The craving always strikes after a meal at Tasty China. My tongue, still stinging from the Sichuan peppercorns, tells me something sweet is in order. Before the bill is paid, I know my car will soon be filled with the intoxicating aroma of baked goods from the nearby Jerusalem Bakery (585 Franklin Road, Suite 160, Marietta, 770-419-1666, www.jerusalem-bakery.com).
Although I always visit with the intention of getting just one piece of the flaky and nutty baklava ($1.49/each or $6/half-dozen) doused in fragrant honey syrup, other sights and smells inevitably send me into a frenzied shopping spree. I can't possibly leave without a box of the tiny finger date cookies ($4.59 for a box). The shortbreadlike dough encrusted in honey-colored sesame seeds and sweet, but not cloying, sticky date filling will be perfect with a strong cup of coffee the next morning.
Those puffed-up pitas ($1.69/five) – which the bakery ships all over the country – and a container of the Labne ($2.29), a sour yogurt-based cheese, with a drizzle of good olive oil, chopped fresh herbs and a dash of sumac will make a great midnight snack. I could have a manakeesh, a fluffy flatbread topped with different savory mixtures, for lunch tomorrow, but which one? The tangy feta ($2.59/each or $19.99/dozen) studded with parsley and a sprinkling of oregano, the one covered in tender beef simmered with tomatoes and spices ($2.59/each or $19.99/dozen), or the earthy za'atar ($1.89/each or $14.99/dozen), a mixture of thyme, sumac, oregano and sesame seeds? I might as well get all three, and while I'm at it, just one lemony, oregano-laced spinach pie ($1.99/each or $16.99/dozen).
Given the bakery's hold on me, you can imagine my excitement when I learned the owners are opening a second location on Old Milton Parkway later this year, where they will also serve lunch items such as falafel stuffed into their freshly baked pita. I think I might need a bigger car.