Last week, baker Mohammed Mahrousa and owner Tony Azizi of the new Golden Bakery on North Sharon Amity were testing their recipes. The space, once Jerusalem Restaurant, is newly upfitted with ovens, proofing tables and glass display cases. The bakery is located in a strip of shops near the intersection of Sharon Amity and Albemarle roads, which includes two Halal meat shops, a Middle Eastern sandwich shop and a Middle Eastern restaurant. Azizi owns the adjacent Halal Market.
Mahrousa comes from a long line of Syrian bakers "famous for their desserts," he notes. On the sweet end, he makes his own phyllo for the baklava and is waiting for the machine to make kataifi, shredded phyllo, too. Currently the menu is in the first printing, so be warned if you read "Spanish Pie" — it's a typo for spinach pie. Other savory pies (fatayer) on the roster include spinach and cheese, cheese, soujek (spicy sausage), and ground beef. ($1 each, $10 dozen). Pita (white flour only) is sold in packs of 4 ($1.59).
The bakery is also making a variety of manakish, small individual flat bread "pizzas." The za'atar man'ousheh (singular form of manakish) is popular breakfast bread in Syria and Lebanon. Za'atar, an herb blend of wild thyme, oregano, dried sumac, salt, and sesame seeds, is mixed with olive oil, spread on dough and baked. Other breads include lahmajun, a ground beef topping; mohamra, a piquant walnut and red pepper blend; pizza; cheese; egg and cheese; and keshk, a bulgur wheat, milk and yogurt mixture ($1 to $2.50 each).
Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: [email protected] or 704-522-8334, extension 136.