[SPICES, SALTS] This new high-end spice shop doesn't have the breadth of Penzey's Spices or the obsessive depth of the Meadow, but it has a super-accessible location—making it a fun, chic place to taste and sniff your way through the world, and buy a few small gifts while you're at it. Ivy O'Brien's crimson-colored Old World boutique (part of a small Florida-based chain) boasts all the sweet, savory, herby basics, plus funky flavored sugars (from tangerine to espresso and habanero, $4.89 for 1.5 oz.) and lots of cooking and finishing salts ($2.89-$4.89 for 1.5 oz.). But its secret weapon is a wall of spice blends the crew grinds fresh every week, from Thai coconut rub to Zahtar blend ($4.29/oz.).
Grocery list: Mini microplane; big chunk of Bolivian rose salt ($12.95); dynamite herbes de Provence blend ($4.29) and beer extract powder ($4.89/oz.), just because.