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Aug 17, 2009 08:08 PM

Middle Eastern groceries in Watertown

I'm a recent transplant to the Boston area and cannot parallel park. Is there a public parking area (aside from street parking) close to Arax or the other Middle Eastern groceries in Watertown? It will take me 45 mins to get there by bus versus 12 minutes by car so I'd rather drive.

Also, I need saffron, dried limes, pomegranate paste, Angelica powder and Calendula. Do you know if these groceries carry these items?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. There's a small lot with some metered spaces off of Wells Avenue, around the block from the dunkin donuts, kind of across Bigelow Ave. from the Deluxe Town Diner.

    1. You should be able to get the dried limes and calendula. I am not sure about the pomegranate paste and angelica powder, but there's a fair chance. If you cannot get saffron there, try Penzey's in Arlington. That's not terribly far and they do have their own parking lot.

      1. Try arax for saffron (when I've compared they are the best for prices) Try Massis for the pomegranate paste. Easy meter parking, which takes dimes and nickels.
        What is Angelica powder used for?

        1 Reply
        1. re: bornagainitalian

          I just got this cookbook called "Silk Road Cooking, A Vegetarian Journey." Leafing through it, I found an intriguing recipe for Pistachio Soup that requires angelica powder. Other recipes in the cookbook call for it too. The book's appendix mentions that angelica powder is used as a souring ingredient for recipes also including pomegranate paste. Maybe the two have an affinity?

        2. arax actually has a tiny little "lot" in the back, but it's normally filled with the cars of the family that owns the place. If you go on Sunday, late Saturday or evenings you could almost certainly park in the Uncommon Grounds parking lot right next to Arax. They have "no Parking" signs, but that's mainly to discourage people from parking overnight during the winter, and I can't believe that they'd tow you for a half hour trip to the markets.
          Same thing at the 7-11 parking lot a couple of blocks east.

          OTOH, the street parking in Watertown is very forgiving (bigger spots) and it would be a good place to practice what is going to become an important life skill!

          4 Replies
          1. re: cpingenot

            Arax and Sevan (& probably Massis) are closed on Sundays currently.

            1. re: cpingenot

              Actually, I think the coffee shop is pretty protective of their parking. I wouldn't chance it. But the lot Ralphie mentions is good.

              1. re: cpingenot

                The small parking lot behind Arax is good to know. I suppose I have to learn parallel parking sometime, although I've been trying hard to avoid it. I'll just try going there at night so there will be more available parking spaces.

                1. re: cpingenot

                  DO NOT park in the Common Grounds lot. They WILL tow you if you do not dine at Common Grounds. It is a source of some irritation at Arax, but in some way I can understand as the lot would always be full of Arax customers.

                  The lot behid the Dunkin Donuts is your best choice. Or, a little further down, between the 7-11 and the Mobil Station is Templeton Parkway (funny name, definitely NOT a parkway. which is a long street with lots of legal parking and few cars so you would not have to parallel park. I fact the streets on either side of the 7-11 have lots of legal spots.

                  I got Angelica at the Harvest food coop in central Square.

                2. Oh, and I know that they have dried limes and am almost completely certain about calendula. If Arax doesn't have it, one of the other places in that strip almost certainly will.