Le Creuset Outlet in Wrentham Premium Outlets (around Boston MA) - good prices/selection?
I am looking to purchase my first real pieces of cookware. I have several teflon pieces from IKEA that are falling apart. I thought I could go to the Le Creuset outlet to purchase some items after looking at them.
Do Le Creuset outlet stores have excellent prices, or can I find even better deals online (eBay, Amazon, independent web stores)?
If anyone has been to this outlet, who would you recommend working with?
Will I also find utensils needed for cooking there?
Addendum: Should I try Williams-Sonoma outlet as well? What should I look out for when searching for the best deals?
I don't mind purchasing online, if better deals are to be found.
The problem is: I am brand new to cooking on my own and have no idea what I'm looking for!
I appreciate all advice.
Thank you very much.
cmm3, I don't know about these outlets particularly as sources, but I suggest you read through posts here, and provide a little more info on how you want to cook, what you already have, and how much money you have to spend. That said, I have the following general suggestions:
Le Creuset [particularly their dutch or 'french' ovens] is the premium brand for cast iron, enamel coated cookware, which is ideal for braised dishes cooked slowly in the oven - and you can use then on the stove to brown/sear before popping them in the oven. Examples: coq a vin, osso bucco, beef borgignon [sp.][what Meryl and Amy cook in 'Julie & Julia']. That said, many swear by the Lodge enamelware [at 1/3rd or less the price], a made-in-China alternative, but backed by a long term USA co. [Lodge, of Tennessee, a great source for seasoned, unenameled skillets, etc.]. Lodge also has outlet stores, and is available on Amazon. You probably only need one piece of lodge/le creuset cast enamel cookware, a covered cooker in the size most suited to your needs. Also note: these suckers are heavy!
If you will do southern cooking, you will need a black, unenameled, cast iron skillet, useful for the normal cooktop frying, browning, etc, and also for making cornbread.
As for the most basic: you'll need cookware: skillet/saute pan/sauce pan/stockpot(s). Again, the size depends on your needs. AVOID NO STICK, except maybe for a cheap, small skillet [Wal-Mart or Target], you are prepared to replace every couple years. At the low end, look at the Tremontine [sp.] discussions on this and other sites; a step up are the Calpholon or Cuisinart brands of tri-ply products, meaning a lining of stainless steel, an aluminum base, and stainless exterior [for ease of cleaning]. The higher end of the scale are things like All-Clad's triply or even 5 ply versions, or triply versions [like All Clad's] that have a 'hard anodized' aluminum outside, making them dishwashable and, supposedly easier to clean.
My personal suggestion is All-Clad's MC2 line seconds from Cookware & More, an on-line, PA based All-Clad outlet. Upside: heavy aluminum cookware, great heat distribution. Downside: brushed aluminum outside, not dishwashable or induction-capable. Again, research here and you'll learn all you need to know. If you are shopping for long-term, look for induction ready cookware [not MC2, for example]. Induction cooktops are the waive of the future. Look at the Wms-Sonoma outlet, which will have some Le Creuset and All-Clad lines, but compare prices online before buying.
finally: knives. Again, read posts here, and but 'good' quality. I have had Chicago Cutlery 'classic' line for years, but there are better. Again, you can go high-end [Shun, F.Dick, Henckel, chef knife running $100 and up] or get very good quality knives that are better than what 99% of the public uses for very reasonable prices: for example, my Chicago Cutlery or the Forschner/Victorinox fibrox handle set or F.Dick set. check out chefknives.com, amazon, etc. and - learn how to sharpen with a wetstone & use a steel from posts here!
This should get you started. A little advise to start: research and shop carefully, buy quality for the long-haul. Done right, you can buy stuff that will last [and you will value] for a lifetime, and pass down to your grandkids ....
I am not in MA so I don't know about the particular store but I bought my LCs at local outlet stores, Bloomies (during one day home sale together with opening up their credit card etc ), and WS outlet. They are all pretty good. I know many found good deals at TJmaxx/homegood/marshalls and Tuesday morning etc. Discountinued colors of LC have usually pretty good prices.
People post headsup here periodically when they see deals in store or online. I find winter holiday seasons and shortly therafter is a good hunting time but I found pretty good discounts of LC in summer in the past.
Internet research is good but actually seeing pieces in person and testing out how you feel especially with handles and weights are important, needless to say. There are good amount of accumlation of info on this board, which is quite helpful. You can search in archive with keywords.
Agree with RxDiesel, do you research before going on a shopping spree. Once you know what to get, I'd say go when they have a sale (Jul 4th, Labor Day, Black Friday...). If you're a AAA member, get a coupon book from the customer service center at the food court. Last time I went they had a 10% off total coupon for WS.
1. WS outlet - many things are not much less expensive than their retail store if not on sale. They have lots of All Clad seconds and irregulars. They have both Le Creuset and Staub. May have Shun knives. It's almost like a WS warehouse.
2. The LC outlet is very close to WS outlet. They sell all kinds of LC seconds and discontinued (color) stuff. If they don't have any promos, it's not that exciting.
3. Calphalon outlet is right opposite of WS. At the back of the store they have a small Emile Henry section with "flame top" pieces.
4. Villeroy and Boch - At the back of the store, they have a small Staub display. Last time I went they had fondue, hexagon, and some mini pieces. They also have WMF pressure cookers and all kinds kitchen utensils, though I don't know if they're much less than retail.
5. Corelle - I go there for open stock pieces. The box sets of corelle and pyrex are not any less than retail. They also have many kitchen gadgets and utensils.
The stores are close enough to each other so you can go back and forth if you want. You can pretty much furnish the whole kitchen from there. Good luck and have fun.
The Le Creuset outlet stores rock. I've shopped at the one near me in person, and called around to a lot of them, and it's always been a pleasant experience.
Once I bought something (over $100, IIRC), I got put in their computer, which so far has meant saving 30-40% on their already low price ever after. So, my strategy would be to buy one item, get in their system, and buy more once you are in their system. The one I use most often is the 5.5 qt. round French oven, which says 26 on the bottom (the diameter in centimeters).
If you can't get to one, you can call them -- any of them -- and they'll ship to you. They offer Free Shipping on purchases over $100.
This is all for First Quality merchandise, btw. Second Quality stuff is even cheaper.
I recently priced a 5.5 qt round oven at a LC outlet store, and it was $119.00. Hard to beat that price.
As I wrote (and I guess you ignored) "40% off their ***current asking price***" which I guess must have been around $196. After doing the math out loud, the woman told me the final price was $119.
Look, we get it. You have some kind of problem with Le Creuset. But you're really getting silly, just *trying* to start a fight wherever you can.
You can cook in tin cans for all I care.
LC is a good brand; Staub is another. You can get a good dutch oven from Tramontina at Wal-Mart that will serve you just as well, but perhaps with not as long a life. I have a 5.5 qt LC round oven I picked up at Tuesday morning.
The outlet is decent IF you get a coupon - get on their mailing list, they have occasional sales and will send you a bit more of a discount coupon. But watch TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc. Sometimes they have good prices, or seconds.. make sure the enamel is in decent shape and the lid fits nicely.
That being said, if you are new to cooking, DO NOT SPEND A LOT OF MONEY. Figure out how you cook.
1) Find a chef's knife you like..that is the FIRST piece of real cookware you should invest in. Liking it means you've used it in the store to cut something up and like the feel. Bring some potatoes and carrots with a small cutting board to BBB, Sur La Table, or C &B and try a few out. I have Henckels, but to be honest, love the feel of a MAC. Don't buy a set.
2) Go to Eastern Bakers Supply in the North End - pick up a couple jelly roll pans, whisks, spoons, etc. Don't expect white glove service, but they have a good inventory and good people behind the counter.
3) Read equipment reviews in mags like Cooks Illustrated... sometimes they'll guide you right in a first purchase, so you don't have to rebuy something later
Figure out what you like and need before buying it.. you don't need a $400 pan to figure out what you like about cooking.
There are a lot of threads on this here - search under Wedding Registry questions..