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Brit chef visiting California! wanting to buy cool stuff to take home.....

Hello! I am visiting LA and SF very soon, and I would love to visit some foodie/cheffy shops to take home some large serving platters, bakeware etc. Any suggestions? Many thanks. xxx

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    1. re: maudies5

      After a trip to Surfas you may re-locate to S. California! The cafe there is tasty and convenient too!

    2. This thread should be useful to you: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786218 Hope your trip is good and you find a plethora of cool goodies to take back home with you.

      1. +2 for Surfas especially bakeware. my sister visiting from London last year purchased measuring cups so that she can make recipes she sees on the Food Channel.
        also Williams-Sonoma in Beverly Hills (and of course they're based in SF)—we bumped into Lulu there (only of interest to Brits) and had a nice chat.
        Sur La Table in Santa Monica is decent and convenient if you're going to the farmers market.

        1 Reply
        1. re: iOnLa

          Just wondering if the OP is interested in things like Japanese cooking/dining stuff. He might find this thread interesting. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/861755 Never been to Eden Restaurant Supply, but I have been to Anzen and Rafu Bussan. Anzen is on First Street and they have some really interesting tools. Ask the guy there any specific questions, because he's not much of a talker but he seems to know his stuff. Rafu Bussan is on Second Street and it's more a gift shop, but lots of nice Japanese plates, bowls and some knives. They do gift wrap too, although you probably have to unwrap stuff when you head back through the airport. Not sure how they look upon knives, you probably have to pack that in your checked luggage. You'd better check into that. http://rafubussaninc.com/

        2. Surfas is great, but not always inexpensive. Same with W-S & Sur la Table. I love them both, but they are pricey. You might want to check out some lower cost options like Star Restaurant supply.

          Here is a blog that may be of interest, listing their opinion of the best ten spots in LA:

          1. Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, Pottery Barn, and Crate and Barrel are all major chain stores that carry them. Most major department stores (Macy's, Bloomingdales) have housewares. I only mention them because they pop up everywhere that you might otherwise you might be as a tourist.

            Surfas is great but might not be convenient in your travels and the selection of platters and bakeware might be a bit boring if you have a restaurant supply company you use in the UK. It might be more fun to check out prices, selection, etc.

            Note that I would choose to go to say, Langers for a pastrami sandwich rather than any of the above.

            In San Francisco, Omnivore Books is great for vintage cookbooks. Also in SF, Cookin' has lots of cool used kitchenware.

            1. think OP should clarify what he/she's looking for exactly because it makes no sense to come all the way out West to buy anything European, even with the exchange rate, or anything cheap and crappy. plus you have to lug it all home and either pay for excess baggage or shipping.

              I like the Japanese knives suggestion, and yes you can fly with them as long as they are in your checked bags. If you want unusual platters etc. then flea markets for vintage Made in USA stuff would be a better bet or even the Bauer store, which has monthly sales.

              1. Since you mention serving platters and the like in your OP, you may wish to swing by Heath Ceramics (7525 Beverly Blvd.) to see if anything there captures your fancy. And by fancy, I also mean expensive. It's a California-based company and they do supply dishes to some high end restaurants like Chez Panisse and Animal, FWIW. (They also have a stall up in the Ferry Bldg marketplace in SF in case you stop by there during your travels)

                3 Replies
                1. re: maxcatsilver

                  +1 Heath Ceramics—v. elegant and sophisticated.
                  and I still have some great rice bowls I bought years ago in SF's Chinatown—always a fun experience and tons of stores with huge selections that won't break the bank.

                  1. re: iOnLa

                    Agreed. Nice suggestion. Beautiful pottery and durable enough to cart home.

                  2. re: maxcatsilver

                    Excellent suggestions. A trip to the Pasadena City College Flea Market (free admission on the first Sunday of every month) or Pasadena's Rose Bowl swap meet (second Sunday every month, $16 to get in though) would be great for picking up vintage American cookware, utensils, serving ware, etc. Arrive at the PCC Flea Market (the far better of the two) very early in the morning (7 am) or the great stuff will be gone. And bring cash if you can - you'll have much greater bargaining power.

                    The Heath dinnerware idea is a great one, but it is very expensive.

                    If you're thinking of taking Mexican, Central American or South American utensils or ingredients home (and you should), look up any Latin American market. Ditto our great Chinese, Japanese or Korean markets - you won't see anything like them outside their respective countries (and yes, our Chinese ingredients and cookware are far better and mort authentic than any in your country - Pacific Rim represent!)

                  3. if you're looking for typical restaurant supplies that are way american and reasonable, go to star kitchen supply. assuming you have a car it's in (SHOCK) the (san fernando) Valey. people are helpful. It's hardly upscale but they have some marvelous things. And perhaps will ship, which means you don't pay the sales tax.

                    1. Thanks everyone - I am so excited! xxx

                      1. Hi check out Costco on Washington Blvd in Commerce. This store has only restaurant supplies
                        no liquor or pharmacy. Nice selection too of tools knives scales plates ect and chef coats
                        very resonable. Huge selection of commererically packed food items. Even Heinz catsup inthe
                        old bottles plus minis ect and huge flour selection. Recently boughtpolenta in 5 lb
                        canvas bag and other items not usually available such as a canister that makes whipped cream.
                        Allow at least an hour to check out. Its right at Washington Blvd and the 5 Freeway