Every time I talk to William Mueller – chef-owner of the gourmet breakfast cafe Babblin’ Babs in the Proctor neighborhood – he reminds me that he doesn’t salt anything that comes out of his kitchen. He’s talking about the dishes he creates in his shoebox size Proctor kitchen. One bite of his gourmet breakfasts and you’ll know why – the guy loves his herbs and spices. Mueller and wife Shannon – who does most of the front-of-house duties at the Proctor cafe – began bottling their spice blends and selling them to customers. The Babblin’ Babs spice blends are $8 each or you can buy a three-pack for $20. To find out more, go here. Among the blends are a Greek, Thai, West Indies, all-purpose and a barbecue.
The Muellers are among many around town who make their own flavoring blends. Read on.
Christy Reedy started her Tacoma salt business out of a love for cooking and playing with flavor. “I love salt and everything it does for cooking,” says Reedy. Her company, Libertine salts, has gained favor from local kitchens. Marrow Chef Kyle Wnuk’s latest menu uses three Libertine blends and Reedy’s now selling her salts at stores and businesses around town (see the list above). Reedy said this of her line of salts, “Creating delicious and beautiful things comes naturally to me and I wanted to share that with others. Salt is a very natural way to accomplish that. I use nothing artificial and no chemical additives. Currently 52 of my 53 blends are vegan.” Among her blends:
Trifecta: A blend of Hawaiian salts – black sea salt, pink salt, alaea red
Smokey and spicy: Alderwood smoked sea salt, chipotle pepper sea salt, roasted garlic sea salt and sweet toasted onion sea salt
Wild mushroom: Mushrooms, black truffles, garlic, onion, peppercorns and Mediterranean sea salt
Fiery habenero: Ground habanero chilis with South American sea salt
Jones’ Mock Salt
Where: Tacoma Food Co-Op
I remember when June Jones, a University Place hair stylist, called me several years ago to tell me that Marlene’s Natural Market in Tacoma started selling her mock salt blends. She regaled me with tales of trying to find commercial kitchen space and the trouble she encountered in launching her small business. She’s one of those people who doesn’t give up easily and has a solution for any problem. The idea for her line of salt-free spice blends came from an elderly customer whose husband had to reduce his salt intake. You can read about that here. Her mock salts are intended for anyone who has to reduce their sodium intake. You can find her blends at several stores, including Tacoma Food Co-Op
C-Dub’s BBQ Rubs
Where: Pip and Lola’s Everything Homemade in Freighthouse Square
Price: $5 and up
C-Dub’s BBQ Rubs owners Allegra and Charles Wilson have received national attention for their Puyallup-based rub company – they’re regulars on the local barbecue circuit. If their names are familiar, that also could be because they appeared in an episode of the television show “BBQ Pitmasters.” Here’s a blog post detailing their episode. Their rubs use natural flavorings and no anti-caking agents. This weekend, I used a bottle of their original barbecue rub in a buttermilk marinade for some pork. It’s killing me that I’m writing this and I have to wait until the meat comes off the smoker before I can try it. If you like spicier barbecue, they make a fiery Voodoo Rub.
Other rubs to try:
At Pip and Lola’s, I also found Lucky Pig ($7), a spice blend from Lucky Smoke House operated by Spanaway business owners Troy and Elizabeth Fitzpatrick. Find their website here. At H&L Produce in Lakewood, I found Pure Ghost spice rubs from Tacoma company Heavenly Heat.
Editor’s note: This gifting series features edibles from South Sound food businesses. Check back daily through Dec. 23 for something new.