Earlier in the week I was looking for some new restaurants / countries to take the culinary-passport when I stumbled across the Golden Bakery in Charlotte. It is a bakery owned and operated by a Syrian family and it looked like they had some items I wouldn’t be finding just anywhere. After making the drive to Sharon Amity rd. I found the bakery in an old strip shopping center. There are a couple of other ethnic restaurants sharing the parking lot with it and a middle east market next door.
When you walk into the bakery you see the counter and display cases to the left, a couple of café tables in the small area in front of the cases and a pass through into the market next door on your right. I considered grabbing something to eat there but the tables were both occupied so after a short perusal of the options I decided to buy a mixed dozen of the fatayer(s). I’m not sure how that should be pluralized. And because I’m not leaving a bakery without something sweet I got a couple of the pistachio baclawa (yes that’s how they spell it). I was given a ticket and directed to the market side to pay for it so I walked around the market for a bit and picked up some coffee and twigs as you can see further down the post.
The twelve fatayer consisted of two of each of the six types they carried and were easily enough for 3 meals. Not bad for $12.99. For lunch I had a soujok, chicken, spinach & feta, and beef. These I just pulled out of the bag and ate as was. First let me say the bread was great. It was heartier than a pastry dough and a bit more dense than a straight up bread dough. Each filling had a distinctive shape. The half moon was filled with soujok, a spicy sausage. It did have a little heat to it and was slightly greasy and bled through the bottom of the dough. It was tasty though. The closed pinwheel looking one was filled with ground chicken and something I’m not sure of but it was good. The spinach and feta was square with an open center. This was one of my favorites. The feta was mild and paired with the spinach in an almost creamy consistency. You got a nice taste of the slightly bitter spinach, the mild cheese and the sweetness of the bread. Very nice!. The beef also had an open center. There was a touch of spiciness to this one as well as a bit of green pepper to enhance the beef. I tried the other two for dinner along with a couple of reruns.
I smartened up at dinner and popped these in the oven for 10 minutes to warm them up and it did enhance the experience. The triangular one was spinach filled. This was probably my least favorite of the six but still not bad. The spinach filling had some olive oil and lemon juice that gave it a tart flavor. The canoe shaped one with the open center was plain cheese and was very good and in the top two for me. It was very simple with bread and a mild, buttery flavored cheese. I’d be happy to have any of these again but uncharacteristically I think two of the non-meat options were my favorites, the spinach & feta and the plain cheese.
I didn’t forget the pistachio baclawa. This wasn’t as sweet as most of the Greek baklava I’ve had but it was still plenty sweet and the pistachios were a nice little change of pace and added color. They also had walnut and almond variations as well.
As I mentioned I walked around the market and saw lots of middle eastern groceries in Arabic that I had now idea what it was but I did see coffee that had cardamom that looked interesting so I grabbed a bag and at the register they had natural licorice root that was really twigs to chew on but still worth the few cents they cost. So on the coffee brainiac here missed the part, in English mind you, that said Turkish coffee. That stuff was ground quite fine. I have a couple of fill-it-yourself K-cups so I thought what the heck let’s try it. Let me save you some trouble if you ever think the same, don’t do it! The Turkish coffee and Keurig did not play well together. The grounds packed so tight against outlet that it took like 10 minutes to fully dispense 8 ounces. On the upside the coffee was nice and strong with a serious cardamom kick. The other downside was cleaning the K-cup of the sludge.
As I said I’d definitely visit this place again and they have a number of other middle eastern items to try plus personal size pizzas for those who might not want to go out too far on a limb.
You can find a recipe for a fatayer on the Tell Me More page, along with some music, random facts and Amazon search results for Syria.