I sampled the wares of four of the more popular Jamaican patty suppliers in the GTA.
Up to the plate this afternoon were spicy patties from:
Randy's Takeout Service Ltd. - 1569 Eglinton Avenue West
Allan's Pastries -
Michidean Pastries - 7725 Birchmount Road
Juici Patties - 50 Thornmount Drive
From left to right we have Allan's, Michidean's, Randy's and Juici patties.
First up was Allan's ($11 per dozen), they were the only patty that varied from the traditional patty shape. The pastry was buttery, not overly flaky and was the most like a pie crust of the bunch. The filling was the saltiest of the four patties tasted and also had the least amount of filling per patty. These patties tasted like they had a brown gravy inside them, the beef was very fine and not all that substantial. In terms of spiciness, the patty didn't really pack much of a punch. Traditional flavours such as curry, thyme, garlic, allspice, pepper and onion were somewhat lacking. The lack of filling really hurts these patties, they have great flavour, value for the money is somewhat lacking.
Next on the menu was Randy's, they were the smallest and the most expensive of the group ($13.50 per dozen). The crust was tender and flaky it was the thinnest of the group. The filling was above and beyond the other patties in terms of flavour profile and ingredients. It tasted the most home made of the group and pieces of onion, pepper, and ground meat were identifiable. It didn't pack a lot of heat either, which was a little surprising. The gravy had a richness that the other patties didn't have, and the spicing was very nice.
Michidean's patties ($8 per dozen) had the most tender and flaky crust, it was almost as if I'd been given a patty wrapped in puff pastry. The spicing of the beef was very nice, with a spicy, peppery bite. It seemed to have more filler than the previous patties which turned the filling into a somewhat pasty consistency. It has the most filling per patty, so at least you feel like you're getting some value for the money. Michidean needs to work on the consistency of their filling and examine those of Randy's a little closer. They have a solid start with their awesome pastry, but need to improve their filling.
Juici Patties ($8 per dozen) was tied with Michidean for the cheapest of the group. Their pastry was flaky but didn't seem to have the same flavour as the others in the group. At first bite I was hit with unusually strong taste of lard which must be their choice of fat for the crust. Their meat was spicy and ranked up there with Michideans. Other than heat, the meat was fairly bland, and like Michidean's, had a pasty consistency. You can see in the pictures that Randy's and Allan's have a rich brown filling, while Michidean's and Juici have a greyish, pasty filling. Juici's patties were quite boring, I think I've had sausage rolls with more flavour.
The best filling of the day went to Randy's. Their patties taste the closest to home made of the group. You pay a premium for their patties, which is money well spent.
Michidean's had the flakiest, most tender and best tasting crust. If they could improve the texture and to a lesser extent the flavour profile of their filling, they could contend for top honours.
Update as of April 12, 2012: It's been a long time since I wrote this entry. Since it's publication, I have been an exclusive buyer of Michedean's patties. I still love their crust, flavour of their filling and value for the money is definitely there. A competitor by Tinnel's has received a lot of praise since I wrote this, yet, I have not seen them for purchase in my local Caribbean haunts. Once I find a source I will add them to the list.