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Spices/Ingredients for Cooking

mpierce64 Jul 11, 2009 03:43 PM

Does anyone know of a good place in or around Boston to buy good quality spices and seasonings for cooking, like sea salt for example? Thank you.

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    Ruprecht RE: mpierce64 Jul 11, 2009 04:05 PM

    Two very nice spice shops with everything you might need:

    Christina's in Inman Sq, Cambridge
    Penzey's in Arlington

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruprecht
      PinchOfSalt RE: Ruprecht Jul 11, 2009 04:25 PM

      Indeed! You can get just about any spice or herb you need at those stores. Here is the URL for what can be found at Penzey's


      If for some reason you can't make it to the store (Mass. Ave in Arlington, near Park), you can order online.

      Also, Formaggio's on Huron Avenue in Cambridge is a good bet for any very unusual items that for some reason are not available at Penzey's or Christina's.

    2. StriperGuy RE: mpierce64 Jul 11, 2009 08:40 PM

      Much more T-accessible, the Harvest Food Coop in Central Square had rather good spices in bulk for very reasonable money.

      Quality-wise I would rank Penzey's first, and then Christina's and the food coop tied for second.

      5 Replies
      1. re: StriperGuy
        BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: StriperGuy Jul 11, 2009 09:53 PM

        The 77 bus leaves Harvard Square every 12-15 minutes, runs straight up Mass Ave and stops about 10 yards from Penzey's front door.

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
          StriperGuy RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jul 12, 2009 02:01 AM

          Take you an extra 45 minutes to get there then it would to get to central square.

          1. re: StriperGuy
            BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: StriperGuy Jul 12, 2009 09:03 AM

            More like 20, with the payoff of better spices for less money and a sidetrip to Lakota for cookies.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
              StriperGuy RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Jul 12, 2009 10:43 AM

              I just tried it on the T's own trip planner at www.mbta.com and just the piece from Harvard to Penzey's takes 30 according to their calculations and that does not count the extra time on the Red Line or waiting for the bus connection at Harvard Station.

              I absolutely LOVE Penzey's but that place is a bit of a haul even by car.

              From downtown Boston by T it will take you at least and hour, probably more whereas Central Square is 20 minutes.

              1. re: StriperGuy
                tsackton RE: StriperGuy Jul 14, 2009 02:08 PM

                You can also order online from Penzey's instead of making the trip to Arlington.

      2. hotoynoodle RE: mpierce64 Jul 12, 2009 05:10 AM

        sea salt is commonly available pretty much anyplace, even a shaw's. chinatown markets have great prices on spices too.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle
          PinchOfSalt RE: hotoynoodle Jul 12, 2009 07:15 AM

          Along those lines, Indian markets have large selections of spices. The packages tend to be larger than found in western-style stores and the prices tend to be lower. Having said that, the emphasis is on spices; herbs used in European and North American cooking would be less likely to be found there.

          1. re: PinchOfSalt
            teezeetoo RE: PinchOfSalt Jul 12, 2009 11:39 AM

            I get most of my spices at Araks, Mt. Auburn street, when I pick up wonderful hummus and persian melons too. the spices are cheap, fresh, and while they don't have everything, the selection is good. Sea salt anywhere (trader joes, russos, etc.)

            1. re: teezeetoo
              PinchOfSalt RE: teezeetoo Jul 12, 2009 11:54 AM

              I like Arax too, especially if you are shopping for Middle Eastern ingredients. The prepared foods are very good and the older guy often at the checkout counter is very friendly. I suspect he is the owner. Having said that, when I go to Arax I usually visit Massis and Sevan too. They each have their high points, and what the heck, you are there already. FWIW, Massis has a pretty decent spice and herb selection too. I love their spinach-and-cheese boreks!

              Apropos taking the T, the number 71 bus, which runs very frequently, stops nearby. It's about 15-20 minutes from Harvard Square.

            2. re: PinchOfSalt
              hotoynoodle RE: PinchOfSalt Jul 13, 2009 11:25 AM

              there also is polcari's in the north end, although it can be pricey.

          2. galangatron RE: mpierce64 Jul 12, 2009 11:45 AM

            i like both penzy's and christina's but christina's has more options for international cuisine

            1. Gio RE: mpierce64 Jul 13, 2009 11:38 AM

              Angkor Watt market and Angkor Thom market on Shirley Ave., Revere for Cambodian and other Southeast Asian goods.....I also like Penzey's up on Mass. Ave., and while you're there it's just a little further to Wilson Farm.

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