My sweetheart, W., presented me with a charming salt grinder for my birthday a few weeks ago and a promise to visit the Oaktown Spice Shop to pick up a fancy salt and a mystery ingredient. Before I learned how to cook the prospect of a mystery ingredient would have been alarming and paralyzing, but now that I'm more comfortable in the kitchen I was pretty excited.
I was a little overwhelmed when we got there - so many jars! So many different spellings! - but managed to stay mostly on task. All the staff is incredibly nice and helpful, and I'm sure you can imagine my delight when one of them turned out to be an undercover PPK fan! They let you smell and taste the spices, which is wonderful. I tried the Kala Namak since I've had my eye on the omelette recipe from Vegan Brunch; my hands smelled ridiculously eggy for quite a while afterwards.
There aren't as many organic spices as I would like, but that's purely a matter of personal preference and there are spices I have a hard time finding an organic supplier of anyways. And so, along with some good-natured teasing from W., I selected several items for my basket.
I went home with Cyprus Wild Mushroom Sea Salt, Kala Namak, Baharat, and Barberries (Zereshk). This is obviously more than one fancy salt and one mystery ingredient, but I do have a sweetheart who spoils me. I had a really lovely time wandering about this tiny delight of a store and taking it all in. I love living and cooking in Oakland -and I love supporting local businesses so I'll be back for sure. I don't want to give anything away, but I've got my eye on some Jamaican Curry Powder.