Tag Archives: Review

EDC Flashlight Reviews

AceBeam EC35 Review

Here is my review of the Acebeam EC35 in Neutral White LED color. Check this light out at Bestlight.IO https://goo.gl/g69jzz

Flashlight Reviews

ArmyTek Wizard Pro V3 Review

Use the coupon code RED for 10% future orders on ArmyTek.com

This is my first ArmyTek light and after having it a few weeks and using it frequently, I don’t think it will be my only one for too long. Flashlight enthusiasts on the internet, especially on reddit are quick to recommend the ArmyTek Wizard line of right angled lights and headlamps for a variety of uses. I am glad that ArmyTek sent me one for review so I could experience why it’s one of the most recommended brands out there. I can clearly see why. During this review I will be comparing the ArmyTek Wizard Pro V3 with my recently reviewed Olight H2R. Both are headlamps of very similar size, using the same LED and similar battery sizes. Comment down below and let me know what you think of this light.

Complete Photo Gallery – http://imgur.com/a/nEa3p

Headlamps are useful not only as a headlamp, but in this case as an EDC, when repairing cars and around the house hold. Not only will it tail stand but it will stand on it’s head or on either of the sides. A light like this is useful for strapping onto your chest, or straps on a backpack or tent.

Design & Coating

Size wise this is almost identical in length to the Olight H2R, and it’s very similar in diameter too. With the more square head it’s slightly larger in the pocket. Weight wise without batteries they are 2.85oz for the Wizard and the Olight H2R is 2.22oz. Here is a picture where I lined up several similarly sized lights so you could see the size.

 

When I first got the light I was worried that the button on the side of the light would be a problem due to how it sticks out of the light. However it’s a firm press and has not been an issue other than the one time I was laying directly on it. The button is translucent and has a multicolored LED underneath that it uses to display information such as heat, mode, etc.

 

This light is coated in a mat black finish that is slightly grippy. It’s a finish I have not seen on any other flashlights. The one bad thing about this coating is that it does show scratches and abrasions worse than normal anodized aluminum. I keep my phone and light in the same pocket usually, and have noticed it seems like I have more wear on the coating then normal, some paint seems to wear off my phone case and transfer to the body of the light. Most of these rub off with a little water.

 

The design of this light has a few aggressively shaped areas that I find attract more dust and pocket lint than normal. Up near the head there are several sharped cooling fins, and between these they attract a good amount of dust and lint. Then at the bottom the transition between the body and  tail cap also collects a good amount of dust/dirt around the first oring, the good news is it doesn’t get beyond this point. I think that’s the purpose of this dual oring is to provide water and dust resistance even when the tail cap isn’t 100% screwed on like if charging or in manual lockout.

 

This light is a little aggressive on the labeling in my opinion. I prefer a flashlight with minimal labeling and this one doesn’t get my stamp of approval in that regard. It has labeling on top, on the side, and around the tail. It’s larger white letter on the black body do stand out.

 

Performance

This light uses a Cree XHP50 and combined with its diffused TIR style glass lens it’s primarily a flood. This one is the white variant and it’s fairly neutral but not warm. ArmyTek lists it as having a 70 degree hot spot and a 120 degree spill. Range of brightness is anywhere from 0.15 lumens on firefly 1 to 1800 Lumens on Turbo. Run times range from 40 Days on Firefly 1 to 1 hour on Turbo 2 (if proper cooling is supplied).

 

Modes

If you are familiar with other recent ArmyTek lights then the interface is the same as those. If you are new to ArmyTek like I was there is a bit of study needed. The entire 3rd page of the manual covers how this light operates. I am not going to go over everything in this review but will go over the high points. This light is organized into 4 mode groups. The brightness in each sub group is memorized

 

  • Group 1 – 3 Firefly Modes
  • Group 2 – 3 Main Modes
  • Group 3 – 2 Turbo Modes
  • Group 4 – 3 Special Modes

 

From off

  • One click turns the light onto its previously memorized mode and brightness.
  • Two clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in main mode.
  • Three clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in Turbo mode.
  • Four clicks turns it onto the previously memorized brightness in special modes.

 

Long pressing the button from off cycles through the available modes Firefly through Turbo 1.

 

From On

  • One click turns the light off
  • Two clicks turns from firefly to main or main to firefly or special/turbo modes to main mode.
  • Three clicks goes to turbo mode
  • Four clicks goes to special modes

 

2 Philosophies of use – General and Tactical. General is a normal flashlight, click the button and the light stays on. In Tactical it turns the button into momentary, so the light is only on when the button is pressed. To switch between them you unscrew the tail cap by ¼ turn and then press and hold the button, while screwing in the tail cap.

 

Battery Level Indicator – Uses the LED under the button to flash a series of colors every 5 seconds. Green is between 75-100%, Yellow is below 75%, Double yellow, is below 25%, and double red every second is below 10%. The light doesn’t do this in Firefly mode and you can turn this feature off by a series of button presses and cap rotations.

 

High Temperature indicators – When the light reaches 60C brightness decreases in small steps to cool down.Once cool it will step back up to deliver the most light possible. Timed step down is not used in this light. As temps increase you get a series of LED color indicators on the button. Warning is 3 orange flashes, at critical temps you get 3 flashes in one second.

 

Beamshots can be found on the video  https://youtu.be/3Kc_LjbqV3c?t=11m31s

Charging system/battery + Parasitic Drain

Having onboard charging of lithium flashlights isn’t anything new. Lot’s of manufactures do this in a variety of ways. You have seen me talk about Olight’s magnetic charging in past reviews. More recently the concern about live contacts and the dangers of potentially shorting the battery have become more vocal. The ArmyTek system was designed from the beginning to alleviate these concerns and it’s one of the best systems out there for this. Let me explain how it works.

 

The Charging cable itself is white, and uses USB on the input end. On the other end is a magnetic connection with several LED’s inside. The tail cap has a large recessed center pin and a smaller outside ring. To charge the light you need to slightly unscrew the tailcap. Due to how it’s anodized when it’s tight it breaks the circuit. Unscrew it a little and the circuit is complete and the charging begins.  The LED’s are solid red while charging, Red and blinking if there is a problem (Forget to unscrew the tailcap slightly?) and solid green when charged. They also use a diode in the tail cap to prevent short circuiting via the exposed tail caps should you forget to screw in the cap after charging. The other big benefit is that you can charge any normal battery that fits. No proprietary batteries! The downsides to this system is that it’s a little slow to charge by modern standards. I measured it at 0.7A when the battery was at about 40% capacity and charging. If the battery is discharged a good amount this means charging via the built in charging may take several hours (5+). You must lay this light down or stand it on its head when charging. That’s one place where I do like the Olight charging system better.

 

Included was an ArmyTek flat top cell without protection. It’s recommended that you use a battery that can maintain 7A discharge in order for Turbo mode to work. Parasitic drain was measured at 0.05 mA.

 

Thermal Management

The thermal management in this light is active. Using Turbo for instance the light will provide as much light as possible until it gets to 60C and then it will step down the light giving it time to cool, and then it will power up again to deliver maximum possible brightness assuming the battery has enough voltage. So if you are in a situation where you have a fan or wind cooling the light it will run brighter longer. During my standard test, at 1 minute during Turbo the light reached 111F.  I don’t have the equipment to test and graph  the step up and down but I can show you with a glass of ice water.

 

I don’t often write about the manuals of many flashlights, but in this case I want to say it’s the most complete manual I have seen on a flashlight. It does a good job of explaining its features and has great grammar and spelling. This isn’t a poor translation, I believe it’s written by native english speakers. I think this is a benefit from this flashlight being Designed in Canada and not overseas.  I highly recommend a read through or two of this manual to better understand all of it’s modes and available options.

 

The packaging is a nice white, retail box with a few key details on the outside. Inside is a plastic shell that holds all the goodies. Inside you have the flashlight and an Armytek branded high discharge flat top battery, extra orings, headstrap, handstrap, nylon plastic cradle, and the manual printed in color.

 

As a Headlamp

Some assembly is required with the headstrap. The manual has a section with diagrams that shows how to set it up which is nice because it was a little confusing. I decided to install my headstrap without the over the top piece. I didn’t find it was necessary with the weight of the light when I was using it on home repairs, and an oil change during my testing. It also comes with a handstrap. I didn’t use this during testing but it’s a nice touch. I could see attaching it to the strap of a backpack, or for use when running.  The straps themselves are an elastic cloth that seem pretty sturdy. They are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The plastic cradle is a nylon I would guess as it’s pretty flexible. It has cuts in the top, and both sides to make it easy to remove. My one negative is that when mounted on the strap the mount itself can slide around pretty easily instead of staying in place on the band .

 

As an EDC

I was skeptical at first of carrying a right angle light as an EDC but after the Olight H2R it worked pretty well. The Armytek Wizard V3 is even better due to it’s pretty fantastic clip design and button. The clip might be my current all time favorite of any flashlight I own. It’s deep enough carry, but sticks out enough to easily go on many different types of pockets, or bag straps. It’s rigged yet flexes if needed. My only wish is that it was parkerized black or cerakote instead of a polished tumbled finish. It takes quite a bit of effort to pull the clip on or off the light and it does leave some light scratches on the finish. It seems to rub off though. The clip is not fixed in place so it does rotate if you want it to. The button is proud and protrudes from the light a decent amount. I have had it come on once by accident in my pocket but that was only after I was laying on that side of my body. Due to the smart modes on this light, it didn’t come on in turbo so burning myself or clothes wasn’t a problem. The light does offer lockout if you unscrew the tailcap slightly. I will also add that due to the charging system I covered above there is no worry about shorting the battery while carrying the light in your pocket due to a diode being used and the disabling of the exterior contacts when the cap is screwed on tight. The light also features a pretty strong magnetic base that has no trouble holding the weight of the light to a metallic object securely.

 

Summary

The Armytek Wizard Pro V3 is a fantastic headlamp and EDC in my opinion and testing. It’s peak performance isn’t quite as high as the Olight H2R but it’s advanced mode options, advanced thermal managements, and well thought out safe charging system all for a slightly lower price than the competition make it a very good choice for a fancy headlamp, and an 18650 floody EDC option. The Olight H2R has a more simplistic mode map, but also doesn’t do nearly as many things or has as many modes. Being my first ArmyTek light, I found the modes took some study to fully understand and remember but once I did they made good sense. I think this makes a fantastic choice for a headlamp but can also be used for an EDC, or general purpose light.

 

Pro’s

  • Active thermal management allows the light to be the brightest it can be but keep temps safe. Allows up and down management of lumens.
  • Safest built in charging system, works with any 18650 battery that fits.
  • Very well built with an excellent 10 year warranty
  • Excellent pocket clip for EDC carry

 

Con’s

  • Exterior writing on the light is more than I like to see.
  • The modes are a little complex without first reading the manual. Once you understand they are very logical.
  • Not the fastest built in charging system but probably the safest

Use the coupon code RED for 10% future orders on ArmyTek.com

Up Next is the Acebeam EC35 NW

EDC Flashlight Reviews Review Reviews

Nitecore MT20C Review

I have had this for a while and realized I never did a video review of it.

To Purchase the Nitecore MT20C please use this link http://amzn.to/2qjbYqy

 

Review Reviews

Olight S30R Baton iii Review

 

Olight asked me if I would like to review their revised S30R Baton iii and I said I would. This is a pocketable thrower style light powered by an Olight 18650 battery that in Turbo mode produces 1050 lumens. It’s a pretty nice light  but slightly longer than the Olight S2R due to it’s different lens design to give it more throw. For more in depth review with night run shots, check out my video below.

 
If you are interested in purchasing the light you can find it a the links below.

Amazonhttp://amzn.to/2h68h6L
OlightWorldhttps://olightworld.com/store/flashlight/s30r-baton-iii.html
GoingingGearhttp://goinggear.com/flashlights/olight-s30r-baton-iii-1050-lumen-1-x-18650-cree-xm-l2-led-flashlight.html

 

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Cars Life Review Reviews Tech

Driving the Tesla Model S

Model S side

The Tesla Model S is kind of the halo “electric” car at the moment, and it really breaks the mold of a stereotypical electric car.  It is fast, sexy, and super high tech, yet drives almost normally. Being a car enthusiast, I had previously driven the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt locally; but with so few Tesla showrooms and service centers in the country, it’s hard to have the opportunity to drive a Tesla, especially in Nebraska.

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to test drive a Tesla Model S on May 3, 2014 in Omaha, Nebraska. I had spotted a post on the Tesla Facebook page saying they were taking reservations for a test drive, so I signed up. They called me the next day and confirmed.

They had 4 cars on display in the corner of a parking lot.  All were the P85 variant (the big battery model), and some had quite a few options, so sticker prices ranged from about $80k-$107k. Quite a few people were hanging around the car that was charging while a Tesla employee answered questions.  Having read several reviews of the car and watching several videos of it, I had quite a bit of knowledge to draw from for my test drive.

My time slot came up and I scanned my drivers license, typed in a little info on an ipad and went for a test drive.  The car is so quiet that in a somewhat crowded environment, people kept walking behind the car when we were trying to back out of the parking spot. Their mouths kind of dropped open when they saw this car come at them silently.

The Driving

Acceleration – Instant torque is addicting. Really addicting.  The acceleration in the Model S is so smooth and linear. It definitely pushes you back into the seat in a very satisfying way. Its speed and power are deceiving because of how quiet it is. In a gasoline powered car the engine gives you an indication of the speed you’re going; the S doesn’t have that, so it was very easy to go faster than the law says you should. It would be interesting to see if Model S owners get more speeding tickets because of it. I can verify that traction control is pretty effective too. When you give the S a lot of acceleration off the line, the traction control will come in and make sure you keep things on the road and straight; it does give the sensation of wiggling around a little though.  It was fun.  Because the Model S has no transmission or torque converter like in an automatic transmission, the car doesn’t creep along at low speeds. Tesla has added this creep mode as a software mode if you miss it. It takes a little getting use to in non creep mode.

Brakes – The Model S brake feel was nice and linear under normal street driving. Tesla has taken an interesting approach, giving you the option of a maximum regeneration mode or a low regeneration mode.  It’s a simple setting on the 17” touchscreen center console.  In the low generation mode, the car will coast much like a normal car with an automatic transmission with low drag.  The downside of this is that it will generate much less energy to put back into the batteries and extend range.  In maximum generation mode when off the accelerator it feels much more like you have downshifted on a car with a manual transmission. The feeling of drag is increased quite a bit. It’s essentially using electric motors as an engine brake by using the electric motor to generate electricity..  It takes a little getting used to since you don’t have to touch the brakes nearly as much in city driving. For instance, when coming down a hill, instead of coasting down the hill you actually may have to just use the lightest input on the accelerator to maintain speed.  The benefits of this is it’s extend range optimally. Tesla says that this also greatly decreases brake rotor and pad wear because you’re not using them as much to slow the relatively heavy car.

 

Steering/Suspension – The Model S is the safest car on the road, and part of that has to do with how stiff the chassis is. That stiffness really adds to the sportiness of the car.  The suspension is stiff, but well damped so it’s not harsh, but also not “Lexus” smooth.  I would call it european inspired suspension. The car corners pretty flat, and in normal street driving hides its weight pretty well, I thought.  That stiffness also made the car feel really solid and well built. Our test car (829 miles on the odometer) had no squeaks or shudders. It would be interesting to compare a model with the sport suspension option. The steering was a nice weight and some road feel feedback.

 

The Interior

The 17” touch screen that serves as the cars center console and main control unit for all configurable things in the car really is the top interior feature.  The large screen and first HD backup camera that can optionally be used when driving were great.  The layout and navigation were really logical and intuitive of the controls and options. The UI was fast, and the cas a web browser build in to search for anything or read a website. Navigation was by Google Maps so it was great and always updated. The only driving control I was hunting around for was to put it in park (I will blame wanting to continue the test drive, I think it probably had enough range left to make it back home 🙂 )

2013-tesla-model-s-interior-photo-498135-s-1280x782

For what the car cost, the seats should have been better. After visiting the BMW Welt in Germany my benchmark is admittedly a bit high when it comes to seats though. The Model S I drove had the standard seats, and while stylish, they lacked some adjustability and didn’t have enough side bolstering to match the car’s performance.  With approximately a 300 mile range, you’re not as likely to be in one without a break as long as you would in a diesel or gas European luxury sedan in the same price range. The flat floor (no transmission tunnel) was really nice, and made the middle rear seat much more useable.  Someone who is tall might have problems sitting in the back seat without hitting their head on the roof.  The interior design was minimal but nice.  The design of the door handles are by far my favorite interior design feature.  I didn’t care for the dark gray walnut wood trim on the dash, and would have probably prefered a carbon fiber or dark, warmer wood color.

 

Model S door

 

The key of the car is pretty cool, as you would expect. It’s a fob and there is no traditional key.  It’s actually a Hot Wheels sized model of the Model S in black that is a bit more streamlined. Touching the model (key) on the trunk for a second or two will pop the trunk. Walk up to the car with the key in your pocket and the door handles automatically come out and it unlocks. The car is always on and ready to drive; sitting in the driver’s seat and putting your foot on the brake to put it into drive is all you need to do, no push button start or turning of a key. There is also no shutting it off, you touch the button for park and get out, the car locks and shuts off itself.

Model S Key

 

Conclusion

Coming into the test drive the car was already sitting on a pedestal. My test drive was short but for the most part it met and exceeded expectations.  For me the standouts were the acceleration, large center console screen, general technology, and its sexy lines. It’s an expensive car, and for most people it probably would not be your only car unless you had access to something with more range for long trips. That will change as electric charging, especially the Tesla Super Charging stations, becomes more common. For me it would be a great daily driver: fast, sexy, super safe, and minimal day to day costs.  The main barrier right now for most is the cost. It’s still quite an expensive car. Tesla is rumored to be coming out with a less expensive smaller 3 series competitor that will be more affordable for the masses.  By that time they should have a more robust charging network too. That will be more of a revolution for the masses.  Until then, the Model S is a great example of how good an electric car can be made, especially in the USA. It makes a few sacrifices and has some great benefits.

2014-05-03 12.11.06

The Frunk (Front Trunk)
The Frunk (Front Trunk)

Tesla1

News Review Reviews

Nexus 7 2013 and Chromecast Mini reviews

Nexus 7 2013

I have been a very happy original Nexus 7 owner since day one, but the tablet has gotten quite a bit slower as it ages.  It seems this is a problem with the I/O and android 4.0+. (4.3 is said to improve this, btw).  I decided to upgrade mainly because of the increased storage (upgrade from 16gb to 32gb) and better screen.  So far I am not disappointed at all.  Below are my quick thoughts. Great full length reviews are also online from The Verge, Anandtec, Engadget, Android Central, and others.

 

Pros

  • The screen is a game changer.  Colors are great, it’s bright, and the high resolution (Think “Retna”) looks fantastic.  It’s an improvement in everything.

  • Blazing fast. Everything is much faster. Even the processor itself is faster. I think the biggest difference is the faster storage.

  • The build quality seems to be a large improvement. Despite being plastic it really seems like a solid construction.  It also feels much thinner in the hand.

  • Standby battery life seems to be improved over 50% when on WiFi.  I no longer need to charge it nightly.
  • Notification LED is a nice touch.

 

The Questions

  • Why is the power adapter on the Nexus 7 2013 edition smaller at 1.35A vs the Nexus 7 2012 edition which was 2.0A?

 

Cons

  • Audio – The speakers are a bit of a disappointment.  While stereo is nice, I was really hoping for more volume. I like to listen to podcasts or stream radio stations while in the same room, and the volume is just not that loud.  The internal noise when headphones are plugged in is vastly improved as well.

  • Google needs to differentiate in the Play Store between the versions of Nexus 7.  Currently by default they are just listed as “Asus Nexus 7” and the last date they were used.  Google should at least change the icon of the new Nexus to reflect the one they are using on the box and in promos.  You can go in and rename devices, but users should not have to do this.

  • Touch on my tablet seems to be a bit off once in awhile.  I am going to have to investigate this further to see if its an app problem or maybe a hardware issue.

  • There seem to be some GPS issues with certain apps.  This looks to be more of a 4.3 problem than a hardware problem in the new tablet.  Over time apps should update and this will get fixed.

Chromecast

When this was announced it was a surprise for pretty much everyone.  At $35 this is pretty much a no-brainer.

I had been looking for a way to get music to my receiver in the living room but be able to control it from my tablet or phone. Ideally I wanted the music source to be from my Google Music account, since I have everything uploaded there.  Initially I thought this would be an app and I would plug in my tablet to act as the server, but control it from my phone.  Turns out the Chromecast has this feature and it works really well.  From my tablet I can power on the receiver (TV can remain off) and  start music playing, all from anywhere in the house.  It’s pretty slick. I have my Chromecast hooked up to my Yamaha receiver in the HDMI 2 position with AC power.

Chromecast

There are 2 methods of the Chromecast streaming content.

Mobile Device to Chromecast

Right now there are only a handful of apps that officially support this.  Youtube, Google Music, Google Movies, and Netflix.  It’s really easy to use; you start a video or song playing and then hit the Chromecast button, and within about a second it starts playing on your TV/Receiver.  What is actually happening here is the Chromecast is playing directly from the cloud, allowing you to use your device to do other things, like social media etc.  You can create queues, pause, next, etc from your mobile device.

 

Computer to Chromecast

Computer to Chromecast works a bit differently than Mobile to Chromecast.  Computer to Chromecast requires you to use the Chrome browser, and install the Chromecast plugin.  From there it allows you to share a tab to the Chromecast.  You can display the text of a web page or most video.  The computer is transcoding this information and then sending it to the Chromecast over wifi, so it does take some power on the computer side.  I tried this on my i7 920 desktop and things worked well.  I tried a few websites (Crackel, JaylenosGarage, Vimeo) and everything worked.  There is also a trick that you can open local media files in Chrome using CTRL + O and these cast too.  The MP4 files that were H.264 encoded played well.  I also tried some MKV files I had and the video in these played well, however the audio did not.  Hopefully this is something that is added in the future.

Pro’s

  • Low Price, Small Size.  At $35 this is a no-brainer, Since I ordered early I received 3 months of Netflix as well, which makes it even cheaper. It’s a small dongle that fits about anywhere.

  • Setup could not have been easier with the app on my tablet. My one tip is if you have a long complex wifi password, email it to yourself first, and make sure you copy to your clipboard before you start the setup on the phone/tablet.

  • To steal a famous quote, “It Just Works!” It just works, as Google said it would. It’s only likely to get better from here.

 

Cons

  • AC adapter. This is one of those styles of adapters that can cover up the plugin next to it. On the positive side, Google did include a nice piece of velcro to keep the extra cord nicely bundled.

  • Limited native app support right now, but this should get better since the API is open.

  • No support for Mobile Chrome to Chromecast. Hopefully this will be added soon. I have a feeling that it was due to most hardware not having the power needed to transcode video fast enough.

 

The future potential of the Chromecast is huge.  While it’s not a Roku or Apple TV replacement quite yet, it’s still very useful.  At the $35 price level, you can’t complain about much.  It makes getting Youtube and Google Music/Movie content to your TV/Receiver super easy.  Beyond that, being able to quickly move a chrome tab from your desktop to tv is easy too.

Food Life Lincoln Restaurant Review Review Reviews

Greta’s Gourmet, Lincoln NE Review

It looks like I am turning into a food blogger. I enjoy trying lots of new places in town, so it’s fitting. I will need to remember the P&S camera since my cell phone photos are only so so.

Friday I packed my lunch and intended on eating it at work, but that all changed once I smelled coworkers warming up things in the microwave.  Browsing my stream on Google+ I noticed Brian’s postabout a great Friday burger deal from Greta’s Gourmet here in Lincoln.  Since this was fairly close to work I decided to give it a shot.I walked in and ordered the Greta Burger, which was the house ground beef patty with bleu cheese crumbles mixed in with the meat, seasoned with KC Steak seasoning.  This was served on a toasted gourmet bun with tomato, onion, and mixed greens.  I am a bleu cheese fan and have had several other bleu cheese burgers around town, but this one tops them.  It was very flavorful; every bite had a great bleu cheese flavor to it.  It was a juicy patty that was cooked perfectly, with a hint of pink in the middle. It was seasoned nicely and the onion was a great addition.  One of the problems with other restaurants bleu cheese burgers is that they are always messy.  Sometimes they crumble from too much bleu cheese or the bleu cheese just falls off the top. Since this one was mixed in it had none of these problems.  I had Sweet Maui Onion kettle chips, which were similar to a more subtle sour cream and onion flavor.  They were a good fit for the Greta Burger.

The atmosphere of the shop is nice.  It is a butchers shop so the cafe takes second place, but there are tables up against the window and some nice butcher block tables in the center.  It reminds me of a kind of deli that you would see in a place like NYC. It has a good lunch spot vibe.

For a total of $6.40 after tax I got a good sized gourmet burger, kettle chips, and a large iced tea.  I thought this was a pretty good deal.  It was cheaper than “Value” meal choices at the chain fast food places and much better food.  Compared with other gourmet burger places in South Lincoln, for what you get it was a great deal.  I plan on going back to try the other things on the menu.  They have a lunch special every day that ranges between $5-6 and chef specials on the weekend that they post to their Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

Update 10/05/12:  Since this original post I have been back to Greta’s probably a dozen times.  The Greta Burger (Blue Cheese) is my favorite.  The balsamic burger is my second favorite.  It really is the best burger in town in my opinion and the opinion of many people I have brought with me.  The potato salad is a great side, and the baked beans are to die for.  They are more of a cowboy bean with several different types of beans, and small pieces of meat.   I also recommend getting their house Iced Tea.   It is a black tea, but just a great blend.  Nothing fruity just great simple Iced Tea.  The specials on many of the other days are very good as well.  You really can’t go wrong with anything at Greta’s.  

Food Lincoln Restaurant Review Review

GUP Kitchen, Lincoln NE Review

GUP Cuban

WOW! is the one word way I would describe my experience for lunch on Sunday at Lincoln’s newest food truck. I found out about GUP Kitchen from friends and social media (both Twitter and Facebook). Their location hasn’t been convenient for me in the past, but on Sunday it did and I knew I had to give it a try.

GUP, stands for Ground Up and is a concept for both the food and way of making it. It comes from the idea that you should know where your food comes from; “literally from the ground up.” The reality is that everything you will eat is seasoned with hand-ground and custom-blended spices and sauces. Chef and Co-Owner, Erik Hustad studied Culinary Arts at The Art Institute of Seattle and came back to start GUP with cousin and co-owner, Gabriel Lovelace. http://eatgroundup.com/the-story/

GUP is a modern take on a food truck. It is actually a large trailer pulled behind a pickup truck. The white outside is decorated with their logo, website, twitter address, Facebook, QR code, etc. The menu is on a flat panel monitor too, pretty neat. From word of mouth I had heard that the Cuban Spiced Pork sandwich was fantastic so that is what I got along with the Mac n’ Cheese (More on that in a minute). Ordering was simple and quick.

From the first bite of my Cuban Sandwich I knew it was going to be good. The sauce makes this sandwich stand out from your average Cuban. There is a reason GUP calls it awesome sauce. It was a mayo based sauce with some unique spices. I could taste garlic, a little sugar, some citrus, and other flavors I could not really pick out distinctively, but that doesn’t matter, because it was amazing. The pork meat was very tender and juicy. It also had onions, lettuce, and small sweet peppers on it. I was a little surprised not to find pickles since this is pretty traditional on a Cuban. All of this goodness was served on a ciabatta roll from Le Quartier. I happened to eat this at my parents house and my dad wanted a bite. His response was that it was as good of Cuban Sandwich as he has ever had. I have to agree.

I had originally ordered Potato Salad with my sandwich but at the last minute decided to go with the Mac n’ Cheese because it had bacon in it. Typically Mac n’ Cheese is not something I order. It is never something I crave, but this was pretty good. This was a rich Mac n’ Cheese made with cheese, onion, and bacon added in. The bacon added something but not quite as much as I was expecting. With bacon the more the better right?

Service was fast and I enjoyed talking with the guys in the truck as they assembled my meal. They explained that it is tough to find locations where they can operate (Private Parking lots) because Lincoln’s laws do not allow them on public property or on in a parking place on,say, O street in Downtown Lincoln. Prices were very reasonable for the amount and quality of food I received. I paid $6.95 for a sandwich and it must have included a side as well because I was not charged for the Mac n’ Cheese. Portions were good, not huge but not small. I would put the value ranking higher than other “Fresh Local” food places in town with expensive overhead (Review of that place to come someday).

In conclusion I hope these guys continue to have success. Going in to the dark months of winter won’t be easy but their food is worth a trip into the cold outdoors to get. The food is outstanding, and I am happy to support young entrepreneurs in a family business venture. I will be going back and trying the Chicken Salad for sure and some of the other sides. I encourage everyone to find these guys (social media is the best way) and try them out.

GUP Kitchen Facebook Page
GUP Kitchen Twitter Page
GUP Kitchen Website