In the interim before NoShoGrl responds, just letting you know that if you do a search on Arax - there's a ton of posts - it's a Chowhound favorite. I guess what made me notice this post is because you contribute lots of good info, but have "never heard of Arax" - what?! : )
A couple to get you started:
arax is a syrain store on mt auburn st. typical middle eastern store, but it's quite large, they have wonderful produce, lots of different hard to find items, bulk olives, breads, fetas, homemade prepared foods (which i have tried many of them and they are very good) and like i said - CHEAP! they have a section in the back of bulk spices, and everything i have ever gotten there has been really good, and lasted a long time. i used to do a lot of catering, and arax was always one of my best places for supplies. the owner is a very nice man, and i'm pretty sure he's got his whole family working there.
my grand mother is lebenase, was a wonderful cook in her day, and for her 99 (yes!) birthday i got a bunch of food from them, and she kept asking me if i liked the food she made for me - she thought it was hers!! anyway, even if not for the spices, it's a great find, and they sell hookas!!