Sunday, March 15, 2009

Exploration #2

Yesterday, I spent the day exploring. It was our second weekend with temperatures over 40, and there are a couple of stores I had heard about that I wanted to go see for myself.

My destination was north Cambridge/Somerville, so I hopped on a bus. First stop was Inman Square. Some local friends had recommended I visit Christina's, an ice cream shop with a little spice shop on the side. The spices were what drew me there.

Christina's was an odd little shop, but a creative cook's dream. It was sort of grimy and felt unorganized, with little packages of spices in sawed off cardboard boxes. But the selection was amazing. I saw things I've never heard of before: baharat, quatre spice, and galangal, as well as a few that I'd heard of but never seen: juniper berries, annatto, chervil, and unground mace. (Interesting side note: did you know mace comes from the nutmeg?) I left with a package of Vietnamese cinnamon and mild curry. Unable to go away without trying the ice cream, though, I went next door and got a scoop of ginger molasses ice cream. Yummy!!

After finishing up at Christina's, I took the Route 83 bus up to the corner of Elm St and Somerville Ave. I had read on yelp that there was a great little tea shop there - The Tea Zone. It too was an odd little place: it had lovely shelves with tea jars on them, but the entrance of the shop was cluttered with shipping supplies and empty boxes. It felt like a warehouse that let customers walk in.

Nevertheless, from reading online, I knew that the shop let people buy samples of any tea for 99c each, so I loaded up on everything that smelled good: Cherry Blossom Green, Pear White, Cinnamon Apricot, Almond Rooibos, Tropical Rooibos, Dragon Well Green, and Yunnan Black. The shop attendant didn't care how many samples I bought; he concurred that the best way to know whether you like a tea is to drink it, so I was welcome to take home as many as I wanted. I'm hoping to find some favorites amongst these and have a reason to go back!


meg said...

so good to hear you're finding another outlet for your addiction!

Sarah said...

Ooh, I have not found any place for bulk spices, much less unusual ones. I might have to ask you to send me some.

Steph said...

I think it's so cool that you have good public transit!!

yellowinter said...

sounds like a delightful exploration. that tea shops sounds great! maybe i could be your driver next time. :)