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Arax Cafe, Armenian and Lebanese in Arlington - Owner Rose Hovsepian on Washington Blvd - Closed

Arlington Armenian Closed

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#1 jparrott

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 08:57 AM

If you like the pies at Cassatt's, you can get the exact same ones ("Ram's Kiwi Pies," they're called) at Arax Café - an Armenian bakery / ice-cream-shoppe / coffee-house down on Washington Blvd, just down from the original Lebanese Taverna. Arax serves them a la carte (to go if you'd like), and charges $5.25 for them.

Cheers,
Rocks.


Are those the same ones the guys at Solly's are serving?

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#2 ferment everything

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 05:06 PM

Are those the same ones the guys at Solly's are serving?

I believe so. Solly mentioned the pies being made by a Kiwi, so the odds are quite good it's the same one.
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#3 DonRocks

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:38 PM

Armenian savories and Lebanese sweets were on today's lunch program - an Armenian Meat Pie ($2.50) is a round of thin flatbread, the diameter of a large pancake, covered all over with a thin paste of ground meat flecked with red pepper and onion. Because I got it to go, it was wrapped in foil and folded in half, and that's the way it should be eaten. It's homey, subtle, and the perfect size for a snack.

While the meat pie was in the oven, owner Rose Hovsepian was hand-chopping the parsley for the ample Armenian Kash Kash Kabob ($4.95), two cylinders of minced meat and onions, probably beef and lamb, covered with parsley, sauce, and rolled up in a thin pita-like bread, the whole thing irresistible and absolutely worth the calories.

And I couldn't pass up a square of Namoura, a classic Lebanese cake made with grainy semolina, plenty of butter, and doused with syrup, the whole thing made from scratch. "I'm Armenian and Lebanese," Hovsepian told me, "so I cook both."

On the way out the door, she looked at me and said "You need to eat these soon - don't let them get cold." Ninety percent of the namoura remains for later, but the meat pie and kabob were ravaged within minutes.

Eleven dollars for a three-course meal that rivaled anything I've eaten in the past week. Arax Cafe is exactly the type of place that's worth seeking out and supporting - a tiny little mom-n-pop that's putting out food that's good, cheap, and interesting. It's just about a block down from Westover Shopping Center - so the next time you're thinking about the original Lebanese Taverna or Lost Dog Cafe, give Arax Cafe a try instead.

Cheers,
Rocks.

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#4 youngfood

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:48 PM

an Armenian Meat Pie ($2.50) is a round of thin flatbread, the diameter of a large pancake, covered all over with a thin paste of ground meat flecked with red pepper and onion. Because I got it to go, it was wrapped in foil and folded in half, and that's the way it should be eaten. It's homey, subtle, and the perfect size for a snack.

Sounds like you had Lahmahjoon, right? Good stuff. If you are really slovenly and want to down a couple of them in no time, you can roll them up for even quicker consumption.

#5 DonRocks

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:54 PM

Sounds like you had Lahmahjoon, right?

Yes, but the one today had a lot less topping than the one in the picture - I can definitely see rolling them up like a Ho-Ho.

BTW Lahmahjoon can be rearranged as Jamal N. Ho-Ho.

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#6 Al Dente

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 04:44 PM

Yes, but the one today had a lot less topping than the one in the picture - I can definitely see rolling them up like a Ho-Ho.

BTW Lahmahjoon can be rearranged as Jamal N. Ho-Ho.

Lahmahjoon looks an awful lot like the Turkish Lahmacun which is the original PIZZA (at least according to many people I met in Turkey).

Am I correct that they'd be related?

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#7 porcupine

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 06:05 PM

the next time you're thinking about the original Lebanese Taverna or Lost Dog Cafe, give Arax Cafe a try instead.

Did you try the Turkish Armenian coffee? It's really, really good.

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#8 DonRocks

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 09:14 AM

A young couple walked into an empty Arax Cafe right in front of me today, looked around for a few moments, and then nervously asked the gentleman, "Is there a place around here we can get breakfast?" He stood silently for a few moments, then glanced over to his pastry case, and quietly said, "We also have bagels," which was followed by an eternal five-seconds of silence, before he added, "or ... you can go across the street to The Forest Inn." The couple sheepishly thanked him and left. He looked at me. I ordered a large coffee, then looked over at the pastry case, and ordered a slice of lemon cake - a very good, homemade lemon cake - that I didn't really want, and then put the change from my five into the tip jar - there's my good deed for the day.

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#9 goodeats

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 03:25 PM

Finally made my way over there for lunch, after a quick errand to the post office across the street. Being the nice, humid and hot weather such as today, I probably should have ordered a refreshing salad, but the attraction of Hommos proved too much, so I caved in for a classic Hommos sandwich. For $5.37 (tax included), it's as long as a Chipotle burrito, but MUCH, much better tasting.

The hommos was smooth and light -- not grainy and stiff as I've had at some places. I enjoyed the pita wrap it was on, as it gave the sandwich the right chewiness that it should. Topped off with some cucumbers and tomatoes, it was just as cool and refreshing as a salad; only it was my little comfort food.

Pretty good day so far, I'd say. :lol:
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#10 DPop

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 05:28 PM

Did you try the Turkish Armenian coffee? It's really, really good.

This is, in my opinion, the best cup of coffee in the DC metro area. Better than the espresso drinks at Murky, better than the french press at Beck's, and much much better than the similar version at Zaytinya. The cardamon in the drink shows itself, but does nothing to detract from the strong, delicious flavor of the ground coffee. If you live in this area and get coffee from the Starbucks down the street as opposed to this place, give yourself a firm smack in the back of the head. You deserve it.

The Armenian Meat Pie and Kash Kash Kabob are as good as described above. Fresh chopped onions, parsley, plentiful spices and moist meat on both, fairly priced at under $9 for the pair.

The highlight of the meal, however, was the homemade Apple Pie with 2 scoops of their homemade ice cream. I'm an apple pie snob (my mom's is incredible), and this version is better than any restaurant one I have had. Nice soft crust covered in sugar crystals and plenty of apples, an ingredient that a lot of bakeries skimp on in favor of more tasteless dough. I wanted the Cinnamon Graham Cracker flavor of ice cream, which I think would be a great compliment to this pie, but unfortunately they were out so I had to go with the Maple Walnut. Delicious and a very good match for the pie. I'd like to come back here some day to try to make my way through the pastry case, which had plenty of nice looking options outside of the pie.

I was by myself in the cafe today, reading a newspaper while enjoying Beethoven and other classics coming from the radio in the store. I hope it's not like this every day, because it would be a damn shame for the Arlington/Falls Church area to lose a place like this. It really does deserve the neighborhood's support.

#11 DonRocks

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 11:17 AM

I'm always happy to give a plug to Arax Cafe. This morning when I stopped in for coffee, the owner told me which of the desserts were homemade, and which were purchased. I got two donut-like butter-shortbread cookies, sandwiched around apricot filling ($2.25), and when I asked what it was called, he simply said "sablet." "Like the French?" I asked. Yep, we have them in Armenia too, he replied.

As much as I love this place (and I truly do), I can say that their plain-old drip coffee is pretty ordinary; it's the specialty coffees you want to be concentrating on for something special. That having been said, I order my plain-old drop coffee from here whenever I'm in the area (either from here or Scoop Beauregard's across the street, which serves M.E. Swing), simply because I want to give them my business.

Also, I remind everyone to try their Armenian flatbread as a lunchtime snack. I cannot emphasize enough how this mom-n-pop is worth supporting.

Cheers,
Rocks

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#12 DonRocks

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 01:42 PM

I'd like everyone here to know that I went the extra mile (literally) this morning, bypassing Starbucks, and going to Arax Cafe for my morning brew ($1.75, 16-ounce cup). Taxes bring the coffee up to $1.90, but unlike Starbucks, you still get change back from two dollars.

There's no line here, ever, and this morning I had to wait an extra 30 seconds for my Half-and-Half. Why? Because the owner called over to her young child to run and get a fresh carton out of the refrigerator.

I mentioned my Starbucks story to the owner, and she thanked me, adding that "we need all the help we can get."

If you're anywhere near the East Falls Church Metro station, please consider going to Arax Cafe for your coffee. This is a high-profit item, and for a business like this, twenty extra cups a day can make a huge difference. That child who got my Half-and-Half? Hopefully, he's going to be going to college one day.

I love this restaurant, and want it to survive.

Cheers,
Rocks.

P.S. I'd like to add that in the Virginia Dining Guide, I have this listed as one of the best restaurants in North Arlington.

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#13 goodeats

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 01:44 PM

If you're anywhere the East Falls Church Metro station, please consider going to Arax Cafe for your coffee. This is a high-profit item, and for a business like this, twenty extra cups a day can make a huge difference.

Don't forget to try their Armenian Coffee next time. Not as strong as some of the other places, but better than and better tasting than any Red Bull jolts you can get.
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#14 ktmoomau

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Posted 18 January 2010 - 08:16 PM

Drove to Falls Church to be disappointed that the leather shop I needed to go to was closed for the holiday, but came back and stopped at Arax. Had an Armenian coffee (sweetened) and a walnut cookie a maamoul, I believe it is. I was very impressed with the Armenian Coffee, I really liked it much better than normal coffee. And the cookie was good and made it possible not to get a piece of pineapple upside down cake which would put me on the fast track away from my Miami in two weeks diet.

The owner was incredibly nice and courteous. I will be back for more goodies and coffee.

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#15 Black Bear

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 03:15 PM

I'd like everyone here to know that I went the extra mile (literally) this morning, bypassing Starbucks, and going to Arax Cafe for my morning brew ($1.75, 16-ounce cup). Taxes bring the coffee up to $1.90, but unlike Starbucks, you still get change back from two dollars.

There's no line here, ever, and this morning I had to wait an extra 30 seconds for my Half-and-Half. Why? Because the owner called over to her young child to run and get a fresh carton out of the refrigerator.

I mentioned my Starbucks story to the owner, and she thanked me, adding that "we need all the help we can get."

If you're anywhere near the East Falls Church Metro station, please consider going to Arax Cafe for your coffee. This is a high-profit item, and for a business like this, twenty extra cups a day can make a huge difference. That child who got my Half-and-Half? Hopefully, he's going to be going to college one day.

I love this restaurant, and want it to survive.

Cheers,
Rocks.

P.S. I'd like to add that in the Virginia Dining Guide, I have this listed as one of the best restaurants in North Arlington.

Pretty sure the folks that own/run Arax also own/run the dry cleaning/tailor shop next door. Always had good luck with the tailor and dry cleaning, so probably both businesses are worth your support. FWIW.
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#16 dcs

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:09 PM

Arax Cafe in Westover Has Closed. Sad news.

#17 DonRocks

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 05:06 PM

Arax Cafe in Westover Has Closed. Sad news.


Arax Cafe is hopefully not closing until the end of the month - tomorrow morning, I'd like to go there for the final time. However, there was a tray of kitchen utensils outside this evening that looked like it was for the taking.

I'm proud to say that I've supported Arax Cafe with my wallet for many years, often going out of my way just to avoid patronizing Starbucks. The day the space shuttle flew overhead, I was in there, and told the proprietor to be on the lookout for it - within two minutes, it flew directly over Washington Blvd. We just looked at each other, and shook our heads in awe.

With the closure of Arax Cafe, the masses of mooing, minivan mediocrity are continuing to get exactly what they ask for (there were over 50 people in the pathetic Lost Dog Cafe this evening, and only 2 people inside of the vastly superior Thai Noy), and continuing to get exactly what they deserve, which is a whole lot of sterile, homogenized, meaningless, watered-down garbage.

Arax Cafe is the first restaurant in the history of North Arlington to be retired in Italic.

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#18 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 07:52 PM

With the closure of Arax Cafe, the masses of mooing, minivan mediocrity are continuing to get exactly what they ask for (there were over 50 people in the pathetic Lost Dog Cafe this evening, and only 2 people inside of the vastly superior Thai Noy), and continuing to get exactly what they deserve, which is a whole lot of sterile, homogenized, meaningless, watered-down garbage.

Arax Cafe is the first restaurant in the history of North Arlington to be retired in Italic.


Well said. Very well said.

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#19 DPop

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:23 PM

So sad.

#20 plarkins

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:50 PM

Pretty bummed to hear. I just moved to the EFC/Westover community and was hoping to go there often. I went two weeks ago and got a meat pie and history lesson on hairy baklava (kataifi). Will try to stop by tomorrow to verify closing date.

#21 DonRocks

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:00 PM

And from the soil, a flower sprouts.

I only looked in the window, but Trade Roots seems like a wonderful little place.

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#22 dcs

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:39 AM

And from the soil, a flower sprouts.

I only looked in the window, but Trade Roots seems like a wonderful little place.

 

It looks like a good thing Ms. Ostroff is doing.


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