Intermezzo at Surfas
Since I live about four blocks away from Surfas, I go there quite a lot (farro, fun, whatever). But when I'm home testing recipes, it seems as though I wind up going there about every hour, between needing new supplies and running out of (or forgetting) others. Yesterday it was ancho chiles, a vat of peanut oil and bittersweet Valrhona chocolate. This morning it was parchment paper and a thermometer for deep frying. Good thing the cafe stocks pick-me-ups for those of us getting frazzled from all our picking up. This morning's happy interlude came in the form of a double espresso (Caffe Umbria beans) and a chocolate canelé (made with Valrhona bittersweet, the very chocolate I bought yesterday). Demand for their canelés, which come in vanilla, chocolate and banana, got so great that the cafe out-sourced -- they won't say where, though the new place uses the same recipe. Either way, they're still some of the best in town. The espresso's pretty good too. Now if my laundromat and bank only had espresso. They did in Seattle!
Caneles, $1.95 each; double espresso, $2.50. Cafe Surfas, 8777 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 558-1458.
-- Amy Scattergood
Photo by Amy Scattergood