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Vanilla Beans

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Where have people found the cheapest and good vanilla beans in NYC (or boroughs if necessary?) I know there's good sources online, but since I only need a few now and then, wanted to buy them in the city if possible. Wondering if people know of any good sources..

The one's I checked out yesterday:
NY Cake Supplies - 2 beans for like $11-12
Kaluystans - 3.99 per bean, but they looked a bit dried out
(Previously, I had checked out Whole Foods and they were around 2 for 9 or so))

I went with Williams & Sonoma - 2 for 8.50, pricey, but the beans looked moist and plump

Any other places to try? or is this the norm in NYC?

Thanks!

Link: http://virtualfrolic.blogspot.com/

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  1. Williams & Sonoma has good quality beans. Other places to explore might be Eli's Vinegar Factory (UES) or Sahadi's Importing Company (BKLYN). Not far from Manhattan at all by subway. You'll find Sahadi's prices to be more to your liking. Call them first to make sure. I've provided the link below.

    Link: http://www.sahadis.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      Great tip re Sahadi's (I forgot about them). Just called, it's $2 for 1 and 3 for $5. Thanks!

      (Sorry for the outerborough talk on the NYC board - figured I should say thanks!)

      Link: http://virtualfrolic.blogspot.com/

      1. re: vf

        Great! Sahadi's has excellent prices. Their quality is good too. Williams & Sonoma quality might be unsurpassed though. You be the judge.

    2. Fairway has them, as good as any I've seen for sale locally (not mailorder) and cheaper than any you've mentioned. NY Cake is probably the last place I'd look for them - I can't imagine their turnover for this specific item is very high.

      5 Replies
      1. re: MikeG

        I've found them RELATIVELY cheap at West African Grocery on 40th and 9th ave in Hell's Kitchen. There's also someone selling good beans cheap on ebay.

        1. re: xavier

          Great, thanks for those ideas. I'll definetly have to stop by Fairway to check it out. I've also never been to the W. African Grocery store, that sounds like fun!

          Link: http://virtualfrolic.blogspot.com/

          1. re: vf

            I buy mine from the bulk spice section at Integral Yoga's health food store on 13th street b/w 7th and 8th -- they're very fresh and good quality -- and you just buy what you need. Don't get sticker shock: the container is labeled $199/pound -- but that works out to only a buck or two per bean -- and they're always fresh and plump. (they're a good source for a lot of bulk spices -- and fresh nuts -- raw or roasted -- as well).

            1. re: pastrychick

              Oh wow, I have never been! Thanks for the tip! (and thanks for the note about the pricing label, I probably would have freaked out and not bought any!)

              Link: http://virtualfrolic.blogspot.com/

          2. re: xavier

            I did check on ebay some are getting for a low price but of course what they were getting wasGrade B beans I believe.