Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Spice up Your Life
Today, I woke up, still tired from six days of working, with private parties on top of the restaurant guests and room delivery. I didn't get out of bed until after 3:00. I was tired enough to be content to lie around all day, but I was on a mission. I have been wanting to-no, yearning to-make Danish dough and need cardamom, so I went to one of the best places on earth: The Spice House. The chefs at school told us about it, but I didn't go for a long time. When I finally did go, I could have kicked myself for not going sooner.
Located in Chicago's Old Town, the exterior has an old world charm. The wood floors and brick walls make it feel as though it's been there forever, waiting patiently for you to discover it. When you walk in you smell exotic spices, peppers, herbs. Forget about shopping at the grocery store for spices, now that I've found this place, I won't disgrace my spice cabinet with that other stuff. I mean, why pay $5 for stale spices that were ground so long ago they've lost their kick when you can buy any spice you need there by the ounce (some at a half ounce), many for less than $2 per ounce. Though I went for cardamom, I ended up leaving with Tellicherry Black Peppercorns (picked up some for dad too) and Indonesian cinnamon sticks. I almost picked up tomato powder, cocoa powder (natural and Dutched), cacao nibs (I have some in the cabinet already) and Fleur de Sel, but I had to practice constraint. I left without exploring an entire wall, but that's just an excuse for me to return. I'm always inspired when I go, dreaming of foreign dishes and want to buy the place out.
I'm excited about trying my new peppercorns. They're a variety of Malabar and are the highest grade. They are sometimes not available on the market (black market black peppercorns?). According to the label, the berries are left on the vine longer which give them exquisite bold fruitiness. I'll be shopping for a pepper grinder for my dad and sending him a package for his new apartment. He likes pepper, so I know he'll love these.
Later in the evening, I went out to dinner with my friend to Azha Restaurant on West Belmont. It was pretty good. I took a photo of my appetizer, and we chatted and drank (BYOB) and it wasn't until I'd picked up the last piece of broccoli with my chopsticks that I realized I hadn't photoed my entree. Oh well, I'm full and happy. We then went to pick up her daughter and stopped by a friend's house for a quick minute. So now it's a quiet evening in with a movie, resting up so that I can make dough tomorrow morning.
Posted by Erin at 3:52 PM