Last week I visited the wonderful Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland, across from Lake Merritt. I was not planning to do any book events in the Bay Area, I was just going to enjoy hanging out, but Oaktown co-owner John Beaver and I got into a prolonged twitter discussion about Persian spices, particularly the seasoning mixture advieh, so I decided to ask him if he wanted to do a book signing at the store.
I am so glad I did, I am now a huge fan of this charming shop. They hand grind all their spices so they’re really fresh, they carry an interesting, unique selection of spices, including all the Persian ones, and they are from Milwaukee, WI! This last fact means that they are super nice, and that Friday nights at the store are polka night! These guys actually used to work with famed Milwaukee spice company Penzey’s, so they’ve learned from the masters.
For my book signing, John himself made the Yogurt with Beets recipe from the book. Even more exciting, he created a New Persian Kitchen gift box that contains dried limes, rose buds, sumac, barberries, Spanish saffron, and pretty much all of the spices that you need to make the recipes from my book. Oh yeah, and a copy of The New Persian Kitchen. I love that you can buy Persian spices from this place, because it’s an independent store, and I can vouch for the high quality. Not to mention that it’s one of the few stores in San Francisco or Oakland/Berkeley where you can find Persian ingredients.
If you’re in need of a unique holiday gift for the cooks in your life, check out their cool selection of spice gift boxes, and if you live in the area, be sure to stop by this special store.