A BY CITY GUIDE TO THANKSGIVING PIES
I once wrote a piece for the New York Observer advocating the nation skip the turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes, and opt for an all pie Thanksgiving meal. A meal consisting of, say, half a dozen pies would indeed be one that serious eaters would be thankful for.
To encourage serious eaters everywhere to take up my all pie Thanksgiving cause I am going to try to guide readers and users to the best pies available, both in New York and elsewhere.
First New York:
A list of my preferred pie bakers and purveyors in and around New York:
Yura & Co.:Yura's ready to bake apple cider pie can if you choose to convince your guests that you baked the Yura pie yourself. This is the only pie you can buy that will fill your house with that irresistable just baked apple pie perfume.
Two Little Red Hens: Christina Winkler worked long and hard on getting her crust right, and she succeeded. Her shortening and butter crust is spot on, flaky, moist and irresistable.
EAT and the Vinegar Factory: Eli Zabar's apple pie is more like a cross between a traditional apple pie and a tarte tatin. The apples are cooked and have that delicious caramelized taste the apples in a tarte tatin, but the crust is a beautiful and very tasty lattice crust.
Fairway: The irascible, idiosyncratic Mitchel London is back at the culinary helm at Fairway, and serious eaters everywhere should rejoice. Mitchel's apple pie is a mile high and filled with just firm enough apples. Fairway carries many kinds of pies at Thanksgiving. You have to ask for Mitchel's pies to make sure you're getting the right ones.
Soutine: Madge Rosenberg is a first-rate pie baker and human being. In her postage stamp-sized bakery she turns out very good pies.
Little Pie Company: The pies at LPC are good, don't get me wrong. The sour cream apple walnut is often imitated but never duplicated, and the coconut cream pies are the best this side of Seattle's Dahlia Bakery. Even the double-crusted pies here are good here. I just don't know if these pies are worth waiting in line for.
Clinton Street Baking Company
Wimp's: When Georgie and James Bryant packed up their doughnut fryers and closed Georgie's Bakery and the Better Crust Bakery also closed, it was left to Wimp's to pick up the Harlem pie slack.
Briermere Farms: North Fork summer and year-round residents can't imagine a Thanksgiving without Briermere Farms pies, with good reasons. The crust is flaky and the fillings are much more fruit than goop.
Round Swamp Farms: Round Swamp Farms may make the most expensive pies in the universe, but their East End customers know they may be worth taking a second mortgage out for.
Traverse City Pie Company: TCPC not only still makes all their magnificent Michigan cherry pies by hand, but its other pies are also pretty damned fine. If you don't live in close proximity to a great pie, a shipped TCPC pie is the way to go.
Julian Pie Company: Who know that the town of Julian, Ca. is mecca for West Coast apple pie lovers? These guys also ship, and if their pies are not quite up to TCPC standards, they're a close second.
Philadelphia: Craig LaBan
Boston: Corby Kummer
Washington, DC: Tom Sietsema
Chicago: Steve Dolinsky, Dennis Ray Wheaton
Houston, Texas: Allison Cook, Rob Walsh
New Jersey: Andy Clurfeld
Miami, Fla: Victoria Pesce Elliott
Mississippi: John T. Edge
New Orleans: Brett Anderson
San Francisco: Michael Bauer, Bruce Aidells