Everything Nice

Spicing up Silver Lake, one Kalonji seed at a time

Whether it's to stock your own pantry or look for last-minute gifts, a good spice store is exactly what you need this time of year. And Silver Lake's new Spice Station is at your service.

While there are more than 140 different dried herbs, spices and chiles in the small shop, owners Peter Bhalawanian and Bronwen Tawse keep the inventory to a minimum so the spices are always fresh.

You'll find jars filled with kitchen staples like dill, oregano and tarragon, not to mention the more exotic, cumin-like Indian kalonji seed (often used on naan) and aromatic mahleb from Syria (ground sour cherry pits used in breads and pastries). There's an enviable array of salts, including Salish alderwood-smoked salt, Cyprus Black Lava salt and Merlot-infused sea salt from California.

Buy as little as 1-ounce pinches or, as some chefs do, up to 1-pound bags. If you can't decide what to get, grab a sampler set–nine 2-ounce tins of the different salts ($65), or the "holiday collection," which includes sage, cinnamon and cloves, among other spices ($45). There are also premade rubs for meats and seafood, and mixes for hot apple cider (spiked or not).

If you don't have a spice mill at home, they'll even grind anything for you on the spot–for free.

Spice Station, 3819 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; 323-660-2565 or spicestationsilverlake.com