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      Keep oakland alive is now Nearby bay area
      Keep oakland alive is now Nearby bay area
      the freshest, most delicious, high-quality spices

      Oaktown Spice Shop

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      When John Beaver and Erica Perez moved to Oakland in 2009, they found a community that placed immense value on food.


      But they noticed that while people were buying their produce at the farmer’s market and their meat at the butcher shop, they were not putting as much thought into where they bought their spices.

      John had developed a fascination with spices early on, mentored by William Penzey, Sr. at The Spice House, a local, family-run spice shop in Milwaukee's historic downtown.

      Each spice made him think of a new and different place, its history and its terrain. How remarkable, for example, that India did not have chiles until the 16th century, sometime after they were ferried by Columbus from the Americas to Europe. Now, chiles are integral to Indian cuisine and the modern culture.

      Under Penzey’s tutelage, John also became intimately familiar with the properties of each spice. Cinnamon chips had to go through the mill in several steps to reduce their woody, fibrous matter to powder, which then had to be rubbed by hand through the smallest screen to produce deliciously delicate dust.

      John quickly learned the difference between high-quality whole spices -- bursting with flavor, plump in shape and vibrant in color -- and their inferior counterparts. Grinding spices in the mill every day also taught him the advantage of freshly ground spices. The moment a whole spice is ground, it begins to release its oils and lose flavor. Grocery store spices, ground years before, were paltry substitutes for the freshly ground stuff.

      In 2011, John and Erica opened Oaktown Spice Shop and the business has grown to a full team of employees, two retail shop locations and a growing number of restaurants, bakeries and bar customers -- not to mention chocolatiers, distillers, popcorn producers and candy makers -- who source their spices from the shop.


      Erica and John, owners

       

      • ...

        Cumin, Ground

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $6.25

        We grind cumin seeds every week or two, making our version of this staple incredibly fresh. Introduced by the Spanish to Latin America, cumin is on...

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        from $6.25
      • ...

        Umami Sea Salt

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $9.50

        Umami: the fifth taste! We use black garlic and shiitake mushrooms to achieve umami rich flavor. This salt will enhance the flavor of meats, soups ...

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        from $9.50
      • ...

        Paprika, Hungarian Sweet

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $6.00

        Hungarian Sweet Paprika features bright red color and a sweet flavor, perfect for goulash, on roasted or fried potatoes, sprinkled on meats or to a...

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        from $6.00
      • ...

        Grand Lake Shake

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $5.75

        Rich, peppery, salty and a wee bit sweet. Rub liberally on meat or poultry, or shake into dips, on potatoes or eggs. Also try in your Bloody Mary i...

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        from $5.75
      • ...

        Wildflower Dream Tea

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $10.25

        This delicate tea combines sweet flowers and robust herbs that are known for enhancing sleep. It creates a balanced and soothing cup of bedtime tea...

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        from $10.25
      • ...

        Thyme, French

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $4.75

        This dried thyme captures much of the bright notes of fresh thyme. Grown in California. Try it with mushrooms, in egg dishes, salads, roasted potat...

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        from $4.75
      • ...

        Honey Powder

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $5.25

        Honey in a crystalline form, this will dissolve in cold water, so it’s good for cocktails and iced tea. It has a great crunchy texture for sprinkli...

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        from $5.25
      • ...

        Oregano, Mediterranean

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $3.50

        Fragrant and herbaceous, our Mediterranean oregano is a must-have for salad dressings or red sauces. Try mixing with salt, pepper and garlic for an...

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        from $3.50
      • ...

        Paprika, Spanish Smoked

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $6.00

        Pimenton de la Vera dulce, as it is known in Spanish, is the sweet variety of red ripened peppers that are smoked over oak fires and deseeded and s...

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        from $6.00
      • ...

        Garlic, Granulated

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $5.25

        Granulated garlic provides an easy way to add a concentrated garlic flavor to your favorite foods. To substitute for an average clove of garlic, us...

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        from $5.25
      • ...

        Curry Powder, Madras

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $6.75

        This versatile curry powder blends the flavors of Madras for a balanced sweetness of cinnamon, cardamom and fenugreek and a touch of cayenne heat. ...

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        from $6.75
      • ...

        Garam Masala

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $8.00

        The name Garam Masala comes from “heat” and “mix” and refers to the heat of digestion. This blend combines the sweet notes of cinnamon and cardamom...

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        from $8.00
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        Golden Milk

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $13.75

        Fans of frothy golden turmeric lattés will love our Golden Milk blend. If you haven't tried Golden Milk, you're in for a treat. The earthy notes of...

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        from $13.75
      • ...

        Chai Masala

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $12.25

        The spicy heat of cinnamon, ginger and pepper meets sweet notes of cardamom, star anise and cloves along with fragrant coriander to give you the ma...

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        from $12.25
      • ...

        Sumac

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $5.25

        This dried sour berry of a sumac shrub is used widely in Eastern Mediterranean cuisines. Sprinkle it on hummus, a cucumber tomato salad or on grill...

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        from $5.25
      • ...

        Chili Powder

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $5.75

        Our chili powder starts with a base of ground ancho chiles, with notes of cumin, garlic and Mexican oregano. Whip up a hearty and satisfying pot of...

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        from $5.75
      • ...

        Ras el Hanout

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $8.00

        A blend truly fit for a king, Ras el Hanout translates to “Head of the Shop,” which really equates to the best of everything! Use this intricate mi...

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        from $8.00
      • ...

        Shichimi Togarashi

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $6.75

        With this lovely blend of hot, citrus, sea, and nutty flavors, you can spice up udon or ramen soups, rice, sushi, and grilled meats like chicken ya...

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        from $6.75
      • ...

        Mexican-Style Adobo

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $5.75

        Delightfully garlicky and earthy with a contrast of citrus, this blend adds a bit of zestiness to beans, soups, stews, eggs, chicken and pork. Add ...

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        from $5.75
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        Erbe Italiane di Lusso

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $5.00

        This blend is a twist on the classic Italian Herbs seasoning. Add to pasta sauces, soups, salad dressings, eggs or breading. Hand-mixed from: Garli...

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        from $5.00
      • ...

        Persian Lime Curry Rub

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $7.50

        We devised this unconventional blend to feature some of Persian cuisine's most distinct flavors in one delicious rub. With notes of dried lime (oma...

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        from $7.50
      • ...

        Cardamom, Ground

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        $15.00

        The delicate and floral flavor of green cardamom lends warmth to pastries and other desserts. The pungent and camphor tones also make this spice a ...

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        $15.00
      • ...

        Cardamom Pods, Green

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $14.00

        The delicate and floral flavor of green cardamom lends warmth to pastries and other desserts. The pungent and camphor tones also make this spice a ...

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        from $14.00
      • ...

        Korean BBQ

        Oaktown Spice Shop
        from $7.50

        This Korean BBQ blend is perfect for classic bulgogi or galbi, but is also delicious as a dry rub for pork, chicken or steak. Or, make a simple mar...

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        from $7.50