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Cosmopolitan Bakery, Carry Out and Catering

Cevapcici, a sandwich of spicy beef sausage, is a house-made specialty.
Cevapcici, a sandwich of spicy beef sausage, is a house-made specialty. (By Jahi Chikwendiu -- The Washington Post)

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

At their tiny bakery and carryout in Alexandria, owners Amela and Ivica Svalina start every day at 6 a.m. by stretching and pulling homemade phyllo until it's paper-thin. Such dough is the essential ingredient for their assorted bureks: savory, coiled and buttery stuffed pastries ($4.80 each). The Svalinas' best bureks are filled with diced potato and onion, seasoned beef or farmer's cheese.

"In my country, if you didn't know how to make phyllo, you couldn't marry," says Amela, who moved to Northern Virginia from Bosnia and Herzegovina with her husband in 2000 and opened the carryout in spring 2006.

Also from the oven come lovely, chewy rounds of airy lepina bread, the basis for the Bosnian-style sandwiches; loaves can be purchased for 79 cents.

At Cosmopolitan, meats are lean and therefore tend to be dry, yet flavorful. This is the home of the hearty Bosnian burger ($6.50), a large, hand-formed beef patty that has a hint of onion and black pepper. For a sandwich of house-made, spicy beef sausages, order the cevapcici ($5.50). A weighty chicken sandwich ($5.50) is accompanied by a rich sour-cream sauce on the side. A moist and garlicky grilled trout entree ($11.80) comes with a vegetable medley and a mixed salad with a refreshing lemon and dill vinaigrette.

Amela creates the "house cake" ($3.90 a slice; 12-inch cake, $45, order one day in advance), a moist nut torte with layers of fluffy chocolate mousse and a touch of orange zest. Her baklava ($2.50 a serving) is lighter than most, made with ground walnuts.

Through an adjoining door is Euro Foods, a small grocery co-owned by the Svalinas and Bosnian native Enes Alic. Here you can find the best-selling Biljana brand roasted red pepper spread ($5.59 for 23.6 ounces) from Macedonia, Fructal natural fruit juices ($2.99 for 34 ounces) from Slovenia, Plazma children's cereals from Serbia, and Bajadera nut and chocolate candy ($1.99 for 3.5 ounces) from Croatia.

-- Walter Nicholls

Cosmopolitan Bakery, Carry Out and Catering, Huntington Station Shopping Center, 5902A N. Kings Hwy., Alexandria. 703-329-3303.http://www.restaurant-cosmopolitan.com. Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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