1 Atef, the owner of S.O.S, at the entrance to her shop
2 A welcome sign from Morocco hangs inside the door.
3 This long, narrow, and immaculate store is filled with the most interesting and unusual merchandise from all around the world.
4 If you need a Moroccan tagine, this is the store!
5 There are also colorful individual serving tagines.
6 Atef finds the best quality foods possible. In the large walk-in refrigerater, she proudly showed these gorgeous morel mushrooms from Turkey.
7 Maitake mushrooms from Japan - also called Hen-of-the-Woods, are wonderful for eating but are also valued for their many medicinal qualities, including new cancer studies.
8 These porcini mushrooms, known as the king of mushrooms for their intense flavor and meaty texture, were imported from South Africa.
9 These amazing white asparagus just arrived from Holland.
10 And these ramps, or wild leeks, were flown in from the Pacific northwest, where they are currently in season.
11 Also in the walk-in are dried fruits and nuts from around the world.
12 It was interesting to see a shipment going to Chef Thomas Keller's French Laundry in Yountville, California, in the Napa Valley. I wonder what he ordered?
13 Atef opened a tin of fragrant fennel pollen, which she says really enhances simple fish recipes.
14 And this equally fragrant dill pollen is wonderful with vegetables and red meat.
15 Removing the lid from this jar released the highly perfumed aroma of orange blossoms. These are from Marrakesh and can only be collected for one week every year.
16 This is the packing area of the store with another shipment being prepared.
17 The culinary spices at S.O.S. Chefs are from the finest batches coming from the place that produces that spice the best.
18 Glass cylinders filled with various spices
19 Truffle acacia-honey is excellent served with cheese.
20 These stone-ground grits are from Georgia.
21 Healthy farro is gaining in popularity and is appearing more and more on menus.
22 Dried nutty chick peas
23 Chestnut flour, couscous, and basmati rice
24 These tender and intoxicating vanilla beans are grown in Madagascar.
25 This cabinet contains vanilla products - extracts, powders, and syrups.
26 Atef shops for all sorts of curios, like fancy incense burners from Morocco.
27 These are old cylinders that were once used to deliver rolled up hand-written letters. Chefs like to use them on place settings to hold dinner menus.
28 I was curious about these textiles.
29 Atef unfolded one to reveal a beautiful Kilim carpet of silk and linen woven in Tunisia.
30 These make fabulous floor carpets, but they can also be used as table covers or to throw over sofas.
31 Tea service and tea glasses from Morocco
32 A cabinet filled with glass and silver spice shakers
33 These shelves contain herbal skin products that are made in the Atlas Mountains of northern Africa.
34 This is Himalayan pink salt, believed to be the purest form of salt available. It is pink because of high mineral and iron content.
35 Fleur de Sel, from off the coast of Brittany, is a hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans. Chefs love it for seasoning foie gras.
36 Old apothecary bins hold other interesting ingredients.
37 These are dried cumin flowers which, when pulled apart, are used as natural toothpicks.
38 Star anise is used extensively in Asian cuisine.
39 Dried turmeric - an ancient spice is commonly used as a dye and condiment and has numerous medicinal properties.
40 Beautiful boxes made from burly olive wood
41 And great salad bowls, too!
42 Ornate tea pots from Morocco
43 And a very ornate hand-hammered ceiling lamp
44 Atef helping one of many chefs who rely on her for quality ingredients
45 Myrrh, the shop cat, is extremely friendly.