Spices are an essential part of cooking, and when you start blending them, it opens up infinite possibilities to creative dishes. In 2006, chef Lior Lev Sercarz opened La Boîte after traveling and cooking around the world, studying spices and creating his own blends. Each of his blends ($15) is a reflection in a place, moment and culture for him. As I opened the bottles of spices in the store, and the aromas suffused the air, each blend took me to different locale. The effect is like the gastronomic version of essential oils. Each of these unique blends could be used for savory dishes, cocktails or desserts, and it could all work. For example, Bombay — a mix of turmeric, fenugreek and clove — was so vibrant, I immediately imagined how it would liven up deviled eggs, as Sercarz suggests in his cookbook, “The Art of Blending,” as it would a chicken or sauce for steak. La Boîte is playful and creative. For me, I feel like each blend is a bottle of magic dust, a fitting gift for your loved ones to explore the gastronomic possibilities.