There are worse things to do than to sit in the big comfy leather easy chairs at Gusto, gazing out on the streetscape on a glorious late summer day and enjoying a tasty unique lunch.
Earlene and I found ourselves far from the madding crowds last week at lunch time, gobbling up one of the best priced lunches on the Island in a very pleasant and spotlessly clean European patisserie.
Well, maybe not that far from the crowds. It was about 50 feet to be honest. Gusto is on Pownal Street, down close to Water Street in Charlottetown. If it were on Queen Street, one block away, it would be overrun with customers.
However, it’s in a former corner grocery one block and a seeming light-year away from the busy restaurant central area, and it’s a wonderful place to relax and unwind.
What would you do if you were a public relations specialist who owned your own PR firm and had a degree in psychology as well as an MBA (masters of business administration)?
I know what I’d do — anything I felt like.
Which apparently was what Pinar Paputcu did. And what she felt like doing was moving to Canada from Turkey and opening a patisserie on Pownal Street in Charlottetown with her husband, Adnan.
She does the cooking, and he does the genial serving and kibbitzing with the customers out front.
A patisserie is traditionally a pastry shop — a dessert specialty store that sometimes serves a light lunch to go along with coffee, tea and its glorious desserts.
In other words, it’s my kind of place.
I was expecting the lunch to be merely an excuse to have a few desserts all at once, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Who knew I liked Turkish food? Not me, for sure, and I may not like it all, but I sure enjoyed the pogaca I had as part of my lunch at Gusto.
A pogaca is a hot baked pastry filled with ground beef, onions and spices, and it’s very, very good.
For $7.99, you can have either two pogacas, two mini-pizzas or one of each and then a choice of one of the fancy desserts or three cookies and a drink.
The mini-pizza I chose (about as much pizza as a slice of a 12-incher) had broccoli and cheese and was pretty good. Earlene had a straight veggie (peppers, corn, onions and more) that was quite tasty and will likely be the kind I’ll go for next time.
I then managed to inhale both a delicious strawberry-cream filled cake roll and gallantly helped Earlene out with her wonderful cookie selections.
The patisserie presents Island diners with a different paradigm — choosing from a rather small selection of main courses but then a huge selection of desserts, which is the complete opposite of what we’re used to.
I reiterate — my kind of place.
On what promises to be just the first of my many forays through the multitude of dessert selections, I discovered that the korova (apparently a French chocolate cookie) was my favourite cookie last week, barely edging out the almond and oatmeal cranberry raisin.
Everything is fresh, made that day, with no carry-overs or day-olds.
They do lots of take-out and are set up nicely to not only cater for pick-ups, but to go to your house and cater a meal to your specifications. My specifications would be to bring the whole dessert menu.
I predict that the friendly shop will soon become a destination of choice for locals who want a relaxing break from their busy days, as well as those who want something different (and cheap) for lunch.
Each week Bob Gray highlights one of Prince Edward Island’s many delicious eating experiences. From dairy bars to fine dining, Bob seeks out some of the Island’s tastes of summer. Suggestions and comments are welcome firstname.lastname@example.org.