I've recently moved back to DC from New York, and as I've never lived here as an adult, I need some direction for the best places to find some things. Any and all advice would be much appreciated.
First, and most important, where do I buy spices? I had a variety of amazing places to go in NYC, but am clueless here. I'm probably looking for an Indian store that also has standard stuff, but will take advice for anybody that is well-priced and has good fresh stuff. Ideal would be a place that buys bulk and repackages its stuff in store - I've found those spots to be the freshest and cheapest. I'm trying to avoid placing an order to Kalustyans, which while amazing in variety, is pretty expensive for every day stuff. I recently lost my entire spice cabinet in a fire, so you cans see my need to find a reliable place to reload. Also, any thoughts on where to buy fresh curry leaves? I live in Logan Circle, but work in Alexandria and am out towards Reston at least once a week.
Second, any suggestions for a good butcher (other than the obvious whole foods)? I'm looking for two things (and maybe two places.) First, a place that has lamb available...maybe a halal butcher. Second, a place to get things like chicken backs and beef bones for stock making purposes. If there are any old school butchers left downtown anywhere, I'd love to know about them.
finally, liquor. I have a bit of a problem with buying weird stuff, and would love to know a place with a great selection (particularly of Scotch and other whiskey, but of other stuff too.) I'd also like to know who has the best prices - if they're the same, that's great, but otherwise, if there's a cheap place for everyday stuff and somewhere with great selection for rarer stuff, that'd be great too.
Thanks for any and all direction...I'm just trying to reorient myself to being in a new city, and am looking forward to getting back into cooking and entertaining following the aforementioned fire that has really put my life on hold for about the last four months.