Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pastie Pastorale - Randall Bakery - Wakefield, MI

Autumn is one of my favorite seasons. The leaves turn and fall to the ground, scarves and jackets come out, Nick Drake and Tom Waits are almost always appropriate for road trips and hearty food abounds to ward off the chill in the air. Recently, Anna and I were driving through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (whose denizens, the Yoopers, have given it the somewhat unfortunate portmanteau of "The Yoo-Pee") where we stopped in the small town of Wakefield where, at her insistence, we went to the Randall Bakery for pasties.

Yep. Pasties. Pronounced "paw-steez" not "pay-steez" the latter being what strippers use to cover their unmentionables in more prudish establishments, the former being a delicious type of meat pie perfect for a chilly October day.

A pastie is a Cornish pastry dish filled with  diced beef, onions, potatoes and rutabaga in a pastry shell that should be, "hearty enough to survive a drop down a mineshaft." In other words, ideal fortification for outdoor activity in a convenient, handheld package.

I've had pasties once or twice before. There's a food truck in Minneapolis called Potter's Pasties that does an updated version of the pastie with all kinds of different meat replacing the traditional beef (Jamaican jerk chicken, mmm) and The Anchor which is one of my favorite restaurants in Northeast Minneapolis does a pastie with pork and curry that, while good, in no way approaches their perfect fish and chips. This pastie, however, was different.

While the other pasties I've had concentrated on building a better mousetrap, Randall Bakery has been making pasties the same way for well over half a century. It's not light or flaky, it's real, hard working food. It weighs as much as a brick and sticks to your ribs, fuel to keep the fires lit. In other words, it's delicious.

If you're ever on your way east through the Upper Peninsula to spend a few days in the Porcupine mountains (and might I recommend the Escarpment trail if you do) Randall Bakery in Wakefield will have a nice, hot pastie waiting for you.

Randall Bakery
505 Sunday Lake Street

Wakefield, MI

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