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New Orleans artisan spice shop? Looking for non-commercial blends.

I am here this weekend only and was wondering if any locals or non for that matter know of any artisan spice shops? I've been up and down a few streets and most of what I see is mass-produced. Looking for some home-grown cajun, creolle blends. Unfortunately I'm only staying in the city this weekend without a car so any outer areas won't do. Please advice...

Merci pour m'avoir aidé.

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  1. Have you looked in the French Market--the open end, where the food stalls are? You might find some things there to interest you.

    5 Replies
    1. re: midcity

      The owners of Kitchen Witch on Toulouse Street in The Quarter make their own spice blend. It's somewhat similar to a few of the mass-produced versions, but I really like to use it in my cooking. Also, that shop holds a plethora of new. old, and unusual cookbooks. I could easily spend a half-day in there.

      1. re: lillidalla

        +1 for Kitchen Witch--nobody interested in cooking or food should leave here without visiting them. I didn't know they made a spice blend; I'll have to try it.

        1. re: midcity

          I was about to make this same recommendation. Their spice blend is excellent; I have used it on everything from eggs to popcorn. And it is a great place to visit for cookbooks from the common to the obscure.

          1. re: Fydeaux

            Speaking of popcorn, I sprinkle mine with Casina Rossa Truffle & Salt. Wonderful on fries as well. Pricey but it lasts a long time. Found it at Martin's after ordering online.

            1. re: JazzyB

              I've tried truffle salt also, one of many seasonings I've enjoyed on popcorn. Probably a good topic for another thread.

              Another N.O. blend that I really enjoy was created by a guy named Big Kevin at the New Orleans School of Cookery, and that's where I got it. But I know there have been a few changes there, and I have no idea if it is still available. Possibly not the artisinal type of thing that Gypseemoth is thinking of, but delicious never the less.

              And besides, Gypseemoth's weekend is passed. I hope you had a great time there!

    2. Try the Spice & Tea Exchange at 521 St. Louis in the Quarter. I don't know if they have what you're looking for, but it's worth a shot.

      For what it's worth though, a lot of the grocery store blends are Louisiana made by fairly small companies. For example, the most well-known one is probably Tony Chachere's, which is still made in Opelousas I believe. It's not farmed out to McCormick or whatever as far as I know. Go to the Rouses on Royal St. and check the labels - you might find something acceptable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: uptownlibrarian

        That place in Opelousas does several local brands including "Slap Ya Mama" which is a personal favorite. Othertimes though I just make my own..varies from batch to batch.

      2. Thank you, everyone. I'll be on the hunt today.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gypseemoth

          Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

          The secret of good cooking is in the seasoning. After 30 years of cooking and blending. Tony has come up with this tried and tested mixture of spices, herbs and seasoning. These are so well blended that you use Tony’s All-Purpose Famous Creole Seasoning as you would salt. The quantity below is good for many delicious meals. Store in an airtight jar.

          Note: This recipe is from page 3 of Tony Chachere’s CAJUN COUNTRY COOKBOOK, Copyright 1972

          Ingredients:

          • 1 28 ounce box free flowing salt (Morton's)
          • 1 1½ ounce box ground black pepper 

          • 1 2 ounce bottle ground red pepper 

          • 1 1 ounce bottle pure garlic powder 

          • 1 1 ounce bottle chili powder 

          • 1 1 ounce carton monosodium glutamate (Accent)

          Method:

          1. Mix well and use like salt.
          2. When it's salty enough, it's seasoned to perfection.
          3. Use generously on everything.

          Note: If too peppery for children, add more salt to mixture, then season to taste.

          To Season Seafood – use half of above mixture and add:

          • 1 teaspoon powdered thyme
          • 1 teaspoon bay leaf 

          • 1 teaspoon sweet basil 


        2. Either mix your own or go with Paul Prudhomme's blends. The big cans are the best value. Zatarains for seafood boill mixes.

          1. As a side note to this conversation, I recently had the best spaghetti sauce of my life cooked by a bunch of 16-year-olds [I teach high school]. I asked one of the chefs about his secret ingredients and he said they were Tony Chachere's, Slap Ya Mama, and Zatarain's Cayenne Pepper.

            1. This is what I use:

              Creole Seasoning

              This type of seasoning base is used in many New Orleans restaurants, from Emeril's to Commander's Palace to K-Paul's. This is particularly good on grilled chicken or duck.

              Ingredients:
              • 2 teaspoons salt
              • 1½ teaspoons paprika
              • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
              • 1 teaspoon white pepper
              • 1 teaspoon black pepper
              • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
              • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
              • 1 teaspoon crushed dried basil leaves
              • ½ teaspoon crushed dried oregano leaves
              • ½ teaspoon crushed dried thyme leaves
              • ½ teaspoon crushed dried parsley leaves
              • ¼ teaspoon ground bay leaves

              Note: This version of Creole seasoning contains salt -- If you like to control salt content separately, omit the salt from the blend.

              Method:
              1. In a medium bowl or food processor combine salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, white pepper, ground black pepper, granulated onion, granulated garlic, crushed basil, crushed oregano, crushed thyme and parsley. Mix thoroughly.
              2. Use like salt. When it's salty enough, it's seasoned to perfection.
              3. Store in an airtight container for up to three months.

              Note: The amounts in this recipe are given by volume. So a "teaspoon" can be a cup or a Tablespoon depending on how much seasoning you wish to make. Double or triple the recipe as you wish.

              5 Replies
              1. re: speyerer

                Dried parsley has absolutely no flavor. I would omit.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  Fresh is always best, but dried will do in a pinch.
                  One advantage to using dried parsley over fresh is when it comes to storing the herb. Fresh parsley only lasts about two weeks. when kept in the refrigerator. On the other hand, dried parsley stores for a much longer time. As long as dried parsley is kept in an airtight container it will retain its flavor for approximately one year.

                  1. re: speyerer

                    I have found the only way to impart the fresh, bright flavor is to use fresh. Dried neither has flavor nor the ability to "wake up" food. It is useless. I consider parsley a staple, much like garlic, onions, fresh citrus. Amazingly, it is still growing inthe heat. FWIW,I can't use dried cilantro either. I can be "anal" when it comes to cooking. My husband calls it "high maintenance".

                    1. re: JazzyB

                      I have both flat leaf and curly leaf parsley growing here in North Texas where we have been having 90º+ temps for the last several weeks. I find that basil is a good companion plant with the parsley.

                      1. re: speyerer

                        I've found the best way to "preserve" fresh basil is making basil oil then freezing. Makes a great sauceless pizza with garden tomatoes, reggiano, fresh mozzarella. My son uses it to make caprese.

              2. Some great tips and spice-related discussions, the trip was an absolute hit.
                I could go on with recommendations, but I know there are a few locals on this thread so I'll spare most of the details.
                Food-related, one of the highlights was the jambalaya at Coop's Place. Bear in mind, it is a divey little joint, but the jambalaya exploded with flavors.
                The oyster po-boy at Acme Oyster house was awesome, we sprinkled a few drops of the chipotle infused tabasco sauce, which really set it off. Granted I was really skeptical upon entrance given the atmosphere, but the po-boy most certainly made up for it.
                Almost everything at Cochon was pretty good. I'm not a big fan of moonshine, but the Junior Johnson nutmeg/cinnamon moonshine served there was very unique and still had some fire.
                Lastly, we headed over to K-Jean and picked up boiled crawfish, shrimp, corn, potatoes and sausage and found a great spot near the South-western rim of City Park to enjoy the bounty. I highly recommend doing this for the peace and quiet and gorgeous 360 views.
                We also brought back some blends from Spice & Tea Exchange and walked over to Kitchen Witch to pick up a few classic and modern books to try on a future (3000acrekitchen.com) blog post. Philipe, the owner, was very kind and knowledgeable as we had a great chat about the history of Cajun and Creole food, among other things. I'll definitely make sure to go visit his and his wife's shop on a future trip.