Most serious local cooks have been longtime followers of Penzeys, the national chain with superb spices. But there's a newer and better player in town, says Dommy: the two locations of Spice Station. "I adore Penzeys ... but almost have completely turned over to Spice Station because you can buy by the oz and their collection of spices is amazing!" Spice Station even offers up food made with its spices.
Your editor Thi N. agrees: "I used to think Penzeys was THE place, but my heart has been won over. Not only do they have weirdball stuff I've never seen before, but their just straight-up normal spices are *gorgeous*—like the best, most warm-intense-complex-glowing cumin I've ever had."
The only reason Dommy goes back to Penzeys is for chile mixes, which Spice Station doesn't yet make.
Spice Station Silverlake [Silver Lake]
3819 W. Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
Spice Station Santa Monica [Westside - Beaches]
2305 Main Street, Santa Monica