try these: cinnamon brooms

In autumn Trader Joe’s carries these cinnamon brooms, actually made of pine that has been treated with cinnamon oil (from the cinnamon tree, how cool that cinnamon is bark). They smell purely, authentically and, at least at first, powerfully, of cinnamon. I love the smell of cinnamons (there are so many varieties!) along with all of their known associates (nutmeg(s!), allspice, clove, cassia), anything under the compelling umbrella of spicy and warm,* and usually pick up a few. They provide a pleasant, natural fragrance for a good while.

*Remember the original Bulgari Omnia?


My favorite application is sticking one in the coat closet so I smell like chai all winter.

on the menu: Sofra sweets


If you’re ever in the Watertown area, check out Sofra bakery & cafe. It’s fantastic Middle Eastern fusion with a Mediterranean lilt, owned by the same people who run the excellent Oleana in Somerville.  Ana Sortun, the head chef, also has a great cookbook (and she’s on twitter!).

[And I’m on twitter!]

I’m particularly partial to the sweet stuff, which is often an interesting blend of savory and sweet, as with the dukkah (a blend of herbs, nuts, and spices) crunch donut* (left) and the Persian spice doughnut (bottom). On the latest visit I also went for Simit, a pastry with a soft, bagel-like texture, which I used for an egg sandwich with great success.

*My current favorite.



N.B. Their shakshuka is not to be missed.