Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Natalia's Elegant Creations

Europe is known for its elegant, quaint cafes and bistros where you can leisurely sip cafe au lait or munch on a freshly baked pastry while watching the hustle and bustle of passersby. These types of locally owned shops are often harder to come by in the U.S. To my delight Ariel and I happened to come across a lovely cafe and bakery still fairly new to the Northern Va dining scene. One drizzly afternoon Ariel and I had our sights set on finding a lunch destination that would satisfy our craving for a good bowl of soup and a sandwich. We remembered passing by Natalia's a little while back and decided to head on over and give it a try.

Elegant mini pumpkin caramel cheesecake

Natalia's may be better known in the area for the wide assortment of cakes, cookies, pastries and tarts, but they also serve a number of sandwiches, salad and soup. Ariel and I were excited to see that they had a "soup and half sandwich" combo and jumped on the chance to try the dairy free mushroom barley soup. I ordered the roasted red pepper sandwich and Ariel went for the turkey, gouda and apple. Both orders arrived with a lovely little accompaniment of crudite and fruit.

After one spoonful of the mushroom barley, Ariel and I were hooked. This soup was so good we licked those bowls clean. The mushrooms were earthy and the broth picked up the richness from the mushrooms, and had just the right amount of seasoning. The barley was hearty and the nutty flavor paired well with the mushrooms. All in all an excellent winter weather soup.

Mushroom Barley Soup

Roasted sweet Red Peppers, fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced Cucumbers with a creamy Artichoke Spread

Display case full of goodies

After a rather healthy lunch, we felt like we could peruse the display case full of goodies. How could we come to an establishment known for its baked goods, without sampling them? We overheard the ladies next to us raving about a flourless chocolate torte, so we decided to order one of those. Looking around the case, we found something a little more festive - a pumpkin cheesecake. As you know, pumpkin cheesecake is one of our favorites - so we decided to put Natalia's version to the test.

Pumpkin Cheesecake and Flourless Chocolate Torte

The chocolate torte was extreme rich and dense. A chocolate lover's heaven. It was a little too rich in our opinion. A couple forkfuls satisfied our chocolate craving. The pumpkin cheesecake was the clear winner. It was light and creamy, with wonderful spicy pumpkin flavors. The graham cracker crust was sweet and slightly crunchy, which played off nicely against the cream filling.

We will certainly be back to sample some of her tasty creations again!

2 out of 3 JAMs

Natalia's Elegant Creations
230 West Broad St
Falls Church, VA 22046

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