Tina Marie’s bakery a worthwhile gamble

By Sarah Fulton

Sarah Fulton, managing editor

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Glancing over while speeding down Johnson Drive, one wonders if the bakery in the tiny brick building is still in business. I pulled into the pothole-filled parking lot and discovered that Tina Marie’s was very much open.

I entered and was greeted by a chatty couple and their baby. Looking around, I was surprised to see the many display cases almost completely empty. The couple made small talk while I paced back and forth trying to decide between the small assortment of muffins and doughnuts, two pies and a tin of brownies.

Since it was p.m. 4 in the afternoon, the breakfast items were unappealing. Similarly unappealing were the two pies, one chocolate and one cherry. Since I had never had chocolate pie and I greatly dislike anything with real cherries in it, I desperately looked for a menu. When I found the single sheet of paper on the counter, I was even more disappointed. It listed an assortment of pies and baked goods that were apparently hiding from me.

I learned that the bakery closed at 5 p.m., so it was nearing the end of its day, limiting the amount of baked goods left. It is customary for Tina’s customers to call in their orders. As disappointed as I was at the lack of pie, I asked for a recommendation from the couple. After some discussion, they recommended the chocolate pie and offered to throw in some cinnamon rolls, assuring me they were sold in area grocery stores. I was comforted by how nice they were; surely people this nice made wonderful desserts.

My assumption was correct. The meringue was fluffy, smooth, perfectly white, and sprinkled with Oreo bits. It looked so nice that I wanted to pull my hair back and plant my entire face in it. Unfortunately, I was not prepared to waste a $13 pie, so I cut a slice.

The topping was just the right amount of sweet and had the consistency of thick whipped cream. The filling had the consistency of pudding and was slightly gritty. It tasted like solid Swiss Miss hot chocolate and overwhelmed the thin, buttery crust. Overall, the flavors mixed well together and it was a good first experience with chocolate pie.

The free cinnamon rolls were oddly tan and crisp, more like swirled buttered biscuits than normal cinnamon rolls. They pulled apart easily, showing that they were smothered in cinnamon and butter. The flavor was unexpectedly light, but still sugary and delicious. They were more like a sweet snack than a meal.

So whether you want to call in an order or just stop by and play the odds, Tina Marie’s is worth a try.

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