Chocolate Eclair at Filomena

I have long prided myself on being immune to the temptation of desserts. In fact, when I have reiterated to my friends that I do not have a sweet tooth, I have always been filled with a strange sense of accomplishment when they stared at me, eyes wide open, and exclaimed, “What kind of person doesn’t like dessert?”

All this has changed after being immersed in American culture for a school year. True, I still do not voluntarily step into a cupcake store. Nevertheless, I have developed the habit of concluding a fine dinner with a dessert.

It all started at one my favorite restaurants in D.C.: Filomena. In addition to its seafood risotto, which I have already raved about, the classic Italian place also offers desserts that, like its amazing entrees, come in gigantic portions. Given their daunting size, the average price of six to eight dollars is really a fair deal. However, what has truly lured me back, despite being a foodie who tries her best not to revisit any given restaurant and an abnormality who finds no attraction toward sweet endings, is the unquestionably high quality of its dessert.

I still remember the first dessert that I ordered: the chocolate eclair. I still remember the shock when I saw the incredibly enormous portion, the smooth texture of the cream filling, as well as the wonderful chocolate crust that paired perfectly with the rest of the eclair. Filomena’s cookies n’ cream is another must. It resembles a giant Oreo — two layers of chocolate cake enclose the deliciously sweetened cream dotted with crusts of Oreo, leaving a wonderful sweet taste on my tongue. However, my personal favorite is definitely the Tira Mi Su. It is the classic version, yet with a little twist of innovation: rather than using whipped cream coated by cocoa power as the top layer, Filomena uses chiffon cake, thus adding one more contrast of texture to the cream and ladyfingers. The flavor was also heavenly — the restaurant has used Mascarpone instead of regular cream cheese in the cream layers. The resulting authentically delicious Tira Mi Su seduced me into finishing it all with the blink of an eye.

While Zatingya presents the fancy version of the exquisitely done Turkish desserts, V Falafel surprised me with its plain-looking desserts. Believe it or not, this shabby hole-in-the-wall diner is in fact rather famous, especially in the Dupont area. Legend has it that it makes the second-to-best falafels in the nation’s capital, the first being the Amsterdam Falafelshop. I have yet to visit the latter, but personally, I was not blown away by the falafels at V Falafel. I found them to be lacking in flavor.

That said, the two desserts that I randomly ordered, with zero previous expectation, turned out to be pleasant surprises. Do not be fooled by the plastic bowl used to contain the rice pudding — the pudding itself was beyond imagination. Sweet, light and finished with some cocoa powder on top, the rice pudding is impeccably done. Do not be tricked by the paper container of the Turkish baklava either — the baklava is crunchy, flavorful and is highlighted by what seems to be mocha powder. As it was my first time trying baklava, I cannot vouch for its authenticity. However, I can say with certainty that it has been one of my absolute favorite desserts so far.

One of the amazing things about being a foodie is that I am now more adventurous and open to new experiences. More often than not, I have been rewarded unexpectedly. I now think that we all have a sweet tooth, or two.

Yiwen Hu is a rising sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. Tastes of the District appears every other Wednesday at thehoya.com.

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