Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Stuffing Our Faces at the Pie Hole

The Pie Hole
714 Traction Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90013

This is another one of those places that has been on our list for so long, because we never make it up this way. Unlike the others, I remember how this pie shop got on our list though. I read quite a few food blogs, and one that posts with great regularity is Foodbeast. In an article that they posted almost a year ago, they listed the best pie shop in each one of the fifty states. You can read that article here. I am sure by now you have guessed what was voted best pie in our great state of California, of course it was the Pie Hole.

The Pie Hole is located in the Arts District of LA. This area of LA is being reborn from an industrial habitat, into a trendy, artsy type location. The Arts District boasts some of the most desired lofts and condos in LA, which will of course bring hipster type shops and restaurants. This area is bordered by four major freeways, the 5, 10, 110, and the 101. Not coming by car, well they have the Metro Gold Line which is new and only one block away from the Arts District.

We arrived at the Arts District on a recent Sunday afternoon at 4pm. There was some kind of bike festival going on, so the streets were packed and it was very difficult finding parking. After making numerous circles around the Arts District, we finally found parking about three blocks away from the Pie Hole.

I thought with all of the people around the Pie Hole would be packed, which it was, but the line to order was not crazy long and it moved along quickly. There were about fifteen occupied tables, but we were going to be having our pie to go because we were on our way to dinner. The menu here is pretty low key. They not only have regular dessert pies, but also savory pies, such as Mac and Cheese Hand Pie, a Meat Pie, and of course a Chicken Pot Pie. We stuck to the dessert pies, which there were about six offered on the day we were here. After a less than five minute wait, our pies came out and we were on our way. Let's see if these are some of the best pies in California.

What's more American than apple pie? At the Pie Hole they don't just have apple pie, they have Apple Walnut Pie ($6.00). We were still a little full from our dinner, but Katie gobbled this pie up as quickly as I opened the container. This was one of the best apple pies I have ever had. It reminded me of a pie like a Grandmother would make and leave sitting out on the window ledge to cool. The apples were tart and still had a slight sweetness to them. The apples were obviously very fresh, and lacked that fake tasting, jellied aspect that most apple pies have. You could really taste the cinnamon, and the walnuts really brought an earthiness to the pie. The crust here is not just a placeholder for the fruit and nuts. It was flaky and sturdy, without getting in the way of the filling. Soft, and with no burnt pieces, this is one crust I would have been happy to have eaten, if Katie had saved any for me.

When I saw Banana Toffee Cream ($5.00) on the menu, I knew I was meant to consume it. This pie was not over the top sweet like I was expecting. The bananas and cream had a slight sweetness to them, but the striking feature was the creaminess of the them. The toffee could have been more prevalent here, but it balanced everything out nicely the way it came out. Once again the crust needs to be spotlighted here. I believe this was a graham cracker crust, but probably one of the better made ones I have had. Held the filling well, but also added some flavor to the pie on its own. We have another winner.

Not exactly the most beautiful looking dessert, the Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Crostata ($5.50) proves that beauty is not just on the outside. This rich crostata had the richness that I thought it would provide. I learned that a crostata is an Italian baked dessert, and a form of pie. Whatever it is, it was delicious. The chocolate and caramel were pretty rich, but the sea salt cut it ever so slightly, so that it was not overbearing. As quickly as Katie slurped up her apple pie, this one disappeared just as quickly.

I think the Foodbeast article might have got this one right. Besides having one of my favorite names for anyplace we have visited so far, these pies were some of the best I have had. Everything we had was so good and fresh. The folks over at the Pie Hole are really passionate about using only responsible sourced ingredients and baking all their items from scratch. You can tell that this is unprocessed food, that was made that same day. I am not going to kid you by telling you these pies are a great value, but in this case you definitely get what you pay for. Slices of pie range in the $4.50 to $6 range, but after tasting these you know your money was well spent. Want a whole pie? Call at least a day ahead and order it, and be prepared to fork over $30. We will just stick to these wonderful slices for now.

Out of five warehouses, (because the Arts District was previously called the Warehouse District before the artists moved in to revitalize this area), five being best to zero being worst, The Pie Hole gets 4 warehouses.

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