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Posted on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 : 8 a.m.

Frugal Friday at Roma Bakery provides a sweet finish to a long wait

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

All summer long, I'd been watching a new place on Washtenaw as it put up signs and promised to be open soon; but each day it didn't seem to be ready for customers. Finally, though, just three weeks ago, the Roma Bakery — an institution in Dearborn — was ready to offer its wonderful treats to Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.

Roma Bakery is famous for its pepperoni rolls. But when Jeremy and I beelined for the shop — driving by on a sunny Saturday afternoon, seeing the "open" sign, veering into a neighborhood across the street to turn around, then aiming straight for the goodies — we had already eaten lunch.

So we chatted a bit with the owner and the very friendly gentleman behind the counter, and we chose an assortment of sweets which readily fell into our $5 per person Frugal Floozie Friday budget.

For a mere $2.50, Jeremy chose a box of 10 miniature cream puffs. He couldn't wait until we got back to my place to eat them, so I rushed to take a picture in the car before they were devoured. The cream filling in these is just lovely, not as thick as it often is. And, as Jeremy put it: "You can taste the sweetness, not just from sugar, but from real cream."

I had chosen an assortment of cookies for $3 (pictured above), to sample a variety of goodies. And just as I was paying, I noticed a bowl of mahmoul — beautiful Middle Eastern cookies made with special carved molds — and couldn't resist buying one for $1. Mahmoul often feature a date filling, but this one had ground nuts and just a hint of rose water; they were truly unique and wonderful.

The sprinkle-coated treats were decadent chocolate coconut truffles. There were also rich fudge-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, and some chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies with just a hint of cinnamon. The ladyfinger was sandwiched together with a schmear of apricot jam that shone in unison with the buttery cookie.

There are many potential Frugal Floozie Friday options at Roma Bakery, from 9-inch pizzas ($1.75-$3.50) to the $3 Pepperoni Rolls to traditional Middle Eastern spinach and meat pies ($1.25-$1.50). I will absolutely have to go back to sample more of the menu!

Roma Bakery
4837 Washtenaw
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures in the kitchen. She was thrilled to have her post about Scottish Oatmeal Shortbread named as one of the daily "Best of the Blogs" by the prestigious Food News Journal.

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related. Her newest feature is Frugal Floozie Friday, seeking fun and food for $5 or less ... really! Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here.