After reading many times, on Brigid's blog, of the wonders of visiting a Penzey's Spices store, DH and I made the trip down to Farmers Branch to visit the nearest site. DH had been once before, when he used to work in the area, but I had never been there.
Wow...they really do have just about everything imaginable to the inner gourmet cook in all of us. They have all manner of sizes of product, along with sample/sniff jars of everything. I found out the 8oz jar of Mexican Vanilla DH had gotten me on his original trip was only available in select stores (including this store), and also runs over $22/8oz. At that price, I had to pass, since the Monkeys are as yet unable to distinguish between my expensive Mexican Vanilla Extract, and the $1.89 bottle of Imitation Vanilla Extract I buy for them to use in vanilla milk and their cookie baking projects.
We came away with a bag full of goodies, including my new favorite, crystallized ginger! (Now if I can just stop sneaking little bits of it!) Most of the rest of them were for this weekend's smoking project, a large beef brisket, which I am supposed to smoke on Saturday, using the Penzey's spices DH selected for the rub. Oh, and if you have not yet tried their 4S Smoky seasoned salt, you are seriously missing out on a good thing!
A side benefit was the decision/need to purge the spice cabinet in the kitchen. Two whole shelves got sorted, purged, cleaned and reloaded. I would estimate I should be able to find things for at least a week now, or until the Monkeys get in there and rearrange all of it!
If you've never tried Penzey's, they have a nice website, and a paper catalog they love to mail out. It has recipes that they test on the warehouse staff, plus usually a coupon for a specific free spice on your next order. The coupon is also good in the store if you happen to have one near by.