life, now it would be strange to speak to her in anything other than Spanish. I wasn't expecting it to be so natural, because in the past I've either spent the entirety (or at least) bulk of my interactions speaking entirely in Spanish (or Portuguese, which I can handle fairly well) -- for example, when in a Spanish speaking country-- or entirely in English while here in the US. It's always been natural to be speaking Spanish when others are, and English when others are, but this is the first time in my life where I'll be speaking with Sue in English, and then turn to Devina to say something in Spanish, and then turn back to Sue and say something in English, over and over again. I thought that part of it would be hard, but it isn't. My brain switches between the two as if on cue.
The Odio family celebrating the Holidays
Sue and I have a family tradition we are pursuing: Giving experiences, instead of gifts, on birthdays and holidays.
We've found that experiences are more powerful and longer lasting than things. Studies show that experiences make people happier than things, too!
For Devina specifically, if we sent you a link to this post, it was because you told us you wanted to buy her a gift. We ask that instead of buying her a physical gift, please either:
We are renting out our two bedroom guest cottage, which is situated on a private estate in Belmont, CA.
Here's a video describing the house and grounds:
When our first daughter Devina was born, we decided we weren't going to have her interact with electronics until she could create with them . We want our children to be creators, not just consumers, of technology. She's now three years old, and we've been looking for the right way to introduce her to technology. After a lot of looking, we've found something amazing -- a system called Osmo. (About $95 on Amazon plus $30 or so for each add-on kit).
Osmo works with an iPad -- we're using an old iPad and it's been fully compatible -- with a system of software + physical pieces, as well as a red mirror that covers the iPad's camera, focusing the camera on the table just in front of the iPad.
The genius of Osmo is its range. There's Osmo software for putting colored shapes together, for drawing , for math, for coding , for cooking , and more. It's an expandable system that's designed for ages 4 through 12 (although our three year old has been totally into it), meaning it can grow with a child for quite a while, which isn't something that can be said for most learning systems. That's the magic of software.
I've been on a journey to find the absolute best commuting scooter with the right combination of cost, power and size. I had very high hopes for Cycleboard, but had a horror story of an experience with them and absolutely cannot recommend them for a multitude of reasons, including:
So in short... I recommend you stay from Cycleboard, sadly.