My neighborhood Chinese restaurant (Columbia Cottage, 111 & Amsterdam) boasts a respectable Sichuan and Shanghai menu and I have found their dishes to be above par for adventurousness and heat for a restaurant north of Houston Street. On the Sichuan side, though, I have only found a couple of dishes made with Sichuan peppercorns, which I love, and want to try the rest. I have tried asking for Sichuan peppercorns, describing the peppercorns themselves, and asking for "ma" and "ma la." Not getting through. Can someone advise me (short of taking a handful of peppercorns with me) how to phrase my question? Thanks!