Baiz Market in Phoenix: What We Bought, What We Skipped and What We're Still Lusting Over

The Spot: Baiz Market, open daily from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.

See Also: - Falafel Fracas: Haji-Baba vs. Al-Hana at Baiz Market - Bodega in Scottsdale: What We Bought, What We Skipped and What We're Still Lusting Over - Anatomy of Baklava with Rocio Gutierrez and Hussein Chahin of Middle Eastern Bakery

What We Bought: Baiz Market is a frequent stop for us on our quest for grocery deals and unique spices. Big cloth bags of rice, large canisters of olive oil, jarred tahini and other basics for Middle Eastern cooking are great buys at Baiz. A package of the Al-Hana pita bread is a steal priced at only $0.99. Al-Hana, the restaurant inside Baiz, also serves up generous portions for under $10 for a full entrée plate. Their spiced and flavorful falafel sandwich is one of our favorites in town and it's under $4.

Spices like turmeric, sumac and curry powder, which can be expensive and hard to find in typical mega-mart grocery stores, are under $4 for an 8 ounce bottle. We also love the cheap rose and orange blossom waters ($2) and the large assortment of fig jams for adding a unique floral scent and taste to our favorite dessert recipes. Last but not least, drop by the sweets case in the back for a rose water infused Turkish delight.

What We Skipped: While Baiz has won a place in our hearts for their unbeatable prices on Middle Eastern staples, not everything in the market is a winner. As much as we love rose and orange blossom waters, their odd upper-shelf cousin, dill weed water, was of no interest to us this time. Saffron also didn't make the shopping basket cut us at $5 per 0.025 ounce. Our final skipped item this week was an odd hatchet/hammer-like instrument found with the other cooking utensils. The most confusing part of this violent-looking tool is that it says on the packaging that it's for "grown ups," while displaying a cute cartoon bear in the background--mixed messages much?

What We're Still Lusting Over: After our shopping cart started to fill up, we knew we had to leave some items behind for our next trip to Baiz. The falafel sandwich at Al-Hana keeps us coming back time and time again, but we also love their huge selection of jarred olives preserved with different spices and flavors. We usually stock up on sesame oil, which is still kind of expensive at Baiz because sesame oil is expensive, but it is definitely cheaper at Baiz than most other grocers in town. Baiz is also a great place to buy a teakettle once yours has had it since theirs are priced at $20 and under. Our most coveted left-behind item of the day was a jar of Ari's nuts preserved in honey. The pistachios floating and frozen in golden honey looked so perfectly delicious--we just weren't ready to spend $8 on them.

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Heather Hoch is a music, food, and arts writer based in Tucson. She enjoys soup, scotch, Electric Light Orchestra, and walking her dog, Frodo.
Contact: Heather Hoch