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Jul 9, 2006 04:29 AM

Went to Penzey's for the first time today [moved from Home Cooking]

All I can say is WOW. They have a fantastic selection, helpful staff, great prices and everything is so fresh. I justified the $120 I spent by vowing to share my haul with family.

Made tacos for dinner tonight and while I usually don't use spice mixes in my tacos, I tried their bold taco mix. Really, really good.

Tomorrow I plan to put the Vietnamese cinnamon and cardamom to use. I can't wait!

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  1. I just tried the Bold Taco Seasoning for the first time myself, and I was kinda disappointed. A bit spicy, but really no flavor. I kept adding more and more and more to get my ground beef to perk up. I finally added some Ancho Chile powder and some New Mexican Chile powder to get it to taste decent. Guess I'm hunting for another taco seasoning.

    10 Replies
    1. re: dippedberry

      I thought the same thing about the taco seasoning. It's good with shrimp or fish with some fresh cilantro and olive oil. But if I'm using it for ground beef, I have to add Penzey's ground ancho chile, a little ground chipotle, and some of the Adobo seasoning. I agree with RxyGrl, it's easy to spend a lot, so many good things! And I've only bought on-line, I'll be in big trouble when I finally make it to one of their stores. One of my favorite blends is the Fox Point Seasoning (salt, shallots, chives, garlic, onion, and green peppercorns). I use it a lot - in salad dressings, potato salad, to make an herbed mayonnaise, with scrambled eggs and quiches, and as a great flavored oil or marinade for seafood mixed with some chopped fresh herbs.

      1. re: Rubee

        Rubee, you haven't been to the Arlington store? I usually spend about an hour in there, walking around smelling the sample bottles and inevitably, picking up one or two more things I've not ever had before.

        My last shopping trip included sumac (which I love!), the Fox Point Seasoning, which is also very good, the Parisien Bonne Herbes (also very good) and annatto seeds (which I still haven't used <g>).

        1. re: LindaWhit

          I know - I still haven't been to the Arlington shop! I've only used the annatto seeds for achiote paste. What do you do with the sumac? I have it too, but only have used it for a layered onion and tomato salad, sprinkled on a watermelon and feta salad, and for zahtar. Would love some other ideas!

          1. re: Rubee

            I like the sumac used on roasted potatoes - toss a lb. of potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper, and about 1/2 Tbsp. of sumac, and 1/2 tsp. each of dried oregano, thyme and marjoram.

            I also have recipes for Chicken Sumac and a Mediterranean-inspired marinade using sumac. Oh - also Sumac pita chips! Let me know if you want them - I can post them over on Home Cooking.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              hi lindawhit i would love any recipes you have for using sumac

            2. re: Rubee

              Hi Linda - YES! I would love those recipes if you could put them on the Home Cooking board. Thanks so much!

              1. re: Rubee

                Rubee - I'm at work right now sans recipes. I'll post them when I get home tonight.

                1. re: Rubee

                  Rubee - here's the link to the recipes using sumac on Home Cooking:


                  1. re: Rubee

                    Rubee - the Home Cooking post with sumac recipes was pulled, as they were Internet based without any link to the Internet recipe. (I just posted them from my MasterCook file.) I will try and find the links for the specific recipes again on the Web and post those links. Check out Home Cooking today or tomorrow.

                    1. re: Rubee

                      For some reason, I can't reply to your post, and have to reply to myself! Just wanted to say thanks for going through so much trouble, Linda.

                      my email is if that helps.

                      Thanks again!

              2. Love them! Sadly, I'm not going nearly as much as i thought I would! I don't really use up spices as much as I thought and I have a great Indian store nearby (I just bought the most amazing bottle of tumeric)


                1. We LOVE that cinnamon - it really makes a difference! Also, the lamb seasoning is very good!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kim shook

                    I think their Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon is extraordinary! We have purchased all of their various cinnamons, but this is the one that we always want to use. Yes, it is really different from what you can purchase in a market.

                  2. besides the basics (salt, pepper, garlic, paprika) i like the chicago seasoning. when i plan on a BBQ sauce on chicken i use this before adding the sauce for the last ten minutes on the grill. also great on steaks. the shallot pepper (it also contains salt) is great on fish and chicken. the hers de provence is also great. vanilla bean, saffron, all great. i do not like the singapore seasoning.

                    my only advise is to be careful on size. stay within the smaller versus larger sizes, but for the staples, buy some of their bottles and refill from the plastic bags.