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What do you want to find in a vacation rental kitchen?

s
sr44 Aug 3, 2012 12:30 PM

Suppose you're planning to rent a house on Cape Cod for a week. What kitchen equipment do you want to find? What's really essential and what would be nice? What do you not want to encounter?

  1. c
    cleobeach Aug 3, 2012 12:56 PM

    Oh boy, as frequent renter and an owner of a vacation home, I could rant for hours on this subject! For me, it is more about what should not be there.

    What do I not want to encounter?

    no-stick pans with the coating wearing off
    warped pans
    melted plastic spoons, spatulas
    plastic cups or other non-breakable drinking vessels. In my experiences, these are always way past the end of their useful lives and look gross.
    too much of anthing. I hate clutter. No one needs a flatware service for 35 jammed in the drawers.
    cast offs - If it looks like it came from grandma's kitchen, stolen from a college caf or carried home from a bar, it doesn't belong.
    promo coffee mugs - really?
    old, ripped, or crusty oven mits and hot pads - we recently rented a house. Someone had written a long note about how the oven mit had a hole by the thumb so be warned and stuck it inside the mit.

    I am sure I will think of more.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cleobeach
      0
      001mum Aug 3, 2012 03:47 PM

      a can opener, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, a strainer.
      and everything really, really super clean. ( #1 expectation)

      basic kitchen "stuff" is just fine
      and some salt (hate having to buy a box of salt) pepper gtinder too?
      an automatic shut-off kettle

      No mold, nothing slimy in the fridge. no bugs.

    2. c
      CanadaGirl Aug 3, 2012 01:00 PM

      I want to find:
      - decent knives
      - a pot large enough for pasta
      - couple saucepans
      - lg and small fry pan
      - strainer
      - plates, bowls, etc
      - large glasses
      - wine glasses an opener
      - spatula
      - wooden spoon
      - whisk
      - pitcher
      - salad bowl
      - baking sheet
      - big cutting board

      I think anything else, I could work around. Sine you said Cape Cod, I also want a lobster pot though :)

      12 Replies
      1. re: CanadaGirl
        cookie monster Aug 3, 2012 03:43 PM

        I like your list. Also more than one clean kitchen towel and dish cloth. Other basic cleaning items like dish soap, paper towels, a scrub sponge. Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, ziploc bags so that i can store leftovers. One other thing I would add is a few basic seasonings and condiments. Salt, pepper, soy sauce, hot sauce, maybe some non-rancid cooking oil and non-crusty ketchup and mustard, so that I don't have to buy all those things just to use have a little bit to use.

        What i don't want: ants. Ancient, freezer burned ice cube trays. A half-drunk cup of coffee in the microwave (that was found in an otherwise clean and well-stocked rental I had last summer).

        1. re: cookie monster
          wekick Aug 5, 2012 12:10 PM

          I would not want any open food left from previous tenants. You can gather stuff up like that for under $10 or bring a few little individual packages with you..

          1. re: wekick
            Veggo Aug 5, 2012 12:18 PM

            I rented out my Florida house for a few months when I was away. They had good taste - they swiped my unopened sesame oil, saffron, and fish sauce..!

            1. re: Veggo
              Chemicalkinetics Aug 5, 2012 12:41 PM

              They took your saffron. That is not nice. :) I hope you didn't have expensive saffron there.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                Veggo Aug 5, 2012 12:54 PM

                Is there cheap saffron? I have a large pantry and I'm still taking inventory - the pine nuts and macadamias are gone, also...!

                1. re: Veggo
                  Chemicalkinetics Aug 5, 2012 01:00 PM

                  Man, somehow they have mistaken and must thought that they can take everything from the house.

                  Some guy claimed he was able to get some cheap low quality saffron from Asian markets:

                  http://www.cheftalk.com/t/65337/cheap...

              2. re: Veggo
                wekick Aug 5, 2012 02:08 PM

                The places we stay have owner's boxes/closets that are locked.

                1. re: wekick
                  Sarah Aug 6, 2012 06:34 PM

                  On Kauai we stayed at a place where they didn't encourage messing up their pristine kitchen. All they had were two saucepans, a skilllet and BBQ-sized utensils. And finally, a Sub-zero for me for ten days -- alas, all we used it for was cream, poke and wine.

              3. re: wekick
                c
                cleobeach Aug 6, 2012 05:12 AM

                We rented in several places where the policy was leave no food behind or we would have been charged a disposal fee. One agent said to me they have to have a policy in place or the fridges are clogged with stuff after two of three tenants.

                1. re: wekick
                  cookie monster Aug 6, 2012 01:41 PM

                  I guess I distinguish between seasonings and condiments vs. actual food. I wouldn't want someone else's open box of cereal or jar of peanut butter either.

              4. re: CanadaGirl
                juliejulez Aug 6, 2012 01:30 PM

                I agree with this list (with the addition of a good can opener), and cookie monster's suggestions too. None of it has to be fancy... stuff from Ikea or Target or even secondhand stuff that's in good shape would be fine. The last place I rented, every single frying pan was warped, made for an interesting breakfast making experience, and the saucepans didn't all have matching lids. Also there was tons of leftover food from previous tenants... I would advise against that. I know people leave it to be helpful so the next person can use it, but it took up a lot of space and I wasn't sure how old anything was.

                Also, a decent sized garbage can. This last place didn't have one at all in the kitchen, and a tiny one in the bathroom. I ended up just hanging a trash bag off of a kitchen drawer. Oh, and a paper towel holder.

                1. re: CanadaGirl
                  CindyJ Aug 7, 2012 08:43 AM

                  I totally agree with everything you've listed. A lobster pot is a must for a coastal rental in New England. It's important to have everything clean, relatively new, and in excellent condition, not just in the kitchen but throughout the rental property. When I rent a vacation home, and I do so on average once or twice a year, it's because I plan to do home cooking, and I don't want to have to resort to using dull, flimsy knives and warped cookware. I wouldn't use those things at home OR anywhere else.

                  I want a good supply of matching, unchipped dishes, glassware and stemware, and coffee mugs. Oh... there's GOT to be a good corkscrew, too.

                  One vacation rental we stayed in a few years ago near Acadia National Park not only had a lobster steaming pot, but a gas burner on the deck designed to hold the pot so we could steam our lobsters outdoors. We liked that arrangement so much we bought ourselves the same gas burner to use at home. That same rental also had an electric griddle -- so nice for making blueberry pancakes with fresh blueberries picked right outside the front door.

                2. Chemicalkinetics Aug 3, 2012 01:13 PM

                  At the very least, in my opinion, are: a pot, a pan, a spatula, a ladle/spoon, a kitchen knife and a cutting board.... a can opener, some flatware.

                  Obviously, it is better to have more, but the above are the minimal list.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                    Bacardi1 Aug 3, 2012 01:22 PM

                    I agree. I'd be perfectly happy with just the above. In fact, I WAS perfectly happy with just the above.

                    One year for my husband's birthday I treated him to a weekend at a waterfront place in Montauk, Long Island, NY. And it WAS waterfront. I could almost hit the surf with a rock from our balcony if I so desired. WONDERFUL place.

                    Anyway, the kitchen was stocked with a large pot, a saucepan, a skillet, dinnerware, & a few other minor implements. It enabled me to cook us up some lobster, fish & eggs (my specialty breakfast), & other seafood items when we weren't dining out.

                    Now this was back in the 1980's, so "foodies" wasn't even a word back then & expectations re: cooking weren't high at places like this. But still, even today I'm confident I'd be able to turn out decent meals with just those minor items.

                  2. m
                    mike0989 Aug 3, 2012 01:29 PM

                    I remember reading an article on this sometime ago (don't remember where). One item they mentioned I thought was good was to have at least one more place setting than the rental is listed to accommodate. The reasoning being. A Guest shouldn't have to make an emergency trip to the local store because they broke a plate or a glass.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mike0989
                      a
                      alisonk Aug 3, 2012 01:38 PM

                      Agreed with Mike and with Chemical Kinetics.

                      Above ALL though, everything must be pristine. I tend to wash everything again before use - I know I am anal - but there have been a couple of rentals I have been to where the glassware has been soooooo sparkling and there has been not a bit of crud on the pans that I have declared it safe to use without rewashing.

                      These couple of places have been the two that I have recommended to friends without hesitation and places that we have also gone back to a number of times.

                      1. re: alisonk
                        sunshine842 Oct 26, 2012 10:17 AM

                        you'd have had a blast at a place we rented years ago -- not only was filthy (dust bunnies and cobwebs that *weren't* in the photos) -- for which I *do* blame the owners --

                        but plates that had been put back into the cupboards with pools of jam on them (not just unwashed -- used and not even rinsed!) and the dishwasher that had been run with a entire chicken carcass on it -- the thing started to reek by our third day, so I pulled out the filter basket and found an entire chicken's worth of bones jammed in the filter.

                        I can't blame the owner for the last two -- while I could see looking in the cabinets to take inventory, who would actually look at all the plates thinking "but what if they put them away without washing them?" But the prior occupant was a pig.

                      2. re: mike0989
                        b
                        betsydiver Oct 26, 2012 09:08 AM

                        perhaps a well-stocked first aid kit as well...

                      3. s
                        sr44 Aug 3, 2012 03:26 PM

                        Thank you all for your opinions. Please keep them coming.

                        I abandoned wood several years ago because it was invariably washed in the dishwasher at some point. Whose vacation is it, after all. However, there are reasonable substitutes and I try to provide them, and I will probably add some Victorinox knives next season.

                        I also have some basic cookbooks available.

                        1. tcamp Aug 3, 2012 03:28 PM

                          A couple of decent cutting boards, several serving bowls, and at least three decent knives (chef, paring, bread). A steamer insert is nice.

                          1. cayjohan Aug 4, 2012 06:06 AM

                            My resort owning friends say their number one kitchen inquiry when taking reservations is whether there is a blender available. Second most requested is a waffle iron, but the waffle iron cleaning/maintenance got a bit too burdensome so they don't stock them any longer.

                            For myself, I'd appreciate a list of area food stores, any info on local farmers' markets and the like.

                            1. Beach Chick Aug 4, 2012 06:23 AM

                              beer opener

                              1. Veggo Aug 4, 2012 06:31 AM

                                All the above plus a bottle of wine and a bowl of fruit. Some cheese would be nice, too, and fresh flowers and ice cream and a friendly resident housecat.

                                15 Replies
                                1. re: Veggo
                                  steve h. Aug 7, 2012 10:32 AM

                                  perfect.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    sunshine842 Aug 7, 2012 12:46 PM

                                    Bottle of wine, check. Cheese, check. No cats -- but two dogs, a half-dozen hens, two lambs, and a few dozen cows staring you down over the dry stone walls....

                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                      Veggo Aug 7, 2012 12:55 PM

                                      Ah, I dream of Europe!

                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        sunshine842 Aug 7, 2012 02:19 PM

                                        Yeah, mentally, I haven't quite found my way home yet.

                                        I almost forgot about this....what I DON'T want? A family of fat Norway rats having a partay behind the kitchen cabinets in a nasty little cabin in Wisconsin (the hotel lost our reservation and put us one of their maggot-gagging cottages because it was late and we had nowhere else to go. Yech.)

                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                          Veggo Aug 7, 2012 02:22 PM

                                          I dunno. I think skinny rats would be more menacing.

                                          1. re: Veggo
                                            sunshine842 Aug 7, 2012 02:24 PM

                                            We actually never saw them - but they were making so much noise, they couldn't have been small! My dad shined a flashlight down behind the stove and saw a big box of cereal down there that was the main attraction for the night...

                                            ...but ugh. My preference is for cats, dogs, chickens, sheep, cows, and any of a number of other beasts....but no rats, and fergawdssake no spiders!

                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                              mcf Aug 7, 2012 02:50 PM

                                              I would have slept in the car.

                                              No matter how small.

                                              1. re: mcf
                                                sunshine842 Aug 7, 2012 04:02 PM

                                                I was 13, we ended up in the middle of nowhere, and it was chucking down rain.

                                                We made do, but I recall there being no issue at all getting everybody up and out of there at the crack of dawn, and Mom never said a word about nobody having taken a shower.

                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                  Veggo Aug 7, 2012 04:13 PM

                                                  That makes sense. Mama rat was warm and dry indoors, and she didn't raise no stupid baby rats either.

                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                    sunshine842 Aug 8, 2012 12:58 AM

                                                    we joked at the time that they all must have been deaf, as she was squealing *loudly* for everyone to come to the table.

                                          2. re: sunshine842
                                            John E. Oct 26, 2012 01:32 PM

                                            Your Wisconsin cabin story reminds me of a story my cousin tells. My dad's oldest brother took my grandmother on a family vacation with his family a couple months after my grandfather died. My uncle did not like to make hotel reservations, he liked spontaneity. When they pulled into Banff, BC, all of the hotel rooms were booked, so he asked around and found a couple rooms in a local 'boarding house'. Well, later that night my cousins ask grandma what the noise was that they were hearing. She said "cover your ears boys, cover your ears"! It was a cathouse. Grandma was 4'11" but the story is that she pretty much verbally kicked the !@#$% out of my uncle the next morning.

                                            1. re: John E.
                                              c
                                              cleobeach Oct 26, 2012 07:34 PM

                                              Growing up, my family travelled as frugally as my dad's desires and my mother's germ phobia allowed. Left to his own devices, my dad would have slept in a cardboard box to save a buck but my mom had slightly higher standards.

                                              As a result, we ended up in some rather interesting accomodations. Never a cat house but I remember one night sleeping at a maid's house. The inn my father stopped at didn't have a vacancy but his maid did take in guests so we arrived at her home well past midnight and spent the night. I was 17at the time and slept in her young (6-8yo) daughter's room. Imagine being a child and waking up to a complete stranger in your room! This was in Germany during the 80s. Later, after the wall fell, he travelled alone to the former Eastern Germany to find family and encountered challenging accomodations so bad that even made him want to leave in the middle of the night. I can only imagine how bad some of those places must have been!.
                                              .

                                              1. re: cleobeach
                                                John E. Oct 27, 2012 08:34 AM

                                                You remind me of a story my dad has told me. My grandfather worked for the Soo Line Railroad so he got rail passes free for his entire family. Sometime during the Depression they took the train from Minneapolis to Detroit to visit my grandfather's brother's family. Since the accommodations were tight, a neighbor agreed to let my then 6-year old father stay with them. Apparently my grandmother was rather peeved the next morning when my father was covered with bedbug bites.

                                                1. re: John E.
                                                  elegraph Apr 3, 2014 07:12 PM

                                                  My grandfather worked for the Soo Line, too, out of Moose Lake. In fact, he helped to lay the tracks. His name was John (Jack) Erwin. I LOVED riding the train between St. Paul and Moose Lake for visits during the summer. I knew every town in between and when to get off, where my grandparents would meet me at the station. I used to play conductor on their front porch, calling out the names of the stops. Thx for the memories!

                                                  1. re: elegraph
                                                    John E. Apr 3, 2014 08:10 PM

                                                    Thanks for your story. I never got the chance to ride the Soo Line as their passenger service ended before I was born. When I was quite young, we took a train trip from Omaha to Denver. My dad wanted us to have that experience. This was before Amtrak. I've only been on short-line tourist trains since that time. I hope to ride the Empire builder, St. Paul to Seattle one day.

                                                    My grandfather built the house my father was born in using old lumber from boxcars. My grandfather was a carpenter who built the new boxcars.

                                                    We drive through Moose Lake all the time to reach our cabin. To keep this food and kitchen related, we installed a new kitchen with a new cordless stove in time for deer hunting last November.

                                    2. lynnlato Aug 4, 2012 06:36 AM

                                      I've rented a lot of beach homes and I always bee-line for the kitchen to assess how well it is stocked.

                                      The Basics

                                      -Sharpened knives
                                      -plenty of pots and pans w/ lids (not non-stick) including a crab pot
                                      -baking dishes
                                      -serving bowls & platters
                                      -flat wear, dishware, cups, glasses, etc.
                                      -spatulas, assortment of spoons to cook with, whisk, etc.
                                      -corkscrew and wine glasses (stems not needed)
                                      -strainer
                                      -Pitcher
                                      -Cookie sheets
                                      -pizza pan
                                      -A big toaster
                                      -coffee maker

                                      NICE EXTRAS

                                      -Dish towels, cloths and soap & dishwasher detergent - LOVE THIS
                                      -storage containers w/ lids (i.e. Tuperware)
                                      -those little corn cob handles :)
                                      -Blender
                                      -ice maker

                                      We rented a place at the beach a few weeks ago and it was BY FAR the most well-stocked kitchen/condo I've ever had the benefit to stay in. Everything was top-of-line and we wanted for nothing. In fact, I kind of felt a little bad for the owners because I thought to myself "they are spending a ridiculous amount of money on the extras in this place and people will either steal this stuff or abuse it." I, of course, enjoyed every minute I spent cooking in that kitchen. We really didn't want to leave. They had salt & pepper shakers, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, a huge pantry filled w/ small appliances, quality tuperware-like storage containers, Potterybarn & Crate & Barrel dishes and glasses, Restoration Hardware & Potterbarn furniture, GE Profile appliances, etc.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lynnlato
                                        l
                                        Leepa Aug 4, 2012 06:52 AM

                                        Where, pray tell, was this place? I must go there!

                                        1. re: Leepa
                                          lynnlato Aug 4, 2012 10:22 AM

                                          That's the strangest thing, it was in Folly Beach, SC, which is known for being a no frills, bohemian hippy beach. HA!!!!

                                      2. k
                                        kseiverd Aug 4, 2012 09:40 AM

                                        My sister has a rental place in WV mountains, with a well stocked kitchen... a lot of stuff that came from our Dad's house. She has a full set of "vintage" copper bottom Revere pots/pans... a couple saucepans/lids, a couple skillets/lids, and a "soup" pot... big enough for pasta, chili, clams, etc. Though NOT my favorite, she has a set of Ginzu knives... one years Dad gave us EACH a set for Christmas. NOT great but DO cut about anything.

                                        She got her plates/bowls at a restaurant supply place... plain white and easy to replace. Has plenty of gadgets and gizmos that might come in handy... like cork screw. Periodically, she takes an inventory of things that have met with "accidents"... scorched wood spoons, melted plastic things... and heads to the Dollar Store.

                                        She has a cabinet where she can lock up stuff she doesn't want renters to have access to... like GOOD knives, pots/pans, etc. Think she buys 2-3 INEXPENSIVE non-stick skillets a few times a year.

                                        1. wekick Aug 5, 2012 12:16 PM

                                          We always bring a kitchen box with essentials with us because we never know what will be available. Even if the rental started with decent stuff, people burn stuff on or ruin knives and skillets etc.

                                          27 Replies
                                          1. re: wekick
                                            c
                                            cleobeach Aug 6, 2012 05:14 AM

                                            I know someone who travels with her knives and a 10" saute pan.

                                            1. re: cleobeach
                                              Barbara76137 Aug 6, 2012 04:48 PM

                                              doesn't everyone have a corkscrew in their purse, or am I just crazy?

                                              1. re: Barbara76137
                                                l
                                                Leepa Aug 6, 2012 05:10 PM

                                                Raises hand again....

                                                1. re: Barbara76137
                                                  c
                                                  calliope_nh Aug 6, 2012 06:37 PM

                                                  I don't have one in my purse but do keep a small corkscrew w/bottle opener in the travel kit with my toothbrush.

                                                  1. re: Barbara76137
                                                    splatgirl Aug 6, 2012 07:06 PM

                                                    Of course. And if you're trying to get through security at the Louvre, they'll tell you in broken English that it's a knife, while you tell them in broken French that you absolutely do not have a knife in your bag, until you finally realize it must be your wine key they're seeing on their xray.

                                                    1. re: Barbara76137
                                                      c
                                                      cleobeach Aug 7, 2012 06:30 AM

                                                      Not in my purse (yet) but one in the car, one in the picnic cooler and one in my luggage.

                                                      1. re: cleobeach
                                                        Veggo Aug 7, 2012 06:36 AM

                                                        TSA confiscated the one in my carry-on. Bummer.

                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                          Sid Post Aug 8, 2012 06:18 AM

                                                          Avoiding the "soap box rant" of form over function ......

                                                          TSA is more about public relations (bad relations) then true safety.

                                                      2. re: Barbara76137
                                                        lynnlato Aug 7, 2012 07:28 AM

                                                        I carried the same one for years until TSA confiscated it after 9/11. :-(

                                                        1. re: Barbara76137
                                                          CindyJ Aug 7, 2012 08:55 AM

                                                          You're NOT crazy at all! I can't begin to count the number of corkscrews I've had confiscated by airport security because I almost always have (at least) one with me, or in the pocket of a carry-on. My record for lost corkscrews in one screening: 3. They had to scan my bag over and over, and they found corkscrews I'd given up for lost.

                                                          1. re: CindyJ
                                                            Veggo Aug 7, 2012 09:00 AM

                                                            wino...:)

                                                            1. re: Veggo
                                                              CindyJ Aug 7, 2012 09:13 AM

                                                              It shows, eh? :-)

                                                              In fact, when we travel to a vacation destination by car, we're less likely to bring along cooking utensils from home, but FAR more likely to bring along a stash of good wine.

                                                              1. re: CindyJ
                                                                wekick Aug 7, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                                Always.

                                                            2. re: CindyJ
                                                              lynnlato Aug 7, 2012 10:51 AM

                                                              Umm, that is hilarious!

                                                              1. re: CindyJ
                                                                sunshine842 Aug 7, 2012 12:48 PM

                                                                I've lost several corkscrews (some good ones, too, dammit) -- and we now keep a corkscrew in the car. NOT near the registration or the ethylotest (the alcohol test we're required to keep in the car)

                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                  Sid Post Aug 8, 2012 06:22 AM

                                                                  "I've lost several corkscrews (some good ones, too, dammit) -- and we now keep a corkscrew in the car. NOT near the registration or the ethylotest (the alcohol test we're required to keep in the car)"

                                                                  I'm glad I don't live where you do. Heck being fined for not having flares or a high visibility jacket in your car is bad enough.

                                                                  Drinking and driving don't mix so, why would I keep a breath analyzer in my car?

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                    CindyJ Aug 8, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                    You're required to keep an ethyltest in your car???

                                                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                                                      sunshine842 Aug 8, 2012 08:05 AM

                                                                      Yep. As of July 1, all motorists in France are required to keep two tests in their car at all times, so you can check your levels before getting behind the wheel (because, yeah, who does THAT?)

                                                                      they're not writing tickets or fining anyone until November...but I figure it can't bode well to open the glovebox and have a corkscrew hanging out next to the ethylotests....

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842
                                                                        Veggo Aug 8, 2012 08:28 AM

                                                                        I passed the test! Let's celebrate! Darlin', pass me the corkscrew! Only in France..

                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                          steve h. Aug 8, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                                          you beat me to it.
                                                                          OiF.

                                                              2. re: cleobeach
                                                                l
                                                                Leepa Aug 6, 2012 05:09 PM

                                                                Raises hand.

                                                                1. re: Leepa
                                                                  Chemicalkinetics Aug 6, 2012 05:52 PM

                                                                  As self defense weapons, I hope.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                    Veggo Aug 6, 2012 06:04 PM

                                                                    I don't think "back off or I'll screw you" is gonna scare 'em away...:)

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                                      l
                                                                      Leepa Aug 6, 2012 06:23 PM

                                                                      The hand or the saute pan? ;)

                                                                      1. re: Leepa
                                                                        Chemicalkinetics Aug 6, 2012 07:44 PM

                                                                        The pan and the knife (you implemented that you carry both during travel)

                                                                        Of course, you need your hand for either of those :)

                                                                  2. re: cleobeach
                                                                    JoanN Aug 7, 2012 05:39 AM

                                                                    Saute pan? Hell. I travel with my 10" cast iron skillet.

                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                      Barbara76137 Aug 8, 2012 04:56 PM

                                                                      I think my response two days ago about the corkscrew in my purse could be a spinoff thread in itself!!! I've been laughing as I've read all the responses. I've lost a bunch of corkscrews after 9/11 thanks to TSA.

                                                                      For the past two years I've spent many weekends at a guest house on the ranch where my horses live. I carry my own coffee maker since I NEED my coffee in the morning and didn't want to use the two in the guest house. Something about not knowing how a coffee maker has been cleaned (or not) just makes me want to have my own.

                                                                2. splatgirl Aug 5, 2012 12:49 PM

                                                                  Wine glasses. They don't have to be fancy or expensive.
                                                                  Dish soap
                                                                  Paper towels, plastic wrap, foil
                                                                  Clean, fresh smelling linens for kitchen, bath and bedrooms including extra dish towels and cloths.
                                                                  Instructions for operating any appliances that are not self explanatory. (I've had to look up directions on the internet before)
                                                                  ICE MAKER or at least several full ice cube trays ready in the freezer.
                                                                  A couple of sizes of skillets and pots
                                                                  Basic cooking, eating and serving utensils
                                                                  Water kettle, either electric or stovetop
                                                                  French Press

                                                                  I don't travel without my wine key and a good sharp knife, otherwise I would say those two things as well.

                                                                  The last VRBO we did was an apartment in Paris. It was July and hot, aka cold beverage weather. The only thing that wasn't perfect about the apartment was that there was no ice. I get that iced beverages are not really a French thing, but still, and all the more reason I NEED ice "at home". The first thing I had to do was run to Monoprix for ice cube trays. What sucked is the electricity rationing made it take a full day to freeze a handful of wee ice cubes.

                                                                  1. k
                                                                    kengk Aug 5, 2012 01:08 PM

                                                                    We have rented VRBO houses almost exclusively the past several years, we prefer even a junky house to a nice hotel.

                                                                    We take a kitchen box and really the only things I care about being in the house are a coffee pot and a rudimentary set of dinnerware and flatware. We usually toast a bagel for breakfast, make a sandwich for lunch and eat out at night.

                                                                    @Veggo, the house we rented at LBK this summer had enough wine and liquor stashed under the beds in the second bedroom for a frat party. It kind of bothered us because it was obviously in the room that would be given to the kids.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: kengk
                                                                      Veggo Aug 5, 2012 02:23 PM

                                                                      LBK is a mad house on any school break.

                                                                      1. re: kengk
                                                                        CindyJ Aug 7, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                        VRBO is our go-to resource, too. We've rented some absolutely beautiful places including a villa in Liguria, Italy and a farmhouse in Provence. We've got one coming up in September in Downeast Maine, near the Canadian border.

                                                                      2. chefathome Aug 6, 2012 06:22 PM

                                                                        One place we have stayed at has many of the above but also some great teas, hot chocolate, fresh fruit platter, fresh cheeses, and homemade cookies! Nice touches. ETA: Homemade granola! Unfortunately I have celiac so cannot enjoy the cookies and granola but the other things are very much appreciated.

                                                                        1. v
                                                                          Vidute Aug 6, 2012 07:41 PM

                                                                          A list of restaurants serving good food, from hole in the wall joints to white table cloth. When I vacation, I want to explore and absorb. I can always cook a dish at home, but, when am I going to have a chance to experience that local delicacy again?

                                                                          1. sunshine842 Aug 7, 2012 06:45 AM

                                                                            I've given up and just take a decent chef's knife and a decent paring knife, as we perpetually find that the knives supplied are utter garbage. I don't take my "home" knives, just because I'd be furious if I lost one or it was confiscated.

                                                                            I also usually take a dish towel and a hand towel for the kitchen, although these are improving...the first few times we rented houses (different places, no less) the holes were bigger than the remaining fabric.

                                                                            We've found a wonderful place in the UK that supplied decent knives (!!!) terrific kitchen towels (!!!) as well as tin foil, plastic wrap, paper towels, toilet paper, coffee, tea, sugar, and ALL the cleaners you could use -- all biodegradable --- even soap, shampoo, and conditioner, AND dishwasher tablets and laundry detergent for the *free* communal washers. It's not the cheapest, but not having to buy all that stuff makes a difference.

                                                                            1. f
                                                                              Fargo Aug 7, 2012 07:56 AM

                                                                              I second the blender! My gripes about rentals (and I've rented a lot!) are less about what's there, but more about how it is organized. I just rented a place on Cape Cod that had an enormous well-stocked kitchen, but the problem was that nothing was organized and it took us forever to find things. In fact it wasn't until the very last day that we found a whole stash of Tupperware lids at the bag of the pantry closet -- we had assumed they were all missing and by that point had already gone out and bought a set of cheapo supermarket plastic storage containers -- not very green!

                                                                              It would be great if owners would label the various shelves and drawers, so renters know where to put things back and so the next batch of renters could find things. "Cooking Utensils" :Barbecue Tools" "Plastic Storage containers and Lids" "Paper Goods" "Condiments" etc.

                                                                              Instructions about how to handle trash and recyclables -- bins large enough to hold a typical weeks trash!

                                                                              A local menu folder is always a nice touch and in my opinion you can never have enough ice trays

                                                                              1. j
                                                                                JeremyEG Aug 7, 2012 08:18 AM

                                                                                One decent knife
                                                                                A cutting board
                                                                                Some olive oil
                                                                                Salt and pepper
                                                                                Wine glasses
                                                                                A good frying pan either stainless steel or cast iron

                                                                                I would add a cocktail shaker and perhaps a meat thermometer but I don't come across either of those very often. I think they are handy when cooking outside or entertaining.

                                                                                What I don't expect or like is a kitchen jam packed with every gadget known to man in overstuffed kitchen drawers. A microplane is fine but no need to have several 'corn desilkers.'
                                                                                JeremyEG
                                                                                HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                1. macca Aug 7, 2012 09:10 AM

                                                                                  We rent a large house on the Outer Banks of NC every July. There are at least 20 of us in the house, and we have all of our meals at the house. I have come to realize that what I want to find, and what is actually there ( in most cases) are worlds apart! With that said, I want coffee makers, sharp knives. non stick pans that are really non stick, and enough dishes for the size of the house. The kids love it when there is a waffle maker ( this year, the h ouse had a mickey mouse waffle maker- a big hit!.
                                                                                  That being said, we now always bring with us: dish towels, at least two sharp knives, a non stick pan, lots of disposable aluminumm pans, two brita water filters, and a few plastic containers for juices, iced tea, etc..

                                                                                  1. JoanN Aug 7, 2012 10:08 AM

                                                                                    Three things I travel with that no one has mentioned yet are tongs, a cheese plane, and a wooden citrus reamer.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                      k
                                                                                      kmama Aug 7, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                      I agree with Jeremy re the clutter--in a way, I'd rather find less (more easily) than more (and be overwhelmed). I'd also like to see no trace of the last tenant's dinner (so no perishables). Cleanliness (including the disposal of pans that have seen one too many scrapings and scratches) is just as memorable as the view or the fireplace when it comes to rentals!

                                                                                      The non food "essentials" I usually end up buying are spices, olive oil, ziplock baggies, coffee, decaf or herbal tea, and water. These (minuses the spices and olive oil), a sharp knife, and at least 2 wine glasses that match are on my permanent rental wish list.

                                                                                      I was pleasantly surprised by a rental in Mendocino, CA which included complimentary brandy, chocolates, ample ice and filtered water :)

                                                                                    2. steve h. Aug 7, 2012 01:54 PM

                                                                                      I rent a few places every year. It's always a two-way street.

                                                                                      One place I like a lot is a small cottage in Point Reyes (northern California) that backs onto Tomales Bay. It has a 40-foot dock and killer views over the water to the pastureland on the north-side's golden hills. The place is pretty rustic but it does have a gas fireplace, a creaky back deck and wild life (birds, gulls, raptors, etc.) that punch in at specific times/tides.

                                                                                      The place always looks and smells fresh when we arrive: fresh fruit on the table, pots/pans/glasses/silverware spotless. The coolerator always looks and smells brand new. We've added a few implements over the years: better corkscrew, oyster knives and so on but that's no big deal. Bottom line for us is when you find a place that works for you, keep going back. Add items you think are missing, work with the owner to improve some stuff (I actually cleaned the gutters one year but only because the place was so goofy and cool).

                                                                                      Leave the place in better condition than when you found it (winnowing out all the old crap in the pantry helps) and chances are the owner will have a nice bottle of wine waiting for you on your return trip. I may request a grumpy house cat next visit. We'll see.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: steve h.
                                                                                        Veggo Aug 7, 2012 02:19 PM

                                                                                        nice tradition, nice teamwork, nice location..well done!

                                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                                          steve h. Aug 7, 2012 03:57 PM

                                                                                          thanks. there's no doubt in my mind that you know the area.

                                                                                        2. re: steve h.
                                                                                          splatgirl Aug 7, 2012 02:23 PM

                                                                                          Shhhhh. Sounds like the kind of place you might want to keep on the DL.

                                                                                          1. re: splatgirl
                                                                                            steve h. Aug 7, 2012 04:00 PM

                                                                                            ahh, so you don't want to hear about my little rental place on the Via Giulia in Rome?

                                                                                          2. re: steve h.
                                                                                            wekick Aug 7, 2012 02:41 PM

                                                                                            We used to stay at the same place every year for years. They had a great , thoughtful kitchen. The pots and pans were a little older but god quality. We bought a few things along the way too and left them there. We dragged all the outdoor furniture in one year before a hurricane and fixed a door or two.

                                                                                            1. re: wekick
                                                                                              steve h. Aug 7, 2012 04:01 PM

                                                                                              It just seems right. Comfortable shoes and all.

                                                                                          3. RealMenJulienne Aug 7, 2012 03:15 PM

                                                                                            I'm easy. If I expect to cook when traveling I prefer to bring my own knives, board, and cooking vessels but probably not any gadgets. I would want:

                                                                                            Can/bottle opener
                                                                                            Corkscrew
                                                                                            Peeler
                                                                                            Probe thermometer
                                                                                            Matches
                                                                                            Plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and trash bags
                                                                                            Detergent, scrub brush, scouring pad, and kitchen towel
                                                                                            A few nonperishable staples that would be wasteful to buy a lot of: flour, salt, veg oil, etc.

                                                                                            I'm easy when it comes to glass- and dishware, don't care at all. But NO glass cutting board! I don't even want that thing in the same house.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                                                              sunshine842 Aug 7, 2012 04:05 PM

                                                                                              we had one recently....mostly it reminded me why I hate glass cutting boards. I put it in a cupboard and put it back before we left.

                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                Sam Salmon Aug 8, 2012 11:45 AM

                                                                                                This suits me fine

                                                                                                http://s37.photobucket.com/albums/e60...

                                                                                                1. re: Sam Salmon
                                                                                                  sunshine842 Aug 8, 2012 12:30 PM

                                                                                                  Indeed -- some of our most memorable dinners were cooked on not much more than that!

                                                                                            2. p
                                                                                              phxjcc Aug 12, 2012 12:07 AM

                                                                                              The really nice to find:
                                                                                              a mesh strainer (in addition to a collandar)
                                                                                              good knives
                                                                                              real wood cutting board
                                                                                              BBQ tools

                                                                                              What I do not want to encounter
                                                                                              Correlware dishes

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: phxjcc
                                                                                                sunshine842 Aug 12, 2012 12:15 AM

                                                                                                what's wrong with Corelle?

                                                                                              2. SWISSAIRE Aug 12, 2012 10:58 PM

                                                                                                My wife and rent our properties in Brasil and Europe.

                                                                                                We first thought at first we were doing people a favour by having well stocked condos by the beach, or a house by a lake in the Alps. We certainly were, as many helped themselves.

                                                                                                Over the years we have lost a lot of Rösle and WMF etc doing this. One gourmand who emailed us insisting on the kitchen being well stocked with cookware, made the biggest haul. After taking stock by hand which we documented, his sniffy protest came back as " I'm not sure it was even there when I rented from you. "

                                                                                                Strange as he asked for it which we documented.

                                                                                                Another notable in the European film industry felt he was entitled to do this. " Oh I do this all the time on location: Just report it to your assurance as a claim. " I had a nice heavy pan just waiting for him, I can assure you. He never showed his face again thankfully.

                                                                                                No more, not even with the person's credit card. Some items are very hard to replace. Bare bones minimalism, basic stock, and nothing more. Do you want nice pans, pots, cutlery and cookware ( not to mention paintings, stereo, and art work ) ?

                                                                                                We are very sorry. Bring them if you wish, or we can refer you to a nice cooking school.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                                                                                  sunshine842 Aug 12, 2012 11:34 PM

                                                                                                  and THAT is why so many rental properties are stocked with Ikea.

                                                                                                  One of the weirdest, but kind of coolest, was a house that had belonged to the guy's mother -- they had left ALL of her kitchen goods in the house -- I spent one rainy morning just nosing through all the drawers and cupboards, marveling at the wonderful old things that were there. It truly never even entered my mind to help myself to any of them.

                                                                                                  1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                                                                                    wekick Aug 13, 2012 09:52 AM

                                                                                                    We stayed at a hotel that had a card saying "we would love for you to buy any of our furnishings. Just take what you want and we will bill your card. Here are the prices "

                                                                                                    1. re: wekick
                                                                                                      JoanN Aug 13, 2012 10:07 AM

                                                                                                      The manager of the apartment I rent in Guatemala makes you sign off on an inventory list when you arrive and anything missing from that list when you leave is deducted from your deposit. And the prices they charge are more than quadruple what things actually cost in Guatemala, such as $4.00 for a glass that might cost $.89. There isn't anything there anyone would want to steal, but breakage on the tile counters and floors is a problem.

                                                                                                  2. NonnieMuss Aug 22, 2012 06:49 AM

                                                                                                    Well here is a list of things that were NOT provided by our last rental, which we had to either bring, or go out and buy:

                                                                                                    All seasonings (even salt & pepper)
                                                                                                    Garbage bags
                                                                                                    Cheese grater
                                                                                                    Can opener
                                                                                                    Juicer (handheld - not a machine)
                                                                                                    Bath mats - seriously. NOTHING on the floor.
                                                                                                    Dish towels/sponge
                                                                                                    Decent knives
                                                                                                    Any paper products (towels, napkins - and they only left one roll of TP in each bathroom. For eight people.)

                                                                                                    I know some of this stuff is not considered "essential", like the juicer or grater, but everything just had a second-hand/cheapest possible feel to it. There were 8 decent matching plates, but only 3 wine glasses. 3 can openers (two broken). I felt like the place was mostly stocked by previous renters who also had to run out and buy measuring spoons or tongs, and bought the cheapest ones available with the intention of leaving it behind.

                                                                                                    What would have been really nice would have been a list of suggested items to bring - I brought a cheese grater, but didn't think I'd have to bring a bath mat. Or an inventory of items available - we were just told dishes and cookware were provided - that didn't give us much to work with. But you can't provide 3 wine glasses for a house that sleeps 8.

                                                                                                    1. l
                                                                                                      lsmutko Aug 24, 2012 10:17 AM

                                                                                                      I have experience on both ends -- renting for vacation and having a house on the Outer Banks that is rented by the week all summer.

                                                                                                      We mostly rent houses in the islands and Mexico beach destinations. Most are off the beaten track. There, all I need are:

                                                                                                      2-3 good cutting boards
                                                                                                      1 grill. If gas, it's helpful if there's a place nearby to fill the tank or exchange
                                                                                                      2-3 saute/fry pans. If non-stick, they shouldn't be all scratched
                                                                                                      1-2 baking sheets
                                                                                                      1-2 decent knives. I can sharpen and will take a little whetstone
                                                                                                      Tongs
                                                                                                      Drinkware -- glass for the house, plastic for outside, beach or exploring
                                                                                                      Double the place settings.
                                                                                                      In these situations, I welcome spices and condiments. If we use them up, we replace them. It really makes sense because the grocery stores may be few and far between and prices usually much higher due to shipping. The store may also be out of what you need if the weekly shipment hasn't come in.
                                                                                                      On a trip to Eleuthera, we busted the glass carafe in the coffeemaker. There was a spare coffeemaker. Spent some part of everyday after looking in the grocery and hardware stores for the right size. Emailed the owner when we got back, this was before the islands were wired, and they put a new one on the next flight for the caretaker.

                                                                                                      In the house we own and rent to paying customers, the law requires all food-stuffs are removed at the end of a rental week, so no condiments or spices are able to be carried-over between guests. Liability issues that also mean we can't leave cleaning supplies under the sink. We start out with a fully stocked kitchen, but that changes dramatically by the time the season is over. We'll be heading down for Labor Day. I always need a drink before even contemplating taking an inventory of the kitchen.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: lsmutko
                                                                                                        macca Aug 25, 2012 03:46 AM

                                                                                                        Did not know that on the OBX, the law required all cleaning and foodstuffs are removed between rentals. Always wondered why there is usually no salt- or even left over dish washing detergent. Thanks for the heads up. I like your list, and I can believe it is a shock to see what the kitchen inventory looks like at the end of a rental season. I thnk that is why we bring at least one good non stick pan, a few sharp knives, and lots of pitchers for our yearly visit to Whalehead,

                                                                                                        1. re: lsmutko
                                                                                                          sunshine842 Aug 25, 2012 05:43 AM

                                                                                                          it always blows my mind how people treat the equipment in a rental property...it's like they think it just magically appeared there for them, and if something happens, a new one will magically appear in its place!

                                                                                                          It would never cross my mind to not tell someone that I'd lost or broken something -- I'll usually try to replace it before we leave, but if I can't find a replacement, I'll let them know as soon as possible.

                                                                                                          (I don't buy replacements trying to cover my own butt, either -- I figure if I broke it, it's not fair for the owner to have to spend his or her time getting another one...it's my responsibility to replace it!)

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                            Caroline1 Aug 26, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                                                                            I DO like your ethics! I think we must have been vaccinated with the same ethics formula! '-)

                                                                                                          2. re: lsmutko
                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                            sr44 Aug 29, 2012 09:25 AM

                                                                                                            And where it turns up!

                                                                                                          3. mcf Aug 25, 2012 06:58 AM

                                                                                                            What I want; basic cookware and utensils for making lunches and breakfasts.

                                                                                                            What I want most of all, is for whatever is there to be spotlessly clean.

                                                                                                            1. Caroline1 Aug 26, 2012 08:44 AM

                                                                                                              For me, the operative word here is "vacation." In that case there is only one kitchen appliance I am interested in: A 24/7 on-call chef! Otherwise it will be everyone else's vacation except mine..! '-)

                                                                                                              19 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                sunshine842 Aug 26, 2012 09:40 AM

                                                                                                                we started renting cottages in Europe because it drove me bananas to walk through the markets and not buy anything.

                                                                                                                My husband swears I'm the only woman on the planet who *wants* to cook on vacation!

                                                                                                                (Now that I live here, I'm a little less enthusiastic on vacation...) :)

                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                  Caroline1 Aug 26, 2012 11:31 AM

                                                                                                                  Ain't no law sayin' you can't pick out the creme de la creme in the stalls and take it home to the chef to use in a masterpiece while someone else peels you a grape! '-)

                                                                                                                  Horrendous thunderstorm overhead making spawning pools for more West Nile vvirus bearing mosquitoes. Yay, Dallas! <sigh> Note: Order another quart of Off!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                    sunshine842 Aug 26, 2012 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                    No law...but no cook, other than me, either!

                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                      Caroline1 Aug 26, 2012 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                      I do enjoy cooking, so I don't really mind cooking on vacation. But if I cook, somebody else has to do KP after! I hope. But I do like the concept of room service too.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                        sunshine842 Aug 26, 2012 01:04 PM

                                                                                                                        By the way -- I see you've got some rough weather headed your way -- do take care of yourself. :)

                                                                                                                        (old habits die hard - now I haunt the NHC website out of concern for friends and family sprinkled all along the Gulf Coast!)

                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                          Caroline1 Aug 27, 2012 03:20 AM

                                                                                                                          It went by fairly quickly, but not without a lot of window rattling first. We're in a damned if you do, damned if you don't rain situation. We desperately need the rain's drought squelching benefits, but any puddles are mosquito breeding grounds and we have a West Nile Virus epidemic on our hands. Plus, without sufficient rain, my local sources for grass fed beef dry up, so to speak. It's a quandry!

                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Aug 27, 2012 03:56 AM

                                                                                                                            Glad you got through that one...but it looks like Isaac is going to bring you a fair amount of rain pretty shortly!

                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                              Caroline1 Aug 29, 2012 05:19 AM

                                                                                                                              After Katrina, every "bowl" in town was overflowing with Nola refugees! And the DFW metroplex has a lot of sports venues, auditoriums, and other emergency shelters. It was heartbreaking to see that many people in that much hurt. One woman I met had a large extended family in her neighborhood and was the only family member who could swim, and their evacuation route was flooded. She swam the flood waters pulling four nieces and nephews plus her own three children to safety on the other side so they could treck on to the evacuation staging area. It was amazing talking to her! Her biggest regret was that she had saved her diplomas from the floodwaters instead of her photos because the diplomas could be easily replaced. Lots of heroes came to town in the wake of that hurricane! With Isaac? Well, the fat lady hasn't sung yet...

                                                                                                                              To tie this back to food, this morning's newscast interviewed a refugee from Katrina who stuck around to open a successful Cajun restaurant!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                                kengk Aug 29, 2012 05:37 AM

                                                                                                                                I recall seeing John Besh talking about taking red beans and rice, in a boat, to folks stranded in the Katrina flood. He was laughing because one guy standing waist deep in the water took a bite and said it wasn't as good as his mama's and commenced telling him the proper way to prepare the dish.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                          k
                                                                                                                          kengk Aug 26, 2012 01:41 PM

                                                                                                                          We don't have much to choose from in restaurants here where we live so picking a vacation destination for us is in large part driven by the choices in restaurants.

                                                                                                                          I wouldn't mind cooking on vacation as much as my wife would hate cleaning the kitchen.

                                                                                                                          1. re: kengk
                                                                                                                            Caroline1 Aug 27, 2012 03:22 AM

                                                                                                                            Boy, are you smart! I'd much rather create dirty pots and dishes than clean them!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                              Veggo Aug 27, 2012 03:25 AM

                                                                                                                              Caroline, now I feel guilty for all the dirty dishes, wine glasses, pots & pans I ducked out on at your house...:)

                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                                                                                Caroline1 Aug 29, 2012 04:55 AM

                                                                                                                                Why on earth do you think I have a housekeeper?????? I do NOT allow guests to "help clean up" after dinner, and it requires very unusual circumstances for me to offer when I'm a guest. I guess I'm very "1950s"! '-)

                                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                      CindyJ Aug 27, 2012 08:11 AM

                                                                                                                      Count me as another one who loves to cook while on vacation. Let me qualify that -- if I'm in a location where local food IS the attraction, I want to go to the markets, choose ingredients I never see at home, and prepare a wonderful dinner. We've rented homes in Tuscany and Provence for exactly that reason. The fresh porcini in Tuscany and the Cavaillon mellons in Provence made it all worthwhile.

                                                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                        chefathome Sep 16, 2012 07:31 PM

                                                                                                                        We do the exact same thing in Europe.

                                                                                                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                          d
                                                                                                                          davesmall Apr 3, 2014 05:44 PM

                                                                                                                          I couldn't agree more Cindy. Some of the items you find in the European street markets aren't available at home and the quality can be truly outstanding.

                                                                                                                          Buying some fresh Porcini mushrooms in Italy (Cepes in France), taking them back to the rental place, and sautéing them in butter is just an awesome treat.

                                                                                                                          Fish is another example. The fish you see in those markets is extremely fresh and cooks in just a few minutes. Turbot (rombo chiodato) is my favorite European fish with Dover Sole a close second. Those flatfish are easy and quick to prepare. When you order them in an upscale restaurant, they are really expensive.

                                                                                                                          Europe's better restaurants, for example Michelin guide starred restaurants, are very expensive. We really do enjoy them but can't afford very many meals there.

                                                                                                                          Our Europe strategy is to rent an apartment, eat a nice restaurant meal at lunch time, have breakfast in the apartment, and most evenings something simple like bread, wine, salami, and cheese, or a pizza.

                                                                                                                        2. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                          Barbara76137 Sep 2, 2012 06:13 PM

                                                                                                                          when I visited Italy for the first time in 2001, the local market also drove me crazy! I wanted to cook with those foods!!!

                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                            chefathome Sep 16, 2012 07:30 PM

                                                                                                                            You're not alone. I love to cook on vacation. In fact, if I am unable to cook I really miss it. So, we also rent apartments/cottages when in Europe. We love to frequent markets, butchers and fish markets. We also own a lovely stone house with the stone wall around the garden in Croatia. We are able to cook when we want and go out when we want. The best of both worlds.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                              Sherri Sep 17, 2012 11:24 AM

                                                                                                                              We've rented houses for vacations for quite a while. I always call or e-mail the owner to ask specific questions. I don't want to find that there is no coffee grinder when we have our favorite beans. Over the years, we've found the gamut from matching wine glasses to no wine glasses, with lots of permutations in between. What I really want is to find everything very clean, if it doesn't match that's OK as long as it's plentiful. Scrabbling by with three plates (in a house that sleeps six) for the two of us is a non-starter. The refrigerator must keep food cold and ditto for the freezer, both the oven and cooktop must work well, a dishwasher is nice as well as some of the small counter-top appliances (toaster, blender, coffee maker, etc.) I would like several dish towels and hot pads that protect. Small wares are nice but I never count on them so I bring many of my own pieces. I've learned to photograph them on the counter before merging with the household stuff so I know exactly what to pack when we leave.

                                                                                                                              Ahhhh, we're getting ready to spend one month on California's Mendocino coast in an isolated area (read: no restaurants). There's a weekly market about 15 miles south and I can hardly wait to go! I love local markets and simply must cook while I'm away. The added benefit is being able to spend my days/nights in "soft clothes" without the worry/bother/fussing of dressing for dinner. Our days are spent walking on the beach and not doing much of anything. My husband is quite bemused and just shakes his head at his great good luck. On our honeymoon, I made strawberry jam from the perfect berries I found and have never looked back.

                                                                                                                              Since we've rented this same house in the past, I know what to expect - a fully furnished and very clean kitchen. Nevertheless, I do bring a fair amount of my own gear which is pretty simple since we travel by car. My knives, a LC dutch oven, corkscrew, spices that I know I'll use, olive oil, heavy hot pads, half sheet pans, pepper mill, smallwares, etc.

                                                                                                                          2. KaimukiMan Aug 28, 2012 04:37 PM

                                                                                                                            A) Refrigerator/Freezer, Range, Sink
                                                                                                                            B) dishwasher, overflow fridge/freezer (unplugged usually)

                                                                                                                            A) Microwave, Toaster or Toaster Oven, Coffee Maker (inc. filters),
                                                                                                                            B) blender, crock pot, electric can opener, hand held electric mixer

                                                                                                                            A) Frypan, Saucepan, Large Pot, Baking Sheet, Oven Mitts
                                                                                                                            B) non-stick frypan, flat griddle, medium pot, cake pans, cooling racks

                                                                                                                            A) Chef Knife, Cutting Board, Spatula, Cooking Spoon, Cooking Fork, Can Opener, Bottle Opener
                                                                                                                            B) serrated knife, measuring spoons, measuring cup, colander, funnel, tongs

                                                                                                                            A) Salt and Pepper, Hot Sauce, Ketchup, Mustard, Soy Sauce, White Vinegar
                                                                                                                            B) olive oil, wine vinegar, cinnamon, mixed dried herbs (ie, italian seasoning) bouillon cubes
                                                                                                                            C) sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, powdered milk packets, crisco (all stored in fridge)

                                                                                                                            A) Serving Plate, Serving Bowl, Serving Spoons (reg & slot), Wine & Bottle Openers, Hot Pads
                                                                                                                            B) duplicate of each of the above for larger meals. pitcher (plastic ok), big plastic bowls

                                                                                                                            A) Dinner Plates, Soup/Cereal Bowls, Tumblers, Wine Glasses, Flatware, S&P Shakers
                                                                                                                            B) salad/dessert plates, extra glasses, chopsticks (disposable ok)

                                                                                                                            A) Sponge, Scotch Brite Pad, Dish Soap, Dish Towels, Kitchen Cleaner (409 or...), Dish Rack
                                                                                                                            B) steel wool, bottle brush, powdered cleanser, bleach

                                                                                                                            A)Paper Napkins, Paper Towels, Alumiinum foil, Quart Zip Lock, Cling Wrap, Trash Bags
                                                                                                                            B) paper plates, heavy duty foil, sandwich bags

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                                                              Caroline1 Aug 29, 2012 05:24 AM

                                                                                                                              I think that's called "staying home." '-)

                                                                                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                                                                Bacardi1 Aug 29, 2012 06:56 AM

                                                                                                                                I imagine that you must get disappointed fairly often when renting.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                                                                                  KaimukiMan Aug 29, 2012 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                  lol, the OP asked what I want to find, not what i expect to find or what I need. I can make do with a lot less, and haven't 'asked' for as many things as some others such as 'several cutting boards' an instant read thermometer, or a gas grill.

                                                                                                                                  the A lists are basics, the B are the OP requested additional items.

                                                                                                                                  this would be my basic list

                                                                                                                                  Refrigerator/Freezer, Range, Sink (without these it's called camping)
                                                                                                                                  Toaster, Coffee Maker
                                                                                                                                  
Frypan, Saucepan, Large Pot
                                                                                                                                  Chef Knife, Cutting Board, Spatula, Cooking Spoon, Can Opener
                                                                                                                                  Serving Spoons (reg & slot), Wine & Bottle Opener

                                                                                                                                  Plates, Bowls, Tumblers, Flatware

                                                                                                                                  Sponge, Scotch Brite Pad, Dish Soap, Dish Rack

                                                                                                                              2. CindyJ Sep 16, 2012 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                We just returned from a week at a vacation rental in Maine. I ought to send the owner a link to this thread. The description of the home said, "The kitchen is fully equipped with everything a willing cook will need..." so we weren't prepared to find (or NOT find) -- no wine glasses, no pot holders, dangerously dull knives, no paper towels, no place mats, no serving bowls that weren't plastic, no drinking glasses that weren't plastic (as in Tupperware) and a total of two dish towels. Also, the non-stick coating on the cookware was flaking off, and, considering we were in Maine, we found only two nutcrackers, both of which were horribly rusted.

                                                                                                                                The thing is, if I'd known about these things, I would have gladly stopped into Walmart on my way from the airport to the house and, for $100 or so, purchased the stuff and "gifted" it to the owners upon departure. As it turned out, we were a 2-hour drive from the closest Walmart, so that just wasn't possible.

                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                  f
                                                                                                                                  FriedClamFanatic Sep 16, 2012 11:08 AM

                                                                                                                                  WB Cindy and hope you found the lobsters of your dreams!

                                                                                                                                  As to "well-equipped"......I'd settle for stuff that works! Too often have the stuff is iffy

                                                                                                                                  1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                    CindyJ Sep 16, 2012 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                                    The worst of it, FCF, was the lack of wine glasses. (Have I just revealed TMI about myself?) And there were NO wine glasses to be purchased anywhere in or around the small town where we were staying. We had to make-do with disposable plastic ones. Oh, well -- it certainly didn't make for a less enjoyable vacation.

                                                                                                                                    The lobstahs, BTW, made up for EVERYTHING that was lacking!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                      f
                                                                                                                                      FriedClamFanatic Sep 17, 2012 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                                      smiles.......I'm on the side that the wine will taste every bit as good, but I understand your concern...and yes.the Lobstah will go a long way in dissapating whatever "ain't" there

                                                                                                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic
                                                                                                                                        CindyJ Sep 17, 2012 04:09 PM

                                                                                                                                        Noooooo!!! That's the thing -- the wine tastes totally different when it's in fine stemware. And to make matters worse, our son, who joined us up there for a few days, brought us a bottle of Veuve Clicquot for our anniversary, and we had to drink it from disposable plastic flutes. I wonder.... is there an app that can "CLINK" for you?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                          sunshine842 Sep 17, 2012 11:25 PM

                                                                                                                                          but you had The Widow joining you for an anniversary celebration with lobster in a cottage in Maine that was peaceful and quiet and (I'm assuming, since you haven't said anything to the contrary) otherwise well-equipped, comfortable, and well-located.

                                                                                                                                          You can't have it all all the time....and if plastic flutes was the worst feature of the evening, you're doing pretty well.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                            CindyJ Sep 18, 2012 05:33 AM

                                                                                                                                            I absolutely agree with you! The cabin was in an incredibly beautiful setting -- private, quiet and totally relaxing. My grumblings couldn't even be heard above the sounds of the birds and ducks.

                                                                                                                                            "...The Widow..."?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                              sunshine842 Sep 18, 2012 05:51 AM

                                                                                                                                              Veuve Clicquot - literally, the Widow Clicquot -- she inherited her husband's Champagne house and made it a huge success -- particularly noteworthy because her husband passed away in 1805.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                    SWISSAIRE Sep 16, 2012 01:01 PM

                                                                                                                                    CindyJ;

                                                                                                                                    The rental home description is clearly deceptive, and wrong. In fact it sounds like something from an episode of Benny Hill, and if that bit of documentation were part of a signed contract, you are due a refund of some sort.

                                                                                                                                    Our current approach ( in the learning curve having had numerous items disappear over the years ) as owners is to advertise thusly: " The property is minimally furnished with an American-style kitchen. . . . . . A list of the equipment, services, and furnishing is available upon request. "

                                                                                                                                    American-style kitchens are considered large, and include a sink, water purifier, cooktop, oven, overhead ventilation fan, a refrigerator and freezer, and in our case granite surround countertops.

                                                                                                                                    No two rental parties are alike in our 15+ years experience. One might like wine glasses, while the next would prefer beer steins, or something else. Unless it is spelled out, it is hard to assume what is needed. As an example from your own comments, I frankly have never thought of having a nutcracker in stock, but I do have stainless steel lobster and crab claw crackers and forks.

                                                                                                                                    Was the comment for nuts, or the famous Maine lobsters ? .

                                                                                                                                    I believe that if your stay requires such items, you as the renter should either request those specific items be purchased for your enjoyment, or bring them. In this case, the property owner clearly misled you in assuming the property in Maine was fully furnished exactly, as described.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                                                                                                                      CindyJ Sep 17, 2012 06:33 AM

                                                                                                                                      The nutcrackers were for cracking lobster claws, and in a vacation rental in Maine, that's every bit as necessary as forks and spoons.

                                                                                                                                      I like your idea about furnishing a list of included equipment upon request, but even that can be misleading if it doesn't specify the quality/condition of said equipment. It would definitely be helpful, though, for alerting the renter about equipment NOT included.

                                                                                                                                      In the end, we grumbled a bit and made do with what was available, but I don't feel entitled to a refund. There were other things in the home that we did not expect to find -- like a great supply of dried, split and stacked wood for the fireplace. I think renters always take a bit of a chance with a vacation property, and it's quite possible that if the owners themselves don't do much cooking at home, they might consider the bare essentials as "fully equipped." I really don't believe the owner was intentionally misleading in his description.

                                                                                                                                      I sent the owner an email listing the inadequate/absent items. He wrote back saying, "With the exception of the wine glasses and the nonstick cookware, everything else that you mentioned was available when we left there earlier this year. We will definitely forward all of this information on to [the caretakers] with more specific instructions for them. We will also remove the nonstick cookware." So apparently he chose to not provide wine glasses. Interesting. I'm not going to pursue this conversation with him any further. I'm sure he has his reasons.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                        SWISSAIRE Sep 17, 2012 10:59 AM

                                                                                                                                        Thank you Cindy;

                                                                                                                                        It does sound as though the property owner is deflecting responsibility to the caretaker.

                                                                                                                                        At least your honest email assessment to the owner, which I admire, resulted in a pledge to remove the old, flaky non-stick cookware. To an honest rental owner, positive criticism allows for improvement and a better situation for both parties. The renters are more comfortable and happy, and the rental business continues to be profitable.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                                                                                                                          CindyJ Sep 17, 2012 11:09 AM

                                                                                                                                          In my note to the owner I said, "I hope you take my comments in the spirit in which they are intended -- not so much criticism as an attempt to enable your future guests to be even more satisfied with your property." My thinking was that if *I* were the owner of a rental vacation property, I'd certainly appreciate feedback from renters.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                            SWISSAIRE Sep 17, 2012 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                                            Cindy;

                                                                                                                                            Quite right.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                              steve h. Sep 17, 2012 04:04 PM

                                                                                                                                              Would you go back?

                                                                                                                                    2. r
                                                                                                                                      RGC1982 Sep 16, 2012 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                                      I want everything clean, no plastic glasses, no warped pans, no pans with nonstick wearing off, and appliances that cost more than ten dollars from Walmart. Last place was pretty, but the cheap toaster was literally a fire hazard and it burned everything. The can opener sucked and was hard to use too, so a decent manual would have been a huge improvement. Fortunately, I only had to use it once. I don't want to find anyone's condiments, just dish soap and a few basic paper products including garbage bags. Oh, and at least one extra roll of TP.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: RGC1982
                                                                                                                                        SWISSAIRE Sep 17, 2012 12:06 PM

                                                                                                                                        So true. Nonetheless, best laugh of the evening !

                                                                                                                                        I always thought that with transatlantic flights to different countries and continents, the enevitable exposure to different water sources, food, microbes, and bacteria required at least 10 rolls of TP to be onhand.

                                                                                                                                        And perhaps a packet of Lomotil.

                                                                                                                                      2. c
                                                                                                                                        CyndiA Sep 16, 2012 08:59 PM

                                                                                                                                        I look for grills (outside), and I carry in the stuff to use them. When a owner says there's a gas grill and the tank is empty, I get really annoyed. I expect to bring charcoal, but I'm not carrying in my own gas tank. I've filled several gas tanks, and that $30 or so cost meant that I'd not be back (unless it ran out while I was there). Since I'm a repeat renter and leave the place cleaner than when I arrived (including the grill), that small cost would be wroth the time.

                                                                                                                                        1. Caroline1 Sep 17, 2012 02:19 AM

                                                                                                                                          Interesting discussion. It's now a lot of years since I last subjected myself to a rented cabin, and I can't remember ever being optimistic enough not to expect to have to do some serious shopping or do without. That was just a given. There were also certain things I never left home without: my chef's knife, a good paring knife, my sharpening steel, a meat fork, a spatula or two, a collander, and a decent corkscrew. But maybe there is a better way... My daughter and sil are off on a rambling trip that will eventally land them in Oregon, in their latest motor home that has a full kitchen, including microwave and dishwasher, a freezer, a full sized washer and dryer, and two bathrooms. Where is the challenge in that? Where is the satisfaction of getting a stubborn can open without a designated can opener? I have to wonder if my daughter isn't missing something. On the other hand, I would probably opt for some place with a great chef and room service! Different strokes... ...

                                                                                                                                          1. d
                                                                                                                                            dinwiddie Sep 17, 2012 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                            Carry out menus.

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: dinwiddie
                                                                                                                                              Caroline1 Sep 17, 2012 01:30 PM

                                                                                                                                              Now there is something I would deeply appreciate! A list of the local restaurants, their specialties, and maybe a few notes on who delivers. Good thinking!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                                                d
                                                                                                                                                dinwiddie Sep 17, 2012 01:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                I was kind of tongue in cheek, but only a little bit. The last thing I want to do while on vacation is cook. The best rentals we've had always have information about local places to eat, what's especially good, who delivers, etc. As long as I could have cereal and milk for the kid when he was young, we were set. Of course, if you are staying someplace in the middle of nowhere (Cape Cod does not qualify) then it is a different story.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: dinwiddie
                                                                                                                                                  steve h. Sep 17, 2012 03:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                  The places I rent usually have a guest book. That's where I give my thoughts/vent my spleen on area restaurants, markets, etc.. If some place really impresses, I bring back a business card and sometimes a menu. This stuff builds up over time and helps out the new guys when they rent a place for the first time.

                                                                                                                                            2. r
                                                                                                                                              Rick Sep 17, 2012 03:42 PM

                                                                                                                                              We JUST got back from a vaction rental on the beach. There were no paper towels, no dishwasher detergent, no scrub pads or sponges to wash dishes, the non stick cook wear needed thrown out it was so scratched up, they had WOODEN HANDLED UTENSILS!! that were beyond destroyed from the dishwasher, and we found out the hard way the coffee pot didn't have an auto shut off feature. I realize people abuse rental kitchen equipment, but buying a new set of utensils and a cheaper set of non stick pots and pans every couple years wouldn't cost more than a couple hundred dollars and it is just part of the cost of doing business. I don't expect high end cookware, but I do except cookware that isn't ready for the trash. Not doing so can lead to bad reviews on rental sites and decrease some people's desire to rent the same place again.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rick
                                                                                                                                                steve h. Sep 17, 2012 03:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                Would you go back?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: steve h.
                                                                                                                                                  r
                                                                                                                                                  Rick Sep 18, 2012 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                  I'd go back if the price was right again (50% off of published rate). Wouldn't go back for the full price, the price they charge doesn't justify the condition of the place.

                                                                                                                                              2. m
                                                                                                                                                mrssamiam Oct 23, 2012 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                This is a sore subject for me!

                                                                                                                                                When I rent a house that sleeps 8, I expect that the kitchen is equipped for at least 8. I want enough matching plates/glasses and flatware for everyone to have a proper place setting PLUS enough extras and/or serving bowls dishes/platters to serve the food family style. It makes me crazy when I have to resort to making salad in a stockpot or serving grilled meats on a beat up cookie sheet!

                                                                                                                                                I expect there will be basic (but spotless) cooking utensils, sauce pans, 2 fry pans and a stock pot, serving spoons, spatulas, a ladle, tongs, 3-4 sharp knives, steak knives, good, clean cutting boards, a corkscrew and church key, can opener, etc. There should be (at least) highball and juice sized glassware, wine glasses, and coffee mugs.

                                                                                                                                                A toaster or toaster oven, coffee maker, blender and microwave. If there is a grill, there should be proper grill utensils, a lighter, and a full propane tank.

                                                                                                                                                If the rental includes linens, I expect good quality, immaculately clean sheets, towels, bedding and kitchen linens (towels, mitts/potholders)

                                                                                                                                                I appreciate cleaning supplies but expect at minimum trash bags and a decent quality broom and dustpan. If you provide a vacuum, I will use it :)

                                                                                                                                                A welcome binder is a favorite find in a rental. Please include the instructions for emergency contacts (including both the specific address of the house and description as recognized by the locals if different or unique) , trash disposal, the wifi password, take-out menus, and any local attraction info you think we'd find interesting...

                                                                                                                                                In exchange for your thoughfully stocked rental, I will pay in full upon reservation, treat it and its contents as if they were my own, and will always leave the property clean and neat.

                                                                                                                                                1. r
                                                                                                                                                  rHairing Oct 23, 2012 05:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                  It depends if I have to drive or fly. If I drive, I load the car with my stuff. Regardless of transportation, I keep a corkscrew/bottle opener in my purse. With that being said, most of what I would want or not want has been mentioned. There seems to be a sticking point with actual food and spices on hand...I think I have a new idea for a business....an online ordering system so fresh basic things are there upon arrival. The idea of a bottle of wine is nice, but we all have preferences. I'm betting it's already being done somewhere but it's an idea!

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rHairing
                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                    sr44 Oct 23, 2012 07:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                    There is a grocery delivery system in the area (Peapod) but I have no experience with it, so I hesitate to recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                  2. n
                                                                                                                                                    nikkihwood Oct 23, 2012 09:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Yikes, I missed this whole thing while obsessing over our annual beach vacation.

                                                                                                                                                    We expect nothing. We've rented the same coastal NC house for 9 out of 13 years. It acquired new owners about 4 years ago, and many improvements have been made. But it's still got a crappy electric stove, no good knives, and a mish-mash of serving utensils and pots and pans that makes one kind of scratch the head to figure out how to get things done.

                                                                                                                                                    We've always packed foodstuffs - rice, orzo, herbs and spices. Hell, I packed 4 fresh Hatch chiles this year. Two knives go in the suitcase as well. A grill brush! We fly cross-country. We have a day before we drive down to the house, so we grocery shop, apppropriate as much hotel ice as we can and pack perishables in a cheap styro cooler.

                                                                                                                                                    2013 will be different. We've discovered that we can do a FedEx-to-Fex-Ex ship, and we're going to get a sturdy box, load it with stuff and quit obsessing. And vacation at the best.beach.ever for two weeks.

                                                                                                                                                    PS - I noticed multiple posts about warped pans. This drove us nuts for a while, and then one day I remembered one of my favorite lines. The late novelist Laurie Colwin, who rented various vacation spots through the years with her family. "It's BROKEN! Let's take it to the lake!' [or beach.]

                                                                                                                                                    I would be in heaven if this house had a blender and a food processor. We had to hit a WallyWorld and buy a cheap blender this year. We didn't leave it behind, and I guess we should have. Even a mini processor gets the jobs done. Our alternate house at this beach has a mini and it makes life so much easier.

                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nikkihwood
                                                                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                                                                      Leepa Oct 24, 2012 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Nikkiwood, they actually sell ice now at convenience stores/gas stations often for less than a couple of bucks. No need to take all the ice from the hotel.

                                                                                                                                                      Of course, I know you know that and my tongue is firmly in cheek. As a frequent traveler, I'd appreciate it though. Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Leepa
                                                                                                                                                        n
                                                                                                                                                        nikkihwood Oct 24, 2012 09:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                        LOL and you are absolutely right. Fortunately, the hotel we stay at has multiple ice machines, and is rarely crowded on the nights we make our illicit raids.

                                                                                                                                                        [And oh yes, we've hopped down to the gas station to purchase, as well!]

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nikkihwood
                                                                                                                                                          l
                                                                                                                                                          Leepa Oct 25, 2012 07:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Yay. Good on ya!

                                                                                                                                                          I hope you know I didn't mean anything negative.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Leepa
                                                                                                                                                            n
                                                                                                                                                            nikkihwood Oct 25, 2012 09:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I most certainly did know! Good travels.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Leepa
                                                                                                                                                          KaimukiMan Oct 26, 2012 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Most McDonalds will fill your ice chest for you for free - some expect you to make a purchase, but not all.

                                                                                                                                                        3. re: nikkihwood
                                                                                                                                                          SWISSAIRE Oct 25, 2012 08:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                          NIKKI;

                                                                                                                                                          Your FEDEX shipment is not a great idea: It is an EXCELLENT idea, and one that I am going to keep remember.

                                                                                                                                                          I am dealing with a problem renter at the moment who even went beyond this. He stayed for one month, then two, and then he asked for a third discounted month of 50 %. I finally asked our property manager to stop by to talk with him, and take a look our condo.

                                                                                                                                                          Two additional 42 flat screens, a washer, a dryer, a FREEZER, extra furniture inside and out on the main terrace are among the personal items he brought in without authorization. Note that our condo already fully furnished including TV, Internet, and SAT.

                                                                                                                                                          Our contract reads that there is a threshold level is what we accept and will pay for as mains/electricity usage, and sensing the obvious we checked online. The power was exceeded to the equivalent of $ 700 USD/CHF, which he also owes us payment for.

                                                                                                                                                          It gets better.

                                                                                                                                                          He does not pay when repeatedly asked to, and leaves to travel around and see the sights for a few weeks, leaving all of this equipment BEHIND.

                                                                                                                                                          There is an old Latin saying: LEGES LEGEM, or the Law is the Law.

                                                                                                                                                          He has not yet made payment, and is making numerous excuses, Surprisingly, after he returned 17 days later he found that our locks have been changed.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Oct 26, 2012 08:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I was going to say -- sounds like all that extra crap would just about pay the power bill if sold on eBay.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                              SWISSAIRE Oct 26, 2012 12:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                              It might, but we can't.

                                                                                                                                                              For the time (60 days) I have to store it somewhere offsite, and pay the electrical service.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: SWISSAIRE
                                                                                                                                                                n
                                                                                                                                                                nikkihwood Oct 26, 2012 09:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                That stinks. Really stinks

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nikkihwood
                                                                                                                                                                  SWISSAIRE Oct 27, 2012 09:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  Vacation rentals are not always the easy & profitable business imagined.

                                                                                                                                                                  It comes with the territory.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: nikkihwood
                                                                                                                                                            c
                                                                                                                                                            cleobeach Oct 28, 2012 08:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                            PS - I noticed multiple posts about warped pans. This drove us nuts for a while, and then one day I remembered one of my favorite lines. The late novelist Laurie Colwin, who rented various vacation spots through the years with her family. "It's BROKEN! Let's take it to the lake!' [or beach.]

                                                                                                                                                            -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                                                                                                                            Friends had an older but very comfy and cozy beach cottage for a number of years. It was furnished as described above. When Nana got a new couch, they hauled the old one to the beach. Towels a little ratty? To the beach. They rented the house and the price must have been right because they always had 100% occupancy during the season.

                                                                                                                                                            Fast forward a number of years and they build a new house with the intention of renting it. The rental agent came by the old house to talk about the new rental and was horrified to learn that they had every intention of taking all the contents to the new house. She said straight out that they needed all new of everything for the new rental, that she would not rep the place if they put "all this old junk" in it.

                                                                                                                                                            Our friends were VERY offended but ultimately agreed she was right, the house needed to be outfitted at a level that justified the weekly rental rate. ($5,000)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cleobeach
                                                                                                                                                              macca Oct 28, 2012 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Funny! Even expensuve rentals can have issues- most of the rentals we stay in ( on the OBX and ranging in price from $15k and up) do not have eiyther sharp knives or decent pans. They are always furnished nicely- though some of the mattresses are not the greatest., and the sheets and towels are delivered to the house every change over day. No cleaning supplies, salt, pepper or coffee filters are usually at the house.But the fridge is always empty and clean and there are always plenty of dishes. Now we ring what we think we need- I always pack a non stick pan, a few sharp knives and a crock pot. Seems like different areas have different "rules" of what is in the house.

                                                                                                                                                          3. CindyJ Oct 24, 2012 06:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                            I just returned from my second vacation property rental in three months. I place a lot of faith in the descriptions I read on the VRBO website, and trust that not only will the property be equipped as promised, but that everything described will be in excellent condition.

                                                                                                                                                            I have concluded that knives at rental properties are NEVER sharp -- and, in fact, are usually dangerously dull. I wonder if property owners/managers just don't get the importance of having knives sharpened, or providing some kind of sharpening device.

                                                                                                                                                            I also know that it's probably unrealistic to think that everything in the rental will be flawless. This most recent rental -- a lovely cabin at a lake in Maine -- came fairly close. But in a property where there is no central heat (heat was provided by two very ample gas heaters and a wood stove), extra blankets are a must. Oh, there were extra blankets in each of the bedrooms, but they were flimsy and frayed. So, added to my "must-have" list: all linens must be of good quality and in excellent condition. Linens do get worn out, and when they do, they should be replaced.

                                                                                                                                                            The only other thing worth mentioning here was what I considered an unrealistic request from the property manager. She asked that we launder (wash AND dry) all of our towels before leaving. Her reason: when she comes in to clean after renters have departed, it takes too long to wash and dry bed linens and towels. Well, we had an early morning flight to catch on departure day and laundering towels that morning just wasn't feasible. Not to mention that the rental fee included cleaning.

                                                                                                                                                            Anyway, those were the very few gripes we had in an otherwise wonderful vacation rental. I realize that my comments go beyond must-haves in the kitchen, but vacation property owners or managers reading this thread might be interested just the same.

                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                                                                              CanadaGirl Oct 24, 2012 12:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Wow! Has she never considered that she therefore needs TWO sets of towels? Problem solved!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                                                                CindyJ Oct 24, 2012 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Oh, there were plenty of towels; she just wanted to find them all washed, dried and ready for the next renter. Not only did we leave unwashed towels... we also left unwashed napkins that we'd used for our steamed lobster dinner the night before. Oh, well...

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 Oct 24, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  but she needs two sets -- one set is in the washer/dryer, while the other set is being used in the property. (She should have two sets anyway -- what's she going to do if she shows up and someone has taken off with the towels, or one set has been destroyed cleaning up some vile and nasty problem -- toilet overflow, anyone?)

                                                                                                                                                                  If I keep two sets in my house so there are always clean, dry towels on hand, there's not much justification for NOT having two sets in a rental house....

                                                                                                                                                                  (edited for clarity)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                                    CanadaGirl Oct 24, 2012 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly :)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                                      CindyJ Oct 26, 2012 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      There was one linen closet that had (I'm guessing) at least 8 bath towels, 8 hand towels and 8 wash clothes. So there were plenty of towels to go around. I don't know that I'd refer to them as "sets," but there was a good supply.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                                                                                                                                                        c
                                                                                                                                                                        CanadaGirl Oct 27, 2012 05:41 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        That sounds adequate, but the issue of the towels not being dry for the next guests would easily be solved by having that quantity of towels twice. That way when there wasn't a lot of time between guests, she could swap out the duty for clean and wash the dirty under far less pressure.

                                                                                                                                                              2. jmckee Oct 26, 2012 11:26 AM

                                                                                                                                                                I have a little different take. I kind of agree with Laurie Colwin in her essay about cooking in a rented beach house. I don't really want a fully equipped kitchen; I've got that (or what I find acceptable for that description) at home. I used to take a lot of stuff with me -- including a chef's pan, a couple of knives, a lemon reamer, etc. Now I just take one knive, some seasonings, and let the chips fall where they may. I've only had one house that wasn't adequate, and that was early this month. Coffee maker was dirty and old and had never been descaled. Not a lot of "serving" pieces. No cutting board! But in the end, I made some great meals there. The key where we stay is fresh seafood, fresh produce that's local, and let the meals fall where they may. Many houses I've rented have a blender. Never used it. No toaster? Toast in the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jmckee
                                                                                                                                                                  Sam Salmon Oct 26, 2012 12:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  True Confessions time here on this long running thread-the minimalist photos I linked to above contain my ancient tin wok-which travels almost everywhere with me.

                                                                                                                                                                  There-I feel so much better now.

                                                                                                                                                                2. t
                                                                                                                                                                  taos Oct 27, 2012 07:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                  WHAT I WANT

                                                                                                                                                                  Dishes -- plates, bowls, glasses and mugs. In real glass and ceramic, not plastic.
                                                                                                                                                                  Can opener and bottle opener
                                                                                                                                                                  Corkscrew
                                                                                                                                                                  A saucepan, a frying pan, and a big stock point
                                                                                                                                                                  Clean dishtowels and pot holders
                                                                                                                                                                  Clean and new sponge .. should be replaced between every rental
                                                                                                                                                                  Tea kettle ... not just a coffee maker
                                                                                                                                                                  Microwave

                                                                                                                                                                  WHAT I DO NOT WANT TO SEE
                                                                                                                                                                  Dirty, bent, or warped stuff
                                                                                                                                                                  Plastic dishes and glasses but no glass or ceramic dishes
                                                                                                                                                                  A dirty refrigerator with someone else's food in it

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: taos
                                                                                                                                                                    SWISSAIRE Jun 2, 2013 02:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Taos, I took your list and copied it into our rental condo inventory. Most was already in stock including a teapot. ( Imagine a teapot in coastal Brasil ).

                                                                                                                                                                    I was in Brasilia and Sao Paulo last month on business and flew up to Fortaleza to check on our properties including the problem renter I mentioned above. I personally went our and bought everything, taking the opportunity to restock each condo and inspecting at the same time.

                                                                                                                                                                    Two rental families asked if I would leave the plastic plates and fruit juice cups as they had children. No problem, it's the beach.

                                                                                                                                                                    But the inox new pans were appreciated. No more warped aluminum ( I found 2, discarding both ).

                                                                                                                                                                    The rental having the chap that tried to stay on had one couch replaced at his cost. And a glass table on the terrace.
                                                                                                                                                                    This our manager performed before the chap got his personal tv, etc back, as he was locked out. He balked at paying, but did so finally.

                                                                                                                                                                    It s a good list you made. Renters here like glass but also plasticware.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. StepsInTheCity May 1, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    We really need to thank the OP and each and every person here who took the time to leave their well-thought out replies. You were all absolutely indispensable in the set up of our new vacation rental!

                                                                                                                                                                    This is our first season as owners, and we wanted to make our guests as comfortable as possible. It's a studio apartment with a small kitchen, so there won't be huge family meals prepared, and since we're a block from restaurants downtown it probably won't be used much, but, we want happy guests!

                                                                                                                                                                    Weighing out each request with what was practical wasn't easy, but we read every single reply and came up with what we hope is a great balance.

                                                                                                                                                                    To name a few things, per your helpful guidance...

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ We decided on simple, tasteful, Corelle plates and acrylic drinking glasses for the safety of our guests, BUT, we'll replace anything that gets worn and we purchased real wine glasses and ceramic mugs for coffee/tea. (No promotional anything!)

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ We went budget with cooking implements and utensils, cookware and the like, but, we will discard them each season (or sooner if something is damaged) and get brand new pieces so they're never overly worn. Essentially, these items will be affordable enough to replace as needed and always be serviceable. (No peeling non-stick pans!)

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ Our housekeeper will sharpen the knives regularly - we really heard you guys on the dull knives!

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ We purchased a crockpot, a blender, a toaster, and a coffee maker. They are not the cheapest items, not the most expensive either. We selected affordable pieces with good reviews on Amazon. We hope the crockpot is really useful to our guests. We never would have thought of it without you guys!

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ The kitchen is equipped with a full size fridge that didn't have an automatic ice maker, but after so many of you commented about it, we got one for the freezer.

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ We hadn't thought of baking sheets for the gas range, but now there is a set of 3. Now guests can bake cookies and pizza! (There's a spatula and a pizza cutter too!)

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ We purchased serving pieces such as a bowl and platter, which we hadn't thought of at all! There are also soup/salad bowls and cereal bowls.

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ There are silicon oven mitts that can be disinfected.

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ We're providing a full inventory when guests reserve the unit, so they know what will be provided and what they need to bring. This was such a great idea. It allows them to be prepared and not have any surprises.

                                                                                                                                                                    ~ In true CHOW style, we're providing bottle waters, fresh fruit, microwave popcorn, and a big bag of pretzels on arrival for tired, hungry guests. AND, continental breakfast is included, stocked in the kitchen! Nom nom. :)

                                                                                                                                                                    There's so much more, but these were some that came to mind. Our guests are going to be really glad we found you! We're also going to add more and more items like a waffle maker and an iced tea brewer, as we go along. The exterior is currently being worked on, so we'll try to update the photos as soon as cleaning, painting and landscaping are finished. The season starts May 15th!

                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: StepsInTheCity
                                                                                                                                                                      juliejulez May 1, 2013 01:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Looks great! I'd love to rent that if I was ever in the area.

                                                                                                                                                                      One more suggestion I thought of, sort of along the lines of a list of good local restaurants, is a list of where people can go to buy groceries or something they might have forgotten... so like where the nearest grocery store or drug store is. Many people could probably just look on their phone, but just in case, it'd be nice to have some suggestions on paper :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: juliejulez
                                                                                                                                                                        StepsInTheCity May 1, 2013 02:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you, Julie! :)

                                                                                                                                                                        That's a great suggestion! We are working on a BIG binder full of recommendations, maps, menus, brochures, and local info.

                                                                                                                                                                        We weren't sure if people would just use their phone either, so it's good to hear that it could be helpful!

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh my gosh. I just remembered we need a guest book. :)

                                                                                                                                                                        Really appreciate your reply, hope you can come visit us someday!

                                                                                                                                                                        Meg

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: StepsInTheCity
                                                                                                                                                                        p
                                                                                                                                                                        pine time May 1, 2013 01:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Great "listening" to the posters. One more item (I came late to this board): decent reading lighting in at least one area (bedside, preferably). Can't tell you how often we've had to remove the lampshade just to be able to see the printed page!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                                                          StepsInTheCity May 1, 2013 02:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you so much for the reply and suggestion!

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm going to check on both of the lamps at the bedside to make sure they cast enough light. They're pretty big lamps, so I think so, but, I never got into the bed to test it for reading!

                                                                                                                                                                          If it doesn't work out, I guess we could supply those headlamps mechanics use.... ;)

                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks again! :)
                                                                                                                                                                          Meg

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: StepsInTheCity
                                                                                                                                                                          macca May 1, 2013 01:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Wow- Sounds great- you will have happy renters.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: macca
                                                                                                                                                                            StepsInTheCity May 1, 2013 02:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you so much, Macca, we sure hope so! :)

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: StepsInTheCity
                                                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                                                            Leepa May 1, 2013 02:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Looks lovely and I know people will be thrilled with it. Congrats!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Leepa
                                                                                                                                                                              StepsInTheCity May 1, 2013 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks so much for the compliment, Leepa, we really appreciate it!

                                                                                                                                                                              We've been worrying and worrying, wanting it to be perfect, and the first guests arrive this Friday, so your encouragement really means a lot. :)

                                                                                                                                                                              Meg

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: StepsInTheCity
                                                                                                                                                                              c
                                                                                                                                                                              CanadaGirl Jun 2, 2013 11:56 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              What a welcoming looking space.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                                                                                                                                                StepsInTheCity Jun 2, 2013 04:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you, we appreciate that! :)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: StepsInTheCity
                                                                                                                                                                                NonnieMuss Jun 2, 2013 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Now that Steps hasn't posted in a month, it's pretty obvious this is an advertisement. I think it should be taken down. It's lovely if someone takes the advice from this topic, but looks like they joined just to post this ad.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                                                                                                  Leepa Jun 2, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Except, of course, that there is no ad nor is there a link to a rental agency. Not at all obvious to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Leepa
                                                                                                                                                                                    NonnieMuss Jun 2, 2013 02:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Except they joined the site, posted their ad, then never came back or posted anything else. Under the "blog" link in their profile is instead a link to a rental site. Not a blog. Obvious to me, maybe not to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                                                                                                      Leepa Jun 2, 2013 04:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you imagine they made up their profile, too? Maybe they own those five restaurants and want to secretly advertise them!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Leepa
                                                                                                                                                                                      StepsInTheCity Jun 2, 2013 04:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      We appreciate your support. :) We do follow what is posted here and try to respond to those who comment about our rental. We have taken as much of the advice given here as we could within our space and budget limits.
                                                                                                                                                                                      We do feel it has turned into quite a nice unit and we feel it will continue to evolve as we learn more about what people want and need in a rental.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Again, thank you for jumping in and defending us. :)
                                                                                                                                                                                      Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                      StepsInTheCity Jun 2, 2013 04:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, NonnieMuss, the sole reason we created an account here was to thank everyone for their comments and let them know that they were appreciated. And we also wanted to post our changes so people would see that their advice was welcome and acted upon. We have not created any new posts, but we did try to respond to each comment people left about our rental.
                                                                                                                                                                                      We're sorry that we don't have a blog, but we do have a website. No spammer in the history of spam takes the amount of time we did to respond and thank people. If they did, there would be far less spam in the world because they wouldn't have time to send it.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, Admin did ask us to remove a paragraph of our original post, which contained a special offer for the posters here, and we gladly complied.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess the lesson here is that what is obvious to some or one, may not actually be true.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: StepsInTheCity
                                                                                                                                                                                        NonnieMuss Jun 2, 2013 05:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I did not mean to imply there was any malicious intent; not spamming, but setting up an account, posting the rental website, then disappearing until today seemed suspicious. I meant no offense, as your posts have been gracious, but did appear to be solely for advertising purposes. If that was not the case, then I apologize.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                                                                                          StepsInTheCity Jun 2, 2013 05:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          It was absolutely not the case. One reason we haven't continued posting is that we are so busy renovating the rental, including the outside now that the weather is somewhat warmer. We DID scour this discussion and try to include all the advice we could. We simply wanted to let everyone know that what they post here is appreciated and important, especially for first-timers like us.
                                                                                                                                                                                          We are doing our best to make the rental nice, but, while not minimizing our own efforts, knew that the power of the many more minds and "eyes" in this discussion is enormous! :)
                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you for being so courteous.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. q
                                                                                                                                                                                    Querencia May 2, 2013 12:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    In self-caterings all over Europe I have had a microwave but no stove, a range top but no oven, and only two pans (one skillet and one saucepan). I have had a refrigerator with a freezer compartment that had to be defrosted daily. I have had a refrigerator with no freezer at all. I have had pans so crappy I had to go out and buy some. I have had no coffee pot so that we filtered our coffee through a piece of cloth into an empty mayonnaise jar. Whatever. I have learned to assess what's there to cook with before I go to the store. What would I like to find in a vacation rental kitchen? Cleanliness. For the rest, I will cope.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. f
                                                                                                                                                                                      foiegras Apr 4, 2014 02:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      What I don't want is a can opener I can't figure out how to use (this has happened). I've owned several different designs, and this one was none of them.

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