curry leaves mustard seeds chiles asafoetida 721x541 - Keeping it Local: Spice Station
The CSA box

Keeping it Local: Spice Station


A few weeks ago I rode my bike down to Spice Station after my permaculture class to stock up on a few spices that I was running low on and to replenish a few that I was completely out of.  I rode down Sunset Blvd in Silverlake to the section known as Sunset Junction.  There on the north side of the street was the sandwich board on the sidewalk that indicated that I had arrived at the correct place.  I passed through the archway and down the ramp to the small courtyard that the store opens onto.  To my horror, the usual displays, set up and counter area were gone, replaced by low tables with cardboard boxes filled with random bags of spices and spice mixes.  There were people rifling through the boxes in what looked like a going out of business or closeout sale.  My heart dropped.  Please don’t let it be the end!!  I love this place!

Spice Station Spices - Keeping it Local: Spice Station

I know a lot of people feel like plastic is the devil but I really like these because they are reusable and they also collapse as I use the spices so they take up less space.

Whenever I need any amount of any spice (1oz or more), no matter how exotic or mundane, I know that Spice Station will always have it.  They have everything I need in whole form (whole peppercorns, whole dried chiles, whole spice seeds) and they will grind it for me if I need them to.  I also love that they let me buy in bulk and reuse my containers.  I can bring my empty containers and they will weigh the amounts and then pour them in.  So less waste.  They are also just super helpful and friendly.  I one time went in there asking for cayenne pepper that wasn’t so hot, which is kind of a ridiculous thing to ask, but they had it!  Mild cayenne.  I always feel comfortable asking for whatever crazy shit I’m looking for because I know they will always try to help me out with no judgement.

cumin seeds mustard seeds chiles coriander seeds - Keeping it Local: Spice Station

I buy almost all of my spices in their most whole form. So I buy cumin seeds, coriander seeds, whole pepper corns, chiles, etc. I have a spice mill (coffee grinder) so I can grind the amounts I need when I need them. I also find that the whole version of the spice holds its flavor longer than storing them ground up.

paprika mild cayenne asafoetida turmeric cumin - Keeping it Local: Spice Station

The brownish powder on the right is ground coriander seed, which is pictured above and the lower left brownish powder is ground cumin, also pictured above in seed form. Storing the seeds and grinding them as needed also saves me precious pantry space because I am only storing one version of the spice.

I parked my bike and headed into the store and asked the woman, who I presumed to be one of the owners since she was handling the costumers and other staff, what the hell was going on?!?!?  She immediately addressed my concerns by telling me that they were not closing down, just moving and asked me if I wanted a beer or wine.  This was a moving party!  They had found a location that better suited them for a number of reasons and they’d be opening up in a few weeks.  Bonus: it’s even closer to my house than this location!  In the meantime she was happy to fill any orders I might need by mail.  I mean, you can’t get service like that everywhere.  This is why I love local!!  With a big sigh of relief I had a beer and went nuts buying more spices than I needed and got a really good deal on them.


I’m really looking forward to checking out their new space and will update this when I do!

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