345 E. 33rd St., (410) 662-7844
When the Giant on 33rd is sold out of black-eyed peas for New Year’s Eve, check with Punjab. No matter how you bean, this snug Indian grocery bursts at the seams with thirty different kinds of everything. Dried legumes for days, spices alone or in mixes up to the ceiling, more than one crazy affordable brand of tahini to choose from, dirt-cheap pre-made dinners (frozen for the work-week, shelf-stable for camping trips), and huge flat loaves of fresh naan, pita, and Afghan bread. And the produce—oh, the produce—onions, potatoes, tomatoes and spinach hang tight with dragonfruit, taro, plaintains, and curry leaves. Sometimes even fresh turmeric root makes an appearance. Celebrate a triumph over chilly chain grocers with the maraschino cherry on your Punjab sundae: an 85-cent samosa, purchased at the check-out counter and eaten on the way home with a smile on your face.