There are only a handful of things I have purchased as an adult that I consider indispensable: a Global chef's knife, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, my digital camera, my Jack Sack, my third wife, and a plastic football helmet with beer can holders on the side. My panini press would certainly have to make the list as well. There are very few sandwiches that can't be made better when grilled.
I first had a Bristol Farms panini about 6 years ago. My brother was on his way back from rowing in Marina Del Rey and picked up a Southwestern Turkey sandwich for me. It was a culinary revelation, comparable only to the first time I had a truly great pulled pork sandwich (Rum Boogie Cafe in Memphis.) I became addicted to them. After about a year and a half of buying them and having them pressed on the machine at Bristol Farms, I finally bought my own press.
The other night a friend and I got sandwiches to grill at home. I got my usual Southwestern Turkey - turkey, pepper jack cheese, and a spicy mayo-based sauce. I also got a chicken pesto with arugula and red onion. They both grilled up beautifully. A favorite side dish of mine at Bristol Farms is their "Chinese cole slaw." Admittedly, I am perplexed by the name, but it's a good mix of cabbage, oil, vinegar, noodles, green onions and sliced almonds. For some reason I enjoy eating it out of a wine tumbler.