Review: Costco Carne Asada Bake

When Costco first announced their new Carne Asada Bake, I was a bit skeptical.  They did not have proper marketing material out for the Bake.  Instead they put up printed pictures of a poorly photographed Bake.  Though it did make it seem more authentically Mexican by doing so, it was also veiled in darkness, almost like a teaser.  As skeptical as I was, I decided to try it out.  Costco is renown for another delicious Bake, the Chicken Bake. With that, let’s get a taste of Costco’s latest offering.

Hardware:

Although the Carne Asada Bake might not be the sexist thing in the world, I find its design strangely compelling.  On the outside, you’ll find that the Bake is protected by a metal covering.  This is a nice touch because it acts as protection against scratches and doubles in functionality as a heat sink.  Speaking of heat, this thing gets HOT.  I had to  juggle it between my hands to keep it from burning when I first unboxed it.  It took about 3 minutes to reach optimum eating/holding temperature.

Under its protective layer lies a streamlined design that I think would have left Jonathan Ive impressed.  It is shaped like a bullet with sleek lines.  To make it a bit more edgy, Costco decided to sprinkle some cheese and melt it on the outside to give it a nice golden brown color and for added texture.  The bumps really help prevent the Bake from being too slippery.

Software:

If the hardware doesn’t impress you, then the software definitely will.  The Carne Asada Bake

has some of the most delicious software available on the market right now.  It’s even more tasty than Google’s Froyo. Inside I found deliciously tender pieces of steak in a marinade of sauces.  At first the sauce seemed a bit odd and really didn’t blend with with the rest of the interface but I quickly got used to it.  The sauce is what ties it all together.  According to Costco, the sauce is a mix of salsa and guacamole.  Since I cannot verify, I will have to take their word for it.  Diving deeper into the Bake and its software, I found bits of cilantro and green onion.  Also these are small touches, they certainly put the Bake above its competitor in its number of features.

Design vs. Utility:

Although the Carne Asada Bake is undeniably sexy, Costco has unfortunately decided to choose design over utility.  Throughout my road test, I found that the Carne Asada Bake had structural issues.  It cracked in two different places within minutes of removing its protective metal shielding.  Not good.  I think Costco should at least do a silent recall and address this flaw.  Perhaps I was just holding it wrong (I was holding it only with my left hand.)  Perhaps I needed to use both hands to cradle the Bake.  This is unfair to all the south paws out there.  Fix it, Costco!  Or at least provide us with free cases to hold the Bake together better.

Conclusion:

As a first second generation product, I expected Costco to produce a great sequel to its original Chicken Bake.  Though Costco has succeeded for the most part, there are a few design issues that keep the Carne Asada Bake from hitting another one out of the park.  Hopefully Costco will decide to fix the issue with holding the bake wrong.  Overall, I highly recommend it, even with its flaws.

*In all seriousness, the Carne Asada Bake is delicious.  Don’t hesitate to try one out.  Just watch out for the juices leaking out.*

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