HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Do you create unique foods? Share your adventure

Spices - where's the best? plse help

maxandcoco Nov 15, 2007 04:26 PM

Hi All -

I'm looking to buy a great gift of spices for someone who has [to my dismay,lol] gone vegetarian. Sorry, I love my steaks! But I digress.. looking for the best in the city for spices. I'm not necessarily looking to buy them all in one place but planning on putting together a 'wonderful years supply of spices' in an innovative gift package.

Can you all help? Thanks in advance!

  1. MMRuth Nov 15, 2007 04:28 PM

    I'd suggest either Kalustyan's or Penzey's (in Grand Central).


    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth
      LNG212 Nov 16, 2007 05:23 AM

      Second Kalustyan's. They have amazing stuff, and a lot of hard to find things too.

      1. re: LNG212
        MMRuth Nov 16, 2007 05:24 AM

        They also have an incredible selection of rice, in case the OP wanted to include some in the gift.

    2. g
      garden Nov 15, 2007 04:42 PM

      penzys is great. i esp like the northwood fire seasoning. good on everything.

      also, was at bar americain and they sell a steak spice there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: garden
        MikeG Nov 16, 2007 05:35 AM

        There is no single "best" store for spices. (There is no best store for any broad range of things, but now I digress. ;) ) Without having some idea of what you're looking for, I'd settle for Kalustyan's being the best compromise, and their prices for spices are generally good (unlike much of their other stock.) They lean toward bulk packaging, though. Penzey's has a less esoteric selection, as wide as it is, but a big potential plus is that they seem to specialize in "gift sets" and I think they regularly make them up to order - which would certainly be a convenience. They do have a local presence, but I think it's more for show/advertising than regular sales, their stock is very limited.

      2. JungMann Nov 16, 2007 05:25 AM

        Penzey's is definitely nicer if you want to give a set as a gift. If you go to Kalustyan's, you could buy packages of spices and put them in funky bottles for a personalized look that might cost a little less. There's also a spice market on Bleecker west of 6th Avenue that has an amazing group of spice mixes that would be very appropriate for a vegetarian.

        1. mnitchals Nov 16, 2007 07:45 AM

          I made a similar gift for a friend. I bought all the spices at an Indian Grocery (I am sure someone can recommend one in NYC). The Indian groceries tend to go through them so quickly that they are relatively fresh. Also they are a pretty good price. The only issue is that they are usually just packaged in plastic bags, so buy a masala dabba to put them all in. Amazon sells them as do most Indian groceries. Here's a link to what they look like http://gourmetsleuth.com/masaladabba.htm I just think they are really cool.

          1. steeltowngrl Nov 16, 2007 08:15 AM

            The produce store in Chelsea Market has a large selection of spices, very affordable. Packaged in small and larger bulk-type containers. I especially like the smoked paprika.

            1 Reply
            1. re: steeltowngrl
              JungMann Nov 16, 2007 10:35 AM

              Good call! I completely forgot about Manhattan Fruit Exchange. Their prices are very fair, too. No exotic mixes, though.

            2. a
              Ann900 Nov 16, 2007 09:11 PM

              Aphrodisia on Bleeker Street - a few doors down from Murray's has an incredible selection of herbs and spices, along with teas, fragrant oils.. They've been around for years. Great staff, too.

              Show Hidden Posts