culinary appliances

Culinary Comforts—Best Kitchen Appliances 2020

If your personal preference is centered on design and style, or on food and entertainment, here’s our list of the top high-end culinary brands that will suit your preferred lifestyle.

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Live, and dine, in luxury with these incredible kitchen appliance brands, as Pursuitist presents the Best Kitchen Appliances for 2020:

Bertazzoni. Italians are renowned for their passionate love of food. Bertazzoni continues that tradition, as a fifth-generation, family-owned Italian manufacturer of high-end kitchen products. The company’s products include free-standing ranges, built-in cooktops, ventilation hoods and other design-coordinated accessories.

Bertazzoni

Gaggenau. Gaggenau is the world’s preeminent brand of high-performance restaurant-grade cooking technology for the modern home. Specializing in cutting-edge, built-in home appliances, its sleek portfolio includes ovens, gas, electric and induction cook-tops, ventilation, dishwashers, modular refrigeration and freezer columns and wine storage units. Gaggenau also produces specialty appliances such as steamers, grills and deep fryers, and the Asian-influenced Teppan Yaki – all crafted for the luxury American kitchen.

GAGGENAU

La Cornue. Each Château and each Cornuchef is assembled by hand and by one person; this person will follow production through to the end and finalize every last detail. Each kitchen range is monitored, controlled and tested at all the stages of production. Even if you happen to be the Queen of England, you will have to wait at least two months for your Château La Cornue. The superior ranges simply cannot be made any quicker. For three generations, La Cornue has loved and served cuisine in the same way as a stringed-instrument craftsman loves and serves music. La Cornue cultivates an ideal of excellence.

La Cornue

Dacor. Working together to redefine the modern kitchen, the Dacor family has produced an impressive array of industry firsts. Patented features abound throughout their full line of cooking appliances. Features like an infrared gas broiler inside an electric oven, a Pure Convection system for even heat distribution, a Butterfly Bake Element for an extraordinary traditional bake, and extra-large Dacor Greats that simplify cooking with large pots and pans.

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Miele. Each Château and each Cornuchef is assembled by hand and by one person; this person will follow production through to the end and finalize every last detail. Each kitchen range is monitored, controlled and tested at all the stages of production. Even if you happen to be the Queen of England, you will have to wait at least two months for your Château La Cornue. The superior ranges simply cannot be made any quicker. For three generations, La Cornue has loved and served cuisine in the same way as a stringed-instrument craftsman loves and serves music. La Cornue cultivates an ideal of excellence.

MIELE

Viking. In spite of its tremendous growth and success, Viking Range Corporation remains essentially the same entrepreneurial company it was at its inception. This small, close-knit company culture serves Viking and its customers well, and greatly contributes to the company’s ongoing growth and success. By carefully preserving this unique, creative and stimulating environment, and through offering only the very finest, highest quality products, Viking plans to continue its aggressive growth and expansion to further increase its already strong presence in the worldwide major appliance and related culinary lifestyle industries.

THERMADOR

Sub-Zero Refrigeration. For 60 years, Sub-Zero has offered innovative, aesthetically appealing and technologically advanced solutions to meet virtually any home refrigeration need. Through foresight and responsiveness, the company has earned its position as an industry leader – a position Sub-Zero intends to maintain well into the new millennium.

SUBZERO

GE Monogram. GE has been a leader in American manufacturing for years, gaining a corporate reputation for unmatched reliability and innovation in their products. Their Monogram line consists of their premier professional-grade products, from refrigerators to cooking appliances and everything else you can dream up for your kitchen. Should you ever take issue with a Monogram product, GE employs a nationwide fleet of vans and repairpeople to provide prompt service on your appliance.

MONOGRAM

Thermador. Thermador has been at the forefront of cooking technology for more than seven decades, fusing state-of-the-art performance with classic design to satisfy the most demanding culinary enthusiasts. From introducing the first built-in wall oven almost 50 years ago, to revolutionizing gas cooktops with the patented Star Burner, Thermador’s innovations have helped to transform the kitchen from a mere workplace into the social and entertaining center of the modern American home.

THERMADOR

Wolf. For more than 70 years, Wolf has been synonymous with professional cooking equipment for restaurants and hotels. Now, as part of Sub-Zero, the Wolf line has been adapted for the serious in-home cook. With their superior performance and leading-edge design, Wolf instruments fuel a passion for cooking.

WOLF

Bosch. Also for 70 years, the beauty of Bosch exterior design is how well it blends with your kitchen decor. Their integrated system allows you to match the dishwasher to your cabinets, complementing the entire look of your kitchen with ergonomically-designed controls are at your fingertips.

Bosch

Jenn-Air. This company creates luxury appliances that are more than a facet of your kitchen, they make your house more of a home. Ranked #1 for the last four years in their creation of built-in refrigerators, Jenn-Air will never fail to impress guests in your home.

JENN-AIR

AGA. Aga has nearly a century of experience of enriching kitchens around the world. The Classic Aga Range employs cast iron construction and energy efficient heating, which combine to offer a truly unique cooking experience. Available in a variety of enameled colors; Aga ranges offer tremendous design flexibility. Now enhanced with complementary undercounter refrigeraton Aga continues to redefine upscale kitchen design coupled with professional cooking prowess.

aga

And that concludes our list of the best luxury kitchen appliances for 2020. What culinary brand, from refrigeration to cooking, do you own? Share this on social and add your favorite brands!

Walking on the beach

A Dozen Ways to Actually Reduce Stress During the COVID Crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful, causing fear and anxiety that can be physically and emotionally overwhelming. But there are methods for coping. Knowing that everyone responds differently to stressful situations, here are a dozen different suggestions to reduce worry, tension, and anxiety while we wait out the COVID crisis.

Read a book.  Books take us into our imaginations, allowing for the ultimate distraction. The act of reading also relaxes your body, lowers your heart rate, and eases the tension in your muscles. 

Puzzles exercise both sides of your brain, evaporating stress and replacing it with tranquility. We especially like the calming puzzles from Lemonade Pursuits that partner with female artists around the world to create uniquely artful and peaceful tableaus.

In much the same way as puzzles do, coloring allows you to focus on a single task that can put your mind into a meditation-like state.

Speaking of meditation, a number of apps are available to help focus your attention and eliminate the scramble of thoughts crowding your mind.  Popular ones include Headspace, Calm, and Aura.  

Stretching allows the blood that has been restricted due to stress to flow more freely.  Stretching also stimulates receptors in the nervous system that decrease the production of stress hormones and isolates the muscles that store the tension.

A hobby from times past, modeling is seeing a comeback.  Whether it’s crafting model airplanes, cars, or making dollhouses, the act of working with your hands to create a product in detail can be remarkably soothing.

Cooking is not only a useful skill, but a great therapy.  It reduces negative thinking and builds confidence, encouraging creativity and activating the senses in the best way.  Have a cookbook at home you’ve been wanting to crack open or a website tempting you to new tastes?  Now’s the perfect time. 

Getting in touch with nature and being in the sunlight are instant mood lifters.  This is what makes gardening such a great tool to relieve stress that can be done at any age.   

Many shelters are waiving adoption fees to relieve facilities and provide animals with foster (if not forever) homes during the health crisis.  Cuddling an animal stimulates the release of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which help relieve depression. Pets are proven to create a calming effect, and loving on them helps you focus on the present moment.

You may think it would be harder to workout with the gyms and fitness studios closed, but apps and online fitness have stepped up to fill the void.  Everything from Beachbody to Barry’s is currently offering free online classes.  Take advantage, because working up a sweat reduces the body’s levels of adrenaline and cortisol, instead stimulating the production of endorphins. 

Give journaling a go. Detailed writing about thoughts and feelings may clear them from your mind, or at least help you prioritize your fears, better understand your stresses, and problem solve more efficiently. 

Make music.  From playing an instrument to singing, every aspect of making music releases stored muscle tension and decreases cortisol levels.  It’s a bonus that this activity can be done alone or with others! 

This article was originally published on Pursuitist. Republished by permission

Inside Grand Central Terminal With Curious Traveler

Touring Grand Central With the Ambassador.

“When Grand Central opened, people were aghast! Simply aghast!”

If you can deliver that line with the best, most genuine New Yawker accent, with genuine enthusiasm and genuine dramatic arm flailings, you’ll begin to have an idea of what it’s like to spend the afternoon with the New York institution that is Grand Central Terminal’s Ambassador, Dan Brucker.

Dan is as much a part of iconic Grand Central as its clock. Well, there’s actually two iconic clocks, and only one Dan, but that’s as it should be. Dan has been interviewed on his knowledge of Grand Central’s Grand history on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, National Geographic Channel, the Today Show, and on my travel series, Curious Traveler, on PBS. He was just made for TV. So, let’s start our tour.

The world’s largest train station (or train terminal, as Dan will correct you), Grand Central, is known as the ‘Temple of Transportation’ for good reason. In 1869, the designers wrote that ‘People who come to New York should enter a palace at the end of their ride and not a shed’. And indeed, today, when you stand inside the cavernous and majestic main concourse, more than a 100 years later, you’ll look around and say, mission accomplished.

 

But it had to be an engineering marvel as well as a design marvel. Completed in 1913, with the purpose of creating an underground transportation hub that didn’t disturb that prime Manhattan real estate above. As Dan points out, with 700 trains and 750,000 visitors coming and going every day, you never see any trains! Everything is buried underground, so you have this almost spiritual moment as you enter the ‘temple’ above, and transition into your destination on foot. But why make a train station so Grand at all?

Well, the Vanderbilts, who made their name and wealth from the railroad, wanted a magnificent symbol of America’s transportation might. As Dan put it, “To shout out to the world that America was the leader in transportation!” Grand Central was to be the central point, or the home hub of their railroad. So the Vanderbilts hired the best designers to create their Temple of Transportation.

Between 1903 and 1913, the old train station was torn down, and replaced by the architectural firms of Reed and Stem and Warren and Wetmore, in that breathtaking Beaux-Arts style. Just to emphasize how palatial and grand the influences were, did you know that Grand Central was inspired by the Paris Opera House?!? If you look at a side-by-side comparison, you’ll see how similar they are. Especially the staircases. Amazing.

But what’s even more interesting is this: this temple, this palace, as grand as it is, was built for the everyday, ordinary commuter. So unlike the Paris Opera House, meant to be enjoyed only by the elite, Grand Central’s design is a truly American concept: beauty for everyone to enjoy.

So let’s check out some of that beauty. First stop: a heavenly look 125 feet up at the main concourse ceiling. You will see the most gorgeous mural, covering a staggering 35,000 feet. It’s the night sky, by artist Paul Helieu, and shows all the zodiac signs and constellations, in all their splendor. The only problem is, he got it all backwards.

 

 

As Dan explains, “The truth is: the artist was looking down and then looking up when he painted, and he got a mirror image. And the Vanderbilts, when they heard about this, they came down and they saw that the ceiling was alit with stars, and instead of ripping it all out, they came up with a much better explanation: they said, oh yes we know. which they didn’t. they said they did it on purpose, which they didn’t. “

And so the story goes. The Vanderbilts and Helieu continued to claim that the view was meant to be from God’s vantage point, looking downwards. But hey, it looks beautiful either way, right? Dan agrees, “Exactly. How many people would still look beautiful if they were turned all around?”

And that famous ceiling has another, more recent secret. If you look carefully, you’ll see a small patch of dark brown on the carefully restored blue. That’s a reminder of all the layers of smoke and filth piling up before modern restoration. Hard to believe it ever got that bad.

Now look around the concourse, at the other historic details. Like the old ticket booth, the old ‘Campbell Apartment’ sign: Once New York’s largest ground floor apartment, now a restaurant. Just outside the apartment, look for another sign: Vanderbilt Avenue. Combine that with the Vanderbilt Hall back inside, toss in a few acorns, and you’ll start to see that the Vanderbilts really put their stamp on the place. Wait, acorns?

Yes, that’s a little Grand Central secret. You’ll see acorns atop of the four-faced clock in the main concourse, and in the relief carvings over many of the doorways. They’re hidden like little Easter Eggs all over the terminal. Why acorns? Well, the story goes that since the Vanderbilts were self-made, they had no family crest. So, they chose the acorn, saying that, ‘From little acorns, mighty oak trees grow’. How wonderfully American is that?

And dangling from the branches of that mighty oak tree that is Grand Central, you’ll see those iconic chandeliers. When they were first created in 1913, they were dipped in 24-carat gold. Typical over-the-top Vanderbilt style, right? But look closely and you’ll see plain old light bulbs there too. Why plain light bulbs? Well, this was also a symbol of America’s might. Remember at the time, most people didn’t have electricity in their homes, so these chandeliers were more Grand symbols of America’s technological advances.

Here, you’ll also see another powerful American symbol: Grand Central’s iconic American Flag, hung here in the Main Concourse since 9/11.

Now look down at that famous four-faced opal clock in the center. It’s also full of secrets. Urban legend has it that the faces are made of pure opal, with an estimated value between ten and twenty million. Actually, they’re made of opalescent glass. But they’re still pretty.

Now, to cap off our tour, Dan takes us up a hidden secret passageway high above the terminal. It’s between the walls, over a glass catwalk, with the most amazing view out a tiny hidden window. In the picture below, we were at the top of the arch of the middle window. See us? We’re waving! Hi!

Then, we climbed higher still, up some rickety, rusty old ladders (how long have they been here?) – to hang out with Roman gods. I mean, what’s a temple without some Roman gods?

If you’re outside, looking up at the 42nd Street façade, you’ll see Grand Central’s iconic clock. It’s the world’s largest Tiffany glass clock, 13 feet in diameter, and has marked time for New Yorkers for a century. And we just climbed inside it, to get a better view. How great is this?

Above the clock are the powerful symbols of the mighty American railroad: The gods of transportation. As Dan explains: “Mercury is in the center, for speed, for industry. On Mercury’s right, there’s Hercules, for strength. And on Mercury’s left, there’s Minerva, the goddess of intellectualism, of thought, of contemplation. It takes all of this to make a mighty railroad. And it sure did. ”

The artist was Jules Felix Coutan, and when it was unveiled in 1914, it was considered the largest sculptural group in the world. And today it still stands as a mighty symbol of the great railroad.

For our last little Grand Central secret, look at the number VI on the clock. It’s actually a little window. And if you’re lucky enough to get a private tour of the Temple of Transportation from the Ambassador of Grand Central, he might let you lean out that window, and hail a cab. What could be more New York than that?

But before we take a cab or a train out of this New York icon, Dan has some final thoughts to share, to remember when you’re in a rush to get from place to place, and cross through his palace: “There are many elements about Grand Central Terminal which make it the symbol of New York and the center of New York. It’s the world’s largest, it’s the world’s busiest, it’s a center of commerce, of people rushing to get someplace, but even more than that, it’s a symbol. New Yorkers get to come here everyday, and feel for themselves, a sense of rebirth, of Renaissance, knowing that you too can be as re-engineered and renewed and grand and Grand Central. It’s a great way to start the day, it’s a great way to end the day. Every single day.”

This article was originally published on Pursuitist. Republished by permission. 

The Road Not Taken

An Interview With Matthew Robertson, Founder, Momentum Adventure

Matthew Robertson is founder of Momentum Adventure, a high end, boutique company specializing in luxury adventure travel. He usually is on the road not taken, or rarely taken by others. Continue reading

Best Hotels in Chicago

It’s easy to indulge your love of exquisite accommodations in the Windy City. Celebrating arts, dining, shopping, entertainment and sports, Chicago is a diverse luxury destination that presents unlimited adventures. The Gold Coast. The Art Institute. Alinea. Michigan Avenue. Soldier Field. Continue reading