Caspian Market -- a guaranteed find and an excuse to check out the yogurt, grains, meats and other Middle Eastern items at the Ellicott City grocery.
Right in the center of the store, Caspian sells two bulk nut mixes. You scoop as much as you want into a plastic bag. The mixes beat out any packaged mixes that I have bought at places like Trader Joe's -- and I love TJ's.
Caspian's nuts are so fresh. Huge nuts in a mix that has a half doen varieties including pistachios, almonds, pecans, dried fruit and more. Normally, I avoid walnuts because they can be bitter, but Caspian's mix was sweet from the walnuts to the Turkish delight. That's right -- one of the mixes comes with a few bursts of candy among the nuts. It's a delicious snack, but it is classy enough that you could fill a bowl for a party.
If you go to Caspian, you must try the Fard pistachio nougat. Those candies remain one of my favorite HowChow discoveries. Also check out the saffron ice cream.
And does anyone recommend Fanta Shokata? It's a shockingly blue soft drink that Wikipedia says is flavored with elderflower blossoms. They say its available in Romania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. Cool bottle shape. Worth buying?