Tuesday, October 28, 2014

SOS Chefs - Amazing Spices and Other Food Products for Professionals

We had a catered party a couple of weeks ago and the chef was a Tunisian named Sami. We talked a lot about food, and about great products and where to find them. He told me to go to SOS Chefs, in the East Village, and tell the lady that Sami the Tunisian chef sent me. 

So I finally made the journey to Avenue B between 6th and 7th Streets today, and it is quite a place! As Sami said, the range and quality of the spices is amazing, but please note that they charge for it. I was helped by a lovely young woman who kept bringing me spices to try, and of course I ended up buying a number of them. When I introduced myself to the owner, who it turns out is also Tunisian, I was treated to a tour of the mushroom room in the back, where a huge variety of mushrooms are stored pending orders by New York's chefs. Also nuts and other perishable items: I drooled over the Sicilian pistachios, but was able to resist them due to the $100 per pound price tag.

Timut Peppercorns
Sicilian Pistachios
Spices and Black Garlic from SOS Chefs
I did indulge in some Nepalese Timut pepper, of which I tasted a single grain and enjoyed a tingling tongue for 20 minutes, rather like a cross between Szechuan and black pepper. I'm really looking forward to using it, and it is already loaded into a grinder. The other spice I bought were ones that I needed or bought in order to upgrade my existing pantry, like incredibly fragrant Aleppo pepper that blows the stuff I had away. And I was talked into a head of pungent black garlic, which I must figure out how to use.

SOS Chefs also has a great selection of grains, oils, pastas, beans and other items that I am forgetting. A long way to go from the Upper West Side, but a fun visit.

Bobby Jay

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