Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

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Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby CMMiller » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:54 am

I think there is a significant contingent of SF Bay area foodies/cooks here - I'm seeking opinions on the best place to buy dried herbs and spices to assemble in a gift box for someone in the family. Looking for French & Mediterranean more than Indian or Thai, although a place that carries all of them would be most welcome. Any recommendations?

Thanks,

Christian
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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby Jenise » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:30 am

I would guess you have a brick and mortar Penzeys there? The freshness and quality are incomparable.
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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:22 pm

I'm only an occasional visitor to Baghdad by the Bay, but I'm thinking that in a cosmopolitan city like San Francisco I'd be more inclined to look for ethnic markets than even as admirable a franchise chain as Penzey's.

If they're still around, I recall being impressed by visits to Spice Ace in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, and, I think, a place called Rainbow Grocery. I can't remember what neighborhood the latter was in, though.
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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby John Treder » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:46 pm

The Bay Area is a pretty big place. There's a Penzey's store in Montgomery Village in Santa Rosa, and a Savory Spice shop downtown across the street from Pedersen's furniture store. I prefer Savory by a small margin, but that's largely because it's in easy walking distance from home.
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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:57 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I'm only an occasional visitor to Baghdad by the Bay, but I'm thinking that in a cosmopolitan city like San Francisco I'd be more inclined to look for ethnic markets than even as admirable a franchise chain as Penzey's.


Nice Herb Caen allusion, Robin! :P

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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:21 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:Nice Herb Caen allusion, Robin! :P

Good eye! :mrgreen:
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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby CMMiller » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:29 pm

Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately, it looks like the nearest Penzeys now is Santa Rosa, probably not within reach in my time window. Various ethnic markets are good, but its harder to gather a broad spectrum there, so I'd have to go to an Indian place for certain things, Mexican for others, etc.

Does anyone have any experience with spice/dried herb quality at Berkeley Bowl or Ratto's in Oakland?

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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:11 pm

CMMiller wrote:Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately, it looks like the nearest Penzeys now is Santa Rosa, probably not within reach in my time window. Various ethnic markets are good, but its harder to gather a broad spectrum there, so I'd have to go to an Indian place for certain things, Mexican for others, etc.

Does anyone have any experience with spice/dried herb quality at Berkeley Bowl or Ratto's in Oakland?

CMM

Will the place in Santa Rosa ship to you, should be overnight if they will.
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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby CMMiller » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:45 pm

Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland is highly recommended by several wine/food geeks. I'll check it out and post a note if it's good.
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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby John Treder » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:02 pm

There's a Penzey's in Menlo Park. I googled.

Menlo Park, CA

771 Santa Cruz Ave
(650) 853-1785
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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:17 am

Please do post on Oaktown if you make it over there.

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Re: Best place to buy herbs/spices in bay area?

Postby CMMiller » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:00 am

Oaktown Spices did not disappoint. We got some really interesting aromatic Turkish Marash pepper, a nice Cajun herb-spice blend, an ultra foresty-shroomy porcini salt, and some excellent dried oregano (and I say that as someone who usually prefers fresh herbs). Remarkable collection of various black peppers. Very nice staff and the manager (owner/partner?) seems extremely knowledgeable. A great little store; and they will be selling online shortly.
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