Can Trader Joe's be far behind?
Central Florida now has its very own Penzeys store, in the lovely Park Avenue area of Winter Park. It opened unofficially for a few hours yesterday, and today for real; we walked through the doors an hour after opening. I am so excited.
I know, Penzeys can be considered the Cadillac of spices, as befits the Park Avenue location. You can certainly find herbs and spices for less money elsewhere. But there are times when it's worth paying a little extra for quality, and quality is where Penzeys excels. Variety, too—they have exotic herbs and spices I'd never heard of, plus a stunning variety of their own excellent blends. They even excel in quantity, from tiny jars for the spices you use rarely, to large bags (at a commensurately lower per-ounce price) for greater needs.
It was particularly fun shopping today, as I bought only what I wanted, and in smaller quantities than usual. Herbs and spices lose their potency after a while, but I've been accustomed to ending a Penzeys visit with a large armload, since I either (1) didn't know when I'd have another chance to get to a store, or (2) wanted to make the most of my shipping charges for an online order. Now I can buy small amounts, and when I run out, plan a spicy date: get to Winter Park early enough to find a good parking space, visit Winter Park Honey and other friends at the Farmer's Market, then eat breakfast at Croissant Gourmet while waiting for Penzeys to open. Works for me.