LAist Goes Shopping: The Spice Station

A branch-shaded brick alleyway slopes downward, as the midday sun illuminates the large blackboard bearing the names of spices familiar and unusual. Follow the cheery yellow and orange placards with the arrows down to a calming courtyard with a fountain, then take a deep breath and prepare to enter a world of flavor and aroma.

Silver Lake's The Spice Station is the place to go if you love to cook, or are open to taking the food you make at home to a whole new level. Tall, round jars line the back wall, while the rest of the open space has sections of small spice jars with screw-tops you can open and boldly take a whiff. "These are not the spice you'll find in your grocery store," explained an employee. These are fresh spices, sold by the ounce and bagged or tinned on site for you. They'll last about a year, but should ideally be used within 6 months to capture their peak flavors and potency. At the Spice Station you'll find "over 200 spices and salts from all over the world, right from the source."

Custom masala and curry blends the Spice Station have will make your chicken--or even your bowl of popcorn--sing, and the staff can give you hints on how to make use of the spices. A selection of blends for BBQ-ing or your taco-making adventures have their own section--and fun names. A dry harissa (usually a paste) from Morocco is smoky and brick-red and has more diverse applications than the typical use in couscous, while the black truffle salt is an intense and luxurious whiff promising huge flavor they suggest you sprinkle on eggs or mac and cheese. The Spice Station also has pre-assembled kits, like a Baker's Set, or a Basic set, but you can put together gift sets, too, like the couple assembling a salt-and-peppercorn set to gift to a lucky friend.

In addition to their Silver Lake store, The Spice Station opened up their Santa Monica location yesterday, so West-siders can go in search of bold new flavors in their part of town, too.

The Spice Station
3819 W Sunset Blvd, Silver Lake
2305 Main Street, Santa Monica
323-660-2565.