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Spice Store..Cookware Stores..Specialty Food Shops

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I'm a cook coming from China for a few days and when I go back to the States I always try to shop and stock up on anything I can't get back in Commie land. I just want to know if anyone has suggestions as far as shops to visit while I am back. Specifically I am looking for Esplette and specialty mexican products (dried chilies, spices, basically anything to produce a real Mexican meal) but if it is something good and something interesting I would defintely check out.
And of course cookware shops....anything that you would reccomend to a serious cook I would love to check out. Thank you.

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  1. Surfas...Surfas...Surfas.

    Esplette and spices you have never heard of galore. Also Mr. Marcel in the Farmers Market got a lot of stuff.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Adsvino

      Nicole's has about the same stuff as Mr. Marcel (except wine) and is much cheaper.

    2. I concur on Surfas. But there is a great little import shop in South Pasadena called Nicole's. Mostly French imports but a little of everything.

      1. Ingredients in North Glendale/Montrose: www.ingredientsshop.com

        Check out a new shop from the former chef/owner of Bistro Verdu. There are spices, salts, dried chiles, gourmet cheeses, charcuterie and on weekends, a small bites menu. Along with that there are also some cookware products, paella pans, interesting utensils and the like.

        1. While it doesn't provide the thrill of an expedition to someplace like Surfas Amazon.com has incredible deals on good stuff. It's hit or miss...but if you get lucky you can save up to 60%. I assume they ship to China. Check out any Vallarta Market for Mexican supplies.

          1. penzey's in torrance for top quality spices.
            21301 Hawthorne Blvd
            (310) 406-3877

            1 Reply
            1. re: chez cherie

              And just 10 minutes from there is Cook N' Stuff on Palos Verdes Blvd.

            2. For Mexican, I'd hit a Gigante or Vallarta supermarket. But you could get most of the spices at Penzeys, where they'd be fresher anyway (Surfas is good too).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cicely

                I agree with everyone. I think Penzey's has the best price point for the large selection/quality/freshness of spices that they have. I buy most of my spices from there....they are also great for mail order/website....but I doubt they ship to China. Vallarta is great (and cheap) if you are looking specifically for Mexican spices.