Back to Home About Mango & Tomato Contact MePublicity & News Hire Me!Portfolio


Meatless Monday: Visit to Bangkok 54 and Atilla in Arlington, VA

Do you feel like you are in a cooking rut? If you answer yes, I highly recommend a visit to an ethnic grocery store. Over the weekend I visited Bangkok 54 and Atilla markets on Columbia Pike in Arlington, VA and picked up quite a few fun products that will be great for experimenting with in the kitchen, and happen to be perfect for Meatless Monday.

First up, Bangkok 54: I was overwhelmed with the varieties of rice, sauces, curry paste, spices, and soup packets. Luckily, one of the women at the store was really helpful and explained which curry paste to use with vegetables (yellow!), and also told me to never ever shake a can of coconut milk! Instead, you are supposed to use the solids to saute the curry paste and the vegetables, and only then to add the liquid! Who knew?

I picked up fresh bok choy, lemon grass, three varieties of curry paste, and buckwheat soba noodles. I also bought a jar of pickled pepper corns that are supposed to be great added to a stir fry.

I'm taking bets on how quickly I'll consume a container of Pocky dipped in chocolate topped with crushed almonds ;) 

By the way, Bangkok 54 is a great place to load up on Sriracha and sambal if you like your food spicy!

Tucked behind the parking lot of Salsa Room, where I go salsa dancing, is a Turkish market called Atilla. Interestingly enough, many of its products looked very similar to the ones you'd find in a Russian grocery store. I could not resist picking up a container of pistachio halvah as a treat with coffee or tea.

I also bought a container of labneh, a jar of roasted eggplant, and a packet of feta to top my tomato and cucumber salad. What was labeled as pomegranate juice turned out to actually be pomegranate molasses: I'm planning to use it in salad dressings, marinades, and to flavor black tea.

Finally, I bought a jar of red pepper and eggplant spread that's great as a dip or to use in sandwiches with mayonnaise.

Let's get cooking!