We checked out The Spice House (1941 Central St., Evanston, IL) and it was a fantastic store. I think what made the experience better than going to Penzeys is the level of customer service. The employees were friendly and very helpful. They also have taster bottles of spices so you can try it before you buy it. They also have many different spices, blends, and extracts than Penzeys. You can also order from them online too.
Here are some of the goodies I bought. Back Row (L to R): Orange Flower Water, Pure Peppermint Extract, Pomegranate Molasses, Rose Water, Lavender Vanilla Sugar, Tuscan Bread Dipping Seasoning. Front Row (L to R): Little Italy NYC Style Herbs and Amchoor Powder.
I was really excited to find the pomegranate molasses. I’ve been looking for it for quite some time. I’ve been finding a lot of recipes using Amchoor (Amchur) powder lately and I was thrilled to spot it on the shelf. The woman helping us told us they just got it in not too long ago. Amchoor is dried unripe green mango powder and it’s used in Indian cuisine. I just found out about it this year thanks to Sara’s I Like to Cook Blog.
After the sales on Saturday (all we ending up buying was the chair) and spice shopping, we were starving. We stopped at the Olive Mountain Restaurant that I read about online. They’re located at 610 Davis in Evantson, IL. It’s a Middle Eastern restaurant with fantastic lunch specials. We each had the falafel sandwich lunch special which comes with your choice of soup, hummos, or salad and a beverage all for $5.50. The sandwiches are huge and they are made in wide-pocket pita (not rolled up). You’ll need two hands to grip them. The sandwiches are also filled with their Jerusalem salad which is cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley in a tahini dressing. We also got an appetizer of Foul which is one of my favorite Middle Eastern foods (and I do make it at home too)…it’s cooked fava beans with olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, and hot sauce. It was so good that in addition to dipping my pita bread in it, I ate it by the spoonful.
The service was wonderful too. It was fast, efficient, and pleasant. Each table gets a carafe of water and they refilled ours without us having to ask. I love that! And of course, an important non-food aspect…their restrooms were clean! Parking was a bit hard to find since we weren’t familiar with the area. We lucked out after circling the block and found a metered spot on the street. After we left, we found two public parking garages which we’ll keep in mind for next time if need be. Another thing we forgot about…change for the parking meter! Luckily we still had a small bag of change in the car which we used for the tollways before we had our I-PASS.
I’ll get pictures of the food next time we go there!!!
Hope everyone has a wonderful day. 😀