Everything Made On Site and From Scratch
By Mary Wadland
You might remember there was a little pizza joint in the sliver of a store that once stood next to the old messy Moped shop on Hume. And you might not have visited the road lately unless your wheels had gone bald and you needed some new rubber from NTB Discount Tires there on the corner, but things are happening in that little stretch of the hood, and it’s getting little surprising face lifts here and there.
Next door is now home to the ultra spiffy and modern From Head to Tail Grooming Spa, which sets a new bar in town for the doggie cut and blow dry, and it was while dropping off a couple of customers for their monthly maintenance package there that we discovered the doors of the new Taste of Eurasia were open for business.
It is a small place but this is a working kitchen, and it is open because husband and wife owners Shohina and Umed have enjoyed so much success at area farmers markets for so long, they thought they could sustain demand by opening up a storefront.
Besides, they needed the big oven and the space just to keep up with their weekend demand, so why not open the doors and sell to the public throughout the week while they are cooking anyway?
They had leased the space already. They were using the ovens. And that pesky glass kept inviting the curious passersby to knock, wondering if they could buy a slice or two of the delicious cakes and pastries, or the meat and cheese pockets that they could smell from the sidewalk.
So this past January, they expanded the hours, unlocked the doors, put in some glass display cases, and invited the neighbors to give their ‘out of this world’ cuisine a taste.
Shohina originally hails from Tajikistan, but now lives in Arlington, where she is also a full-time mom. She says this all started as a hobby, but it stemmed from a passion developed since early childhood. Her friends and family said her food was pretty spectacular and good enough to sell, so flash forward to a smiling woman on Hume Avenue lovingly mixing flours and fruits and spices and proteins and mixing up memorable, “come back over and over for more” concoctions.
You may know the business as “Sweet and Spice”, which is what Shohini originally called the food company, and which she has operated as at both the Old Town Alexandria and the Arlington Columbia Pike Farmers Markets since 2015.
The international menu is plentiful and includes meat and veggie sambusas (savory fillings inside perfectly puffed pastry), specialty salads using olives, beets and eggplant, Turkish and Persian pizza, and spiced chicken, and too much to list here–just go see for yourself!
And the pastries are a knockout. “We only use six or seven ingredients in every one,” said Shohina, as she was expertly swirling a finishing ganache over a just-finished Chocolate Prague cake.
We took home a slice of her signature Napoleon cake and the attempt to steal a bite before dinner quickly turned into a serious sit-down in the kitchen with just a fork and the carryout box. Not overly sweet, the pastry cream oozed between the crispy layers of fresh crackling pastry, and the large $4.50 slice disappeared in about ten breathtaking bites.
The good news is they are open all week and maybe next time we’ll try a slice of the eight-layer Honey Cake!
Taste of Eurasia is located at 428A Hume Avenue, Alexandria and is open Tuesday through Saturday starting at 11 am, with varying closing hours. On Saturdays and Sundays you can still find them faithfully filling orders at their trusty farmers markets. Visit www.tasteofeurasia for more information.