Pretty, Polished, Perfect.: A Dash of Disappointment

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Dash of Disappointment

Leads to a helping of satisfaction.  Last month, I went searching for a "decade theme" outfit to wear to a charity event at a local museum.  I was hoping that I could score big at a vintage/consignment store, and not have to go the costume route.  I checked out a new consignment store that I had read an article about, that had gotten good reviews. 

I'm not here to crucify anyone's business; I won't name names.  It wasn't good.  I told them what I was looking for (there was actually another customer looking for an outfit from another decade as well) and they brought me three gowns.  Three ugly gowns.  One of the older women excitedly said, "Oooh, we have lots of 80s!"  (I'll be doing a post on that later.) I love and respect Oscar de la Renta, but even he has a few (a very few) designs that I wouldn't consider to be his "best work."  It's great that they can boast of having his gowns in their store, but they forgot to boast about how much you weren't going to want to wear them.  Which I get.  Consignment stores will have true gems, and they won't last long (especially if you've got insider contacts and they'll call you as soon as said gems arrive, often not even making it to the floor.)  It must have just been an off day.  Maybe someone had beat me to all the good stuff that day.  Who knows?

However.  I do have one complaint that has nothing to do with their inventory.  When I asked if I could try on a few of the gowns, I was directed to the bathroom. Now don't think I have some crazy phobia about bathrooms.  That isn't the case here.  The problem was that the floor was probably the original, so the 100 year old stains weren't coming out.  However, the dust bunnies could've easily been removed.  They had this fabulous vintage looking chandelier hanging from the ceiling.  About three inches above my head.  I swear, I knocked it at least three times getting tops over my head.  The large gown with the poufy skirt? I think it might have brushed the toilet as I was stepping into it.  I just don't understand why they couldn't have devoted 10 square feet to a fitting room.  Hang some darn curtains, I don't care.  Just please don't put me next to a toilet with terribly stained linoleum floors (please tell me those weren't urine stains!)  I'm also not that tall.  No need to have a chandelier hanging so low from the ceiling.  I wouldn't have complained if it had even been a single uncovered light bulb. 

Enough with the disappointment.  I was ready for something good, but my time was running out.  I drove to my most favorite store, evah.  Nope, it doesn't have any clothing, accessories or anything fashionable in it.  It's a spice store named Penzey's.  You may have one in your city.  If you do, I suggest you stop by, just for the experience.  It's pure spices, covering every square inch of the store.  The employees are so kind and helpful (no really, the kind of helpful where they actually know what they are talking about, and you could describe something to them and they would actually know what you are talking about??)  It smells heavenly there (unless, of course, you don't like the smell of spices and peppercorns make you sneeze!)  I found everything I was looking for.  No wait.  They didn't have the fleur de sel I was looking for, but then neither did the Culinary Institute across the street!  I just grabbed the flaked Kosher salt instead.  Did I mention how great their prices are?  The monthly catalog with recipes and detailed descriptions of the ten different types of every spice they carry (and often has a coupon for a free jar of something attached?)  They have a jar of each spice that they welcome you to open and smell, feel, taste test, whatever you want (but I have to admit I'm too afraid to go that far.)  The packaging?  Plain, minimalist, simple, but not ugly.  The vanilla?  To die for.  No imitations in this home!  To the victor go the spoils:



May I just say a word (or fifty) about freshly grated nutmeg?  Until about a year ago, I just bought the usual pre-grated nutmeg.  After watching cooking show after cooking show where the chef would insist that you have fresh nutmeg, grating it directly into your pan, I decided I'd try it.  What would it hurt, right?  The chefs were right.  You should only use fresh nutmeg.  It smells wonderful, the flavor is incredible and the inside literally looks like caramel and chocolate.  Every time I see it, I'm tempted to lick it - but don't.  It really doesn't taste like caramel and chocolate (so I gave in to the temptation.  once.)


Spices from a spice store: worth it.  I won't ever buy the grocery store pre-packaged stuff again!

Here ends the story about my disappointment with consignment, which lent itself to the satisfaction of  my fashionable spice cabinet ;)

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