I have a set of aluminum (I think) scalloped edge tongs I bought for less than $1 down in Chinatown back in 1989. I love those things. Use 'em all the time.
I have a Capresso programmable coffee maker with a burr grinder. Paid about $200 for it back in 1994. It's been woth every penny. You can program it to actually grind the coffee just before it's brewed. Fresh ground coffee in the morning. Priceless. Capresso is also good to their word. Lifetime warranty on the grinder and they replaced it for me, for free, last summer with a whole new machine.
I also like my edgeselect knife sharpener.
I have a LeCreuset cast iron dutch oven. Favorite thing to cook with.
But, by far --- even though it may be a little off topic --- my favorite kitchen item is my granite countertop. It just adds so much flexibility to your cooking. I can take pots red hot right off the stove and put right on the counter. Makes serving and cooking big meals a breeze. There's low maintenance and then there's no maintenance.
Yup! The have the same limitations as granite. Like you said different look, same function. I'm acutaully delivering one for a bathroom vanity tomorrow! Heres a pic of a bar we did recently! The entire bar is concrete, including the front risers!