I'm trying to keep a simple kitchen, but the Microplane grater has scraped its way into my heart.
After one too many meals where we ate citrus "zest" that came in chunks made by my box grater, Mrs. HowChow splurged on the Microplate grater -- a thin cousin of the wood rasps that I loved in middle school shop class. It's a revelation. The grater scrapes off zest in seconds, and the result is microscopic, almost a foam of zest instead of the chunks that I had been passing off before.
My favorite discovery has been ginger run through the Microplane. My simplest Asian dipping sauce is soy sauce flavored with rice wine vinegar, a dash of sesame oil, and grated ginger. Ginger from the Microplane almost dissolves, making it perfect for the water dumplings from Andrea Nguyen's Asian Dumplings cookbook. It takes seconds to grate, and just seconds more to clean. (Better than the garlic press that Mrs. HowChow would throw away in a flash).
You can buy the Microplane grater at Williams Sonoma in the Columbia Mall or you can buy it on Amazon. Amazon pays me a commission on referral sales. Williams Sonoma gives out brownie samples if I walk it at just the right time of day.