We’re not gonna lie: It’s a little overwhelming when you first walk into Spice Ace.
The walls of the year-old shop in Pacific Heights are lined from top to bottom with hundreds of herbs, salts, sugars and blends from around the world--from Italian fennel pollen to sustainably farmed Turkish bay leaves.
Luckily, co-owner and resident spice guru Olivia Dillan was on hand to walk us through the seasonings (tasting is encouraged too).
Our favorite suggestions for how to, er, spice up basic meals, snacks and sweets:
If you’re making soup or chili
Try: Urfa Biber Chile Pepper ($6.69 for 1.9 ounces)
Sprinkle the smoky, slightly fruity flakes on top of, say, a lentil soup to add a major kick of heat.
If you’re baking cookies
Try: Lavender Cane Sugar ($6 for 1.6 ounces)
Mix some of the organic lavender and Tahitian vanilla sugar mix into a basic butter cookie recipe. It also makes an excellent cocktail rimmer.
If you’re cooking fish, meat or veggies
Try: French Market Seasoning ($7.39 for 1.1 ounces)
The salt-free blend of shallot, tarragon, basil, green peppercorn, chervil and parsley wakes up the blandest of dishes without overpowering them.
If you’re making popcorn or pasta
Try: Black Truffle Sea Salt ($11.19 for 1.6 ounces)
Dust some of the decadent stuff on top and dig in.
1821 Steiner St.; 415-885-3038 or spiceace.com