Friday, June 24, 2011

Shatila Bakery: A Review

Since my spring class is almost finished (thank goodness!), I'm getting ready to head back to GR for a couple of months. Monday cannot come fast enough. Although I've really enjoyed anatomy, I'm ready for it to be done and for summer to start! However, I decided that before I leave Dearborn for the summer, there were two things I must do. Funny enough, both of these goals involved food, hmm. My first goal was to do one of my favorite things, visit a pastry shop. There is a catch however, this pastry shop specializes in Mediterranean pastries.

I'd heard of Shatila Bakery from several different people over the past year and it sounded fabulous. Although it took me 10 months to get there, I finally made it, and was it ever worth it! The whole place was just amazing. Walking through the door and seeing cases full of tray after tray of the most amazing and exotic pastries, pies, cookies and ice cream almost made me feel like I had walked through a door that instantly transported me to the Middle East. The building, inside and out, was just as gorgeous as the food. It's a good thing I don't live any closer to this place, or I would be spending way too much money here.

Since Lara and I had almost no idea of what everything was, we just pointed to a handful of tasty looking concoctions and hoped for the best. It was difficult because I wanted to try a piece of everything in the store, it all looked so interesting and delicious. Although about half of the bakery is filled with French inspired goodies (tortes, cakes, tiramisu, eclairs etc.) that looked equally as tempting, I stuck with the Middle Eastern side since that's what I really wanted to try. I will definitely be back sometime to try out some of these more familiar treats.

The bakery also serves sandwiches and ice cream and has a nice place to sit down and enjoy all the deliciousness. I will most certainly be back to try this out sometime. I went a little crazy with the pictures, but it was all so beautiful I couldn't help but take more pictures. I just found it very interesting, so if you're interested take a look. Everything I tried is shown below. I think Lara and I got a nice sampling of this new cuisine. In the descriptions, I did my best to name everything correctly and to describe what it tasted like. I probably got some things wrong, so if anyone out there knows any better, feel free to correct me. Any mistake were completely unintentional.

And stay tuned, my second successfully completed Dearborn food goal will be explained in an upcoming post!

Case after case of deliciousness

More sweets, and tables to enjoy them at

A couple of close ups of the pastries, I wanted to take more pictures but I was
trying to be inconspicuous and not look like a tourist.

On the left is kanafeh, it's a cheesy base layer covered with shredded phyllo dough
with a simple syrup poured on top.

The right picture shows a couple different types of baklawa, the top tray is called
burma, the bottom left are mini roses and on the bottom right
are birds nests.

 Lara, excited to try our purchases!

 Our sample tray.
Five treats along with a thick, gooey simple
syrup (to dip the pastries in I guess)

 On the left: I couldn't remember what it was called at the bakery, but I googled it and it
seems to be called Kings Crown or taaj al-malek. The cup is
made of shredded phyllo dough which is filled with pistacios
and covered in a thick, sticky and sweet syrup. The bottom
reminded me of shredded wheat, dry and relatively flavorless,
but eaten with the sweet nuts, the combo was very nice.
It was fun, but difficult to eat, very messy!

On the right: This pastry is called Katayif Dashta-Asafeer. Itwas very mild in flavor and not
extremely sweet. It is basically a folded over pancake (katayif) filled with
some kind of cheese. The cheese filling has the texture of ricotta but
doesn't taste like it. It is slightly sweet and is flavored with something
I can't identify.This flavor showed up in several of the pastries, it is a
very unique taste that I wouldn't say I love, but it is very interesting. I
am guessing that it is either rose water or orange blossom water, both
very common in Arabic cooking.

 This was one of my favorites, how could it not be, look how completely fried it is.
The outer layer was extremely thick, crispy and delicious while the inner layer was filled
with chopped up walnuts and was tender and very sweet (a lot of honey is my guess).
I can't remember the name of this one :(

 This is called Shouiebieh Fresh Kashta. It is sheets of phyllo dough filled with the same kind
of cream as shown above. I think the cream is called Kashta and is a type
of clotted cream. 

 Here is pistachio baklawa. Whenever I would think of baklawa, this was what I would think of, but I now know that baklawa comes in many different forms with various fillings. This was probably my favorite
sweet. It was tender and extremely buttery, very "juicy" (for lack of a better word), it literally
oozed with buttery sweetness, absolutely delicious!

 Another look

 Close ups

My sample platter, it was delicious! A few of the pastries were not 
extremely sweet. I think that's where the sugar syrup comes in (at the top
of the picture). It was extremely thick and sweet. One dip in this
stuff leads to an explosion of sweetness. It's kind of nice
to be able to choose your own level of sweet.

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