Friday, November 25, 2011

Frugal Floozie Friday -- Exotic Bakeries

I have to thank my friend Haran for today's Frugal Floozie Friday recommendation - he recently asked if I'd ever eaten at Exotic Bakeries, a place I've enjoyed many times but hadn't visited in ages and ages. He reminded me that "you can eat like a king for less than $5."

So it only seemed appropriate to eat dinner there recently. I took the opportunity to walk there and back on a gorgeous sunny fall evening, listening to new tunes I'd just uploaded to the ol' MP3 player.

Exotic Bakeries is a small, family-run restaurant featuring fabulous Syrian food; you can either stay and eat at one of the few tables or use the carry-out service. Some of the offerings, such as baklava, are familiar; many, however, are intriguing and unique. It was this latter category I wanted to savor.

So for a mere $2.50, I ordered a s'feeha - a soft, round flatbread topped with an amazingly flavorful spread of red peppers, walnuts, onions, and spices. The friendly gentleman who patiently waited while I perused the display cases and made my decision (we all know this is not something I excel at, especially when presented with too many delicious options!) warmed the s'feeha in a panini-like grill, slightly toasting the bread but still leaving it tender. This was an ideal vegetarian option, as I was in the mood for something light that evening.

For dessert - because, of course, everyone loves to get an entire meal within our Frugal Floozie Friday budget of $5 per person! - I ordered the namoura for $1.99.

Namoura is a traditional Middle Eastern cake that is also known as babousa. It's eggless and made with semolina; after baking, it is soaked in a citrusy honey syrup, making the treat very dense and lusciously sweet without being overly sugary. Topped with toasted pistachios, this was truly a delicious indulgence!

Exotic Bakeries was a very busy place when I visited, with two customers ahead of me, three already seated at a table, and another five having come in while I ate. And yet, the charming gentleman behind the counter greeted everyone warmly, as though we were all guests in his home. He beamed with pride when I asked for a take-out menu and for information about the website (having worn my sunglasses for my walk, which don't have an updated trifocal prescription, I couldn't read the card I was given!), proclaiming his establishment to be the only one in town offering Syrian cuisine.

There are numerous meat and vegetarian options at Exotic Bakeries that fall well within our Frugal Floozie Friday budget, including a wide variety of salads that are charged at prices per pound. The costs for entrees are so reasonable that you'll still have room for dessert even with only $5 to spend.

(Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to Hodgson Mills' online store! The deadline is Sunday morning!)

Exotic Bakeries
1721 Plymouth Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105

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Exotic Bakeries & Syrian on Urbanspoon


Cranberry Morning said...

Lucky you! That sounds fantastic, Mary, and items never found at our local Scandinavian bakery. :-)

Nicole said...

Be still my beating heart. What a great bakery!

Chris said...

Sounds like a great local place. I prefer the little places like this because the owners take pride in their work.

Candace said...

I envy all of the food choices that you have available in your area, Mary! That sounds fantastic.

Angela said...

That savory flatbread sounds most delicious--my kind of food. I am dying to go to the Arab bakery in Aurora to try some of their specialty items. Love reading your food finds, Mary.

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