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Category Archives: Appliance Reviews

Everything AND the Kitchen Sink

AlfrescoAlfresco rolled in to give us an update on all their outdoor cooking and accessory line. While you should definitely come in to get the full story on their product line (grills, pizza oven, 28″ beverage center that can hold a full keg, to name a few) two of their add-ons really made an impression on me. A built-in grill does not make for a full outdoor kitchen experience….but with these sweet add-ons you’ll have no problem fulfilling every one of your outdoor entertaining needs.

Their 30″ Versa sink MSRP $1197 has plenty to offer. You can fill the sink with ice (and beer!), use it as a prep sink, use other accessories to create your own unique prep space, or rearrange all the parts to suit that day’s needs or wants. With a full size kitchen sink drain, it’s easy to clear it out, too. Everything you see below is included in the full beverage package…..check out the shelf for the BLENDER. I LOVE that! Pictured here is the bar package MSRP $806, the serving shelf MSRP $572, and the middle shelf MSRP $105.

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It can change back to this…..to wash up.Alfresco30-inch-versa-sink-as-sink

Or this…with the sink add on package MSRP $549, and high self with a pot rack MSRP $572, and middle shelf MSRP $105.AlfrescoPrepCenterHighShelf

There are accessory packages you can purchase to either do it up beverage style or make it a prep center. This sink is offered in widths of 14″ MSRP $1003 and 24″ MSRP $1405.

Their dry pantry caught my eye, too. The dry pantry takes outdoor storage to a whole new level. We have a LOT of bugs in Florida. These cabinets seal well, channel rain down the specially designed gaskets, and keep out creepy, crawly, bugs.

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They also seal out humidity, so if you wanted to keep towels, or supplies out there for easy access, you won’t have to keep filling it every time you’re outside. They come in heights of 21″ and 33″ depending on whether you want it under your grill, or right beneath your counter. They offer a 30″ and 42″ width. MSRP is $1749-$2399, depending on the size. With pull out drawers and shelves, you have the option of where and how you want things to grab things.Alfresco30-Inch-Sealed-Dry-Storage-Pantry-Open

Stop in and see what other ways you can take your indoor fun…..outside.

Your Cup of Tea?

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GE Café Series has come up with a brilliant way to make your free-standing refrigerator work harder for you. If you love your Keurig, you’ll love this new feature on this exceptionally featured GE Café French door, standard or counter-depth refrigerator.

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As if brewing up your favorite K-cup of tea, coffee, or hot cocoa weren’t enough, you can also dispense hot water. From an app on your phone you can also schedule just when your hot water should be ready to go. Imagine climbing out of bed, pushing a button and having hot water or your Keurig dispenser ready to go…no preheat time required because the refrigerator followed your programmed schedule. The hot water can also be dispensed at a specific temperature using 4 presets, think soup and oatmeal temperatures. While it dispenses the screen displays how many ounces (or mL) have come out. That’s awesome!

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Some other features? With the Precise Fill function, the dispenser will let you select how much water to dispense. So, for instance, if you need 3/4 cups of water for your cookies, you can select that amount and the refrigerator will dispense that amount. There’s a perfect temp drawer that also lights up different colors depending on the setting so you don’t have to guess as to which you picked. There are three settings.

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This refrigerator offers a dual evaporation system called TwinChill™ evaporators. They regulate odors and humidity independently in the freezer and refrigerator sections. Why would this be important to you? Because it will keep your food fresher, longer.

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The counter-depth model boasts a 22.2 cf capacity, while the standard depth offers 27.8 cf. With a MSRP of $3300 and beautiful, bright LED lighting it’s clear to see why this might be a refrigerator you would want to take a look at on our showroom floor. See you soon!

Pick up your drawers…

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Microwave drawers have been popular for over a decade now. Many builders, designers, and kitchen remodelers like the fact that they can have a microwave tucked away under an island, bar cabinet, or theater area relatively concealed and off of the counter.

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MSRP varies for microwave drawers from $949.99 to $1900. Sharp invented and patented the microwave drawer. They use their chassis to make the insides of all the other brands offering microwave drawers. Wolf, Gaggenau, Thermador, Bosch, Viking, Monogram, Jenn-Air, and Dacor all have their own version to match up with their product lines.ThermadorDrawerIn our live kitchens we show Wolf, Thermador, Viking, and Sharp models. They are all similar in features, but it is interesting that Sharp saves a trump or two for themselves. Sharp rates their models at 1000 watts and everyone else has a rating of 950 watts. Expect a cook time difference that will be only a few seconds off, if any. Sharp upsized their microwave drawers from 1.0 cu.ft. to 1.2 cu.ft. a few years ago. As the new models from the other vendors get updated, they are also gaining the extra size. Viking, Jenn-Air and Dacor still sell the 1.0 model, but you will be hard pressed to see where the 0.2 cubic foot went. Some brands offer their microwave drawers in 24″ and 30″ widths for aesthetic and design purposes. The interior capacity remains the same regardless of the width you choose.VikingDrawer

One of the more common questions is if full coffee cups or other liquids splash out as the power open and close drawer moves. Because we have them live, we can test that. All four models sloshed the water in our coffee cup and bowl differently. I think that shows the inconsistencies in manufacturing. In a slope sided cereal bowl about ¾ full, only one of the microwave drawers spilled any water. None of them spilled water from the coffee cup.  Granted….this was with a glass and a bowl of water.  Popcorn, casseroles, and a dinner plate would work fine taking the ride in and out.

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All of the models are great performing sensor microwaves. Sharp promises us that they will begin offering a convection model that will also function as a baking oven. They also plan to offer a model that will accept a custom wood panel so that it hides in the cabinetry. Do not expect those before 2018, though. If you are tired of the over-the-range or countertop microwave, come in to our showroom to check out the microwave drawer.

Blog content provided in conjunction with Doug White and is sponsored by the letter “M” and “W” along with the number 37. That last part may not be accurate.

Merry Christmas Foodie Baby

ChristmasIt is 15 days until Christmas and you know there is that one person on your list you just have no clue what to get because they HAVE EVERYTHING. We have something they don’t. And we stock ’em. And they won’t break your budget. And…well…WOLF! Wolf introduced Wolf Gourmet this year featuring countertop appliances, cookware, and cutlery!!! With prices ranging from $299.95-$999.95 you know you want to take a peek.

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Wolf is well known for their outstanding cooking products, but they also have an amazing gourmet kitchen small product line. These products are offered as promotional gifts when purchasing a whole kitchen full of Wolf and Subzero….BUT…you can buy them, too! If you don’t buy a kitchen full of awesome appliances you can purchase their sweet suite of goodies as gifts or keep them for yourself!

I’m going to focus on one of my favorites…..their blender. At $599.95 you have more than a “blender” here. You have a meal maker! And look at that red knob, signature Wolf design. You can buy a black or stainless knob, too, if you want to change it up.

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This blender makes smoothies, soups, sauces, and anything else you can think of to throw in a blender. With a 64 ounce capacity and the ability to create a meal in one container, how can you go wrong? Here’s a quick recipe from Bob Luyckx, our Wolf rep, that he created on the fly…for hot, fresh apple cider.

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“I used one half of Gala apple and one half envy apple. After cutting each in half I cord them and sliced them into three or four slices lengthwise. Add one bottle of water ( or 2 cups). I added liquid sugar in the raw as a sweetener however you could substitute agave or honey.  I used about a tablespoon and one half, but you can sweeten to taste. Sprinkled some ground cinnamon into the carafe. Put the blender on it’s soup function or mode and in 5 1/2 minutes I had piping hot fresh apple cider at about 140°.”

How great is this?!? Thanks Bob!

At $499.95, the countertop convection oven is another favorite of mine, however, we have the whole gourmet product line here (pictured below) that we’d be happy to show you since we have them displayed and ready to come home for Christmas.

Stop in and do your last minute Christmas shopping with Aggressive!

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This Little Griddle of Mine, I’m Gonna Let it Shine

VikingChrome-1The day before Thanksgiving it was kind of quiet in here right after 12 noon. I’m sure you were all busy cooking, prepping, or sitting in stand still traffic. This was the perfect time for us at Aggressive to play on our appliances. We are prone to do that from time to time.

One of the reasons our customers benefit from our mostly live showroom is we play on the appliances and tell them about what we like about them. We test out their cool features AND eat too many of the tasty results, often. Eric and Doug treated us to peanut loaded cookies and homemade sausages on this particular Thanksgiving Eve. It should be noted this place is a serious threat to my waist and worth every calorie…

The reason I bring up their willingness to feed us is that I was most impressed by how Eric cooked up the sausage. He first defrosted it in the Miele steam oven and then griddled it up on the Viking  ViChrome™ Griddle.

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This griddle is quite impressive!!!! The result was a juicy and tender sausage inside, but crispy and browned on the outside. Perfection! So tasty and fresh. You would never have known it was frozen from 2014!!!! Since the griddle is “thermostatically” controlled it gives off even heat and temperature across the whole surface. That heat stays on the griddle so you aren’t heating up the kitchen, just the food.

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Anyone who loves cooking also knows cleaning up is not an ingredient of that joy. Once cooled, this griddle is easy to lift off the range and carry. The non-stick grease catch also comes out with no problem. Bring all the pieces to the sink, soap up, and done! All cleaned up! It’s mirror-like, chrome finish is beautiful, will not discolor over time, and is why it is so easy to clean.

If you happen to be in the area and want play on this range, or any other appliance, let us know. We would be happy to sample your creation!

When you wish upon a BlueStar…

bs11My appliance adventures lead me to the crisp fall weather of Reading, Pennsylvania. BlueStar was the brand I was privileged to be wowed by this month….

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The setting of BlueStar was like stepping back in time as I walked into a manufacturing building from 1880. Within its historic walls I found hand crafted ranges, wall ovens, and cooktops still being made….by hand. I personally witnessed master welders expertly close stainless steel seams and sand them smooth into a one of a kind cooking masterpiece. They test every one of their products before they leave the building. Focusing on their free standing ranges, follow me into the land of appliance artistry and workmanship that is exceptional in this industry.

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BlueStar takes the open burner concept and puts their burner design in an elite class all on its own. How? Well, for starters there are ports all up and down the 8 prong burner, with a grate design that doesn’t interfere with the flame. Depending on the BTU of the burner, there are more or less ports. Their simmer burner goes down to 130 degrees. The Platinum Series offers a 25000 BTU burner. The grates are cast iron coated with porcelain for ease of cleaning. The way the burner is nestled within the grates it is easy to see how this particular open burner concept makes cleaning up a breeze. Cooled grates can be hand washed in hot, soapy water or thrown in a dishwasher. Spillovers land in an easy access, removable, drip tray cleaned in the same way. Removing the center of any grate allows direct flame cooking perfect for woks. The Platinum series offers a removable griddle/grill kit. The RNB Series offers built-in configuration options such as a griddle, grill, or French plate, along with burners.

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They offer 6 types of ranges depending on your cooking needs, your wallet, and your customization preferences. Any of their 30” ranges and up are able to hold a true to size catering sheet . The Platinum Series offers innovative heating with PowR Oven technology. The concept is that the oven cavity air is heated, not the oven walls, reducing pre-heat times as well as improving recovery time when the door is opened or food in put in. Their infrared broiler goes up to 1850 degrees.

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With all of that….they also offer 750+ color options and are able to create a range in any color from a swatch. The knobs and bezels can be custom colored as well. There are textures, jewel tones, and metallic to choose from as well. If you can dream it, I’m sure BlueStar could do it! 

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Fun facts about BlueStar

They manufacture pieces for other companies. They acquired Big Chill 5 years ago. They acquired Independent Hoods 3 years ago. They are owned by Prizer Painter Stove Works (hence all the uber-cool color choices). They are launching a refrigeration line at the end of 2015, beginning 2016. And……They totally blew me away. I can’t even fit all I learned in this blog!!!

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I can tell you this, if you want to wish on an appliance star, consider making it a BlueStar, because anything your heart desires may just come true….bs5BS CBS ABS B

 

Identity Crisis?

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What is stainless steel? When it comes to appliances stainless steel is considered a color. It really is a finish, a very popular finish, but not everyone loves stainless steel. Avoiding stainless steel for new appliances isn’t always black and white.  There are shades of grey and red and blue and green and…..

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With stainless, more and more we get the fingerprint complaint. Yes, stainless does show finger prints more readily than painted finishes. If you have been licking your fingers after scraping the cake batter bowl you will most likely be leaving a sticky mess on any finish, no matter what color.  Not everyone has the dexterity to touch only the handle so when visiting our customers we do often see fingerprints at kid heights or even nose prints at Labrador retriever height.

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For years, Viking Range Corp has offered special order finishes in several colors.  BlueStar is famous for their ranges but now has a great line-up of cooktops, ovens and hoods as well. The BlueStar name came into being when Prizer Painting (yes, a paint company) purchased the residential division of restaurant range manufacturer.  So it’s no surprise that a special order of a new BlueStar can arrive in nearly any color as well as a variety of metal finishes. We mentioned KitchenAid’s new Black Steel a few weeks ago (Link to KitchenAid’s “Black Steel My Heart” Blog); many of our customers think it looks awesome. Blue Star Color WheelIf color alone won’t meet your design requirements, check out the classic designs of AGA’s CookerLa Cornue’s French design, and Viking’s Tuscany SeriesVent-A-Hood goes a step further and doesn’t just offer traditional, classic and modern hoods in stainless steel and painted finishes, but allows special orders on their hoods in brass or copper with custom applied metallic trims.  Go crazy with it! In keeping with our tradition of being the best appliance dealer in Central Florida, Aggressive Appliances has all of these products on display with the exception of Viking Tuscany due in soon.  Don’t pass up the chance to see the Duck Egg Blue Aga, three different La Cornue ranges, and two custom Vent-a-Hoods.

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(Chrissy’s Favorite Appliance Color)

** A Special Birthday shout out to Aggressive Customer, Mr. Russell Bizette. Happy Birthday!!! **

In The Breeze…

Ventilation serves a great purpose in an active, creative kitchen. Are you the type of cook that takes cooking to another level with smoke, grilling, frying, griddle pans, searing, high heat, and generally put pots of passion into cooking? Is it safe to say on occasion you’re done cooking when your smoke alarms go off? Did you ever try searing a steak on an indoor grill pan only to have the recirculating range hood spit all the smoke back into the house creating a heavenly affect for arriving dinner guests? (Funny story, actually). Then my friend you are in need of quality ventilation.

Vent-A-Hood. Magic Lung. Have you heard of them? Probably not, because their Magic Lung series is so quiet you wouldn’t know they are on. Grease? The centrifugal force spins it right out of the air so it neatly lands into a grease tray that easily snaps on and off to clean.

Smoke? It is easily sucked out of the room without air resistance because they don’t use a baffle filter to catch grease. Noise? Noise is drastically reduced because, again, no baffle filter in their Magic Lung line. At 1200 cfm it only creates 6.6 sones. Heat? The capture area directs the heat directly to the “lung” so it is removed along with the smoke and grease. Clean? The motor is completely encased and therefore never collects grease to gunk it up, slow it down, or ruin it.Fire Safety? This may or may not be something you considered. The way a Vent-A-Hood is designed (without baffle filters that can collect grease), flames aren’t able to escape to a secondary source of combustion. All of this and a full 5 year warranty that covers parts and labor? It’s safe to say that one day I’ll own one and my smoky steak days will be in the breeze…

I sound like a broken record, but yes, this is on display live in our showroom so you can hear, see, and try out for yourself, the “magic” in this kitchen “lung”. See you soon!

DCS, ATK, Oh my!

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DCS by Fisher & Paykel has a quiet history since they don’t spend a ton of money on marketing; however, other well known names have used DCS in their lineups.  They began in 1988 in California when a commercial range was custom built for use in a residential application. Realizing they had a great product to offer to the masses they started selling their recipe for quality and function to companies such as Viking, Thermador, GE Monogram, and JennAir. Yup. You read that right. You didn’t even know you knew DCS, did you?DCSATK

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Last week I was whisked away to Boston, along with a crew of 9 equally appliance enthused (I’m not being sarcastic here, we love appliances that much!) sales reps from all over the USA, to take a few succulent bites into the world of DCS by Fisher & Paykel. To mix it up, we weren’t trained in a DCS facility, but in America’s Test Kitchen. ATK’s founder, Chris Kimball, has DCS in his personal kitchens, which prompted his natural choice of DCS appliances in ATK’s kitchens.

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ATK’s home is tucked away in an old building in Boston complete with a maze of quirky turns, steps, food, and dining tables with a backdrop of old school, historic charm. We were graciously welcomed by ATK to cook, learn, laugh, and eat within their bustling cooking, testing, and tasting world. In this cozy setting we learned DCS is truly a powerhouse of quality, function, and is user friendly whether you’re a master chef, a weekend cooking warrior, or a 30 minute weeknight meal maker. Using ATK recipes, mouth watering, waist growing meals were created by us all while learning hands on just how fun and easy DCS is to use.

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DCS1There’s something really remarkable about bonding over quality appliances and cooking with people that have an equivalent passion for appliances. DCS and ATK really set the table for a gracious, welcoming learning experience.

If you’re looking for meaty, commercial quality appliances without too many bells and whistles, DCS is the way to go. The DCS customer wants a tried and true, quality appliance with a minimal learning curve to get great results focused on highlighting the finished culinary masterpiece.

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With professional ranges, commercial quality wall-ovens, precision cooktops, versatile dish drawers, searing outdoor grills, and a built-in line of refrigeration due out any minute, this is a line to consider if you want hard-working, solid appliances without a super premium price tag. We have their line on display, so please stop in. We’d love to get you fired up over them!

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Black Steel My Heart

KTAblckSteelKitchenAid has introduced their new line of black stainless steel appliances. While there is a complete family of products in this color offering (dishwasher, walloven, hood) the 5 door refrigerator is a true treat. It screams “LOOK AT ME! I appeal to the appliance nerd in you!!” I’m not ashamed to say “YES, YES IT DOES!!!” I showed random people the piece all morning, and by random, I mean trade partners and contractors that weren’t here to shop. (sorry guys)

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Why? I’ll tell you why. There are 5 doors to open and close! The organization and design coolness makes me want to learn everything about this refrigerator. It has a platinum interior, soft close doors, Preserva Food Care System that provides two independent cooling systems, herb storage in an angled drawer to keep stems damp but leaves the herb leaves alone, satin glide drawers, side shelves that pop out easily for cleaning, and a 3 tier freezer drawer section. At 25.8 cubic capacity, there is a TON of space in this refrigerator.

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I love the idea of being able to open independent drawers and doors eliminating temperature fluctuations in the other areas of the unit. That in itself tells me that preservation will be at peak performance. While there is ice and water through the door it doesn’t seem to hinder the useable space in the fresh food section. The two independent drawers fully extend!!

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I’m also loving the new KitchenAid medallions on the ends of the handles. They come in red, but can be ordered in black or stainless. If the black stainless steel is too bold for your taste, the refrigerator comes in stainless steel as well. MSRP in black or stainless steel is $3999.

Even if you aren’t looking for a new refrigerator, if you’re in the area you have to stop in and see this refrigerator for yourself. It’s definitely worth the trip!

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