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  • Post #91 - April 16th, 2020, 10:56 pm
    Post #91 - April 16th, 2020, 10:56 pm Post #91 - April 16th, 2020, 10:56 pm
    I placed an order for delivery on April 5 and when it had not arrived by April 12, I followed up with an email. Citing a bunch of very understandable reasons, the person who replied informed me that the (then) current lead time for processing delivery orders was 17 days. I'm not in any hurry but I must have missed this notice when I was ordering and wanted to pass the information along just in case it might be of use to anyone else. Presuming they're still offering pick-up -- and you're willing/able to make one -- you'll likely have a shorter interval placing an order for pick-up.

    =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 #92 - July 17th, 2020, 1:55 pm
    Post #92 - July 17th, 2020, 1:55 pm Post #92 - July 17th, 2020, 1:55 pm
    Al Ehrhardt wrote:We had been Spice House customers for decades, but we now visit Steven and Natalie at Epic Spices and love their quality, freshness, variety, prices, and awesome personal service.

    Epic Spices
    1725 W. Chicago Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60622
    312.733.6445
    http://www.epicspices.com

    As I said up thread, I'm done with Spice House. I tried Epic today. My biggest complaint is that they are only open Fri, Sat and Sunday. Luckily, I went on a Friday - next time I will probably forget this and go on another day.

    Nice people, great prices and seems to be very fresh.
  • Post #93 - July 17th, 2020, 4:23 pm
    Post #93 - July 17th, 2020, 4:23 pm Post #93 - July 17th, 2020, 4:23 pm
    Thanks for the information about Epic.
    Will be giving them a try over Spice House as well!
  • Post #94 - August 27th, 2020, 12:03 am
    Post #94 - August 27th, 2020, 12:03 am Post #94 - August 27th, 2020, 12:03 am
    Has anyone else noticed a significant difference in the particle size of Spice House's granulated garlic? For years, it was always a coarse grind and always the same. The last couple orders I placed, I noticed that it was much more finely ground, nearly a dust that was so fine, it clumped coming out of the shaker top of the jar (been refilling and using the same jar for years). Instead of just falling onto the food, it was actually blown off target merely via the shaking. When I noticed other quality issues, like this one, over the past few months, I decided to take a wait and see approach.

    Looking at this thread, many of us have noticed and noted a number of changes since the business was sold. None of them seemed customer-friendly but I've really tried to be patient and positive about them. But if I'm being honest, not a single one of these changes has been for the better. Each change has made The Spice House a lesser and less desirable shopping destination. This place used to be premium. It used to be special. It used to be the gold standard. You could count on their products being of superior quality but they no longer are. This was a specialty shop run and staffed by people with unparalleled passion and knowledge but it no longer is.

    In its apparent quest to become a mainstream retailer (or perhaps, flip the business entirely), what TSH has become is a deteriorating, middle-of-the-road business with overpriced products that are no better in quality than what dozens of other sellers offer. The worst part is that this all seems to be part of some misguided growth strategy. Is this what happens when a business is purchased by people who have little understanding of the industry they're entering? Is this what happens when business owners think their core customers aren't discerning enough to notice when products deteriorate in quality? I don't know but it sure feels that way.

    Customers who care enough to buy spices at a specialty shop can tell the difference. Customers who can't tell the difference don't care enough to buy at a specialty shop to begin with. That seems obvious to me but wtf do I know?

    I'm not saying I'll never shop here again but it'll no longer be my first option or my default choice. They'll have to work for -- and earn -- my business. In my eyes, whatever goodwill might have carried over from the previous ownership has now completely lapsed. The Spice House and I are starting over.

    =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 #95 - August 27th, 2020, 1:22 am
    Post #95 - August 27th, 2020, 1:22 am Post #95 - August 27th, 2020, 1:22 am
    Hi Ronnie- I've been meaning to post this. As I was walking down Sherman Ave. in downtown Evanston on Monday, I walked past the store that used to have a franchise spice place, and now has a coming soon Penzey's Spices sign in the window, and they had the door propped open, and there were construction people working in the store. It looked like they still had some work to do, but this is a good sign. I just checked Penzey's website, and the store is not mentioned there. It looks like all of their stores are still closed, but you can order online and pick it up at the store. It sounds like the same kind of setup the Spice House had for a while. Once they open up I'll just go there. That location is closer for me anyway. I used to love the Spice House, but I am not interested in going back there.
  • Post #96 - August 27th, 2020, 3:59 am
    Post #96 - August 27th, 2020, 3:59 am Post #96 - August 27th, 2020, 3:59 am
    Nancy, I couldn’t have said it better. For now, in spite of the difficulty in shopping there, my place will be Epic spices.
  • Post #97 - August 27th, 2020, 4:50 am
    Post #97 - August 27th, 2020, 4:50 am Post #97 - August 27th, 2020, 4:50 am
    NFriday wrote:Hi Ronnie- I've been meaning to post this. As I was walking down Sherman Ave. in downtown Evanston on Monday, I walked past the store that used to have a franchise spice place, and now has a coming soon Penzey's Spices sign in the window, and they had the door propped open, and there were construction people working in the store. It looked like they still had some work to do, but this is a good sign. I just checked Penzey's website, and the store is not mentioned there.


    FWIW, I just double-checked their website and when I clicked on Illinois it listed 1615 Sherman Avenue in Evanston as coming soon.
    And frankly, for all the reasons that Ron stated so clearly, I can't wait.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #98 - August 27th, 2020, 9:27 am
    Post #98 - August 27th, 2020, 9:27 am Post #98 - August 27th, 2020, 9:27 am
    Anyone else on Penzey's e-mail list? Today, because their Kenosha store was NOT looted, they announced they would "loot" it themselves:

    My mind went to that idea that we would feel differently if it was our store that was looted. When I asked around: “What if we looted our own store?” What if we took a snapshot of our Kenosha store’s inventory tonight and simply gave away exactly that amount of inventory in the coming weeks? Unlike the Minneapolis Uptown store that was in the center of things, our Kenosha location is out by the highway and does not have much chance of looting itself. What if we just gave our spices and seasonings to food pantries and gift boxes to organizations trying to raise money to fund change?


    Good people. Good company. Good spices.
  • Post #99 - August 27th, 2020, 10:11 am
    Post #99 - August 27th, 2020, 10:11 am Post #99 - August 27th, 2020, 10:11 am
    People either love Penzy's or they hate them. They gained a lot of new customers in 2016 when they expressed their hatred for the current president, but then they lost a lot of customers who thought they should stay out of politics. A lot of those people started buying from the Spice House instead.
  • Post #100 - August 27th, 2020, 10:52 am
    Post #100 - August 27th, 2020, 10:52 am Post #100 - August 27th, 2020, 10:52 am
    NFriday wrote:People either love Penzy's or they hate them. They gained a lot of new customers in 2016 when they expressed their hatred for the current president, but then they lost a lot of customers who thought they should stay out of politics. A lot of those people started buying from the Spice House instead.

    When you mix business with politics, you risk losing half your audience.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #101 - August 27th, 2020, 11:25 am
    Post #101 - August 27th, 2020, 11:25 am Post #101 - August 27th, 2020, 11:25 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    NFriday wrote:People either love Penzy's or they hate them. They gained a lot of new customers in 2016 when they expressed their hatred for the current president, but then they lost a lot of customers who thought they should stay out of politics. A lot of those people started buying from the Spice House instead.

    When you mix business with politics, you risk losing half your audience.


    And when they use your e-mail address for POLITICAL purposes as opposed to business purposes, you violate the trust of your customers. For two years, I was getting all sorts of leftist political spam e-mails from Wisconsineven though I have never resided in the state. No thanks.
  • Post #102 - August 27th, 2020, 11:36 am
    Post #102 - August 27th, 2020, 11:36 am Post #102 - August 27th, 2020, 11:36 am
    Regarding the garlic, I know that they used to sell both garlic powder and granulated garlic. Is it possible that you got the powder rather than granulated? My go to for regular granulated for a while has been costco, but I buy roasted granulated from spice house, which was the same when I last purchased it several months ago. I also bought some of the Chicago Fire rub which is the successor to the Wiviott blend. Seems pretty darn similar to me.....Gary, I hope you are getting royalties. I dont believe they still make the Sunny Spain, which was the only other thing I got regularly.

    -Will
  • Post #103 - August 27th, 2020, 12:48 pm
    Post #103 - August 27th, 2020, 12:48 pm Post #103 - August 27th, 2020, 12:48 pm
    WillG wrote:Regarding the garlic, I know that they used to sell both garlic powder and granulated garlic. Is it possible that you got the powder rather than granulated? My go to for regular granulated for a while has been costco, but I buy roasted granulated from spice house, which was the same when I last purchased it several months ago. I also bought some of the Chicago Fire rub which is the successor to the Wiviott blend. Seems pretty darn similar to me.....Gary, I hope you are getting royalties. I dont believe they still make the Sunny Spain, which was the only other thing I got regularly.

    -Will

    The product was ordered -- and labeled -- as granulated garlic. All three granulated garlic products offered at their website (standard, organic and roasted) are now described as "granulated garlic powder." With that description, I guess that means they can now hedge and source these items from wherever they can get the best deal, without any regard to quality or consistency. This appears to be yet another casualty (along with poor Gary) of TSH having rationalized their product line. But hey, guess what? I noticed! :x

    =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 #104 - August 27th, 2020, 1:45 pm
    Post #104 - August 27th, 2020, 1:45 pm Post #104 - August 27th, 2020, 1:45 pm
    WillG wrote:Regarding the garlic, I know that they used to sell both garlic powder and granulated garlic. Is it possible that you got the powder rather than granulated? My go to for regular granulated for a while has been costco, but I buy roasted granulated from spice house, which was the same when I last purchased it several months ago. I also bought some of the Chicago Fire rub which is the successor to the Wiviott blend. Seems pretty darn similar to me.....Gary, I hope you are getting royalties. I dont believe they still make the Sunny Spain, which was the only other thing I got regularly.

    -Will


    Penzeys (not TSH) definitely still has Sunny Spain. I also enjoy their Galena Street rub as a base for further doctoring.
  • Post #105 - August 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm
    Post #105 - August 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm Post #105 - August 27th, 2020, 3:41 pm
    I just looked at the Spice House's website, and they are offering one ounce flat packs. I don't use that many dried herbs this time of year though. I use them a lot more in the winter time, and so hopefully Penzey's will be open in a few months. I did post on their Facebook page a few months ago, asking them to bring back the one ounce bags, and so maybe they had more customers that missed them. Maybe Ronnie could email them about the granulated garlic.
  • Post #106 - August 27th, 2020, 3:54 pm
    Post #106 - August 27th, 2020, 3:54 pm Post #106 - August 27th, 2020, 3:54 pm
    NFriday wrote:Maybe Ronnie could email them about the granulated garlic.

    The thought of having to find the right person there to unravel the situation seems like a major time sink. I just ordered some from another merchant -- described on their website as coarsely ground -- and it'll be delivered to my door tomorrow.

    That's how easy it is to replace TSH. Once I'm ordering from my computer, just about every merchant is equally accessible.

    =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 #107 - August 27th, 2020, 4:10 pm
    Post #107 - August 27th, 2020, 4:10 pm Post #107 - August 27th, 2020, 4:10 pm
    Just a shame what someone can do to a great company in a short period of time.
  • Post #108 - August 28th, 2020, 2:49 pm
    Post #108 - August 28th, 2020, 2:49 pm Post #108 - August 28th, 2020, 2:49 pm
    Problem solved . . .

    Image
    Amazon's Happy Belly Brand Granulated Garlic

    It's granular, not powder and it smells every bit as garlicky as the dust from The Spice House that I just threw away (if not better). And, at $8.49 for 24 ounces, it's 82.5% percent cheaper than TSH's cheapest option, too. Extremely easy call.

    =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 #109 - August 29th, 2020, 8:53 am
    Post #109 - August 29th, 2020, 8:53 am Post #109 - August 29th, 2020, 8:53 am
    The Kirkland brand is California garlic not Chinese, if that matters, and also inexpensive. Guessing made for them by Christopher Ranch.

    -Will
  • Post #110 - August 29th, 2020, 9:51 am
    Post #110 - August 29th, 2020, 9:51 am Post #110 - August 29th, 2020, 9:51 am
    WillG wrote:The Kirkland brand is California garlic not Chinese, if that matters, and also inexpensive. Guessing made for them by Christopher Ranch.

    -Will

    That doesn't matter to me in principle or in practice but thank you. It's great to have options. :)

    =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 #111 - August 29th, 2020, 4:26 pm
    Post #111 - August 29th, 2020, 4:26 pm Post #111 - August 29th, 2020, 4:26 pm
    In the past few years in Arizona, I have been buying a lot of my spices in the bulk sections of Sprouts and Winco Foods. That way, I can buy as much or as little as I want. (Yes, I will buy just 2 pieces or Star Anise as I rarely use it. ) I find it interesting that I can buy enough oregano or basil to fill up my Penzey's jar for $0.85 as opposed to paying them $5.29 for the same amount.

    Due to the volume they go through, the spices are always fresh.
  • Post #112 - August 29th, 2020, 4:59 pm
    Post #112 - August 29th, 2020, 4:59 pm Post #112 - August 29th, 2020, 4:59 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    WillG wrote:The Kirkland brand is California garlic not Chinese, if that matters, and also inexpensive. Guessing made for them by Christopher Ranch.
    -Will

    That doesn't matter to me in principle or in practice but thank you. It's great to have options. :)
    =R=

    Based on the discussion in this LTH thread, "Garlic complaints," this does matter to me, both in principle and in practice, so thank you, Will. That thread has multiple posts about garlic products at Costco being from California. I enjoyed revisiting that thread just now for, among other things, the reminders of Jazzfood's ebook on garlic and links that Geo and MotoGuzziGuy posted to sources for seeds for growing your own garlic at home.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #113 - August 29th, 2020, 5:06 pm
    Post #113 - August 29th, 2020, 5:06 pm Post #113 - August 29th, 2020, 5:06 pm
    Whole Foods, Mariano's , and Fresh Thyme, are the only stores that have spices in bulk, and Whole Foods is the only store that has a wide selection of bulk spices. There are a few spices that the downtown Evanston store has that the Green Bay store does not. As far as I know Whole Foods temporarily eliminated their bulk spice department after the pandemic started just like they closed down their salad bar, hot food bar, and 75% of their bulk food section. They have just reopened their salad bar and hot food bar, but they have an employee dish it out for you.

    I used to buy most of my spices at Whole Foods in their bulk food section, and they are okay, but I found I still preferred the spices at the Spice House. I especially love their Saigon cinnamon and mulling spices. Hopefully Penzey's spices are going to be as good as what they used to have at the Spice House.
  • Post #114 - August 31st, 2020, 7:54 pm
    Post #114 - August 31st, 2020, 7:54 pm Post #114 - August 31st, 2020, 7:54 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    WillG wrote:The Kirkland brand is California garlic not Chinese, if that matters, and also inexpensive. Guessing made for them by Christopher Ranch.

    -Will

    That doesn't matter to me in principle or in practice but thank you. It's great to have options. :)

    As long as I had a Costco order coming, I threw on a jar . . .

    Image
    Costco's Kirkland Brand Granulated Garlic

    It smells pretty good; more or less identical to the Amazon stuff about which I posted upthread. And at $7.19 for 18 ounces, it's a great value. In fact, all together my 42 ounces -- 2.6 pounds -- of combined Amazon and Costco granulated garlic cost $15.68 or 0.37/ounce. To buy 40 ounces at TSH -- their closest increment to 40 ounces and lowest per-ounce price -- would cost $69.95, or $1.75 an ounce (79% higher) . . . and based on my recent experiences, their product, essentially garlic dust, isn't as good.

    =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 #115 - August 31st, 2020, 9:13 pm
    Post #115 - August 31st, 2020, 9:13 pm Post #115 - August 31st, 2020, 9:13 pm
    I did not realize people used so much granulated garlic.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #116 - August 31st, 2020, 9:28 pm
    Post #116 - August 31st, 2020, 9:28 pm Post #116 - August 31st, 2020, 9:28 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:I did not realize people used so much granulated garlic.

    I'll vacuum seal some of this because I "doubled up" for sake of comparison. But I use it in several of my rubs, so it'll go quickly. I'll probably be through it all in about 6-8 months, especially since I've been cooking so much at home.

    =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 #117 - September 1st, 2020, 3:51 am
    Post #117 - September 1st, 2020, 3:51 am Post #117 - September 1st, 2020, 3:51 am
    Granulated garlic is in the air! Too bad about The Spice House, that was, once upon a time my Candyland, the one in Old Town. I am broadcasting from The South Tower; we just moved from Manhattan to "very" rural Southern Il. After my lovely visit with ms. corona and the inevitable collapse of urban society...I am still recovering since mid-April. Back to granulated garlic! I went on a scavenger hunt in Charleston and found some a week ago. Granulated garlic, you beautiful beast, certainly not the powder or salt shit your mother spills on homemade sourdough and calls it garlic bread. Feh. I was looking for granulated garlic to recreate Wick Fowlers basic basic basic chile, for the nonce. I ran across it in a 2 oz. packet(in date!) at County Market. That, some cubed chuck(les sigh)...people can't cut their own chuck? In farm country? And, my spices in a masala/slurry. Granulated garlic: thumbs up!
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #118 - September 1st, 2020, 7:41 am
    Post #118 - September 1st, 2020, 7:41 am Post #118 - September 1st, 2020, 7:41 am
    This thread reminded me I had a pre buyout gift card on the side of the fridge under a couple other discount cards we always a age to forget.
    Picked up some butchers rub, vadouvan curry, and “summer blend” which replaces the old ratatouille seasoning.
    Butchers rub seems good as always.
  • Post #119 - September 1st, 2020, 7:42 am
    Post #119 - September 1st, 2020, 7:42 am Post #119 - September 1st, 2020, 7:42 am
    Christopher Gordon wrote:Granulated garlic is in the air! Too bad about The Spice House, that was, once upon a time my Candyland, the one in Old Town. I am broadcasting from The South Tower; we just moved from Manhattan to "very" rural Southern Il. After my lovely visit with ms. corona and the inevitable collapse of urban society...I am still recovering since mid-April. Back to granulated garlic! I went on a scavenger hunt in Charleston and found some a week ago. Granulated garlic, you beautiful beast, certainly not the powder or salt shit your mother spills on homemade sourdough and calls it garlic bread. Feh. I was looking for granulated garlic to recreate Wick Fowlers basic basic basic chile, for the nonce. I ran across it in a 2 oz. packet(in date!) at County Market. That, some cubed chuck(les sigh)...people can't cut their own chuck? In farm country? And, my spices in a masala/slurry. Granulated garlic: thumbs up!

    Welcome back to the Midwest, Christopher. Glad you're on the mend.
    -Mary
  • Post #120 - September 1st, 2020, 8:04 am
    Post #120 - September 1st, 2020, 8:04 am Post #120 - September 1st, 2020, 8:04 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I also bought some of the Chicago Fire rub which is the successor to the Wiviott blend. Seems pretty darn similar to me.....Gary, I hope you are getting royalties.

    Royalties, ha, they didn't even invite me to their post-fire reopening party on Wells St. :)

    The two blends are the same and, when I mentioned the name change to Patty, she said they also name changed two, or maybe it was more, of the blends her mom named.

    I'm friends with a couple of the employees, I interacted with them often as I bought 95% of the spices for Barn & Co from Spice House, plus they did custom blends, from my gram-based rub/wing recipes, for us on an almost weekly basis.

    As an aside Spice House does, or at least did, custom chef/restaurant blends for many (many) restaurants. Not available to the public, only to the specific chef/restaurant whose developed the proprietary blend.

    In the brief conversations I've had on the subject consensus seems working at Spice House has gone from feeling like one big family to just another job.
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow

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