Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
The single greatest thing the English ever contributed to humankind can be found just a couple blocks from ASU in Tempe: pasties! Pasties (pahs-tees) are pastries that were originally made for miners in Cornwall, England in the 1700’s so they could take food underground for long periods of time without it spoiling. They were originally filled with a simple mixture of minced meat, potato, and onion. Nearly three hundred years later, at the Cornish Pasty Co., you can get them filled with anything from Greek chicken to veggie tikka masala.
Arman and I headed down there for lunch last week. I’d had their typical Irish and English versions (bangers and mash and the shepherd’s pie) before, and this time I wanted to try something more unusual. I ordered the Carne Adovada Pasty ($7), which is simmered pork in New Mexican red chili stew with Mexican rice, hatch chiles, and cheddar, all wrapped in a pastry. How can that not be delicious?! As good as it sounded on the menu, it actually surpassed my expectations. The large chunks of pork were so tender, you could easily cut them with a fork. The mixture of the chili, rice, and cheese was just right. As always, the pastry crust was excellent. Don’t let the chiles scare you away from this meal, it was only mildly spicy.
The service was exceptionally slow this day, and they were nice enough to give us a complementary dessert, the Strawberry Pavlova (normally $5). It has a hard meringue shell on the bottom, with whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top. It was supposed to be finished with a raspberry sauce, but apparently they had run out. It was kind of hard to eat. The meringue was really hard, yet super light, so when I cut off the first bite, I had to really press down hard with my fork and it ended up flying off the plate, into my chest, and then onto the floor. The dramatic sequence was entertaining to the foursome sitting next to us. I was a little more careful with the next attempt, and I eventually got the technique down. I’d never had a hard meringue like that, so it was very different for me, and I rather liked it. It didn’t have a lot of flavor, but it had an interesting texture, and went well with the strawberries and cream.
Cornish Pasty Co. has a very interesting menu, with plenty of different, enticing pasties to keep you coming back. I’ve only had three so far, and there are many more that I’d love to go back and try. Have a look at their online menu, and see if it doesn’t have a pasty with your name written all over it.
Note: They have a nice selection of Euro draft beer ($4-$7) as well as 18 kinds of bottled beer ($2-$7).
960 West University
(NE corner of University & Hardy, facing Hardy)
phone: (480) 894-6261
hours: M-Thu 11-10, F-Sat 11-12 (midnight), Sun 12-8
Mouthwatering photos and more reviews can be found at: www.chowdownphoenix.com