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Eye candy: Spice Station

December 23, 2009 |  6:01 am

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Spice Station celebrated its grand opening recently by throwing open its doors to a hungry community that apparently had been starved for freshly ground spices.

Owner Peter Bahlawanian says that he and his wife, Bronwen Tawse, have been flat-out busy since their opening party. It's easy to see why: The cozy little boutique showcases shelves stacked high with giant apothecary jars of exotic spices, hand selected by the owners from the far-flung corners of the world. (Soon they'll have a librarian's ladder to access it all. Right now it's a matter of teamwork.)

Spice Station has all sorts of rare gems, from black lava salt, which boasts a strong minerality, to the pungent, smoky Chinese Tepin chile. 

"I want to get as much variety as I can so that people can see, say, the difference between paprika from Spain and a paprika from Peru...I get people who walk in here with wide eyes who have been looking for these things for ages," Peter says. 

Bahlawanian believes that in general, people are used to paying way too much for spices. "When I started researching for this project, I started doing some pricing. People can often pay $165 a pound for basil, but you're only getting a small jar so you don't realize it. You're paying for the weight of the container instead of actual product," he says. At his place, you can choose from a variety of qualities ranging from under $20 to $40 a pound. 

The shop has small jars of every spice available so that shoppers can sniff their wares before purchasing, while educating themselves on the nuances of worldly seasonings. They also have personalized spice gift packages available for you last minute-shoppers priced at around $45 to $70 (see above photo). 

Check out some photos of the shop and its spices after the jump. 

--Krista Simmons

Spice Station, 3819 West Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; 323-660-2585

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Cascabelles peppers from Mexico

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Cinnamon bark 

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Chile Tepin from China

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Bronwen Tawse grinds spices with a wooden mortar and pestle 

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Inside Silver Lake's new souk

Photos by Krista Simmons

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