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Favorite Surfas Item

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aliris Jan 31, 2007 07:53 AM

There was a thread recently about your favorite Trader Joe's item. I can't seem to find it; perhaps it was moved to another board. But in light of the suggestions for housegifts from Surfas, I'm wondering whether people wish to toss out their favorite Surfas (store not cafe) item?

I like the sturgeon and smoked Sslmon and landtjaegers and summer sausages. Sometimes they have pretty good cheeses. I actually recently bought a too-smelly cheese from them -- an absolute first in 30 years of cheese-adoring. I really can't remember ever having met a cheese I didn't like before now! No hard feelings though...

Mini-valhrona choc chips are good too. Edible markers are appreciated!

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    Diana RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 08:00 AM

    MOnari sugar free vanilla syrup. I also dig the beluga lentils and the great salt selection

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      sel RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 08:06 AM

      Several brands of high quality European BULK chocolate for baking and hot chocolate! I have some choice about how much I buy and the price is good.

      1. Pei RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 08:08 AM

        The bread flour in the refrigerator. It feels silkier than my usual King Arthur, and I could tell as soon as I mixed in water that it has a higher gluten content. My dough rose better and had a chewier center using the same recipe as I use for other flours.

        I'm very curious about the big tubs of frozen puree in the freezer section. Has anyone tried them? I can't remember the name, but they're in long rectangular tubs and have great harder to find flavors like passionfruit in addition to the usual berries, etc.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Pei
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          aliris RE: Pei Jan 31, 2007 08:40 AM

          This is Giusto's flour -- great stuff! I too used to be a King Arthur fan before discovering Giusto's.

          1. re: Pei
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            liquidkitty976 RE: Pei Jan 31, 2007 10:59 AM

            Pei- I have used their fruit purees in cocktails and they are delicious. Authentic pure-fruit flavor. Not an over processed/over-sugared puree. Worth a try.

            1. re: Pei
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              Jesdamala RE: Pei Jan 31, 2007 02:21 PM

              I have used the raspberry and it is wonderful for defrosting/reducing a bit/adding a bit of sugar and using to top cheesecakes, and other sweets.

              1. re: Pei
                Mattapoisett in LA RE: Pei Feb 1, 2007 10:21 AM

                Pei,

                Were you using KA Bread flour or just their All Purpose for baking before discovering Giusto's? [KA Bread flour is in the blue bag not red.]

                - P.

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                iLoveFood RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 08:21 AM

                Chestnut puree... so delicious served with a dollop of creme fraiche.

                1. liu RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 08:34 AM

                  Surfas carries so many wonderful items, but my favorite this week is their Aunt Polly's Dill Pickles in the refrigerator along the wall.

                  (I just called the product number that was on their jar - they are local in Van Nuys - and the lady that answered the phone told me that she is very ill and does not know if they will continue production...so sorry to learn this.)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: liu
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                    aliris RE: liu Jan 31, 2007 08:39 AM

                    Ooof -- too sweet for me! I actually prefer Bubbe's sometimes available at Ralphs, believe it or not, and amybe even TJ's these days.

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                    silence9 RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 08:41 AM

                    The pumpkin ravioli. And the burdock root soda in glass bottles. And the frozen game sausages.

                    1. Will Owen RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 09:23 AM

                      White Lily self-rising flour: even a hamhanded clod like me can make tender, fluffy biscuits with that!

                      Also: Spanish smoked paprika, Italian tuna in olive oil, whole-grain grits and polenta, all the different rices and dry legumes. I also love it that they have such an array of cured meats and game; I just wish I could afford them!

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                        mikester RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 12:08 PM

                        Coming up from The OC (not often enough), I'm half-swooning whenever I make the trip to Surfas ! I love all the Monin syrups (great for latte's or for summer coolers), also the tremendous selection of dried pastas, the game and duck sausages, the tremendous selection on olive oils and vinegars...

                        1. Dommy RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 12:12 PM

                          The BOOZE!!! Now Surfas has the most amazing selection of Beers and Wines... real winners... :)

                          --Dommy!

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                            AquaW RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 02:15 PM

                            Agreed with the monin syrups (love the rose & violet varieties) -- and also the Vosges chips/bars. Speaking of which, I need to stock up! ;)

                            The cafe surfas baked goods are also pretty tempting.

                            ~AquaW
                            http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

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                              ChickenNWaffles RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 02:19 PM

                              Hate to be sancrosanct here, but Surfa's is very expensive for many items you can find elsewhere. Just a caveat. On the other hand, they do carry white sprinkles made from chocolate – the only sprinkles I've ever found that don't contain partially hydrogenated oil. You can also buy good boxes there for packaging your cupcakes after you sprinkle them :) Regarding pickles, we could really have a whole thread just on that, but I stand by two kinds: 1) Gus Pickles, at some Whole Foodseses (imported from NY) and 2) Strubb's, newly at Ralph's. They have just the right flavor and crunch.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ChickenNWaffles
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                                Feed_me RE: ChickenNWaffles Feb 1, 2007 01:00 AM

                                I recently got some refrigerated half sour dills at Trader Joe's that said they were made in Canada and I did a check and they are made by Strubs for TJ. A really good pickle, I must admit. I think they also make their refrigerated bread and butter chips too. Checking the Strubs' website it says they make pickles for TJ. I would assume they are cheaper than Ralph's. I pick up Delicieuse ice cream at Surfas. Really nice stuff.

                              2. Debbie W RE: aliris Jan 31, 2007 03:30 PM

                                Callebaut unsweetened chocolate in blocks. Valrhona and Callebaut bittersweet chocolates in blocks. Valrhona Equatorial 55% chocolate feves and Callebaut bittersweet chocolate chips in 2 lb. bags. Baudat Oranger Tree Honey (very crunchy). Last time I bought some bulk pastas where you scoop it yourself into bags and pay a set price per bag. Other interesting pastas.

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                                  glutton RE: aliris Feb 1, 2007 07:06 AM

                                  I love the little fig caramels from France... decadent. I cannot really say I have one favorite item at Surfa's. I agree that some items can be hig-priced, but some items are so hard to find that I appreciate the convenience in knowing that if I cannot find something at Surfa's, it probably is not available in my area. Last weekend, my cart included Valhrona cocoa, two types of salt, a Fra'Mani salami, a fig caramel, some balsamic vinegar, and some smoky bacon ends/pieces. It was an entirely random shopping trip. I went in with only the cocao and balsamic on my list.

                                  1. Will Owen RE: aliris Feb 1, 2007 10:00 AM

                                    I'd like to add that after introducing my father-in-law to this place, he gave me strict instructions to either take him whenever I went or to ask him for a shopping list. Don't think I've seen the old bird so happy about a store in years!

                                    1. Clare K RE: aliris Feb 1, 2007 10:21 AM

                                      I like their wide selection of Valrhona chocolates...use them for all my brownie making. But I think the absolute, weak-in-the-knees treat is at the Surfas bakery. The Fresh Baked cannelés are amazing - the best I've ever had.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Clare K
                                        Dommy RE: Clare K Feb 1, 2007 10:25 AM

                                        Oh and their cranberry Pumpkin Cheesecake they had these fall.... The best dessert I had ANYWHERE this year... I also love the Laura Ashley Bars! :)

                                        --Dommy!

                                        1. re: Clare K
                                          CarlieInLA RE: Clare K Feb 1, 2007 01:33 PM

                                          I just went and got the caramel chocolate brownie..delicious!! So decadent but not overly sweet, also very moist. I also got the duck asian salad and it was really great. Not heavy on the dressing and so many wonderful flavors. It was my first time eating there and definately not my last.

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                                          donnival RE: aliris Feb 1, 2007 02:45 PM

                                          Do they carry truffled salts at Surfas?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: donnival
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                                            glutton RE: donnival Feb 1, 2007 04:12 PM

                                            yes

                                          2. chica RE: aliris Feb 2, 2007 10:57 AM

                                            This post reminds me...I should make a trip for some Vosges toffee soon.

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