HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


Penzeys! [Moved from SF]

Penzeys Spices is finally open in Menlo Park on Santa Cruz Ave! 10-6 M-Sat, 9-3 Sun. Hooray!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is great news! I didn't even know that one was coming to the Bay Area -- if I'm down that way soon, I'll definitely make a detour. Perfect timing for all of the cooking coming up this time of year.

    1. Thanks. I was always too lazy to order online

      Penzeys Spices
      771 Santa Cruz Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025

      1. what are hounds favorites at Penzeys? I'll be interested in stopping by.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hhc

          I love their cinnamons, and the smoked paprika is very good. Some of their boxed assortments make excellent housewarming/hostess gifts as well. I suggest geting on their mailing list, since the catalogs you get in the mail often have coupons.

          1. re: hhc

            They have great vanilla and saffron.

            1. re: farmersdaughter

              Second the saffron. I've never purchased vanilla from them.

          2. I bought some tomato powder once that was a great subsitute for tomato paste. Do they still have that?

            3 Replies
            1. re: tomatoaday

              I don't think we carry the tomato powder in our store. I checked the catalog too and it's not there. How long ago did you order it?

              - Lando

              1. re: tomatoaday

                You can buy tomato powder from www.thespicehouse.com, the original store owned by the Penzey family. The Spice House is based in Milwaukee, WI, but you can buy online from their website.

                1. re: Nancy Berry

                  Thanks. To answer the original question, it was long ago, about 10 years ago when I was visiting Milwaukee for a wedding, first and only time there. It is a great product because I never have tomato paste and it was easy to mix up just a little and not worry about letting 90% of the 6 oz can spoil. Thanks for pointing me to the correct place Nancy!

              2. I got the email yesterday and hopped right in my car. I've been meaning to order stuff from them and keep putting it off. So excited that they're just 15 minutes away from my house! I've been to the Penzeys in Torrance (southern California), and this was basically the same. Excellent selection of spices, dried herbs and some of their own special mixes. Very friendly staff... they bring in folks from their Midwest operation to open new stores, which is good because they know their stuff. Not sure if they stick around for the long haul.

                I like that many spices are sourced from a few different places, and they explain the difference between, say, Kashmiri saffron and Spanish saffron. Prices are low, I think even cheaper than the supermarket crap. I prefer to buy small containers for optimal freshness, and 1/4 ounce of most spices is around $3. Yes, bargain hunters can find cheaper in ethnic markets, but even though I can buy a huge bag of cumin for $1 from the Indian market, it's unwieldy and since I don't use it up that fast, it ends up getting stale anyway. Oh, they've apparently switched from plastic to glass for their small jars.

                1. I stumbled onto Penzeys on Saturday, totally by chance. Nicely lit store, friendly employees, but oh, the selection! I didn't need much, so I only bought oregano and Italian seasoning for myself, and paprika for my boss. I love that they have cannisters for some of the herbs so you can literally smell the product. The cashier gave me a free copy of their magazine. I plan to shop there for all my spice/herb needs as it's only 15 minutes from my house.

                  1. Finally made it in. Fabulous collection of spices and mixes, although no Ras al Hanout or urfa biber. Still while pound prices are quite good smaller amounts at BBW and Rainbow are usually equal or less than the the price of a pound divided by 16. I did enjoy the name of their Russian spice mixture for us Hoagy Carmichael and Woody Allen fans, Tsardust Memories.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wolfe

                      Get on their mailing list if you aren't already. Every once in a while there's a coupon for a free jar of spices or a spice blend. More hits than misses, IMO.

                      They do good business here so the spices are generally very fresh. The employees are universally pleasant and helpful in my experience.

                      I'd like to see Ras al Hanout myself, just because it seems like the spice du jour.