There are several places I can only go with adult supervision. Some might suggest uneven ground (there’s that falling thing again). I can’t remember the last time I left a bookstore empty-handed…or in less than an hour. As a child, I used to negotiate for more books – further proof, perhaps, I should have been a lawyer.  As you can imagine, I am absolutely not trusted in grocery stores on my own. I have to have 4 different cheese (at least), and would you just look at those mangoes?! Avocados? Are they ripe (they almost never are)? Let’s make guacamole!

Kalustyan’s is absolutely one of those places. I want to tell you that it’s a specialty food shop but really, it is so much more.

Let’s put it this way: if it’s not in Kalustyan’s, it probably doesn’t exist.

Kalustyan’s is like a labyrinth – you reach the end of one aisle and just as you’re thinking there couldn’t possibly be more shelves, there are! Bags of agar agar, colorful curries, potent peppers (man, alliteration is addictive. I’m finished now) and unfamiliar herbs. Hey, remember that time you put that hot sauce on your burrito at that restaurant on the beach in Guatemala? Well, they have it here, and probably in a larger bottle. Heaven, it turns out, is just up on Lexington Avenue.

Chris and I spent nearly an hour picking our way through the store. We contemplated salts (I really recommend the Maldon).

He took his rice purchase very seriously. Rice is a very serious matter.

I found the flour section and made a face closely resembling Charlie Bucket seeing the Willy Wonka factory for the first time. I’m just sorry you weren’t there.

I took home enough bags of flour to toe the line of crazy and embarrassing, as well as a small bag of grey sea salt from the Bay of Bengal. You’ll have to stick around to see what’s become of my purchases!

Kalustyan’s can be actively sought out and loved on the corner of 28th Street and Lexington Ave.

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