Silly name, but wonderful product. We realized this morning that we hadn't ever specifically raved about the Cuisinart Griddler to you (although it has been mentioned a few times on our sister site, The Kitchn), and in light of the best panini press award it won from Food & Wine, we need to tell you more.
Food & Wine Magazine's testers wrote: "Not only turns out a perfect pressed sandwich, with enough heat to melt cheese and warm meat quickly, but also opens up for use as a grill or a griddle. Removable plates make this press the easiest to clean."
This is one appliance we've seen that rarely goes on sale, and is relatively a big splurge when you can get other nice models for much less. But this is no uni-tasker appliance, and that's one of its best features. It comes with 4 plates, 2 for grilling and 2 for griddle-ing, and can be used either closed, like a panini press, or open, like a griddle. Those options make it worth the extra investment, especially if you live in a small space.
Also available is a "mini" Griddler, which is big enough for about 1 1/2 sandwiches at a time, and is perfect for really small kitchens. We saw it at Macy's, but it doesn't appear available on-line on their site right now.
The plates are removable for easy washing. The only drawback we've experienced, and it seems from other Amazon commenters that they've had the same experience, is that over time, the non-stick coating wears off on the grill plates (we don't use the griddle plates nearly as often). So far, though, this hasn't affected the quality of what we're cooking nor have things started sticking.