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Surfas-like emporium in SF?

shaunasever Nov 29, 2008 07:22 PM

I moved to SF from LA, and although I am loving the food-lover's paradise that is SF, I am seriously missing Surfas, the huge kitchen and restaurant supply store in LA. I've visited plenty of smaller shops in SF to buy some of the items I love to stock in my kitchen, but I miss the wonderland feel of Surfas--anything in town that might compare?


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  1. Carrie 218 RE: shaunasever Nov 29, 2008 09:04 PM

    Angelino transplant here as well. I never found anything close to Surfas...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Carrie 218
      Xiao Yang RE: Carrie 218 Nov 29, 2008 09:24 PM

      I'm sure Surfa Girls definitely feel out of place up here in Norcal.

    2. farmersdaughter RE: shaunasever Nov 30, 2008 06:47 AM

      I'm from LA too. There is nothing like it here. I always stop by Surfas, having allocated extra space in my bags, when I make trips back home to see friends and relatives.

      10 Replies
      1. re: farmersdaughter
        shaunasever RE: farmersdaughter Nov 30, 2008 09:43 AM


        Thanks anyway, guys.

        1. re: shaunasever
          kokerrins RE: shaunasever May 2, 2009 08:48 AM

          did you ever find anything comparable?

          1. re: kokerrins
            wolfe RE: kokerrins May 2, 2009 09:31 AM

            Following the original post I went to Surfas. I tasted the Jamon Iberico, alas only from the hind leg, and bought a canelle and wandered through the rest of the food aisles and also looked for a large teflon covered whist. I have done a lot of shop wandering in the BA and agree with Carrie 218 and FD. It's like the offspring of a big Bi-Rite and an East Bay Restaurant Supply with maybe a Rainbow gene.

            1. re: wolfe
              Xiao Yang RE: wolfe May 2, 2009 10:07 AM

              More like Zabars than Bi-Rite, I'd submit.

              1. re: Xiao Yang
                wolfe RE: Xiao Yang May 2, 2009 10:15 AM

                I shop locally.

                1. re: wolfe
                  Xiao Yang RE: wolfe May 2, 2009 11:09 AM

                  I thought we were characterizing Surfas. Is it local?

                  1. re: Xiao Yang
                    wolfe RE: Xiao Yang May 2, 2009 11:31 AM

                    Trying to characterize it with locally accessible stores since we all have not had the experience of shopping at Zabar's.

                    1. re: wolfe
                      Xiao Yang RE: wolfe May 2, 2009 12:14 PM

                      Well, for those that have, it's an important distinction. Neither Surfas nor Zabars has the preciosity and sense of entitlement in its customers that characterizes Bi-Rite.

                      1. re: Xiao Yang
                        wolfe RE: Xiao Yang May 2, 2009 01:41 PM

                        Preciosity and self entitlement. As an occasional customer I think I have just been insulted. In addition I have found the staff to be extremely helpful to this overwhelmed shopper. When I couldn't find black walnuts i was directed to Rainbow with a map. When I couldn't find ginger syrup the clerk and I discovered the brand I was looking for together. I guess my experiences there were not the same as yours.

                        1. re: wolfe
                          Xiao Yang RE: wolfe May 2, 2009 10:34 PM

                          I said nothing about the service at BR, which is laudable, and as one AK to another, I don't mean to tar all customers with the same brush. My point is that Zabar's sees itself as a well-stocked emporium, period, not as a keeper of gastronomical correctness.

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