Much like Magellan, the limits of my horizon continue to expand before me. Saturday’s expedition took Mike and me to a busy strip mall in Annandale, VA. If you had asked me last year where Annandale was, I probably would have blinked at you a moment before answering “I dunno. Probably somewhere near Manassass or Hay Market or one of those.” “Those” being far away sounding suburbs I’d never bothered to visit unless they were a pit stop on the way to IAD or VA wine country. You know. Drive over country. Regardless, we’re turning over a new leaf at Capital Spice and this particular leaf is named IndAroma.
When we walked in on an early weekend afternoon, the bright, casual space was filled with young families and a large table of Indian aunties happily chatting away the afternoon. We were intrigued by this new bakery’s injection of Indian flavors into continental staples, manifesting itself into menu items like mango tiramisu. Traditional French pastries were also on hand as was a fun, light lunch menu option including Indian-influenced paninis and an entire section for chaats (snack plates that veer toward savory flavors).
In the end, we couldn’t resist grabbinng some classic Indian flavors. I have never met a somasa I didn’t like (the same goes for mimosas, oddly) and IndAroma’s samosas kept the trend alive. Their golden, crackling exterior crisped and crumbled into warm potato-pea-spicy goodness inside. We paired these with generous portions of rich mango lassie.
Although we were sated with our small lunch, we wanted to take a piece of IndAroma home with us. All of IndAroma’s pastries and baked goods are made in house, including a healthy selection of quickbread cakes (fuit, lemon, and plum), croissants, and cookies. Aha! I knew a sweet tooth exploration opportunity when I saw one. We were invited to dinner with friends that evening and were slated to bring dessert.
I asked a member of the IndAroma staff which of the cookie selections were the most traditional Indian treats and she led me to nankatai – a rounded and puffed cookie that somehow managed to be dense and airy in a single bite. The cookie has slight flavors of cardamom and (perhaps?) the lightest touch of saffron. Wanting to bring a variety of options to dinner, we also grabbed a box of salted shortbread cookies and pistachio cookie squares. The entire plate was a hit that evening and I don’t think it was just the ghee talking.