A Culinary Analogy
Willy Wonka : candy :: John Beaver : _______
A walking Google search-result page of everything related to spices, he’s equally comfortable discussing the finer points of Veracruz and Tahitian vanilla beans or explaining what nigella seeds are. He can also fill your mitts with really fresh cinnamon.
Overlooking Lake Merritt, his shop houses shelves of color-coordinated storing jars filled with vibrant spices — finely ground, whole, and everything in between. Spice accoutrements (mills, mortars, and pestles), prepackaged seasonings and extracts, and vintage scales and grinders nestle in antique bookshelves. Peruse the card catalog-turned-recipe bin for gratis instructions for your newly acquired flavorings.
What you do with them? That’s up to your imagination.
Oaktown Spice Shop, 530 Grand Avenue, Oakland (510-201-5400 or facebook.com).
Photo: Courtesy of Oaktown Spice Shop