Two Palate Dining: The Pure Pasty Co.

Isn’t this the cutest pie!

She Said: The Pure Pasty Co.

Doesn’t everyone love pie? I spent many years avoiding fruit pies- I was stubborn and had a very limited palate.  I always loved chocolate pies and then grew to love pecan pie and now I actually eat fruit pies.  What I’ve yet to conquer in the world of pastry is the savory side of pies. I’ve had maybe one bite of cafeteria-style chicken potpie before and wasn’t crazy about it- although the educational cafeteria execution may have more to do with that than anything. Earlier this year at Taste of Vienna I sampled my fist savory pies! They were wonderful and when we found ourselves hungry one Sunday after church we decided to check out the shop and have some more delicious meat pies. (Note for the rest of the post I’m referring to them as pasties- no that isn’t a typo, that’s what the shop calls them.)

Pure Pasty Company is a darling shop! It’s bright and cozy. The smell of the pasties is divine and I could look at the racks selling British candies and treats for a long time. Everyone in the shop was friendly. They gave us a loyalty card, which you know always endears businesses to me. I like to eat foods that are made from good ingredients, but they typically are more expensive. A loyalty card reminds me that I’m not just another value meal, but that I’m a valued customer.

I want to state plainly that the only reason that I don’t have absolute raves to post about these pasties is totally my fault. I was so hungry and so excited that I didn’t make the best choices. While my palate has developed and grown, I’m still very particular (okay, maybe a little picky), I do have some stomach issues stemming from some other health problems, and I do have food allergies, too. The smell from the shop was so overwhelming and I was so hungry. I had also seen a picture on their Facebook earlier in the week of the Thanksgiving pasty and I just had to have it! I love Thanksgiving! The Thanksgiving pasty is amazing. It’s savory and herby and smells exactly like a yummy holiday kitchen. The vegetables were tender, but not mushy. The turkey was moist and had a delicious flavor of it’s own.  I loved the celery, it was the perfect texture. The problem was the cranberries. I’m very allergic to cranberries- like very. I know that cranberries are traditional for Thanksgiving, but many people in my family don’t eat them so growing up they weren’t around. Twice a year my mother and grandparents would share a jar of the jiggly cranberry stuff- I just happily stayed away from it. RJ hates it, too, so it’s just never around. I do try and remember to check baked goods, but somehow it slipped my mind to check this time. I found a cranberry and when my throat started hurting and itching we called to confirm. Yes, there were cranberries in it. It was my fault for not checking, but may I say that the three bites I had were amazing!

We also tried a Cheese and Onion pasty, which I thought sounded like a great vegetarian offering. While the flavor of it was great I just couldn’t get past the size and amount of onions in the pie. I love onion to flavor things. I just don’t like their texture at all.  We had just finished a book about French food and I was eager to try Provencal flavors so we also got a Chicken Provencal. It turns out that while I love French food I do not like Provencal seasonings. I found the sauce to be bitter, overly herbaceous and almost metallic tasting. I imagine that this is not a reflection of the execution of the shop, rather I just don’t like that flavor profile.

The pasty dough was amazing as always. It’s rich and baked to a crispy and delicious golden brown. Next time we visit I plan to have the Chicken Marsala, which I’ve had before. I’ll also remember that no matter how hungry I am that when we eat out we need to make sure of two things.

  1. We always check for my food allergies- cranberries, cilantro, mushrooms and shellfish lurk everywhere.
  2. That we can totally get items to try- because it’s fun to try new food. But, that we always need to have an item that my stomach and palate will be able to enjoy. We need a safety entrée!

Those are Kari’s tips for picky, allergic or health challenged diners.  🙂

Kari’s Ratings

Cheese and Onion- 3 (well the flavor was good)

Chicken Provencal- 1 (it still has that amazing dough)

Thanksgiving- 9 (hey, I just can’t eat it because of the cranberries, but it’s amazing)

Overall- 8

Thanksgiving pasty!

He Said:  The Pure Pasty Co.

We first discovered Pure Pasty (pronounced pass-tee) Co. and their meat pies at the Vienna food festival early this year.  Kari loved the Chicken Masala, and I was a huge fan of the traditional ground beef variety.  Should be a no brainer for us to go there and enjoy the bigger pasties, right?

So, after church one recent Sunday, we visited their brick and mortar location in Vienna, Virginia on Church Street.  We ordered three pasties we were unfamiliar with: menu regular Chicken Provencal, Thanksgiving, and Onion and Cheese, both chef’s specials.

First, a word about these meat pies in general.  The pastry used to wrap them in is awesome.  It’s so flaky and buttery that it makes any of their pies worth a taste.  It appears all of their pies have chunks of potato in them.  In all the varieties I have tried, this has worked great, making it feel like a whole meal in a crust, and not just an entrée.

The Chicken Provencal fresh leeks, russet potatoes, Provencal spices, and while not mentioned on the menu, mushrooms.  The taste was unique, but really delicious.  It’s herby, but still creamy and very meaty.  None of the tastes are lost here.

Since the other two are specials, I’m not sure what’s in them, but I’ll guess as good as I can.

Best as we can tell, the cheese and onion is kept pretty simple: potatoes, cheddar cheese, and onions.  The combination works well though I do have one complaint.  The onions go into the pasty raw, and wind up pretty al dente in the finished product.  I prefer my onions cooked into limp unctuous submission.  I have to say though, that I did enjoy it by the end, it just took some getting used to.

We think that the Thanksgiving has turkey, carrots, stuffing bits, green beans, onions, and cranberries.  It works together really well.  It does feel like Thanksgiving in a bite.  The turkey is really well seasoned, and the gravy they used was in perfect keeping with the season.  The onions didn’t seem as raw in this meat pie, but maybe the flavor just blends better here and I didn’t notice.  The only exception is the cranberries.  They didn’t add anything in terms of flavor or texture, and I wish they’d left them off since Kari is allergic to cranberries.

While this sessions wasn’t as spot on as our previous experience, I would definitely go back here for more British taste adventures.  I’ll also be prepared to either take them home or eat in the car, since there is very limited seating.

RJ’s Ratings

Chicken Provencal- 7

Onion and Cheese-6

Thanksgiving- 6

Overall- 6