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Vom Fass

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Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Dec 16, 2007 7:45 pm

I'm a trencherman, and damn proud of it.
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Postby NullDevice » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:32 pm

I am the Foodinator.

Come with me if you want to eat.
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Postby Velvet Coffin » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:59 pm

NullDevice wrote:I am the Foodinator.

Come with me if you want to eat.


Heh.

There is no food but what you make.
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Postby Ed Breakfast » Mon Dec 17, 2007 4:04 pm

I'm a chowhound.
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Postby msnflyer » Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:38 am

And in the end
The food you take
Is equal to
The food
You make

Is this the same as the knife/kitchen store I was in on Saturday? Didn't notice Vom Fass when I visited Penzey's on Saturday. Why do I always seem to run out of 3 or 4 spices at the same time?
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Postby Velvet Coffin » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:19 am

msnflyer wrote:Is this the same as the knife/kitchen store I was in on Saturday? Didn't notice Vom Fass when I visited Penzey's on Saturday.


Nah, but I think it's the next door down from the knife shop. It looks a little like a mad scientist's lab at first glance with all those glass bottles and spigots and the colored water they have as a placeholder in the liqueur decanters at the moment. But if you stand there looking perplexed for a second, someone will bring you a spoon and guide you around sipping vinegars and oils. It's worth staying long enough for a sip of the 20 year balsamic.
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Postby @wood » Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:07 am

It's between the new cookware store (sorry can't remember the name) and Berkeley shoes. I believe there is a large wooden barrel outside the door. I saw an ad looking for employees on the UW job board.
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Postby NullDevice » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:46 pm

Terms notwithstanding, I went there last night.

I love the fact that you can taste things. I'm hesitant to spend money on a balsamic I can't taste, just because I've been burned on that sort of thing before. I didn't get to tasting the scotches/hard boozes because I didn't want to annihilate my pallate for anything else.

Okay, the vinegars? Great. The aged balsamics are outstanding. The fig vinegar was good, albiet a smidge too "figgy" for my liking. The rasberry vinegar was quite good, too. The real surprise was the spanish balsamic (IIRC), which fgalls someplace between a sherry vinegar and a balsamic on my palatte. It had that strong, nutty flavor of a sherry vinegar but some of the sweetness of a balsamic.

The nut oils seemed to be winners too. I tried some hazelnut oil that was very rich and, for lack of a better word, nutty, moreso than most nut oils I'm used to. Those were a bit on the pricy side, however. And a few of the oils seemed less for taste than for some unspecified purpose...I'm not sure what one does with "evening primrose oil." I was exceptionally pleased to see Argan oil, which, for those of us who like moroccan food, is rather difficult to get. A few of the other seed oils looked interesting as well, and I'm interested to try them.

The wine selection was decent, although it seemed more expensive than one might expect with Steve's within walking distance. The wine we bought was pretty tasty, but I'm not certain I couldn't've gotten an equally good wine for about $3 less up the street.

While I appreciate the reusable bottle angle of things as well, I do wish they were more clearly organized and labelled. With the vast array of wacky bottle designs I didn't really have a clue whether I was pointing to a 200ml or a 250ml or whatnot, or how much they were, etc. I was also surprised to note the lack of opaque bottles - I would expect that a place that sells rather fragile nut oils would sell containers that block light to retard spoilage.

The staff was very knowledgeable, particularly on the vinegars and oils. And there were a lot of them. I think I talked to 4 or 5 separate people.

I'll try some of the boozes at a later date. Most of the scotches looked interesting, although I did recognize at least one of them as being available bottled elsewhere. I'm leaving the cognac/armagnac tasting up to people who know those better.
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Postby TAsunder » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:27 am

I went there on Monday and love the place. I really enjoy being able to taste and compare everything. I left the store with "only" 5 bottles of stuff (oils and vinegars), which was less than I wanted to take home at first.

Null, they do sell opaque bottles. For some reason they aren't on display much. The manager told me that I could just use clear ones for the items I bought, but opaque are recommended for others. I also found the strangely shaped bottle display a little confusing. I went with the super cheap bottles with plastic spouts.

I'm not as discerning when it comes to vinegars, but I absolutely LOVED the mango balsamic. I had coincidentally just tasted the chili oil and after tasting the mango balsam the manager noted that they often recommend those two together. In fact, a couple that came in after I did tasted that very combination. Their poker face made it hard to tell if they liked it as much as I did, but it seemed so.

Considering how many things are labeled "mango" but taste like passion fruit, I was really amazed at how much mango flavor was in there. I joked that I would like to make a soft drink out of it, and the manager told me that they actually recommend that... a bit of seltzer water with a splash of it as an after dinner drink or similar. Had I not had a chambord and selzter drink at Coquette Cafe I might have laughed it off.

Some of their oils are "wellness" oils... including the primrose oil NullDevice mentioned. They are intended to be consumed in small quantities daily for health reasons. They also have almond oil and avocado oil. Avocado oil is apparently the best cooking oil, because it doesn't burn at high temperatures unlike olive oil. The manager didn't seem quite as aware of the use that avocado and almond oil had for the skin. Both can be rubbed right into the skin or added to shaving creams and lotions for noticeable benefit.

They have a lot of interesting looking liqueurs, but they only look interesting, because they are in fact just colored water at the moment. It's going to take another couple of months before the importation of the liqueurs is allowed. I liked the idea of a caipirinha liqueur and a tiramisu liqueur and am looking forward to their arrival.

The kitchen store next door was closed early on monday. Has anyone been there? The vom fass manager said it was a great store too. I've been looking for a quality bamboo cutting board...
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Postby robbie webber » Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:42 pm

Penzy's, a kitchen store, and Vom Fass. That little strip mall seems to be the new place to go if you want to pick up all kinds of interesting cooking items. There is also an Asian grocery if those are the ingredients you seek.
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Postby NullDevice » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:10 pm

TAsunder wrote:The kitchen store next door was closed early on monday. Has anyone been there? The vom fass manager said it was a great store too. I've been looking for a quality bamboo cutting board...


Stopped there briefly on sunday. Guy working there was nice, and they didn't have a *lot* of stuff, they did have some pretty decent-looking useful things, like a few sizes of chinois, some pastry tools, etc.

Best of all I found out they do knife sharpening for $3 a knife. It looks like he's got the right tools, so hopefully he can do a decent job on it.
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Postby TAsunder » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:43 pm

NullDevice wrote:Best of all I found out they do knife sharpening for $3 a knife. It looks like he's got the right tools, so hopefully he can do a decent job on it.


That's good news. I've been trying to find a local knife sharpening service for a while. Orange tree has a guy who does it once or twice a year only, but it's a bit expensive... more than $3 a knife.

When you say the right tools, does that mean stones or machines?
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Postby NullDevice » Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:41 pm

I saw a few grinding and polishing wheels behind the counter. I didn't look closely enough to determine grit. :)
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Postby mshapiro » Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:09 pm

I went there this afternoon to have him sharpen two knives -- I think it's called Madison Cutlery. The guy who was there (Bill?) said he used to work in a cutlery place in Chicago; his store reminds me of a smaller Northwest Cutlery. He had three sharpening wheels, and asked if I wanted the area where the heel met the bolster sharpened (it increases the amount of rocking that's possible, he said). He had a smart selection of kitchen tools (no gadgets) and some really excellent digital scales for weighing ingredients. Definitely worth a visit.
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Postby TAsunder » Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:18 pm

I did manage to visit the cutlery store as well. The knife sharpening is the main draw for me. The actual goods for sale are not as varied as orange tree, which has the same stuff and more.
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