In Michigan's stark Upper Peninsula, the meat pastry pocket known as the pasty (pass-TEE) rules the day. Before it reigned in the Midwest, however, the pasty was a convenient lunch for 19th century British miners, who ate the filling then discarded the crusts as an offering to spirits they believed could knock and warn them of potential mine collapses. Safe from a tunnel disaster but not necessarily from danger altogether (I was a teenager on a long road trip with family), I had my first traditional pasty from a roadside stand along Highway 141. Already a chicken pot pie fiend, I loved it instantly and the pie left its mark. As the pastry is a regional delicacy, however, I didn't come across another until I was moseying through Belltown the other day, when behold: Twisted Pasty Restaurant.
With a bit of a beer hall feel, Twisted Pasty is a large space and it’s easy to imagine it quite lively when full (as opposed to my solo visit at 3:30 in the afternoon). I pulled up to the bar where a server gave me a menu and an update on the beer list. The pasty menu was fairly lengthy (12 offerings), but I was here to re-engage with the memory of my first beefy, stewy, and chunky pasty, the classic, so I went with The Miner: marinated skirt steak, potato, rutabaga and onion with red wine beef gravy on the side ($12 with fries, soup or salad included).
To describe this dish as "hearty" would be an understatement: The flavors were so old world beefy and satisying that I kept alternating between utensils and hands to maximize my consumption of the steak pie, all the time dousing it with both the wine gravy and my rich cheese soup.
Come to think of it, hearty is really the best word to discuss Twisted Pasty's cuisine, considering heart is the root of the word. Each pasty’s spine is dimpled from the fingers and hands that made it. Each comes from a recipe not of this generation. My pasty took me back to those beautiful fall days I spent bouncing around Houghton--where will yours take you?
Pasties in the sit-down restaurant range from $11 to $13.50, including fries, soup or salad. Need a quick fix? Solo pasties can be sold quickly out the door for $8.
2525 4th Ave / 206. 402. 3831 / twistedpasty.com