I got the Bella Cucina Rocket Blender at Macy’s a couple of months ago. It was on sale for $20 with a $10 rebate, so, after tax, I only ended up paying $12 for it (score!). Right now it’s $30+ shipping at Macy’s, and $27 at Amazon – quite a bit more.
I’d seen the ads for the Magic Bullet on TV, and this one seemed to work on the same principles, just at a much cheaper price. The reviews at Amazon were mixed, according to them the little blender works well, until it stops working altogether, sometimes after a few months. The parts are somewhat delicate, so it’s probably a good thing that we have to hand wash it anyway (as we don’t have a dishwasher).
I’ve used it for smoothies quite successfully, it crushes ice quite well. Recently I used it to make pesto sauce, also quite successfully. But it wasn’t until yesterday that I had an opportunity to try it for grinding spices – and I’m happy to say it ground cumin and fennel seeds beautifully. This is very important for me, as I haven’t had a way to easily grind spices. The mini chopper won’t do it, a simple pepper mill doesn’t do it either (at least with any ease), and a mortar and pestle are too hard to use, IMHO. So I’m thrilled. I finally can use whole spices and grind them as I need them.
September 2011 Update
I’ve now have this rocket blender for over 2 years. I don’t use it too much, but it’s still my favorite tool for small chopping, grinding and pureeing jobs. The girls use it to make smoothies all by themselves, and so far none of us have broken it. The thing has been dropped in the floor and survived. All in all I’ve been very happy with it and I’ll miss it when it breaks.