There are blenders, and then there are Vitamix blenders. I was a skeptic, but like my fellow Gear reviewer Joe Ray, the Vitamix made me a blender person. A blender is, essentially, just a blade atop a motor. Everything else just gets in the way. The motor is why the Vitamix is so good. And yes, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it. This isn’t the best deal we’ve ever seen for it, but it’s the best we’ve seen this year.
There’s nothing like homemade ice cream. We haven’t tested this 2-quart model, but I have used a smaller version, and it was fantastic. It’s especially fun if you have kids who can make up their own creative ice cream flavors.
The Tea Spot (CYBERTEA at checkout)
One of our favorite tea shops is having a site-wide sale. I’m especially fond of this tumbler, which serves as a brewer and keeps your tea hot for several hours. The deal also nets you three tea samples. You’ll also get free shipping (unless you’re in Alaska or Hawaii).
This is in our guide to the Best Chef’s Knives, and it was the most common knife in every restaurant I’ve worked in. It’s lightweight, holds its edge very well, and as the blade is thinner and softer than most European-style knives, it’s easier to sharpen.
Williams-Sonoma, Ooni, Dick’s Sporting Goods
Want to throw a backyard pie party? Ooni’s pizza ovens are the best we’ve tried. They’re all on sale, so it’s worth browsing the site on your own, but we think the best deal is the Karu 12 multi-fuel oven. It gives you the flexibility to use wood or charcoal when the flavor is key, or switch to gas for those times you need a pie in a hurry.
Take the kitchen outdoors with Solo’s Ranger fire pit. We love the Solo Yukon, but it’s pretty big. This cheaper model offers the same well-contained (and smokeless) fire pit experience, just smaller. It’s perfect for roasting marshmallows after a nice barbecue.
Fly by Jing
Fly by Jing’s Sichuan Chili Crisp is hard to describe. It’s spicy but not too spicy. It’s oily but not too oily. It’s smoky, it’s savory, and there are tiny, crunchy bits of chili that add an interesting texture. It goes well with noodles, soup, pizza, and eggs, but some online testimonials swear that the sauce even pairs well with peanut butter or ice cream. WIRED reviews editor Julian Chokkattu loves it.
Cooking is all fun and games, but someone has to clean up too. Make their (or your) life easier with this ingenious scrubber from Japan. I have a few, because it’s great for cleaning other things too—muddy boots, the kitchen sink, even burnt caramel—and it usually doesn’t leave scratch marks (that said, always test in an inconspicuous place first).
Scott Gilbertson, Gear Team
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