on the Surfas and getting the Baby Blues

When I was a kid, my dad used to take me on errand runs, one of which was to Surfas Refrigeration where he used to buy his freezer and refrigerator equipment for the bakeries. It wasn’t of much interest to me back then – how exciting can a big walk-in freezer be to a ten year old except a fun thing to play in on a scorching hot day? Surfas later expanded their inventory to other restaurant equipment and kitchen supplies, while I expanded my cooking repertoire. I remember buying my first pizza stone there at least 20 years ago. These days, they are a full-fledged restaurant supply house with a gourmet food section as well as a cafe. Today I paid my first visit there in about five years and I must say it was an orgasmic experience to say the least. Every restaurant quality kitchen supply you can imagine was housed here, ready and waiting for you to buy. We’re talking massive quantities of shiny, happy stainless steel pots and pans with hardly a nonstick in sight. Baking sheets, measuring cups, tins, cake decorating bags and tips, bowls of all types and sizes, barkeep equipment, practical gadgets, utensils, chef clothing for kids, chef clothing XXXL, orange extract, chocolate extract, vanilla extract, vanilla paste, vanilla powder, olive oil, lime olive oil, grapefruit olive oil, mustard seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, chocolate from nibs to five pound bars, all in one huge warehouse. They even had stainless steel Made-in-Japan chopsticks that I’d been searching for, found online but paid more than ten times the amount then the “cheaper” version I bought here. Price Club meets Sur la Table. My little Surfas is all groze up.

After my culinary shopping spree, I took my family to Baby Blues BBQ in Venice, which came highly recommending by my friend, Julia G. Memphis style ribs, catfish, po’boy sandwiches, and an amazing assortment of side dishes which blew my tastebuds away – sauteed okra, corn on the cob with cotija cheese, pulled pork and beans, mashed sweet potatoes, and mac and cheese.

As full in stomach as we all were, it’s a requisite while dining with my dad to order dessert. They were out of his first choice – peach cobbler, so we “settled” for a slice of homemade pecan pie and key lime pie, both of which we all shared. The family always gets nervous whenever my father orders dessert. “This crust was frozen,” or, “these strawberries aren’t fresh.” And he’s always right. While I can safely say that most desserts don’t even come close to what my dad used to make, this pecan pie at Baby Blues was the best damn pecan pie I ever tasted. “This is pretty good,” my dad said quietly, but with a smile that can only mean he loved it just as much as I did. This pie was over the top delicious. Not too sweet, a thick, buttery crust, premium pecan halves. Thanks, JG, for turning me on to this place!

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