Every year, my mother asks for a pepper mill for Christmas. Every year, I go looking for a really nice one, and end up frustrated, buy her one that I think is just "okay", and it ends up breaking/malfunctioning/being generally useless within 12 months. And so the cycle continues.
I'm looking for a GREAT pepper mill here. I mean, the pepper mill to end all pepper mills. One that will inspire poetry, long odes to its superior grinding power, its ability to handle many sizes/types of peppercorns, its wide variety of settings. A pepper mill for the long haul, as I'm sick of buying pepper mills every single year (and I get the sense that my mother is getting sick of receiving the same thing from me).
So, Chowhounders, I turn to you. Do any of you have a pepper mill without which you absolutely could not live? And a location (in Chicago, New York or online) at which to purchase this magical mill?
Suggestions for fantastic peppercorns would also be appreciated -- if I do track down this mythical mill, I'd love for my mother to be able to show off its prowess with the finest spices available.
Thank you all.