Dear Professor Salt,
In follow up to your interest in a Persian food, try the new market in Irvine called Wholesome Choice. See, www.wholesomechoice.com
I thought they may have Persian cookbooks for you, but all I saw were magazines for cooking instruction - vegetarian cooking, Gourmet, eating light, and a few others - all near the checkout stand. No Persian cookbook, though. So, dont go there if thats what your looking for. But, go for the Persian food and ingredients. And, maybe a hot Persian lunch (or some Asian or Mexican, too)
They have a good food deli that they call a food court (hot to go or packaged and labelled). Their deli yoghurt/cucumber mix is excellent (much better than Trader Joe's IMHO). I had some of their deli tabooli also, but it was rather dry - easily fixed. The chef brought out fresh salmon to grill up for the dinner menu - 2 sides and a main dish for $4.99. Their deli-made vegetable pizza ($1.59 slice) was good. Im going back to try their hot Persian food. I suppose its not as good a Ferdussi, but its a deli.
Maybe youd enjoy a lunch there and a few hours of aisle surfing.
It reminded me of the description (in content) of the 22nd and Irving Market (given in the link below-5th paragraph) except its all indoors with only eating tables outside. And, it has Asian ingredients, too. It is kind of like a Farmers Market in the varieties of fruit and produce, meaning they have specialty things and for very low prices. My one piece of fresh ginger cost me 19 cents, I bought an orange-flesh honeydew melon (sweeter and softer than a cantaloupe). Some things unknown to me. It is American (canned goods, recognizable brands of sundries), Oriental, Persian, and some health food items. I bought some Carbolite for Baking (flour substitute) that says I can make pancakes with 4 carbs in them (well see). Found perfect white vanilla powder (not the darker stuff that is more bitter than sweet) and finely ground white pepper for about $1.99. They have packages of orange lentils and I was tempted to buy some to mix with black beans and diced vegetables for a Halloween look. Oh, also, back in the produce section - they have many fresh herbs; basil, tarragon, mint, dill, etc. - for an very good price.
Some of the labels I could not read, so I will take my Persian friend in with me to translate some time. I asked the Persian deli gal if shed ever tasted the yoghurt soda and she said she likes it, but not many of her friends do at first. Its just plain yoghurt with soda in it. Eeeeew. But, I did get some lebni (kefir cheese) and found it was a quite strong plain yoghurt flavor. I mixed it with some of that new fat free cream by Shamrock Farms that I found at Trader Joes. It might be a good base for some speculative spicing for a dressing or a dip. Anyway, the Wholesome Choice was an adventuresome experience for me today. Not overwhelming like the all Asian market on Paularino in Costa Mesa. But, interesting enough. Oh, the breads they bake in the ovens there I asked about - they are baked from frozen. But, I'm going to try some next week anyway.
Thought you'd like to know.