pasty, pasty review, m-brew, pasties, pasty guy

M-Brew

I want to believe. In extraterrestrial life, and also that $10.55 for a pasty is a legitimate price. However, I cannot believe in the latter anymore.

I already had a negative bias toward M-Brew pasties after my first experience there in which it took an hour for me to receive it. But my experience after that, and the one related to this review, will be my last.

M-Brew is a good spot to go to, just not for pasties. It’s a cool place. I’ve been there multiple times to enjoy their beers and maybe their pizza is a bigger hit.

pasty, pasty review, m-brew, pasties, pasty guyLocated a block or so off Woodward Ave. in downtown Ferndale, Michigan, M-Brew has not been around for a long time. They converted a house into a chill bar that has a good selection of beer to go with arcade and games in the basement.

Their pasties are said to be from a recipe that originated in the U.P. in Bruce Crossing. In all, there wasn’t that much wrong with the pasty, it was simply that it had a lot of other factors to deal with.

Pricing isn’t a huge deal for The Pasty Guy, but when it costs more than 10 bucks — often twice as much as other places — you’re putting your pasty in a deep, dark hole.

The first time I visited M-Brew, it took close to an hour to get my pasty. The second time, I called ahead so this wouldn’t happen and it still took 20 minutes for them to heat it up. That’s fine, but… that’s not good enough.

The crust was more or less a piecrust. Its edges brown and crispy, while the inner part thin, flimsy and not supporting much. Compared with other places in the area, it didn’t stack up at all, especially to nearby bakeries.pasty, pasty review, m-brew, pasties, pasty guy

The vegetables were finely chopped, while the potatoes were cut at a larger size, which seems like a questionable decision. Potatoes are one of the driest things in a pasty, so having them as the biggest thing and often taking over a single bite, didn’t work out in the end.

The beef of choice in the ‘Bruce Crossing Pasty’ is steak, which is always tough for pasties as steak tends to dry easily if not cooked the right way.

Unfortunately in my pasty, most of the beef congregated in the center and didn’t explore the outdoor edges much. I’m not a big fan of beef that doesn’t like to travel.

The pasty also comes with gravy. Yes, gravy is good, but I’m not going to put that in my review. It definitely made it less dry, though.

This may be a harsh score, but M-Brew doesn’t survive on its pasty sales, so they should be all right in the long term.

pasty, pasty review, m-brew, pasties, pasty guy

Taste: 3 (out of 5)
Crust: 1.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 2.5 (out of 5)
The Shop: 1 (out of 3)
Took away points for price and wait time
Would I come back for Pasties?: 0 (out of 2)

Total Pasty Ranking: 8 (of 20 points)

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Barb’s Pasties

Yes, the rumors are true. Barb’s Pasties are straight from Copper Country (aka northwestern Upper Peninsula).

Some of the L.P. pasty shops claim to have the famed U.P. taste, but few hit that mark. Barb throws it right on her front page calling hers the ‘Famous U.P. Pasties.’ Sure, she also says she has ‘Michigan’s No. 1 Pastie,’ but what shop doesn’t make that claim?

If anything, I wouldn’t hate to call her pasties the best in the Lower Peninsula.

Found just south of the quaint – and quite friendly – city of Clawson, Mich., Barb’s Pasties can be found in a small, hole-in-the-wall type brick building right off Main Street.

If you had any doubts about her pasties freshness, the sign out front verifies that they are ‘Made Fresh Daily.’

pasty, pasty review, barb's pasties, pasties, pasty guyMost places don’t need to confirm that on their main sign, but with pizza also a draw for the shop, there is a point to it.

The pasty options are beef, chicken and vegetable with hot and frozen for all flavors. The front of the shop is small with most of the building being used to cook up the food. And for those with a sweet tooth, they always have fresh Carrot Cake or some kind of dessert available.

The actual pasty is a bit rounder than most, but who really cares about shape? All that matters is that it keeps its warmth for as long as you need it to.

Diving into this pasty was pure glory. There weren’t large chunks of meat sitting in a lonely corner, there wasn’t a boring presentation of diced up carrots and rutabagas. Everything was done with a purpose.pasty, pasty review, barb's pasties, pasties, pasty guy

The dicing of the veggies was haphazard just enough to catch my eye. The meat had all the flavor I needed from a pasty. And the crust… was different.

The outside of the crust had a dryness to it that was combatted by an interesting chewiness on the inside. With most crusts, there is usually one flavor you get (dry, soft, etc.). Barb’s has a different style that had me questioning every other crust experienced before.

“What am I eating? Is it too dry? Is it too chewy? Is it too… good?”

It still doesn’t make sense to me, which means I will be back. Maybe it’s a result of temperature in the oven or how long it’s cooked. Whatever it is, it works.

Barb may not have the No. 1 pasty in Michigan, but she definitely has the rest of the L.P. beat out.

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Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Crust: 4.5 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 4 (out of 5)
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 2 (out of 2) 
Ohhh yeahhh

Total Pasty Ranking: 17.5 (of 20 points)

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Weldon’s Pasties

As of Summer 2019, it appears all Weldon’s Pasties locations have closed shop. Another L.P. pasty shop bites the dust…

Weldon’s Pasties slogan is “Just Like Homemade,” which is nice, but they are missing a key opportunity to blend the Upper Peninsula into their shop. “Straight outta U.P.” or “Just like the Yoop” would be more eye grabbing and make more sense.

Alas, they probably chose the name back in the 80s so there’s no turning back now. Nevertheless, the owner of Weldon’s Pasties is from the U.P. and his recipe comes from his mother’s traditional recipe, which is all that needs to be said.

pasty, pasty review, weldon pasties, pastiesI visited the take-out only joint in Sterling Heights, Mich. that I only happened to hear of the day prior while scouring the Internet. There is also a bigger shop located in Livonia.

I turned questioningly into a small shopping center off 15 Mile Rd. and eventually came to the small Weldon’s location in the back corner. It was everything one would expect from a pasty shop, outside of it not being in the middle of nowhere on the side of a major road. In case you didn’t know, that’s about 90% of the places in the U.P.

It had a classic pasty-shop feeling with the owners (possibly the Weldons) only coming to the door when they heard the bell ring as the door opened. They had hot and frozen options and all I cared about was the hot. I want my pasty as soon as I smell them… and of course, hot.

Outside of the familiar vibe from the shop, the actual pasty felt all too similar to previous ones I’ve experienced. That’s good to an extent, especially for those looking to suppress their Yooper urge for pasties.

pasty, pasty review, weldon pasties, pastiesPer usual, I went with the traditional beef pasty. It was the perfect size, which not many pasty places can say. Everything inside was diced and tasted as one would expect, but the disappointing part for me was the meat. It had a somewhat frozen, bland flavor that tasted like they chopped up ground beef, didn’t season it, froze it, and then threw it in with the vegetables before wrapping it up into the pasty.

There wasn’t much meat in the first place, but when you did get some, it kind of dragged down the overall flavor, which was unfortunate.

Everything else was spot on. The crust wasn’t overpowering as it had the desired taste and flakiness required to make a great pasty.

I will note that either the pasty or their packaging method didn’t hold the heat in for long. Having a pasty stay relatively warm for only 20-30 minutes is a bit strange, considering they were created to stay warm from morning to lunch time for coal miners.

pasty, pasty review, weldon pasties, pasties

Taste: 3 (out of 5)
Crust: 4 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 2 (out of 5)
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 1 (out of 2) 
Only if I’m in the area.

Total Pasty Ranking: 13 (of 20 points)

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Hermann’s Bakery

If you appreciate older women with a knack for sarcasm, Hermann’s Bakery might be a must-visit spot. However, going there for pasties may not be your ultimate goal.

In what is considered to be one of the oldest buildings in downtown Royal Oak, Mich., it’s what one would expect from such. A lot of breads and glutens with a variety of options from lunch specials that included Chicken Florentine to pasties and Canadian meat pies.

There isn’t an exact date of when Hermann’s was founded, but there’s no doubt it was George Hermann that got things started. George took up baking at a young age back in 1922, working at Dondero’s Bakery in the same spot. Eventually George took over the shop and changed names, with his son Richard now owner of the business.

Neither had proper schooling to become a baker, but learning through experience, Richard had the confidence to say, “I make the best pie dough in the world.”

That may be the case, but unfortunately that didn’t make the pasties a must-buy.

Because of the amount of grub available, I wasn’t expecting the pasty to be anything special. And I was correct.

While the pasties are homemade, they also come cold and wrapped in saran. There’s nothing wrong with that (but maybe there is?), but if you’re expecting to grab a pasty to go and eat it immediately, this isn’t the place to go.

And while it is a bakery, it’s evident the pasties are only made once a week, and apparently that day is Tuesday. I enjoyed mine on a Thursday.

As a bonus, they only had two options: a large beef and a small beef. Nothing else. I hate too many options.

Having to heat the pasty myself added some unpredictability as I used a toaster oven. Most will use a microwave when heating these up, but I’d be hard-pressed to suggest a microwaved pasty is better than one that was ovened.

pasty guy, hermann's bakery, pasties, pasty reviewThe first thing to notice about Hermann’s pasties is the crust, which is to be expected coming from a bakery. The crust was… delicious to say the least, and had the right amount of chewy and flakiness.

Unfortunately, it was too good and there was too much of it. The crust overpowered everything else in the pasty and getting so much crust in every bite immediately made the entire pasty a bit too dry.

It’s too bad because the fillings were great, considering they weren’t fresh. The ratio between meat and rutabaga was spot on and the insides itself weren’t too dry. The crust created the dryness on its own and in turn hampered the overall pasty.

The bakery had a great crust, but maybe was too confident in its abilities to make a good crust and that in turn led to over-abundant breading.

Yet for a place just outside of Detroit, there’s not too much to complain about from Hermann’s Bakery. Granted, I won’t be returning for the pasties. Maybe some other breaded food or maybe just to chat with the mood-boosting old ladies.

Taste: 2.5 (out of 5)
Crust: 4 (out of 5)
Pasty Presentation: 3 (out of 5)
The Shop: 3 (out of 3)
Would I come back for Pasties?: 0 (out of 2)

Total Pasty Ranking: 12.5 (of 20 points)