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Desert Companion

Eat this now: Cornish Pasty Co and Rika Arepa Express

Bangers and mash pasty

Bangers and mash pasty at Cornish Pasty Co.

953 E. Sahara Ave., 702-862-4538, cornishpastyco.com

Nearly every culture has a version of the savory stuffed pastry: Italy’s calzone, India’s samosa, Russia’s pirozhki and, of course, America’s Hot Pocket. In England’s county of Cornwall, it’s called the pasty (pass-tee). Originally favored by the region's tin miners, the pasty lives on because it’s so versatile. The Cornish Pasty Co. flaunts that versatility with a menu that spans countries and cuisines: Pasty options include lamb & mint, The Mexican, chicken Alfredo, The Italian, cheesesteak. I recommend their traditional British dish of bangers and mash wrapped in a buttery, flaky dough. The filling is made with house-made sage pork sausage and garlic mashed potatoes, with a side of rich red wine gravy. Complete the meal with British “bachelor chow” of mushy peas or curried potatoes and wash it all down with a creamy ale. Hope you don’t have any plans after that, because you’ll be too happily stuffed to do much else. — Chris Bitonti

 

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Pernil arepa at Rika Arepa Express

702-762-6360, rikaarepaexpress.com

No matter how many times I try to master the deceptively simple art of making arepas, the finished product never lives up to my mother’s version. The Venezuelan corn cakes, made with water and corn flour, make for simple comfort fare when unadorned, but they’re also a brilliant (and gluten-free) vehicle when stuffed with meat and cheese. You can try it in six forms at this roving food truck, but my favorite is the Pernil. Crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, the arepa acts as a sponge for tender pulled pork, black beans, cheese and guacamole. It’s not the same as mom’s, but a more than serviceable substitute. Just don’t fall into the trap of eating it like a sandwich — the filling is so generous you’ll need a fork. — Debbie Lee

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