Cooking In Stilettos...
Friday, May 30, 2008 Philly Recap: 9th Street Italian Market

During my trip to Philly a couple weeks ago, I took Saturday morning for myself and did something I always wanted to do - wander the Italian Market during one of the busiest days.

Here in Orlando, our access to fresh spices, etc. is a bit limited and we can get spices from the Fresh Market but it's not the same. So that Saturday morning, I went and wandered up and down 9th street. My main object of interest was the Spice stores. I had seen Ms. Patti Labell profile them on her show Livin' It Up and thought "I Must Must Must Go". So, I parked the rental car on a side street, popped on my flats and went walking.

First thing I encountered: Fantes. Yes - THE Fantes. Well, one of them anywayz. I go to the website often but like my first experience with Sur La Table, I told the people - let me fondle, let me wander - I'll find you for help - trust. And wander I did. Meowmix joked that only I could go to Philly and get excited over a pasta colander instead of shoes. I know, some of you are in shock but ever since I saw Nigella use one I thought "Wow - how handy". And, it's not found in Orlando. I found some rosette forms, fondled some pots, bought some gratin dishes (which the cranky salesgal didn't wrap very well and wound up breaking - grrr) and a few other things. I was hoping to get my Global Cheese knife but they didn't have it and it would have to be specially ordered. I'll just get it online.

Bonus: inside Fantes, they had a little coffee shop and some cafe au lait later I was back out and wandering the Italian Market again on the hunt for the spices shops.

I found two spice shops, both of which were amazing. One of which was the Spice Corner and the other was the Italian Market Spice Company (their website isn't up yet). There I bought so many spices my car smelled like a tangine. I bought curry, Nigella seeds, tarragon, rosemary, ancho chile powder, tumeric, and a host of other stuff that was so fragrant and fresh. I even found Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

I wandered in some of the shops on the side, marveled at the fresh produce lining the streets and just breathed in the sights and smells. I went into one of the butcher shops, Orlando's Meats (hey - it said Orlando - I had to pay homage, no?). It was in there that I spied The Philadelphia Italian Market Cookbook for sale. This was something I could take home with no problem from the airline. Also, before you shoot me for going to the butcher, here in Orlando we have Publix, Fresh Market and yeah - that's about it. *sigh* You don't know how I wanted to shake some of the people whining in line to say "Be thankful you have such a resource. You'd be eating some funky chicken if you were in Orlando" (Have you EVER had Winn Dixie poultry :::shudder:::) The manager of the butcher shop gave me an autographed copy that I've been reading with amazement. For an Irish/Indian gal, I swear I must have been Italian in another lifetime because it just is a fascinating read.

After browsing some other shops, I left, vowing to go back again. And this time - I'll bring a list and ship everything home via mail.

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Posted by Lys :: 12:04 AM :: 4 comments

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