Category: Review

Review: Rowenta Pro Master DW 8800

Getting right to the point: This is a high quality iron that you will not be disappointed with.  Those words aren’t really strong enough.  If you are have come to appreciate that good quality equipment sometimes costs more money, this iron is for you.

Full Review:

Rowenta Pro Master DW8080 iron

Rowenta Pro Master DW8080 iron

Occasionally in life you use a product that you are expecting to be good, but you don’t realize how good it can be until you use it.  The Rowenta Pro Master DW 8800 is one of those products.

It’s an iron.  Seriously.  How much different can an iron be?  They all get hot and take wrinkles out of clothes.  This is almost a commodity now.  Even so, there is a difference.

I have historically ironed more than anyone in my house, and even today, though I pay one of my sons to iron for me, I still iron a considerable amount, especially when traveling for work.  Because I often iron in hotels, I had almost seen the full gambit of irons, from basic irons with the most advanced feature being a spray nozzle that leaked to a “deluxe” hospitality iron that steamed, had an extra long cord, and even offered a headlamp to better see the wrinkles you were trying to remove.

For the last couple of years our iron at home has been a most basic iron, but it has done the job.  Even so, I have been looking to upgrade to one with a steam feature for some time.  It is the one feature I miss when it is not available, as it really helps get the wrinkles out.  A couple of weeks ago, someone touched some red plastic with the heated plate of our iron, and this pushed me to action.  After looking at numerous irons and reading numerous reviews, I decided to follow an instinct I only began to appreciate in my late thirties: buy quality equipment.  Quality in this case was the Rowenta Pro Master DW 8800.

Rowenta seems to be an iron appreciate by professionals: laundry mats and the such.  This is for good reason.  My first reaction was nothing short of utter amazement!  While it seemed to get hot faster that our other iron, that was not the feature that blew me away.  It was the variable steam feature that steams your clothes automatically while ironing WITHOUT pressing a button.  If you wish to steam vertically, perhaps curtains or even suit jackets, there is a button that produces serious bursts of steam.

All of this was amazing to my gadget loving self, but it was not until I ironed my most difficult shirt this morning that I truly appreciated how amazing this iron is.  This iron glides across my clothing like no other iron I have ever used.  The constant steam feature easily removed wrinkles I have wrestled with on this particular shirt for minutes in the past.  The “High Precision Tip”, while not a big deal to me, did indeed allow me to get into certain spots on the shirt easier.  As if this wasn’t enough, the constant steam feature also allowed me to iron my pants in half the time.  The steam pushing through my pants allowed me to be done ironing after only ironing one side of the pants.  That sort of thing makes me seriously happy.

All this said, the iron is comfortable to hold, and the weight of the iron speaks to its high quality.  From what I have read, this isn’t the same for all Rowenta irons, but those made in Germany posses a level of quality not seen in those made in China.

It remains to be seen how well this holds up, but my first impression is a solid WOW.  I am anxious to see how well the “Anti Calc” feature keeps the calcium buildup down, and I am anxious to see if the heated plate remains smooth after months of ironing, but for now, I am amazed.

All these good points aside, I do wish the iron had a longer cord, but this is a small price to pay for the rest of the incredible features.  I didn’t measure the cord, but I suspect it is 7 feet long.  I would have appreciated 10 feet, but again, this is a small complaint in comparison to the rest of the features.

If you are in the market for a new iron, and if you don’t mind spending more money to get a high quality iron, don’t hesitate and purchase the Rowenta Pro Master DW 8800.  You will not be disappointed.  A solid 5/5 stars.

Tragedy Averted – A Review of the Canyon Chophouse in Fort Collins, Colorado

This past week while working in Fort Collins, Colorado, my collegues and I decided to have a dinner at the Canyon Chophouse.  You may recall, I had eaten at the Rodizio Grill the week before, and unfortunately had a pretty bad experience, so we needed a different place to eat.

The reviews of this restaurant led me to believe this was a successful dinner in the making.  Finding the restaurant was somewhat like running the labyrinth though.  It was buried on an odd street near old town Fort Collins, which makes sense, as the restaurant is an old bank building.  We arrived early though, and parking was great, however, our initial reception was not.

The lady at the front desk asked if we had reservations, which we did not, and she hesitantly said she thought she could get us in.  Then we waited, and waited, and waited.  It was hard to understand why, as the restaurant was nearly empty.  Had we had another alternative nearby, we probably would have left.  Even so, as we stood there talking, we started noticing people coming in, which led us to believe the restaurant would soon be full.

One of the neat things we first saw was the vault.  Yes, the old bank vault!  It seems this is one of the choice rooms for dining at the Canyon Chophouse, though I am sure there is a waiting list for the room.  You can see it in this image from the restaurant’s website (which you should visit for more information!)

Canyon Chophouse

An image from Canyon Chophouse’s website showing the vault in the background.

When we finally were seated, my high hopes for the restaurant had settled to a mere simmer.  It wasn’t long until this changed though.  The lady who seated us alse ended up being our waitress, though I cannot remember her name.  She was very attentive from this point forward, and quickly overcame my earlier hesitation.

The menu seemed robust enough, though I have to admit, I immediately knew what I would eat: a bone-in ribeye.  And wow, was it good.  Honestly, this was probably the best steak I have ever had, and that says a lot.  It was tender, flavorful, juicy.  WOW.  The sides were a different story though.  I had asparagus, which was good, and sauteed spinach.  The spinach was the real disappointment, as it had been cooked in so much alcohol that it was almost inedible.  In fact, I didn’t eat it.  Even so, the steak.  Wow, the steak!  Mmmmm!

In short, this is certainly a place I will visit again, though don’t expect to eat an inexpensive meal at the Canyon Chophouse, but the price comes with quality to match – a definite winner!  Just be sure you have reservations.  🙂

“Forever Trevor” – A Review of the Rodizio Grill in Fort Collins, Colorado

This past week I was in the lovely city of Fort Collins, Colorado.  As I was on the jet flying to Denver, my mouth began watering thinking of an absolutely delightful Brazilian Steakhouse I had been privileged to be introduced to the last time I was here, the Rodizio Grill.  Though I had only eaten there once, the experience was one I looked forward to repeating.

I looked forward to this visit with an anxious hunger in my stomach, and I chose to make this a mid-week meal.  Each day my taste buds would water just thinking of this coming party for my mouth.  The beautiful, tasty salad bar, the wonderful supply of tender, salty meat.  Mmmmm!

The night finally arrived, but one of the first things I experienced was not pleasant.  The parking lot next to the restaurant takes you right by a dumpster to enter the restaurant, which smelled of something putrid.  I picked up the pace to a nice brisk walk and quickly left that behind though.  Once I entered the restaurant, I was met with the same world-class service from the hostess that I had experienced the first time, quickly replacing the thoughts of the putrid dumpster.

As I sat down I experienced the problem with the restaurant, though I didn’t fully pick up on it then.  It took F-O-R-E-V-E-R for the waiter, Trevor, to come to my table.  In fact, I was severely tempted to go on to the salad bar on my own, though I decided to follow protocol.  When he arrived, he was quite friendly and did his job well.  After he turned to depart, I rose from my table to start the meal at the salad bar.

The salad bar was beautiful, just as it was the previous visit, but after sitting down and eating from it, I didn’t find it as tasty as it was the first time.  This is really a minor complaint, as my taste buds could have been off, and quite frankly, it was still quite edible.  It just wasn’t WOW good.  The salad bar is not the reason I go to a Brazilian Steakhouse though, and as I began to finish the plate of salad, I prepared for the main course.  I pushed the plate to the side and flipped the wooden hourglass that was painted half red and half green over, with the green now on top, letting the gauchos know it was time to bring on the main course.

Jimmy was the first gaucho to the table, and I have to give nothing but praises to this young man.  He did quite a job telling me of the meats he was carrying, and allowing his great personality to add to the evening.  I cannot recall the other gauchos name, and perhaps that should tell you something, he was unmemorable.

The Picanha was the most mouthwatering of the meats during this visit.  This beautiful top sirloin was cooked to perfect, and my tongue was literally fighting to leave my mouth in pursuit of this meat each time it came nearby.  The Bife Com Alho was also quite good, though not nearly salty enough for my tastes, which was a common thought throughout the evening.

The surprise of the evening was the Assado, a Brazilian beef roast, which was one of the best beef roasts I have had.  That is quite a statement, as my wife, Charity, cooks like a grandma, making some of the best meals known to mankind.

Other meats that were memorable were the Picanha Com Parmesão  and the Lombo Com Queijo, both with the wonderful coating of Parmesan and even the Presunto.  I was disappointed that I never saw the Alcatra come around, as it is a wonderful looking piece of meat.  Even so, it was a slow night, so I couldn’t rightfully expect to partake of the full offerings of all meats.

During the meal I periodically saw Trevor, but like the gauchos, he wasn’t present as often as I had wished.  Empty water glasses are a real pet peeve of mine, and mine sat empty all-too-often.  Even so, I was continuing to look at the meal with rose-colored glasses, even going to far as to tell Jimmy I would be back the next time I was in town with several other folks, as this seemed to be a great place to have a nice meal together.

Sadly, the rose-colored glasses began to fade as the meal ended.  I turned the hourglass over, and pushed my plate to the other side of the table, then laying my napkin in front of me.  I took my wallet out of my pocket, set it on the table, pulling out my credit card attempting to illustrate I was ready to pay.  I sipped the last of my water down, and I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I could see Trevor talking behind the bar, but it was as if I had become invisible.  In fact, another waitress came and took the check and tip from another table, glancing over at me, then turning and walking back to the kitchen.

At this point it became a game to me, to see how long this would take.  I would guess it had already been five minutes since I emptied my water, and I glanced at the time to see how long it would be before I was serviced again.  Two minutes.  Two L-O-N-G minutes.  Yes, I know that is not a tremendously long time, but that was on top of the approximate five minutes I had already been waiting.  Though Trevor still was behind the bar talking off and on, he never paid attention to the fact that his client needed service.  Finally, the aforementioned waitress came back out to her table again, and asked me if I needed something, to which I replied, “Yes, my check please.”

I had decided at this point that I was not going to make a big deal out of this, but it only got worse.  It took a considerable amount of time for the check to be delivered to the table, and when it was, it was by a different woman.  I was shocked.  Where was my waiter?  I immediately handed over my card, as I was ready to leave.  The waitress then left with my payment, and another long time passed.  Finally Trevor brought my card and check back, and I sat there astonished as I had seen three different wait staff come to my table, and not one of them asked how my meal was.  It was at this point I shared my frustration with Trevor.

If you know me, you know poor service is a real pet peeve of mine.  Trevor effectively erased all good images of this restaurant during the following seconds and minutes.  I shared that I was disappointed to feel I had become invisible.  Rather than apologize for this, Trevor proceeded to tell me that if I were done, my hourglass should have been laid on its side.  I was stunned.  What kind of response was this?  I apologized for my misunderstanding, but pointed out that my water had been empty for some time, and I was thirsty.  Trevor then said a superficial apology, and left the table WITHOUT FILLING MY WATER.  I then completed a survey card, sitting there for several more minutes, astonished that my water was never refilled.

During those few moments, my fond memories and delightful satisfaction were erased by a waiter who either was having a bad night, was not well trained, or did not care.  As I left the restaurant, I handed the survey card to the friendly hostess, asking that she be sure the manager saw the card.  Once again, I was astonished to hear her say, “I sure will.  Have a good night.”  Having been in the food service business for a number of years, I am well aware that this is the last opportunity a restaurant has to repair damage and ask if everything was okay, but that did not happen.  And so I walked out, still in shock as I walked past the putrid dumpster on the way to the car.

The putrid dumpster was a fitting way to end the meal, as that is the odor that was left in my mind.  Just moments earlier I had planned on leaving a 20% tip, which did not happen.  Just moments earlier I had shared with Jimmy that I would be back with 6-8 others to share this restaurant with them.  But the putrid odor of poor service effectively over-shadowed everything that was done right, and now I will likely never visit this restaurant again.  Perhaps it was an off night for Trevor.  Perhaps the hostess felt I was leaving a compliment and was an exceedingly happy customer.  Those things matter little now though, as my once glorious opinion of the Rodizio Grill in Fort Collins, Colorado has been shattered.