Best of Charleston 2009 » Shops & Wares | Critics' Picks

Best Place to Buy a Hookah and a Gallon of Olive Oil

Saffron Bakery

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Saffron Bakery
333 East Bay St. Downtown
(843) 722-5588

Saffron is an eclectic place. Bakery cases in the front are packed full of cakes, danishes, breads, and rolls. A cooler in the back is stocked with Diet Cokes and bottled water along with big blocks of imported goat cheese. In the middle of the store, open shelves hold an array of specialty Middle Eastern items — tahini, harissa, olives, olive oils, vinegars, massive barbecue skewers, bags of herbs, and charcoal for your hookah. Oh, and they have a pretty big selection of hookahs lined up on top of the pastry case with a variety of charcoals. At first, we thought you smoked the charcoal, which seemed kind of stupid, since who would want to smoke a hunk of coal, right? But after some research, it looks like you use the charcoal to fuel the hookah, which has another chamber for loading up with whatever it is you want to smoke. Of course, if you're not ready to invest in your own apparatus, you can always stop by Torch and they'll fire one up for you.

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