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The real thing: San Marzano tomatoes

August 8, 2008 |  6:00 am

Tomatoes_3 I was browsing the pasta selection at Surfas in Culver City and couldn't believe my eyes: There, prominently displayed and on special were the very brand of San Marzano tomatoes my husband had just insisted on carrying home in his luggage from New York. And not just one can, an entire case. "You can't find them in L.A.," he told me.

They do make a wonderful basic tomato sauce with a little onion, a crushed garlic clove and a squirt of olive oil. We've tried so many brands that just tasted like regular canned tomatoes.

These are the real thing, not too vinegary or sweet, with a deep robust flavor from the volcanic soil they're grown in.  And now you can get them at Surfas for $3.35 a can. Buy a case and the 10% discount brings the price down to roughly $3. No storage space? Stack them around for decoration. They're certainly pretty enough.

Surfas, 8824 National Blvd., Culver City; (310) 559-4770; www.surfasonline.com.

-- S. Irene Virbila

Photo by S. Irene Virbila