Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CSN Stores: A Review

Well, last week I told you guys about an upcoming review I'd be doing for an outfit called CSN Stores. I had a hard time deciding on what to get with the 60.00 credit they gave me to play with, but I finally decided to concentrate my efforts on and the loads of great cooking stuff they had to offer.

I finally decided to review the product you see above...the Kitchenaid 4 quart Anodized Alluminum Deep Frying Pan in Black.  I've been wanting a good quality pan that is a bit bigger than my 2 quart Calaphon Sautee pan I got on ages ago, so I figured this would be a nice versatile piece to add to my pots and pans.  So, I placed my order and waited to see what happened.

The pros of CSN Stores were numerous:

1)  CSN was nice enough to place my order for me, but I went and messed around with the site for quite a bit to give you guys an honest opinon on things and ordering seems to be about as idiot proof as I like it to be ;).  Placing an order seems to be pretty easy and pretty standard.  You're not going to get lost trying to figure out what is in your cart or how to pay (which I've run into THAT problem on different about annoying).  There are plenty of confirmation screens you need to go through, so you don't have to worry about accidently placing an order while trying to figure out how much your shipping costs are going to be.  The sites are also updated to let you know how many of an item is in stock and if the item is out of stock...they even give you an "e-mail me" function on the item if it is out of stock and they'll e-mail you when it is available again.  If an item is out of stock they don't let you order it, so you don't have to worry about things getting back ordered either. 

2)  The item shipped quickly and arrived in the quickest amount of time I'd ever seen UPS Ground arrive IN!  How fast?  I ordered the item on the 1st.  The item then shipped and was here yesterday (the 6th).  That's as quick as USPS Priority mail!  I was a happy camper :). 

3)  They gave me a tracking number to track my package (which I love it when an outfit does's always nice to know where your stuff is going).

4)  The item arrived in a huge box, which my kids have currently made into everything from a fort to a pretend car.  Double bonus on items when the kids get a "present" on top of mom getting something cool ;).  Seriously though, I felt like they did a good job protecting the item from harm during shipping.  I've ordered some things from different outfits and it was amazing the item arrived in one piece the packaging was so shotty, so it was nice to see that the glass lid had every chance of surviving shipping.

5)  The packaging wasn't those styrofoam noodles that get EVERYWHERE!  They used those inflatable plastic bag pocket things, which is doubly nice because once you puncture them all you can drop them off in your recycle bin for your plastic shopping bags at the store with the rest of your  plastic shopping bags (not so much a thing with me anymore since I discovered the joys of reusable shopping bags, but even I forget them once in a while ;).

6)  The pan is super duper mega awesome!  I made two things in it last night (yes two *laugh*...I really wanted to give it a run for its money to see what it was like).  First I made fried chicken for dinner and I'll tell you what.  This pan rocked!  It's nice and heavy so it distributes heat evenly, even on my warped gas burners (my oven and my dish washer I refer to as "old clunky" depending which one I'm referring to at any given time).  It's nice and deep so it was able to handle the oil for pan frying without the constant worry of boil over when you'd flip the chicken over.  And it has a nice lid, so I was able to cover the pan and not get greasy shmutz everwhere when the chicken was working its voodoo (unlike my ultimate favorite pan in the entire 10 inch cast iron of these days I WILL buy a lid for that thing ;).

The second thing I made in it was maple flavored pancake syrup and it worked great for that too!  I was able to make the sugar syrup without fear of it burning onto the bottom of the pan and the nice slippery interior made clean up a snap.  And triple bonus on this pan?  It's oven safe to 500 degrees Farenheit!!!  I loves that idea!  My stainless steel pans which I got at a steal on (70.00 for an entire set of them complete with two bonus pans) is only oven safe to 350 degrees and yes, believe it or not, that can be a hinderance when you are trying to do the "from stovetop to oven" game.  500 degrees...I can cook steaks in that baby and place it in the oven for five minutes, my steaks are done and my pan isn't it any danger.  Yay!

Okay, while 99% of my experience was totally positive, now is the one big con for the site.  The big con on this site is...

1)  Even if the item says "free" shipping on it, shipping to Alaska isn't free.  The pan I ordered cost 7.00 to ship.  CSN Stores were nice enough to eat the cost of shipping on the item for me, but I wanted to warn everyone that additional shipping charges to Alaska do apply (like we're not used to that anyway right?).  I did place a couple of hypothetical orders with the various sites though and I have to say that shipping was more than fair in price...they don't gouge you on shipping like say Toys R' Us, or some of the other outfits do.

So there you are folks.  My review of CSN stores and my lovely new pan!  I'm very happy, overall, with the experience and will definitely (if I have money) be ordering gifts for my family back East from this site come Christmastime!

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