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The Pure Pasty Co., Old Town Vienna - Owner Michael Burgess' Cornish Pasties


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Thank the (somewhat undersized) scallop entree at the (somewhat overpriced, somewhat underrated) Church Street Cellars for sending me and my young dining companion on a dessert hunt, lured by the scent of a sign in the alley leading to the (somewhat underrated) Rose Restaurant, and allowing us to stumble, completely randomly, onto The Pure Pasty Co., opened just last week. What's the difference between a pasty and an empanada?

An enthusiastic Michael Burgess was manning the register, having sold out of Sausage Rolls ($3.75), and having just three pasties left in the case. Me that I am, I bought one of each (Traditional, Slowdown Veggie, and Cornish Masala, each $6.00), and the Cornish Masala was very good. As the website touts, "It's all in the crust," and that's what I was thinking while scarfing it on the way home.

Especially with the addition of a food cart, this could be a successful operation - it's super simple, no frills, grab-and-go, and carryout only. I've never had a Pasty before today, and they're worth trying.

To date, I think I'm the only person in the world to do a daily double of the (somewhat over-catered) Max's Kosher Cafe and The Pure Pasty Co. Thing is, I was so emotionally drained by my meal last night at our 4th Best Restaurant that I needed to ground myself in simple street fare. Drained not by the meal itself (I've had worse meals, even this week), but because I've been toggling back-and-forth between issuing a methodical trashing of what was, at best, a banquet-quality dinner, and more accurately, something no better than you'd get when ordering room service; and exposing, for the sake of the Greater Good, a friend for being an incompetent megalomaniac because, you see, it's not J&G's fault that restaurant writing in this town has largely devolved into a bipolar star-fucking crisis of self-absorbed complacency, coexisting with a plastic, Ikea-bought bowl filled to the brim with cold, squiggly, noodles of nothingness.

Cheers,

Rocks

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Thank the (somewhat undersized) scallop entree at the (somewhat overpriced, somewhat underrated) Church Street Cellars for sending me and my young dining companion on a dessert hunt, lured by the scent of a sign in the alley leading to the (somewhat underrated) Rose Restaurant, and allowing us to stumble, completely randomly, onto The Pure Pasty Co., opened just last week. What's the difference between a pasty and an empanada?

Thanks for the note about the Pasty Co. I work a couple of blocks away (stop by next time) and live close-by in Vienna, so I've been curious about the restaurant since buzz started a few months ago. They just opened the doors for business last week, I believe. While your review was less than overwhelming, I look forward to giving the place a go soon.

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As they say, it's all about the crust, and that was nicely tasty. Had the vegetarian pasty and it was good, though could have use just a little more flavor.

Surprisingly, it was the right size and felt full, but not to heavy afterwards.

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What's the difference between a pasty and an empanada?

Wiki sez:" In a proper pasty, the filling ingredients must never be cooked before they are wrapped in the pastry casing; that is the main difference between a pasty and an empanada."

I would add: Yoopers have never heard of an empanada.

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The fillings and the pastries are both different between a pasty and an empanada. The more difficult question is what's the difference between an empanada and saltena. No egg goes into an pasty AFAIK, and no olives. The pasty crust is more like a pie crust - very flaky. These are my personal observations - I wouldn't know whether pasty fillings are pre-cooked or not.

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The pasty crust is more like a pie crust - very flaky. These are my personal observations - I wouldn't know whether pasty fillings are pre-cooked or not.

I actually had to make pasties in my brief stint as a pantry chef at a Scottish restaurant run by a native Scotsman. I agree the main difference I saw btw a pasty and an empanda is the crust - ours was similar to a puff pastry. We also precooked our filling; who knows whats authentic, but I can't imagine the logistical/consistency issues if the filling wasn't precooked.

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I actually had to make pasties in my brief stint as a pantry chef at a Scottish restaurant run by a native Scotsman.

Would you hazard as guess as to the trans fat and saturated fat in a pasty? I do luv me some pasties and I eat them when traveling (Niagara on the Lakes has quite few pasty shoppes) but I can't imagine indulging on a regular basis. Nevertheless, I'll have to try some at the Pure Pasty Co.

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Would you hazard as guess as to the trans fat and saturated fat in a pasty?

Our crust was heavy on the trans/saturated fat...and then the chicken filling one was heavy on the cream...I'm guessing several days worth. At least. I'd stick with non-cream based fillings if its an issue.

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The traditional pasty was a handy meal to keep mine workers sated during a day down in the tin mines...one can only imagine how that translates to the modern sedentary lifestyle! :(

when my mom makes pasties she uses a "short crust" pastry recipe and the innards are traditionally chopped up beef, potato, onion, and rutabaga (or as we call it in england, swede), salt and pepper and not cooked before being put in the oven.

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Pretty good stuff. I think the sausages in their sausage roll could use more seasoning, but the pastry was good and flaky, while over in the hand pie category their pasties (both traditional and masala) were splendid. Sadly, they don't do pork pies.

On that front, I note that another authentic English pork pie producer has opened in recent years, outside of Buffalo, NY: The English Pork Pie Company. Going to have to give this one a try to see how they stack up against NYC's Myers of Keswick.

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Pretty good stuff. I think the sausages in their sausage roll could use more seasoning, but the pastry was good and flaky, while over in the hand pie category their pasties (both traditional and masala) were splendid. Sadly, they don't do pork pies.

I am delighted to report that this situation has changed. They started producing individual pork pies a few weeks ago, and the resulting pie may not be the most traditional, but is nevertheless very enjoyable. The meat filling is principally hand-cut chunks, the color betrays a small level of nitrates/nitrites, but there's plenty of room for the jelly. It's mildly flavored and not very slack, so I don't think they could do a large pie with this filling, lest it be too dry. But the jelly is delicious if a bit firm, and carries much of the spice. Michael confirmed that they use the gelatin+stock shortcut; they had first tried boiling trotters for gelatin from scratch, but it proved to be too much trouble. The pastry is also formed using a nontraditional method, but the resulting crust is uniformly thick, and close enough to the proper shape.

post-710-0-38599700-1300035711_thumb.jpg

interior of individual pork pie

Right now, this might be the best English pie shop in the US, although their prices tend toward the high side. Their Cornish pasty was exemplary, with finely chopped bits of potato and Swede, and a nice black pepper bite to the beef. But even more impressively, their sausage rolls have to be the least greasy of any that I've had, ever. Ordinarily the pastry ends up soaking in the stuff, but these were clean, flaky, and without giving up any flavor. Better, yes, than Myers'.

Minor bonus points for facilitating my Cadbury Flake and Maynards Winegum fix.

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I agree, we grabed 4 pies a couple of weeks ago and were pretty impressed. The lamb pie was outstanding, the beef needed a little something, sassage was good (and very british tasting) and the chicken was a bit dry to my taste. The pork was out at the moment and they were actually in the back making them.

I am delighted to report that this situation has changed. They started producing individual pork pies a few weeks ago, and the resulting pie may not be the most traditional, but is nevertheless very enjoyable. The meat filling is principally hand-cut chunks, the color betrays a small level of nitrates/nitrites, but there's plenty of room for the jelly. It's mildly flavored and not very slack, so I don't think they could do a large pie with this filling, lest it be too dry. But the jelly is delicious if a bit firm, and carries much of the spice. Michael confirmed that they use the gelatin+stock shortcut; they had first tried boiling trotters for gelatin from scratch, but it proved to be too much trouble. The pastry is also formed using a nontraditional method, but the resulting crust is uniformly thick, and close enough to the proper shape.

post-710-0-38599700-1300035711_thumb.jpg

interior of individual pork pie

Right now, this might be the best English pie shop in the US, although their prices tend toward the high side. Their Cornish pasty was exemplary, with finely chopped bits of potato and Swede, and a nice black pepper bite to the beef. But even more impressively, their sausage rolls have to be the least greasy of any that I've had, ever. Ordinarily the pastry ends up soaking in the stuff, but these were clean, flaky, and without giving up any flavor. Better, yes, than Myers'.

Minor bonus points for facilitating my Cadbury Flake and Maynards Winegum fix.

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I'm happy that I live within walking distance of The Pure Pasty Co. I've been there a number of times and I was kicking myself on Sunday when I went with a traditional, only to see that the lamb was there after the fact. The Brit I was with was in heaven and another Brit ex-pat came in and ordered 16 pasties to go for a party he was having. I think a lot of their grocery items are available at area grocery stores for substantially less, but they do carry Bisto gravy granules which are impossible to find in the States. A tad on the pricey side, but they are available.

The traditional pasty has been consistently good, but the vegetarian let me down. I have not tried the masala, but that's next. These are certainly hearty bites.

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There are zero trans fats in any of the pasties or other baked goods here.

The lowest in saturated fat will be the Slowdown Veggie followed by the Chicken Cornish Masala.

I e-mailed Mike "the pasty" about trans fat and saturated fat and received the above response. I think I'll be checking both out soon.

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I e-mailed Mike "the pasty" about trans fat and saturated fat and received the above response. I think I'll be checking both out soon.

Good to know. I figured as much as they have a ton of signage saying that they purchase as much organic ingredients as possible.

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After dinner at the Plaka Grill last night we stopped by the Pure Pasty Co. for some pasties. I took 4 to go and elected to bake them at home. All it takes is brushing with a mixture of egg and milk and 35 minutes in the oven at 375. The crust turned out nice and flakey. The traditional beef pasty was seasoned nicely. I also liked the veggie one as well. The two chicken pasties were under seasoned, lacking salt. I noticed some dark meat in the pasty but I don't know if that's all they use. They were pricey, at $6 each but they're big, bigger than the pasties I remember having in England.

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I agree, we grabed 4 pies a couple of weeks ago and were pretty impressed. The lamb pie was outstanding, the beef needed a little something, sassage was good (and very british tasting) and the chicken was a bit dry to my taste. The pork was out at the moment and they were actually in the back making them.

We did the same a few weekends ago. We loved the lamb special, but found that the lamb > cornish masala > chicken Provencal > traditional, though all were good. Unfortunately, we tried them in that order. I would suggest working backwards through that list, and then you'll be happy the whole time! I agree the beef is missing a spark for excitement, but it is very hearty and does taste "traditional."

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This was kind of a surprise to me.....Pure Pasty now has a food truck. It was located today at Wellburn Square in Ballston. They had three kinds of pasties on the truck today and they said they will rotate from time to time. Cost was $6.50 per. Twitter id is @PurePasty. Great to see more quality products out on the trucks!

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I went for the first time yesterday and these savory pies are a revelation! I had one many years ago on my honeymoon in England, but I think these are even better. It is mostly a takeout place, but there is a bench for a few people to sit. Nonetheless, I took mine home and, although I traveled from Vienna to Arlington in heavy I-66 traffic, the pies were still piping hot. The crust is the flakiest I've had in a long time. Mind you, it isn't a diet food, but the inside ingredients are all fresh and delicious. I tried the traditional (like a beef stew filling) and chicken marsala. I have also heard raves about the chicken provencal.

Please check them out so that they stay in business so that I can enjoy future pasties. I think their may be a food truck in Arlington but I am awaiting more information about that from the store.

http://www.purepasty.com/

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The crust is the flakiest I've had in a long time. Mind you, it isn't a diet food, but the inside ingredients are all fresh and delicious.

A note about the crust: incredibly (and if you've tried one, you'll know why I use this word), no lard is used; organic palm oil and butter, so gorge away. :)

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Pure Pasty is now open on Mondays from 11-4. We buy lunch for our office for our weekly meeting and I've always wanted to get pasties for the crew. Today was the day!! I'd much rather give my money to Michael than Whole Foods, and prices are comparable for a pasty vs a WF sandwich.

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Just had lunch here. The chicken masala pasty was very good, and the surprise of the meal was an incredible chilled spinach, pea, and parsley soup. It sounded odd and unappetizing to a meat lover like myself, until they insisted I sample it. It was excellent! Nice strong garlic flavor, so be warned if you're unfortunate enough to dislike garlic. :)

I will be come back frequently. (Note: For a nice day like today, head down Church St. to the old Freeman's House, and you'll find three picnic tables nestled in a bucolic pocket park. Otherwise there is a small table and what appeared to be a "breakfast bar" for dining in.)

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I had the traditonal Cornish pasty and the Moroccan lamb over the weekend. The fillings were surprisingly dry, compared to what I recalled having in England. I recall the pasties I had in England had fairly moist fillings. These were dry - could it reflect the cut of the meat? Cheaper fattier meat at your corner pasty shop in England compared to lean organic meat at Pure Pasty?

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I wonder if you went on an off day? I've been several times and not had any filling be dry...

I've been 10-15 times, and the *only* time I had a dryer filling was on my most recent visit (a few weeks ago). I wrote Michael that same day and let him know (the potatoes were also cut slightly larger than usual). It's not a recipe change - it could be something as simple as "chance," or "the weather," etc.

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I've gone there twice now - yesterday was the latest time, while my bike was being checked next door. Got the traditional, used some brown sauce on it, man, that was good. Michael was regaling some customers with stories...

I know I've made Marshall jealous since he hasn't been there yet. :D

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I went to Chase the Submarine for lunch, and as i was pulling into the parking lot, I saw that The Pure Pasty Co. was right there. So, after an excellent sandwich, I stopped by and picked up 4 items: original, chicken cordon bleu, chicken masala, and sausage roll. After he packed them up, he listed them on the box with a marker, and i jokingly asked if he could label the pasties themselves. Then, he showed me the most remarkable thing: each pastie had a symbol baked in, and the box contained a key for these symbols, as well as easy to follow re-heat instructions. Wow! It's the simple things, folks. 

Oh yeah, the pasties...they were good! The bleu and masala were the best, mostly because they kept their juice the most after another half hour in the oven. The original had a good taste, but was a little dry. The sausage roll was solid, if plain. That said, I'm just not a pasty guy, so I probably wont go back (if I'm in the area and am hungry, I'm grabbing a sub).

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5 hours ago, Tweaked said:

Congratulations are in order!

Winner of the Open Savoury Company category at the World Pasty Championships in Cornwall, England. 

That is awesome, and I'm shamelessly taking full credit for discovering this place.

I should add, though, that I've been burned in the past by straying too far from the Traditional Pasty, which is what everyone should order their first time here - even things as innocuous-sounding as a Philly Cheesesteak Pasty just didn't work for me, at least not as well.

I'm not sure why, but you can't use "If it sounds good, it is good" as your ordering guide here - trial-and-error is the only way that has worked for me in the past.

A few thoughts from above:

* I cannot believe that no lard is used, but no lard is used!
* They really do freeze forever (a plastic sandwich bag inside aluminum foil probably makes sense), and reheat beautifully.
* No "Likes" for this post?

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On 3/13/2011 at 1:04 PM, ol_ironstomach said:
post-710-0-38599700-1300035711_thumb.jpg

interior of individual pork pie

How did you manage to insert the sauce so cleanly in the gaps between the sausage and the pastry crust?! Did you poke it in there with your knife?

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25 minutes ago, Kev29 said:

{not sure if joking but}

That's the aspic

http://www.reallynicerecipes.com/recipe/pork/pork-pie

:)

Not only did you answer my question, but you addressed the issue of how the pastry crust doesn't absorb the juices from the sausage - I also think I'm conflating "Pork Pies" with "Sausage Rolls," and still might be - I think the Sausage Rolls are more cylindrical.

(I didn't remember they were wrapped in aspic - it looks like the chutney (or whatever it is) on the side of the plate.)

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5 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I also think I'm conflating "Pork Pies" with "Sausage Rolls," and still might be.

Don, thankfully I'm here with my "very particular set of skills" 

Pork pie - think, firm pie crust with hard packed ground pork filling and (typically) aspic. Usually served cool or room temp. Middle English classic, more of a historically classic pie. 

porkpie1-700x490.jpg

Sausage roll - softer, sometimes puff pastry with uncased breakfast sausage inside. Usually in a square/rectangle. Served warm or cool. 

charliex.jpg

 

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It is indeed the aspic.

The canonical English pork pie has a curious history not unlike that of prosciutto di Parma: Leicestershire housekeeper Elizabeth Scarbrow invents a particularly delicious cheese for her gentrified employer ("Lady Beaumont's Cheese", prior to 1730); neighbor commercializes cheese which develops a following along a major coach route at Stilton, which becomes the name by which the cheese is known (mid-18th C); Stilton production increases rapidly to meet growing demand, resulting in surplus of whey; whey gains popularity as a pig feed among farmers in surrounding Leicestershire; now faced with a surplus of pork, the butchers of Melton Mowbray develop the pork pie as a convenience food (approx 1831).

If you have the chance, you could do a lot worse than to spend a few hours making a pilgrimage to Melton Mowbray, eating cheeses and pies.  I did last year...and it's a good thing that I don't need Lipitor...yet.

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The first time I ever heard of pork pie was as a kid watching the old movie Great Expectations on TV.  The idea of a savory pie stayed with me over the years but I have yet to try one. Maybe it's time.  I love the traditional and the Indian curry chicken pasties at Pure Pasty.

 

great-expectations-illust-007.jpg?w=620&

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