Finally made it down to San Mateo over the weekend to check out Fatemeh's recommendation for Paak International Gourmet. Small, but very well-organized and well-stocked, this store carries a variety of Persian foods, from bread to cheese to all sorts of dried fruits, spices and seeds. I found it hard to resist all the delicious-looking pistachios, squash seeds and figs. I was also intrigued to find one of my favorite pastas there - buccatini, the long tubes. The man at the counter was very friendly, helping me pick out a feta from the 4 or 5 different kinds available (well, ok, maybe I just said something to the effect of "give me the saltiest one with most fat"). The prices were amazing - I got a 10lb bag of basmati rice, lavash, cheese, a log of mortadella, several bags of spices, and a box of cookies for a little over $20. I'll definitely be back soon, because I immediately regretted afterwards not having bought one of the sesame seed-covered flatbreads the size of a bathmat. Also, I forgot to get those yummy-sounding pickles that Fatemeh recommended.
Paak International Gourmet,
1614 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo