Where: Toli Moli at Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE. tolimolidc.com.
Just as we're entering the season of oppressive heat, a new pop-up has arrived to cool us off. Toli Moli has moved in for a six-week residency (with the possibility for more) at Union Market, ready to introduce Washington to its specialty: falooda.
While the sweet dessert beverage is popular throughout the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, co-founders and mother-daughter duo Jocelyn Law-Yone and Simone Jacobson are focusing on the variation you might find in Burma, where Law-Yone grew up. The primary components of their falooda include house-made jellies and syrups, rice noodle pudding, basil seeds, milk, ice cream and crunchy toppings. In other words, if you don't like your drinks "chewy," best to move on.
Jacobson said in Burma, the shakes are sold with their ingredients already stirred together, but she likes to let patrons mix their own so that they can first get the visual impact of seeing the layers stacked in the clear plastic cup.
Toli Moli's stand will offer five flavors of falooda, developed by Law-Yone: The Royal, with pomegranate-ginger jellies, vanilla ice cream and rose water syrup; the Mango Mogul, a vegan version with mango-carrot jellies, mango sorbet and rose water syrup; the Black Eye, with cold brew coffee jellies, iced coffee and vanilla ice cream; the Cherry Blossom, with apple-mint jellies and cherry-soaked apples; and a rotating chef's choice.
Because we had to try the classic first, we sampled the Royal. Its slightly acidic bent was spot-on for a hot day, and even the skeptics of flowery flavors among us were won over by the delicate rose water syrup, which was more akin to a sweet summer breeze in the garden than drinking a shot of grandmama's perfume.