- Michael Roberts
- Medicinal and culinary spices at Dandelion
We’re all pretty excited about Cache, the lovely anchor business in the new River Market Arcade. I had a chance to tour the restaurant with Dan and fellow foodie Steve Shuler this past weekend, and while I won’t spoil Dan’s upcoming look at the varied dining spaces offered by chef Matthew Cooper, I’ll say that Little Rock is going to be impressed with this addition to our downtown area.
Tucked in next to Cache is a small storefront by the name of Dandelion, a retail operation run by Cooper’s wife Priscilla Fincher that’s offering something that Little Rock has been in desperate need of since the good old days of Beans, Grains and Things: a store offering organic bulk herbs, spices, and teas. The Dandelion space is a small one, but Fincher has utilized the space well, devoting an entire wall of her store to jar after jar of herbs of both the medicinal and culinary types along with various teas of the green, black, and herbal types. I spent about an hour in the store on Saturday, and returned on Sunday, and for a home cook like myself it was like being a kid in a candy store.
Price-wise, I think folks will be pleasantly surprised at how cheaply these high-quality ingredients can be purchased. An ounce of Vietnamese cinnamon that would run $5 or more in the grocery store cost us just over $1 at Dandelion. Other benefits of the bulk-buy model is that we were able to pick up just enough tea (we recommend the Razzlemint and Afternoon Delight) to enjoy while it was fresh instead of buying a box of bags that might grow stale in the pantry waiting to be drunk. Fans of medicinal herbs will also be pleased with the wide selection — and once again, the ability to buy as much or as little as one wants allows for greater flexibility in budgeting than the bottles of supplements available at other locations.
The list of items available at Dandelion is about five pages long — far too long to talk about here. But I was most impressed with the various styles of herbs available: cardamom was not only available whole and in the pod, but in hulled seed form and powdered. There isn’t just one type of chili powder, but several that range from cayenne to ancho, to habanero, to ghost chili. This idea of serving up a variety of herbs in both their whole and ground forms, as well as offering different versions of common products is something that sets Dandelion apart from many other bulk herb shops I’ve frequented in the past.
Whether you’re a home cook, professional chef, tea drinker, or herbal supplement enthusiast Dandelion is going to become a vital resource in pursuing your endeavors. Dandelion is located at 419 President Clinton Avenue in the River Market, and whether by pinch or by pound, they’ve got herbs and spices to suit any taste or need.