I discovered a new gem in my neighbourhood. Erina is a Balkan bakery specializing in eastern European treats, such as Burek ($6), Albanian Bread ($4.50), and my absolute favourite – Pitalka ($1.50). For this post, let’s listen to “Other Side of Town” by Sam Doores and Alynda Segarra.
Burek is a baked phyllo pastry with either spinach, potato, meat or cheese. I’ve tried the meat and cheese version. Of the two, I prefer the latter, as it reminds me of a grilled cheese sandwich. The thin tissues of the dough are chewy, while the crisp nut-brown exterior crackles when you bite into the pastry. L mentioned the cheese burek evoked memories of the breakfast pastries we ate in Greece. I prefer the end pieces because I enjoy the delightfully fragile crunchiness.
The size of a small plate, one single pitalka is large enough for two large sandwiches or four mini snacks. I love the sensation of cutting into the bread and seeing the voluminous air bubbles inside. The texture is soft yet chewy, as there’s a resistance when you try to tear a piece off. The smell reminds me of pizza crust baked in an authentic Italian fire oven. Bread like this is a wondrous miracle.
To date, I’ve tried Erina’s sourdough, baguette and Albanian bread. Of the three, I prefer the Albanian loaf, as the tissue is soft yet toothsome. The sourdough and baguette are good, but I like bread with a supple and yielding texture. On my next visit, I plan to try the potato bread.
Erina also sells desserts, ćevapi (minced sausage), bread sticks, cheese bread, and Nutella buns. You can buy the burek and ćevapi frozen to bake at home. Check them out, and you won’t be disappointed. Hitting the Sauce gives Erina two phat thumbs up.