Tarkan & Marissa met in Istanbul in the spring of 1999 when they both happened to be in the same place at the right time... learning to dance, of all things, tango. Fast forward a few more milongas, a delicious decade in Atlanta, raising two little (big!) rascals, and moving back to Marissa's roots in California, and here we are at Spice & Tulips!
Tarkan grew up in a small village on the Black Sea, where his family lived off the surrounding farmland, exchanging everyday fare like milk and eggs (from the family cows and chickens, of course) for the grains, cornmeal, or garden vegetables of neighboring family and friends. Wild herbs and homemade spices were readily available at the weekly farmer's market, or picked fresh from the hillsides, and taken home to dry and chop into organic, flavorful blends for home-cooked meals. Mealtimes were cherished, and it was during this time, that Tarkan's thrill of cooking and entertaining really started to take root.
About 10,000 miles away, Marissa’s perfect dinner growing up - if she were customizing it - would have included chicken nuggets (gah, from McD’s), curly fries (gah, from Arby’s), and a chocolate frosty (gah, from Wendy’s). Sure, healthier options became more attractive by her late teens and early twenties, but it wasn’t until moving to Turkey that she discovered how incredibly satisfying, and still pretty good for you, foods could taste simply by adding some of the best spices, and spice combinations, the markets had to offer.
At Spice & Tulips, the possibility of a delicious farm-to-table menu is within reach every single day - and it's much easier than you think! With our spices, flowers, salts, and décor ideas, our goal is to keep it simple for you. Visit our Old Town Tustin shop for handcrafted inspiration made by artisans from Istanbul to Los Angeles, and several places in between. We have also expanded our online selection in recent months to save you the trip and let you shop from home!
Photo Credit: Priscilla Lezzi (Orange Coast Magazine)