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  • Spice Advice

    Post #1 - February 11th, 2011, 2:17 pm
    Post #1 - February 11th, 2011, 2:17 pm Post #1 - February 11th, 2011, 2:17 pm
    I want to buy some more spices for Indian cooking. I could go to the Indian store to buy it but usually the bags are so big I end up throwing it out after a while. I'm thinking of going to Penzey's or the Spice House to buy some spices. I've never been to either. They seem to have what I am looking for. Do you think their spices will be as good or better than the Indian store spices? Probably more expensive but I'm willing to pay more for high quality.

    The only thing in the Indian stores I'm not really familiar with the brands and I don't know if what they are selling is high quality either. Pls advise.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #2 - February 11th, 2011, 3:49 pm
    Post #2 - February 11th, 2011, 3:49 pm Post #2 - February 11th, 2011, 3:49 pm
    toria wrote:I want to buy some more spices for Indian cooking. I could go to the Indian store to buy it but usually the bags are so big I end up throwing it out after a while. I'm thinking of going to Penzey's or the Spice House to buy some spices. I've never been to either. They seem to have what I am looking for. Do you think their spices will be as good or better than the Indian store spices? Probably more expensive but I'm willing to pay more for high quality.

    The only thing in the Indian stores I'm not really familiar with the brands and I don't know if what they are selling is high quality either. Pls advise.


    You won't be disappointed at either place - they both take what they do seriously. With spices the two biggest risks are places that sell products past their prime and places that misrepresent what they sell. I've never experienced anything but professionalism from either place. Yes, buying anything in smaller quantities than buying bulk is going to be more expensive, per unit, but as you say if you are tossing stuff now because the quantity is too much it's probably not that great a deal in the end.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #3 - February 11th, 2011, 4:05 pm
    Post #3 - February 11th, 2011, 4:05 pm Post #3 - February 11th, 2011, 4:05 pm
    Hi Toria -
    Quick 2c from me:

    If oyu've never been to either place, and you like to cook, then you should go. See for yourself if they are worth it for your Indian cooking needs. I cook a decent amt of Indian inspired food at home, and while I do like a few of the SH / Penzey blends, I much prefer going to Indian Grocers for the variety and value.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #4 - February 11th, 2011, 8:09 pm
    Post #4 - February 11th, 2011, 8:09 pm Post #4 - February 11th, 2011, 8:09 pm
    I don't think you can go wrong either way. I live near Devon and love shopping there, and always try to find something I haven't bought before (the Shan spice mixes in boxes are great, the ones I have bought -- Bombay Biryani being a big favorite). If you are cooking a lot of Indian food, it will be worth it to buy on Devon. Certain spices are vastly less expensive -- cardamom, for example. But Penzey's and Spice House are also great. If you want an outing, go to Devon. If you just want spices, order in the mail for Penzey's (or go if you live near).
  • Post #5 - February 11th, 2011, 10:23 pm
    Post #5 - February 11th, 2011, 10:23 pm Post #5 - February 11th, 2011, 10:23 pm
    thanks everyone. I'll make a visit to Spice House and Penzy's. I'll buy some there. I'll keep going to Indian stores too. The ones I go to are in Naperville and Westmont....closer to my house. I love going to Devon but quite a hike from where I live.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #6 - February 11th, 2011, 11:36 pm
    Post #6 - February 11th, 2011, 11:36 pm Post #6 - February 11th, 2011, 11:36 pm
    toria wrote:thanks everyone. I'll make a visit to Spice House and Penzy's. I'll buy some there. I'll keep going to Indian stores too. The ones I go to are in Naperville and Westmont....closer to my house.


    Plus, Penzey's or SH ain't gonna have fresh samosas, chapatti, and other assorted treats like A-1 on Cass. ;-)
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #7 - February 12th, 2011, 6:49 am
    Post #7 - February 12th, 2011, 6:49 am Post #7 - February 12th, 2011, 6:49 am
    Yup. No lime or lemon pickle either.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #8 - February 12th, 2011, 8:37 am
    Post #8 - February 12th, 2011, 8:37 am Post #8 - February 12th, 2011, 8:37 am
    Not only do I get all my spices at Penzy's or more usually Spice House, but I date those spices when I get home. I throw out those spices after 1-2 years and restock.
  • Post #9 - February 12th, 2011, 9:34 am
    Post #9 - February 12th, 2011, 9:34 am Post #9 - February 12th, 2011, 9:34 am
    Penzey's and SH also give you the opportunity to open their sample jar and take a whiff.
  • Post #10 - February 12th, 2011, 11:02 am
    Post #10 - February 12th, 2011, 11:02 am Post #10 - February 12th, 2011, 11:02 am
    Fresh Farms in Niles has a fairly wide selection of Indian spices in small bags at very good prices. Some brands I have on my shelf from there include Laxmi, Nirav, and Deep. I don't have much experience with Indian brands but the quality seems fine to me.
    Coming to you from Leiper's Fork, TN where we prefer forking to spooning.
  • Post #11 - February 12th, 2011, 9:33 pm
    Post #11 - February 12th, 2011, 9:33 pm Post #11 - February 12th, 2011, 9:33 pm
    When I was single, rather than living with (and then married to) a guy who loves Indian food, I would just buy the smallest bags of whatever it was on Devon Ave., and then give half to my mom. I still came out ahead, price-wise. Do you have a friend/relative who would split stuff with you?
  • Post #12 - February 13th, 2011, 9:46 pm
    Post #12 - February 13th, 2011, 9:46 pm Post #12 - February 13th, 2011, 9:46 pm
    I buy all of my spices at Penzey's and I find most of their prices to be comparable if not cheaper than what you find in the grocery store, though maybe not an Indian specialty store. They tend to sell in a variety of sizes, so there will be an alternative to those huge bags (but they have those too).

    I have their sweet/yellow curry blend, garam masala, and something else that I'm forgetting. I've been very pleased with everything so far. Their catalog always has useful recipes.

    Happy shopping and cooking!
  • Post #13 - February 14th, 2011, 7:13 am
    Post #13 - February 14th, 2011, 7:13 am Post #13 - February 14th, 2011, 7:13 am
    I purchased my spices on Devon St for many years but I had two separate occurrences of bugs getting in the dry goods stored with the spices. Each time I discarded every thing. washed with soap and water and refilled. After the second occurrence, I switched to Penzy's exclusively and the problem has not occurred for at least 15 years now.
    You cannot get higher quality than Penzy's.-Dick
  • Post #14 - February 14th, 2011, 8:06 am
    Post #14 - February 14th, 2011, 8:06 am Post #14 - February 14th, 2011, 8:06 am
    budrichard wrote:You cannot get higher quality than Penzy's.-Dick
    Penzy's offers high quality spices, though I prefer The Spice House brick and mortar stores to Penzy's. Same high quality spices, but The Spice House shops allow one to buy by weight, Penzy's spices are all prepackaged. Being able to buy specific amounts at The Spice House, 11-oz half/sharp paprika, 3-oz thyme etc, is important to me as I regularly make various BBQ rubs and spice blends by weight.

    Over the years I have purchased spices on Devon, various Mexican grocery stores, Costco and even Caputo's. Less expensive for sure, but not always up to the highest standards of freshness. As an aside, Caputo's on Harlem always seems to have large volumes of extremely fresh crushed red pepper, an essential in making my chili oil.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - February 14th, 2011, 9:10 am
    Post #15 - February 14th, 2011, 9:10 am Post #15 - February 14th, 2011, 9:10 am
    I am amazed at how cheaply spices can be bought in the Indian stores.
    Even if you figure you're going to throw out a large portion of it since you can't use up an 8oz bag of coriander in less than a decade, it's still vastly cheaper than the glass tubes of sawdust at the supermarkets, and still a pretty good deal compared to The Spice House. Just remember to toss the big bags after a while, or keep them sealed in the freezer.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #16 - September 26th, 2015, 11:07 am
    Post #16 - September 26th, 2015, 11:07 am Post #16 - September 26th, 2015, 11:07 am
    I hate to resurrect an old thread but there is no specific thread on Penzey's.

    If you order from Penzeys, you may want to take a look at the pack size. They have shrunk. The 4 oz, 1/2 cup Medium Chili Powder is now 3.4 oz, 1/2 cup. Fortunately, I still had my old packages left to make the comparison.

    I guess that i will be looking at more of the local options.
  • Post #17 - June 27th, 2020, 8:53 pm
    Post #17 - June 27th, 2020, 8:53 pm Post #17 - June 27th, 2020, 8:53 pm
    Hi- I did not find anything limited to Penzey's, and so I am posting here. While I was walking home from Whole Foods tonight, I passed by what was the location of a spice place on Sherman that used to have a stall at the farmer's market. I went in the store one time, but I was unimpressed, and Cinnamon Girl said it was a franchise. When I passed the store today, I saw a sign saying Penzey's Spices opening soon. The store is listed on their website as opening soon. This location is more convenient to me than the Spice House, because I can walk there, and the Spice House is a hike for me, and if I drive, I've got to pay for parking. I am just curious though why they think there is enough business in Evanston to support two spice places?

    Has anybody here ever shopped at any of Penzey's stores? I am curious if you can get spices in one ounce bags in their stores. Are their prices comparable to the Spice House? I know the quality of the spices for both places used to be outstanding. I don't know if the quality of the spices at the Spice House has diminished since it was sold. I thought people might be interested in this new development.
  • Post #18 - June 27th, 2020, 11:14 pm
    Post #18 - June 27th, 2020, 11:14 pm Post #18 - June 27th, 2020, 11:14 pm
    NFriday wrote:Hi- I did not find anything limited to Penzey's, and so I am posting here. While I was walking home from Whole Foods tonight, I passed by what was the location of a spice place on Sherman that used to have a stall at the farmer's market. I went in the store one time, but I was unimpressed, and Cinnamon Girl said it was a franchise. When I passed the store today, I saw a sign saying Penzey's Spices opening soon. The store is listed on their website as opening soon. This location is more convenient to me than the Spice House, because I can walk there, and the Spice House is a hike for me, and if I drive, I've got to pay for parking. I am just curious though why they think there is enough business in Evanston to support two spice places?

    Has anybody here ever shopped at any of Penzey's stores? I am curious if you can get spices in one ounce bags in their stores. Are their prices comparable to the Spice House? I know the quality of the spices for both places used to be outstanding. I don't know if the quality of the spices at the Spice House has diminished since it was sold. I thought people might be interested in this new development.

    Nancy,

    As you may or may not know, there was a family connection between The Spice House and Penzey's (Patty). But I believe that connection was severed when The Spice House was sold. My guess -- and it's only a guess -- is that with the family connection no longer in place, Penzey's is taking a shot at acquiring customers in a location they know can support a spice shop. They're probably not thinking about whether there's enough business in the area to support two shops as much as they're simply trying to be the one shop.

    My post-sale experiences at The Spice House have definitely differed from the pre-sale days. Prices have gone up and choices -- available items and packaging sizes -- have gone down. Quality seems to have remained consistent, though. I will say that some of the changes might be coronavirus-related. It's really hard to tell what the reasons are for these changes but I will say that well before corona came to town, there was already quite a bit of grousing on the dedicated Spice House thread.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #19 - June 28th, 2020, 7:04 am
    Post #19 - June 28th, 2020, 7:04 am Post #19 - June 28th, 2020, 7:04 am
    I'm done with the Spice House. The new owners never wanted a retail store, and now they are using the pandemic as an excuse to keep the Evanston store closed. On my last purchase, not one of the spices I bought was the quantity I wanted, because there are limited sizes available online.

    It is much further afield, but next spice purchase will be at Epic spices which was referenced in the Spice House thread and appears from their web site to be open.
  • Post #20 - July 8th, 2020, 9:27 pm
    Post #20 - July 8th, 2020, 9:27 pm Post #20 - July 8th, 2020, 9:27 pm
    Hi- I sent Spice House a message on their Facebook page a few weeks ago, and I did not realize until now that they got back to me. It was under my messages. I asked them when they were opening up their Evanston store, and I also asked them if they could bring back the one ounce bags. They told me that the store just reopened the end of June. They require every one to wear a mask if they enter the store, and they prefer that people order online before they go to the store, although they will fill orders at the store. It sounds like right now every thing is already packaged in jars or two ounce bags. They are doing that for safety reasons. It sounds like that is also the reason they are not offering the one ounce bags right now. I don't know if that means that they will offer the one ounce bags again after the pandemic is over or not. You are not allowed to select the bags and jars yourself. They sent me the message on 6/29, and they offered me a 10% off my next online purchase, but the code they gave me expired on 7/1. This does not entice me to run to the store soon. I might just wait until Penzey's opens up on Sherman. Does anybody know if Penzey's offers one ounce bags at their stores?

    What is strange is that when the other spice place opened up in the same location on Sherman, Cinnamon Girl posted on here why couldn't they open up in another town that does not have a spice store, and yes I know that Patty and her husband currently only have a 10% stake in the business. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #21 - July 8th, 2020, 10:42 pm
    Post #21 - July 8th, 2020, 10:42 pm Post #21 - July 8th, 2020, 10:42 pm
    There should be a joke about Sage Advice in this thread.
  • Post #22 - July 8th, 2020, 10:48 pm
    Post #22 - July 8th, 2020, 10:48 pm Post #22 - July 8th, 2020, 10:48 pm
    Telegram Sam wrote:There should be a joke about Sage Advice in this thread.
    Well, there is no thyme like the present to make that joke. Go for it.
    The thing about quotes on the internet is you can not confirm their validity. -- Abraham Lincoln
  • Post #23 - November 1st, 2020, 1:51 pm
    Post #23 - November 1st, 2020, 1:51 pm Post #23 - November 1st, 2020, 1:51 pm
    On a Facebook group that I am a member of, the host just posted a deal at Penzey's. If you purchase a $50 gift card, you can get it for $35 through 11/2. If you just want the gift card, they don't charge for shipping. Otherwise it is free shipping when you order $39.94. They also have a bunch of spice boxes really cheap right now. If you order the gift card, you are supposed to get a free show love mug, but they charge $4.95 for shipping if you don't order the minimum for free shipping. When I visited the website, I did not see anything about the free mug on their website, but somebody at the Facebook group told me she got one for free when she visited one of their stores. Apparently the free mug offer is in the email they send out, and when you add it to your cart along with the gift card, you get it for free plus the $4.95 shipping if you don't make an additional purchase. The only store currently open in Illinois is in Naperville. The Evanston store is opening soon. Here is a link to the offer.
    https://www.penzeys.com/online-catalog/ ... AOHHZHNP84
  • Post #24 - November 1st, 2020, 10:07 pm
    Post #24 - November 1st, 2020, 10:07 pm Post #24 - November 1st, 2020, 10:07 pm
    I have never ordered spices from Penzey's. Are they any cheaper than Spice House?
  • Post #25 - November 2nd, 2020, 1:57 pm
    Post #25 - November 2nd, 2020, 1:57 pm Post #25 - November 2nd, 2020, 1:57 pm
    NFriday wrote:I have never ordered spices from Penzey's. Are they any cheaper than Spice House?

    It really depends on the item(s) and the quantity desired. Penzey's seems to be a bit cheaper for the items I order most frequently, especially as you move up in quantity. But there's a free shipping threshold at Penzey's, which you can bypass at TSH if you're willing to buy their flatpacks, which always ship free. So, depending on what you specifically want -- and if cost is your primary driver -- it probably makes sense to compare carts at both because it does seem like either could be cheaper on any given order.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #26 - November 3rd, 2020, 1:22 am
    Post #26 - November 3rd, 2020, 1:22 am Post #26 - November 3rd, 2020, 1:22 am
    Hi- I just tried to place an order on Penzey's website. They have a deal where you can get a $50 GC for $35, and then if you add something to your order to bring it up to $40, you get a free mug as well as free shipping, and you also get two different spice blends for free if you enter in the code VOTE. I signed up for an account, and I ordered the stuff I wanted, and then I entered in my shipping and billing info., but it would not let me enter in my credit card information. It says to try again later. Does anybody know here if I can order over the phone? There is an 800 number on their Facebook page. They are closed on 11/3 and so I will have to wait until 11/4 to call them up. I will be glad when their Evanston store opens up.
    Last edited by NFriday on November 14th, 2020, 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #27 - November 3rd, 2020, 6:31 am
    Post #27 - November 3rd, 2020, 6:31 am Post #27 - November 3rd, 2020, 6:31 am
    Hi- I just tried again entering in my cc info at Penzey's, and this time it let me. I got a jar of Revolution and a jar of Justice for free as well as a free Choose Love mug. I also got a $50 GC for $35. I had to purchase a bag of basil in order to get it over $40 for the free shipping. For some reason it only charged me 6 cents for taxes which was for the basil which was $5.95. Hopefully the Evanston store will open soon.
  • Post #28 - November 11th, 2020, 9:50 am
    Post #28 - November 11th, 2020, 9:50 am Post #28 - November 11th, 2020, 9:50 am
    Penzey's has a store in Naperville on Chicago Avenue. That is the closest store to me. I believe all of their spices are sold in bottles of some sort. I think they have a couple of sizes. Due to the pandemic I have not been there for a while...my spices tend to last a long time anyway. They also sell flavorings like vanilla, pure orange and lemon extract, etc. I have never been to the Spice House.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #29 - November 14th, 2020, 5:20 pm
    Post #29 - November 14th, 2020, 5:20 pm Post #29 - November 14th, 2020, 5:20 pm
    I just got most of my order from Penzeys. The only thing I did not get was the Choose Love mug. They were out of them, and they are going to send me an email when they arrive about how to get one. I don't know what that means since the Evanston store is not open yet. I had to order a 3/4 cup bag of basil to get my order over $40 for free shipping. My order came to $41. For my $41, I got a $50 gift card, the bag of basil, a 1.2 ounce jar of Revolution spice blend, and a .8 ounce jar of Justice. I am also getting the mug, and because they were out of the mug, they sent a choose love refrigerator magnet. They also sent a .25 ounce bag of mural of flavor which I was not expecting. I just checked and this deal is not available any more. It was an election day special. They have some other deals, but they are not as good as the one I got.

    Has anybody tried Mural of Flavor, Justice or Revolution? It sounds like they are salt substitutes. I am going to wait until the Evanston store opens before I use my gift card.

    The stuff was well packed. They also sell their spices on Amazon, and I read some reviews there for their Mural of Flavor, and somebody there only left a one star review because their jar broke during shipment. I assume Amazon shipped it and not Penzey's.
  • Post #30 - November 20th, 2020, 10:42 am
    Post #30 - November 20th, 2020, 10:42 am Post #30 - November 20th, 2020, 10:42 am
    Received an email this morning from Penzey's in which there was a mention of the newly opened Evanston store. Looks like touchless pickup only (until further notice?) . . .

    Image

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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