After yoga class at the East Meets West yoga studio on Church Street, a friend and I browsed through the recently-moved Yas Bakery. The store moved in early 2010 from it’s location on Main Street to a standalone building at 137 Church Street. I can’t remember what was there before, but now Yas boasts a bright, inviting grocery featuring Iranian imports and pastries. The pistachio baklava is delicious. You can find some novel items, like rock candy sticks with saffron – traditionally used to sweeten coffee. I also saw whole tamarind (I wouldn’t begin to know how to cook with it, though. Exotic!). There are about a dozen varieties of pickles, followed by a dozen more of olives. A fun place to browse.
I realized afterwards that for a small town, Vienna has an impressive variety and amount of stores and restaurants where you can find international foods. And many of them (perhaps all?) are locally owned shops. Here are some of my favorites around town – although by no means an exhaustive list.
For Indian food we love Amma Vegetarian Kitchen at 344 Maple Ave East (across from the Giant supermarket). It’s a local place where you’ll find folks getting traditional potato-filled dosas (crepes) and upppatams (pancakes). The dishes are served with a side of coconut chutney and spicy sambar soup. It’s a great place for casual, traditional Indian fare without waiter service. The only downer is that when ordering take out, there’s a lot of non-recyclable styrofoam.
For Thai in Vienna, we like Natta Thai on Glyndon Street SE in the Maple Shopping Center (where Jammin Java is). The dishes pack a spicy kick. The space is cozy, so we’ll often use Natta Thai as our standard for Thai take out.
Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant on Maple near Nutley Street holds a dear place in my heart. When my hubby and I were first dating I was a vegetarian (getting me to convert to carnivore is one of his proudest accomplishments). For one of our first dates, he took me to Sunflower, obviously pleased with having found the perfect restaurant for me. It’s a winner. Every time we go one of us orders General Tso’s surprise “chicken”—and whenever I look at other tables in the restaurant, almost every one has an order of the same. The edamame soybean pods are also crisp with a savory sesame dressing.
For sushi we like the sushi places that have cycled through 128 Maple Ave West (next to Sleepy’s and Tuesday Morning). I went today, and in the last two weeks it had changed hands yet again. The new place is Yirasai. For lunch I had a bento box with soup and salad. Pretty tasty. We also like Sushi Yoshi, housed on the corner of Church and Center Streets. Hubby and I sat at the sushi bar there once and I ordered a vegetarian sushi platter that was a work of art. It was Drew’s Blackberry wallpaper for several months. No joke.
Groceries and Other Take Out
While I’m not so ambitious as to try and cook Indian or Thai food from scratch, I do like to usemany of the spices in my cooking. And sometimes I have a hankering for international treats. Here’s where I go for the goods:
Aditi Spice Depot on the edge of Vienna at 409 Maple Ave East (across from Beulah Road), is a great place to get strong spices at a fraction of the cost of the traditional grocery store. I’ve stocked up on cinnamon and cumin, getting over double at Aditi for the price I would pay at large grocers.
Drew and I stumbled across the small Thai-Asian Food Market (350 Maple Ave West) when we returned from our honeymoon in Thailand. We had never noticed it before, and there it was! We bought curry simmer sauces and iced tea drink mixes, and whipped up a dinner that took us back to the sandy beaches of southern Thailand.
In my home of New York, bakeries abound that feature amazing cookies, cakes and pies for a fraction of what it costs to get a mass-produced dessert from our beloved mass retail stores. I am always on the lookout for bakeries where I can pick up cookies or a cake to bring to a friend’s home. So far, I’ve found two of note in Vienna.
The first is Yas, described above. The second is Silva’s Patisserie. My husband started spoiling me with treats from Silva’s when I was in my last month of pregnancy. If you are looking for decadent, carefully crafted desserts that look pretty, Silva’s is your place (at 167 Glydon Street, SE). A tiny storefront, this bakery can make you a large wedding cake or individual-sized fancy desserts. And they have tons of marzipan– an almond sugar rush in fruit shapes! Hubby actually had a box of the miniature marvels delivered to our doorstep for my birthday, after the Bean was born. An indulgence indeed.