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Walk-in Spice shop in Chicagoland, and simple garlic question.

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Two questions:

The first: I need some spices that I can't find at the local grocery store, and as I abhor shopping online, I would prefer an actual storefront that I can walk into.

so where do you go for your spices and things?

The second: the recipe I have calls for garlic paste, but all i have in my refrigerator is a little jar of crushed garlic.

I'm sure there's a difference, but could someone tell me what exactly that difference is? Are they interchangable?

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  1. You seek The Spice House on Wells.

    garlic paste to my mind is simply macerated garlic: take garlic clove(s) and add a pinch of kosher salt as an abrasive. Mince garlic...then "smear" with blade of knife until you reach a paste consistency

    6 Replies
    1. re: aelph

      Spice house on wells?

      Sounds good.

      I ask for a storefront shop specifically because I just wasted the day hunting down a certain 'Heller seasonings and ingredients", only to discover that it was an online based company, and the address I had been given was to their brick-and-mortar offices. Quite frustrating.

      Thank You

      1. re: nevered

        The Spice House is about a block south of North Ave., btw, and they are very nice people. It ain't cheap, but it's top quality. I could hang out there for hours just inhaling the scents. They also have custom-ground curries and other spice combinations, as well as tools and interesting books and so on.

      2. re: aelph

        I second The Spice House - there is also one in Evanston on central street - http://www.thespicehouse.com/

        1. re: weinstein5

          Yes - Spicehouse.

          And if you ever need to go on-line for Spices, you want penzy's. www.penzys.com

          Penzy's and Spice House are both offshoots of the same family.

          1. re: wak

            The spice house also has online ordering, and they charge cost for shipping, which is a nice touch. The two stores have very similar inventories, but the spice house is sometimes cheaper for a certain spice, and Penzey's is sometimes cheaper for a certain spice.

            I strongly suggest you go to The Spice House, since most of the employees at each of the stores have been there for many years and are very passionate and knowledgeable about their trade, and the owners are there about 2/3 of the times I'm there.

        2. re: aelph

          There is also a Spice House in Evanston on Central Street, about a block west of Green Bay Road.

        3. I see that others have already sent you to the spice store on Wells and can add only that no discussion of buying spices in Chicago is complete without a mention of Devon Avenue. The Indian/Pakistani neighborhood on Devon just west of Western Avenue has many grocery stores, all of which sell spices both familiar (whole cloves) and less familiar (exotic Indian ones) for very, very reasonable prices.