I was lucky enough to get a great gift from my parents for my birthday a couple weeks ago... a panini press! They had heard me mention before that I was considering buying one. Especially during the summer when it's just too hot to turn on the stove every night, I like to make sandwiches for dinner. I made several paninis, but didn't have a press. I'd just put a skillet on top of my sandwich and press it down, but my skillet wasn't very heavy and didn't do the best job of pressing it.
I hadn't made any paninis in a little while, and I had convinced myself that I didn't need to buy a panini press because I really don't have room to store it, and I didn't think I'd use it enough to justify the purchase. But, lo and behold, my parents bought me one! However, it's not your typical panini press. It doesn't plug in at all. It's basically just a grill pan with a heavy "lid" on top. The thing I really like about this is that it stores easily with my other pots and pans, it's so simple to clean, and it can be used as a grill pan, as well as a panini press.
Here is the one I have, and I love it! I broke it in by making my Greek paninis, and I'm sure I'll be making my brie, apple, and caramelized onion sandwich, too! Now I just need to come up with some more sandwich options, and maybe grill some veggies, too!