You know what’s a great place for spices? This one – the Spice Station, in Silverlake. Neatly tucked in a small alley, next door to Forage (also awesome), it’s a treasure trove of goodness. The Urfa Biber is great on roasted chicken thighs or breasts, and the Harissa and Berbere are fantastic on just about anything – good heat and good flavor. The latest find was Poseidon’s Catch – fantastic blend of dill and other green things .. for the grilled salmon. And don’t forget to pick up some Sweet Heat for your hot chocolate and Mole Blend for the .. well .. mole. So good.
If you’re going to Silverlake and the Spice Station, be sure to take a stroll across the street to one of the two best cheese shops in LA: The Cheesestore of Silverlake. A fantastic wealth of cheese (duh) but also knowledge. Only surpassed (and just slightly, i might add, since Silverlake’s proprietor is an alumni) by Norbert and his team at The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills (ask him about the ‘Illegal Mustard’ and taste the best Dijon you’ve ever had – smuggled or not).
Don’t forget to get a couple of flowerpot’s-worth of Basil, Rosemary and Thyme. It’s available at Trader Joe’s, Home Depot and all over. . . and makes such a difference when cooking. The Rosemary and Thyme are almost un-kill-able, and usually come back nicely after the (rough) LA winters. Basil is a bit more fragile, but still not rocket science. Just water and sun, i reckon. Also great is fresh mint, esp. for tea. It’s another one of those things that just grows and grows, and after you’ve made some tea with fresh mint and a dash of real sugar or honey, you’ll never go back to the bagged stuff (or Sweet ‘n Low or Equal, for that matter).