A cheap panini maker is one of the best appliances i think have have bought. I use it at least a couple of times a week. I have used in the past the george foreman type grill and cast iron pans. To me there is nothing that produces results like a panini maker. Here is the unit i got:
Amazon.com: Breadman TR456 Panini Maker: Home & Garden
If you look at the reviews you can tell that people really like it. Its large, has a lot of heft to the lid so it produces nice results. You can get this unit for under $40 shipped. I absolutly love it. I would have like to have some of the features on the cuisinart gridler like removable plates so you can put them in the dishwasher but for over $100...i don't think so.