I screwed up the first round of corned beef on St. Patrick's Day and got some tiny bullshit precooked deli meat from Fresh Direct instead of a large brisket thing that I could cook in the slow cooker (i.e. crock pot). I found a proper brisket post-March-17th at Trader Joe's on 20th street.
PICKLING SPICE WAS HARDER TO FIND.
Admittedly, the TJ's roast was already covered with pickling spice in an obvious way, but I love that stuff. Trader Joe's did not appear to have any pickling spice. Neither did the local C-Town. Neither did Fresh Direct this year. In the past I have gone so far as Zabar's or Fairway to find the elusive spice mix, but this time I was determined not to go uptown, or to Red Hook.
We tried no fewer than three stores called "Millennium Mart" or a variation thereof where the clerks looked at us quizzically. Spuyten Duyvil grocery carried a variety of 18th century sea salt (I swear that's what it said on the box) but not pickling spice.
A kitchen store called Whisk had just run out of the stuff. They do sell canning supplies, though, and advised us to go to The Brooklyn Kitchen. It recently moved to a bigger space along Meeker Street a few blocks from where it used to be on Lorimer.
They had pickling spice BY THE POUND, as well as in tiny box containers. Since in total we had visited no fewer than seven stores I opted to buy an entire pound.
WORTH IT. I can't get enough of this stuff.