The Holy Land: Bourekas, Pita and Tim Tams

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Superior fresh pita

This afternoon, while waiting for my "moo goo gai panini"--a bad idea--to be ready from Marco Polo Café (102 St. Mark's Place), I wandered into Holy Land Market. Amid the sacks of Israeli couscous and tins of tahini and pickled vegetables and rows of spices, there are three finds that you should not miss: Bourekas, fresh pita and Tim Tams.

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Left to right: Spinach boureka, green olive and cheese boureka

The pita, which is delivered fresh baked every morning, is floury on the outside and wonderfully fluffy, each one puffing about an inch high. Rip it open, and find chewy, fragrant white bread, shot through with irregular bubbles. It splits nicely if you want to make a sandwich out of it. ($2.50 per pack of five pitas.)

Then there's a whole section of bourekas (Israeli bureks); they're snack-size, about 2 inches in diameter, and stuffed with savory fillings like eggplant, spinach, cheese-olive and "pizza" (apparently a very popular filling in Israel). The fillings are couched in flaky puff pastry, and several of them have sesame seeds on top. I especially liked the salty, rich cheese-green olive variety. (Bourekas $6.99 per pound.)

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And then there are the Tim Tams, which is to say, the chocolate cookies infused with crack cocaine. And these are the illusive, genuine Arnott's Tim Tams, not the Pepperidge Farms limited edition Tim Tams apparently available through March at Target stores. No, these are the real Australian Tim Tams, exported first to Israel and then graciously sold in New York by the fine folks at Holy Land Market. Usually, Tim Tams are only available in the United States in Hawaii.

What is the big fuss about Tim Tams? Honestly, they're what Girl Scout cookies would taste like in heaven. Just this side of junky, and totally delicious. I got the caramel version, which involves two rectangular crumbly chocolate cookies sandwiching a caramel filling, the whole shebang covered in milk chocolate. I am not able to have these at my desk without eating the entire bag, so I'm going to have to give them away at the staff meeting.

Holy Land Market
122 St. Mark's Place
212-477-4440

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