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Kitchen store face-off


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Walnut Creek has more upscale kitchen shops than you can shake an angled perforated spatula at. We checked out three to see which new culinary accessories and gadgets are hot with East Bay home chefs de cuisine.

Williams-Sonoma

1470 Mt. Diablo Blvd., (925) 210-1215, www.williams-sonoma.com

Most expensive item for sale: Jura Capresso Z-6 coffee center, $3,599
Least expensive: Seasoned pretzels, $3.50
Best find: Pop-up sponges. (Paper thin, they pop up when you wet them.)
What you won’t find: Low-quality anything
Best-seller: Krups panini maker
Hot new gadget: Collapsible measuring cups
Atmosphere: “Let’s reoutfit the kitchen of our Wine Country house.”

Viking Home Chef

1604 Mt. Diablo Blvd., (925) 943-3191, www.vikingcookingschool.com

Most expensive item for sale: Viking refrigerator/freezer, $7,739
Least expensive: Package of 100 6-inch-long bamboo skewers, $1
Best find: 2.5-quart instant marinater by Vacuvin
What you won’t find: “Gadgety” gadgets, such as an avocado slicer
Best-seller: Stainless steel Vik Firth Pump and Grind salt and pepper mills
Hot new gadget: So hot it’s also the best-seller—Vik Firth Pump and Grind salt and pepper mills
Atmosphere: Business in the front, party upstairs!

Sur La Table

1211 Broadway Plaza, (925) 210-0103, www.surlatable.com

Most expensive item for sale: Jura Capresso Z5 Super Automatic Coffee Center, $3,199
Least expensive: Cookie cutters starting at $1
Best find: New cookware for global cuisine, including Le Creuset’s Indian Karahis, which are ideal for cooking and serving Indian specialties requiring deep-frying, stir-frying, or sautéing (add a lid, and it’s perfect for braising). Also great are the six different “tagine”-style baking dishes (Emile Henry’s pictured), primarily used for Moroccan cuisine.
What you won’t find: Knives that promise they will never need sharpening. There is no such thing.
Best-seller: Shun Elite knives. Developed by Sur La Table in partnership with Shun, a Japanese company, these knives are handcrafted in Seki City, Japan, and took their inspiration from samurai swords.
Hot new gadget: Palm Peeler, a vegetable peeler that fits onto your finger like a ring. It is great for people with arthritis.
Atmosphere: Controlled chaos. Very controlled.

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