Having spent many years in the restaurant industry myself, an ad in last week's BW caught my attention: "Tired of crappy tips, stupid managers, rude guests and getting cut early?" Then get thyself to Piper Pub's industry nights for restaurant workers, urged the ad. Typically Food News doesn't mention service industry nights around town, although plenty of joints from downtown to the Bench court the crowds who staff restaurants. But since "crappy tips" and "rude guests" couldn't be a more honest assessment of the joys of restaurant work during the holiday season, I thought I'd break form and say this: Take your pay stub to Piper Pub, or arrive in uniform, and get half off your tab (some rules apply) Monday through Thursday, 9 p.m. to midnight.
Piper Pub, 150 N. Eighth St., 208-343-2444, thepiperpub.com.
The Ubiquitous Meat Pie
A few weeks ago, a local blogger snapped a photo of the sign at "Fresh Pasty Pies" and took the newly opened joint to task for failing to choose a name that was "appetite inspiring" and recognizable to local eaters, who may not be familiar with Michigan's pasty pies.
But as the ever quotable Bard would say, "What's in a name?"
First, a pronunciation guide: It's pasty with a short "a," as in Patsy Cline. Not a long "a" as in the heteronym, which has made infamous headlines in Boise in reference to adult clubs.
Second, a definition: A pasty is a meat pie.
Now, take a minute to give the meat pie some thought. The last time I remember being so excited about a meat pie in Boise was when empanada joint Tango's opened a few years back. Fresh off a five-month stint in South America, Tango's was the answer to a prayer I whispered on the flight home. I'd discovered the saltena in Bolivia, the empanada frita in Chile and the empanada de horno in Argentina. But my penchant for meat in a pocket preceded those discoveries. My birthday dinner request every year growing up? Mom's meat pie. In Australia, I ate meat pies for two months. In New Jersey, it was knish. The Italians have a version you've heard of—the calzone. And in more than a handful of the world's forgotten places I've savored a samosa or 10.
Until this week, I hadn't taken on the pasty from Michigan's upper peninsula, but being a big fan of any portable protein-packed pastry, I was ready. Pasties come small or large, beef or pork. They're also stuffed with potatoes, carrots, onions and parsley. If you're not into the pasty, your options are slim pickings: a side of gravy, a side salad, soda and water. My advice? Definitely get a pasty and definitely get the large. I scarfed a small beef pasty in the blink of an eye and had I not taken it back to the office across town, I would have lined up for a second. Made fresh every day in the locally owned little restaurant, the pasty may be my new Bench lunch. I'll start at Fresh Pasty Pies for a helping of meat and then wander down the road to Tango's for a dessert empanada.
Fresh Pasty Pies, 5204 W. Franklin Road, 208-429-6788. Buy eight pasties, get one free; party trays and gift baskets available for the holidays.
This Week's Wine and Dine
Get your sushi on this week at RAW with a sushi rolling and sake class. Learn how to cut fish, prepare rice and choose appropriate garnishes and vegetables while sampling sake. Rather than wine and dine the usual way, why not get your hands a little dirty this week?
Sunday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m., $35 per person or $65 per couple. Class size is limited to 26, so sign up soon to reserve a spot. RAW, 227 S. Vista Ave., 208-343-0270.