I finally broke down and drove to Paterson yesterday, buying bread and other items at Fattal's, Nouri's and Taskin, a Turkish bakery. I haven't been to Nouri's for more than 10 years and found that prices at this longtime rival of Fattal's seem to be lower. When I got home and looked closely at the pita I purchased at both bakeries, I saw that a dozen medium-size pitas from Nouri's ($1.35) weighed 2 ounces less than a dozen from Fattal's ($1.50). Indeed, Nouri's bread is thinner.
At Fattal's, I picked up fragrant meat pies; small, pickled eggplants I had first mistaken for large olives, Moroccan sardines in spicy oil (99 cents a can); and canned hummus from Lebanon ($1.09). At Nouri's, I found fresh za'atar bread, olive oil soap ($1.19), apricots that I roast with chicken ($3.29 a pound) and a pound of sumac to sprinkle on salads (at home, I asked myself, why do you need a pound of sumac?).
At Taskin, the bread is large, thick and fluffy, so I picked up a regular loaf and one of whole wheat. I also bought borek, a thick tube of bread dough filled with seasoned potato. Taskin was out of cheese borek and cheese and spinach, so I was told to call next time and have some put aside.