Spice havens for the home cook

Dinner getting bland and boring? Here are sources for making your home-based creations extra special (the beautifully arty spice containers are a special bonus)


James Beard Award-winning, Asheville, NC, chef Meherwan Irani sources and roasts each spice individually, and grinds the fragrant additives fresh for each order. The packaging is retro-sublime, and the ten-spice Tasting Collection samplers are perfect “Happy Isolation” gifts. Must Try: Honey & Herb rub, perfect for fish with brown sugar, garlic, smoked paprika, honey powder, thyme and more. Available online and at The Local Butcher & Market

Teeny Tiny Spice Co.

I still love these blends, particularly the harissa mix which I use almost daily. Thora and Ed Pomicter fine tune creative world spice blends from their base in Harrisonburg, VA. Must Try: Persian Adwiya, an Iranian mixture of Rose Petals, Cinnamon, Cumin, Coriander and more. Available online and at Bon! Gourmet, Ormond Beach.

Curio Spice Co.

Founder Claire Cheney has created signature blends in lovely tins of spices and herbs from Cambodia, Japan, Italy and more. Samantha Putoš of Curio says, “I wish people ordered more Kozani, a Greek blend with herbs and saffron. It’s super versatile.” Must Try: Da Lat Vietnamese coffee spice rub of cocoa nibs, coffee, star anise, coriander and more. Available online.


I've been writing about food and travel for more than 25 years. I am available for feature articles and copywriting work, by contract or on assignment. My other hat is worn in performance spaces, as an award-winning playwright, jazz event producer and advocate for new, original creative work for in-house and online audiences.



freelance writer

As a writer on assignment, I've traveled to Italy, Scotland, England, New Orleans, California and New York City, with a specialty on all things Orlando. Whether it's a story about Arts & Crafts houses in Florida or new styles in computers, a Mounted Police squad or alien abduction insurance, I've written it. Environmental issues, music, movie and theater reviews and in-depth conversations with legends in jazz. Interviews and personality profiles are my specialty.


My plays take place on buses and in bars, in hotel rooms and government offices, farmhouse kitchens and jazz stages. 45 productions and readings of my plays from coast to coast and in three countries since 2001; creator of House Theater Project and the year-long 13in13 series of shows. "Best local playwright: Joseph Hayes" - Orlando Sentinel

food writer

Florida Magazine Association Award winning food writer and Orlando restaurant critic for 20+ years. James Beard Foundation judge, knowledgable champion of world cuisine and avid advocate of undiscovered chefs. I can write about the front of the house of a restaurant as well as the kitchen with equal expertise. Founding member, goFLA/SunshinePlate Central Florida.

jazz producer

Producer of the Jazz On Edge series, spotlighting new and original jazz from Central Florida since 2008, showcasing the best that Central Florida has to offer in jazz to appreciative audiences, giving creative hometown and nationally-known musicians a place to perform their own music, without boundaries, in person and online. Founder Word Play series, former Chair of Alternative Programming, Timucua Arts Foundation.