Surfas to Heirs

Wherein a family raids a commercial restaurant supply store and cafe… and miraculously comes out unscathed

Img_4766“Still life with NSF-certified cutting board and candied pansies” (at left)

It’s that sort of contrapuntal culinary poetry that comes out of Surfas, the restaurant supply store in Culver City, California, where we dropped in this weekend. When we arrived, Table 8 chef Govind Armstrong was strolling out of the store—dreadlocked, handsome, and camera-ready—as if some Entourage production crew lurked in the bushes shooting B-roll.

For kids (under the strictest of adult supervision of course: the place is full of things like immersion blenders large enough to liquify entire pods of manatees) it is a food-themed wonderland: huge jars of colored sugar, dangerous-looking industrial gear, hundreds of jokes of scale (“look dad! a pot big enough to cook Desmond in!” “look dad! a spatula big enough to flip Desmond with!”), and, next door at the cafe, valrhona cupcakes with whipped cream frosting. After scoring a cutting board for me and the candied pansies (not an obscure 70s glam band, but actual sugary-crystalized flowers) for Aimee to decorate Vi’s birthday cake, we bought food at the cafe, which serves things like roasted tomato and fig sandwiches and creamy, bacon-studded english pea salad. The kids uncomplainingly ate their vegetables this time. (

Judging from the number of kids strapped tightly, Hannibal Lecter-like, into their strollers and the sign on the door commanding parents to manage their kids, there are clearly more than a few Angelenos who treat it as a culinary theme park for their gastrokids (or for their gastroselves).

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