A visit to Union Market can be overwhelming since there are so many good food options to choose from. On a visit there, I stumbled upon Toli Moli, a Burmese noodle and falooda shop that I had never noticed before. I was looking for a (relatively) healthy option compared to arepas or empanadas. Falooda has its origins in Persian culture and is a sort of ice cream float that has made its way from Persia into South and Southeast Asia. Toli Moli’s most traditional falooda contains vanilla ice cream, pomegranate jelly, basil seeds, rose syrup and vermicelli noodles. The cool thing about Toli Moli is that you can do a sampler meal that comes with tea, a noodle dish, and a small falooda. I ordered a hot noodle soup that the lady behind the counter likened to ramen. It was tasty, though only if you appreciate the flavor of coconut milk in your soup. I also ordered an ice tea with fruit, and basil seeds, which was a bit like bubble tea. The service was really friendly and the food was tasty and well-priced.
Toli Moli is located in Union Market at 1309 5th ST NE.
I confess I often overlook Italian places in favor of other cuisines that are less common. But once I found out about A. Litteri, I just had to go check it out. A. Litteri is an Italian market, butcher and sandwich shop located at 517 Morse street N.E., tucked in the warehouses occupied by wholesalers around Union Market. It’s the definition of an institution; it was founded in 1926 but moved to its current location in 1932. The current owner’s grandfather and great uncle (Antonio Litteri, hence the name) founded the place. The store is mostly a market selling Italian products such as Italian wines, balsamic vinegars, sauces, and pastas. Their collection of different types of olive oil is particularly impressive. I know olive oil tasting is a thing (when I went, there were a few out to taste), but I’ve never seen so many different kinds of olive oil in one place. I also can’t imagine that most customers are even remotely knowledgeable about olive oil to appreciate the selection (I’m certainly not). What this demonstrates to me is a commitment to excellence and a sense of pride in a carefully curated selection. There’s also a butcher in the back where you can order sandwiches like meatball heroes and, of course, Italian sandwiches. I ordered the Italian sandwich, which was delicious and very reasonably-priced at $5 for six inches (sure, the nearby Subway is cheaper but obviously the quality here is far better). The only drawback is there’s no place to sit and eat, and no particularly good spot for a few blocks around. This place is well-worth stopping in though- it’s truly one of a kind.
It’s hard to beat a dose of dosa!
DC Dosa is a dosa (vegetarian Indian crepes/pancakes) place located inside Union Market. It offers large, filling, and flavorful dosas that are worth the $9 price tag. This place would get five stars but for the fact that a Pakistani American friend told me that they don’t give customers the required large quantity of chutney needed for authentic dosas. The place is well worth a trip to Union Market, plus there are plenty of other great spots there like Teaism and Peregrine Espresso to round out the experience.
Just like the aunties make them.