Paaastelitos Comes To Salem - A non-traditional take on a traditional pastry
By The BaldOne
What is a paaastelito (pastelito)?
Simply put, it is a filled pastry of various ethnic origins now being served at an old and venerable location on the edge of the Point neighborhood. Pastetilo is the Cuban word for this filled pastry. It is comparable to a an empanada or even a quesito depending on what kind of filling is used.
Paaastelitos is located on the corner of Lafayette and Peabody Streets, right next door to that fast food burger joint whose name will never grace these pages. Most recently it was a Dominican restaurant and club. In years past it was a donut shop under various owners, most notably Priscilla's Donuts owned by the Garrette family.
Partnered with Stands-With-A-Fist (Stands) I walked into Paaastelitos and was pleasantly surprised to see that the space had undergone some serious upgrades. It is clean, and brightly lit by the sun light that streams through a large plate glass window. We were surprised that the two counters had no stools, so if you choose to eat there you will do it standing up.
We discovered later that the lack of seating was due to a lack of a Common Victualers License. Without that document you cannot have chairs or stools. It does not effect your legal ability to serve food and they have all of the required health board approvals for food service.
There are many selections broken down into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desert categories. The fillings are numerous in number and ethnicities. A variety of fries are available to include waffle fries, yuca fries, plantains and tater tots.
Ordering is done by walking down the line, cafeteria style and choosing your pastry from a glass counter.
Stands and I selected four of the filled pastries to explore. From the breakfast options we chose the "JR", which is salami and dominican cheese. The dinner selection was the "Pupu" made with asian style chicken, beef, and pork. We also opted for the "Alex" which is mixed seafood and the basic ham and cheese. Our order was completed with some plantains.
Collecting our pastelitos we stepped over to the window to await our plantains. The one staff member working began to focus on other customers and it was almost ten minutes before the plantains were delivered.
The pastelitos were good, but maybe due to a lack of turn over some were fresher than the others. The fillings were all moist and flavorful but a there was some dryness on the edges that detracted from the overall experience. The seafood filling and the asian style meats stood out.
Plantains are one of my favorites, especially when fried. Theirs are very good, salted just right and not cooked to dryness.
Paaastelitos also offers sandwiches, but those are made to order so you can expect a short wait.
Don't take our word for the experience, or that of the Phantom Gourmet who visited their old Lynn location. Drop in and try them for yourself and then let us know what you think.
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