My new appliances - nine months later
Hi all -
I gained a lot of information and good advice from this forum when selecting our new kitchen appliances, so I thought I'd post my experience with them after nine months, in the hopes that somebody might find this information useful.
So, here they are, in no particular order:
Capital Culinarian 36" self-clean range with grill
Although we make pancakes on an electric griddle every weekend, we went with the grill rather than the griddle after reading many posts about people who had done the same. I'm very happy we went with the grill, but I don't think that putting a grill pan on top of the griddle is practical. It takes way too long to heat up. I've used a grill pan on the burners, which is OK, but not very even. Mostly I just pull out the electric griddle. So if you really want a griddle, I would get the griddle, but the indoor grill is great for burgers, etc. I got rid of my outdoor gas grill and just use my BGE and the indoor grill. It's great and not hard to clean.
We've used the rotisserie a few times, and it's also just OK, in my opinion. I'm too much of a control freak when it comes to cooking, I guess, and it's too hard to get the meat cooked correctly when you have no control over the broiler setting or the distance from the broiler. Chickens, for example, either have the breast done too much or the legs not enough. It's not the end of the world since the rotation does keep some of the juices in, but it's not as good as other methods, in my opinion. I did use it for a porchetta, which I think with practice I could nail. But, overall, I wouldn't miss not having the rotisserie. The self-clean is nice, though.
The main burners are awesome. They heat up fast and are very uniform. I agree that they are useless for simmering without a simmer plate or something (we have had them adjusted as low as they can go). I have a friend with a Blue Star and I can see the advantage of having a simmer burner. I'm totally happy with my purchase, but since I care less about the rotisserie than I thought I would, I might choose differently had I to do it over again.
Vent-A-Hood 42x27" Island Hood
We decided to go with a custom hood because in simple finishes it wasn't that much more expensive than a standard island hood, so we got the ISFH18 in a jitterbug finish with rivets around the bottom. It looks great. Unfortunately, it doesn't capture as well as I would like. I think one of the problems is that the controls and front lights are mounted on a flat section that has only a 1/2" lip around it, so smoke that hits that area is almost as likely to escape the hood as be captured by it. The actual venting area is only 28x14". I think that I would have gotten a larger hood had I realized.
Gaggeneau ED220 Combi-steam Oven
I bought one of these off Amazon and after a slight calibration problem (http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/appl/msg0912165719383.html), it has been great. Part of the reason I don't really care that the range can't simmer is that everything we would have simmered we now do in the oven. We bought some 1/3-size pans so that we can do smaller quantities (and, say, rice and beans at the same time). I've used it to do prime rib @ 140 all day, refresh frozen breads, steam sweet potatoes, etc. It also heats up to high temperatures quickly for things like pans of frozen french fries, etc. And it holds the temperature to within a few degrees consistently. It's fabulous. I can't imagine having a kitchen without one. My wife was skeptical of my purchase, but I don't think she would have a kitchen without one either. Being able to set the steam percentage and the temperature separately to anything from 0% and 90 degrees to 100% and 450 degrees is great for a control freak like me. I wouldn't get one that didn't have that manual-control flexibility.
The bulb burned out pretty soon after I installed it. If anybody is curious, the replacement bulb is the Philips Plusline ES 60W@230V R7s bulb. It ended up not mattering, but the replacements web site I bought it from sent me a 48W bulb (because it's halogen, the package indicates it produces the same light as a 60W incandescent, but the bulb I removed was an actual 60W bulb).
Bosch SHX3AR55UC dishwasher
Meh. We had a middle-to-lower-end Bosch in the kitchen before the remodel that we put no time into picking and we were happy with, so I didn't put much time into picking this. Our salesperson originally sold us a Kitchenaid claiming it was better than the Bosch, but it didn't have nearly as much capacity. The cavity was marginally larger, but the rack tines were farther apart. The Bosch, though, doesn't load on the top as well as the old Bosch, though the bottom is better. Cleans great; since Seattle isn't very humid, it dries fine as well. I would spend more time looking at the rack layouts if I had it to do again, but it's fine.
Samsung RFG237AARS refrigerator
We had to have a counter-depth refrigerator, and the only thing the kids cared about in the whole remodel was ice and water in the door, so we got this one, which I think had the most usable space or was cheaper or something. I did more research with this one than the dishwasher, but not a lot more. It has been fine. The ice selector doesn't work, so we only get crushed, but I didn't care enough to call somebody out even under warranty (I just open it up if I want cubes).
So that's everything. I hope this information is useful to somebody. Let me know if you have any questions.