kitchen tools

Ode to the Panini Grill

I had a very foodie holiday season. And Santa brought me all sorts of new toys that I will eventually blog about. But a week after the holiday haze cleared, my beloved panini grill stopped working. I'd used it to make quesadillas that turned out perfectly, yet a few days later, it just would not turn on. Thus, I was stuck looking for a new panini grill, after all the sales were done. Grrr.

The newly not-working panini grill had been my first such electronic device. After two years of using it, I had learned a lot about what I would want in a grill. My old grill was difficult to clean, and took up all available counter space when in use. It as also difficult to tell when it was ready to use since its red light/ green light system was erratic at best. And, with its lack of temperature control, it was equivalent to using a really hot iron to toast your sandwich.

This is how I decided on the Cuisinart GR-4 Griddler. Unlike my old panini grill, this one had removable grilling plates that can even be washed in the dishwasher. It also comes with removable flat griddle plates, which, thanks to the ability to pop the lid and lay it out flat in 2 pieces, is great for making pancakes or french toast.

Since getting this home on Friday, I've used it to make buttermilk pancakes and grilled salmon. There are controls used to set it up for using the griddle or the grill, and regulating the temperature from low-medium-high-sear, giving me as much control with my cooking temperatures as my stove (and perhaps more so.)

The surfaces are truly non stick which makes it easy to clean. My last grill, with its non-detachable plates, was nearly impossible to get truly clean. It always felt somewhat grungy. Also, it comes with a notch out in the grill pans to drain grease, plus a cup to capture it, and a tool for scraping congealed grease off the griddle, so I have to mention again that it's really easy to clean.

The only difficulty I had was ordering this baby. I had two separate orders on macys.com be cancelled without notification to me due to it being out of stock for the foreseeable future (which begs the question of why would they let me place my order without telling me that?) I finally ordered it from Amazon, and had it in hand within days.

So, for once, it feels like my latest kitchen fatality was a good thing. I foresee using this one a few times every week, rather than once a month. Now, I need to get started with that wok I got from Santa...


Le Sanctuaire

Like everyone, I have a few places at which I simply do not allow myself to just "stop in." This includes Sephora, where a girl can easily drop a few hundred dollars on lip gloss and skin care products, and Anthropologie with all its cute dresses and sweaters that can easily blow a month's discretionary spending.

And that's why you won't see me traipsing up the stairs to go to 's SF outpost of Le Sanctuaire. It's hard enough for me to leave Sur La Table without coming home with some kitchen tool I can barely stuff into my overflowing utensils drawer. It would be dangerous for me to enter a place that supplies the tools and raw materials for all sorts of kitchen science projects. Just reading Amanda Gold's Chronicle article this morning made me fear for my wallet. Like I could leave a place like that without trying to procure some of my favorite supplies from Italy and France.

I run away in the face of such temptation.

Le Sanctuaire
315 Sutter St., fifth floor, San Francisco
(415) 986-4216