So. Very. Hot.

It’s no secret to those who know me that I hate the hot weather. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I have some sort of affinity for the cold, because that’s certainly not the case. I will say this about the winter though: you can always throw on another layer, grab a second pair of socks and wrap yourself up in a blanket. During this time of year, on the other hand, there’s a limit to how much you can take off — not to mention laws against public nudity. Not that I’m advocating tossing your clothes in a pile by the door and hopping on the subway.

What I do recommend is making this delicious and easy grapefruit and orange salad. Served chilled with mint, it’s indescribably refreshing.

If that doesn’t give you enough relief from the heat, here’s another suggestion: slice up some lemons, then toss them in a pitcher of ice water with some mint sprigs. A confession: I’ve unabashedly stolen this idea from the lovely folks at Culver City’s Café Surfas — you know what they say about imitation and flattery.

Stay cool…

Citrus Salad with Mint Sugar, from Bon Appétit
Makes six portions.

2 white grapefruits
2 pink grapefruits
6 large navel oranges
½ cup fresh mint leaves
¼ cup sugar
Seeds from 1 pomegranate or ¼ cup dried cranberries (I skipped this step; pomegranate season is October through January, and the idea of dried cranberries in this salad didn’t appeal to me. That said, I realize it’s not quite citrus season, either. It’s a heck of a lot closer though.)

  1. Cut peel and white pith from grapefruits and oranges. Cut between membranes to release segments. Combine fruit in large shallow bowl. (Fruit can be segmented one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  2. Place mint and sugar in processor. Pulse on and off; blend until mint is finely chopped, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Sprinkle mint sugar and pomegranate seeds over fruit; serve.

An Early Lunch at Café Surfas.

Friday was a completely hectic day, and we knew we would only have the briefest of moments to grab something to eat. Since Keith and I would be meeting up with my family in Culver City, we decided to stop in to the café attached to Surfas, a gourmet food and restaurant supply shop around the corner from my relatives’ house. I have no idea whatsoever as to how Keith found this place, but I do know that I absolutely loved it.

The aesthetic at Café Surfas is reminiscent of an classic European market, with small octagonal tiles on the floor and cheery butter-colored walls. Chalkboards detail the coffee, sandwich and salad options, and glass cases house miscellaneous cheeses, charcuterie and cakes. Sit outside on the patio — the cement floors of which are imprinted with pressings of whisks, spatulas and cookie cutters — or inside at a tall table with freshly-cut flowers.

After taking about ten minutes to deliberate, I opted for the ultimate grilled cheese — housemade blue cheese mayonnaise, raclette, fiscalini and cold white cheddar on pecan raisin bread ($6.95). The sandwiches, paninis mostly, each come with a mixed green salad, and are served in recyclable cardboard boxes.

This sandwich was amazing. The bread simply made it, propelling it from being just a lovely sandwich into being an incredible one. The blue cheese mayo added a nice salty tang, and the other cheeses melted and oozed together in a very indulgent manner. Sweet and reassuring, it was exactly what I needed at that moment. This was comforting, good food.

I also got some fresh-squeezed orange juice, which was bright and sunny, but it actually didn’t compare in refreshment to the lemon-mint iced water the café serves gratis. When the summer rolls around, I know this is what I’ll be drinking nonstop.

If I’m in Culver City at any point in the future, I already know what I’m going to get — the haute dog, the Kurobuta ham panini, the Spanish herbed tuna, and another ultimate grilled cheese. It’s probably the most satisfying quick bite I’ve had in a long time.

Café Surfas
8777 West Washington Boulevard
Culver City, California 90232

Surfas Cafe on Urbanspoon