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    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.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    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.

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