03.12.09: spice-hunting at Balducci's.

I found myself down in Westport this morning, and needing to kill some time, I decided to wander around Balducci’s for a while.  It was positively lovely–usually Michael and I will go there on a random Saturday on a gourmet excursion and have to fight for a parking spot and dodge shopping carts and irate customers, but at 10:45ish on a Thursday morning, not only did I have my pick of parking spaces, the store was experiencing delightfully light traffic (more likely because of the time of day rather than the general economic environment as my time visiting stores during an internship will attest), and I was at leisure to browse through the aisles at my own pace.

I didn’t want to be tempted by cheeses or other perishable goods this time around, so I focused on the fantastic selection of exotic spices and spice/herb blends that has led us to buy grains of paradies and tandoori seasoning during other trips; having no better half to curb my lust for the familiar orange-and-black tins in the comforting Futura font, I somehow managed to restrain myself in only buying two:

Spanish Paprika and Zahtar (otherwise known as Za'atar) Spice, from Balducci's

Spanish Paprika and Zahtar (otherwise known as Za'atar) Spice, from Balducci's

We were out of paprika, so I took it upon myself to pick up some fresh supplies; as for the Zahtar, well, I was inspired by the episode of Top Chef this season where they reconstructed Le Bernadin dishes and one of the fish dishes featured the spice blend, and I’m now fascinated with trying this in a number of iterations, including having just some bread and olive oil with a shake or two of this mixed in.

Hmmmm.  This olive oil and spice blend seems like a perfect accompaniment to the focaccia I’ll be making next week…stay tuned!


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