Friday, January 20, 2012

Slice of the Week

Top 10 Reasons to go to Little Pie Company:

10.) You're trying to get some shopping done in and around Times Square but keep getting accosted by those "hey - hey - do you like comedy???" harpies.
9.) It's 12 degrees out and your fingers might be developing frostbite because you dropped your glove in a pile of unidentified liquid in the subway station and all the clothing stores are only selling their peachiest Spring-wear and bathing suits.
8.) You long for the days of yore when soda counter stools were red and chrome and the coffee came in something other than to-go cups.
     8a.) You're nowhere near old enough to remember when soda counter stools were red, but you've seen that scene in Back to the Future enough times to wish you had experienced a 50's diner.
7.) You've put your name in for the Book of Mormon lottery and have an hour to kill before getting your Trey Parker and Matt Stone dreams dashed. Again.
6.) You bombed an audition. And now you need pie.
5.) You're on your very first trip to New York City and you've been told that the "real" New York lies just a little west of Times Square - and you're even going to venture across 8th ave to find it.
4.) You've wasted donated plundered spent all your money on Mama Mia tickets and want a snack before the 230pm Wednesday matinee, but you just discovered that the $6.95! Unlimited Soup, Salad and Breadsticks lunch at the Olive Garden actually costs $19.95 because it's in Times Square
3.) You saw that creepy Elmo guy with his character head off and now you're kid is crying and you're actually kind of weirded out too and want some comfort food
     3a.) On your run away from Creepy Elmo Guy, you ran into the Naked Cowgirl and you were really hoping to run into the Naked Cowboy, and now you're doubly freaked out and gosh New York is a tough city!
2.) You just got your $800 hotel bill and are crying some very unhappy tears.
1.) You really need some good pie. Now.

Little Pie Company, located at 424 West 43rd Street (between 9th and 10th aves), is a delightful stop on anyone's journey through midtown Manhattan. They are solely devoted to pie, cakes, and a small number of other brownie/muffin/cookie desserts, and this narrow focus works well. It's a very small place, just a few little booths and a handful of counter seats, and decorated in such a way that evokes a retro 50's diner but does not descend into kitsch. Giant pies line the window displays and the day's slices and offers are arranged on cake plates and in the glass counter, each treat looking more delicious than it's neighbor.

Little Pie Company

My most recent trip to Little Pie Company wasn't my first, nor was it a rarity. Due to it's location (and fantastic pie, which I will get to in a second), my friends and I frequent the restaurant on a semi-regular basis. The other day my roommate and I both had some errands to run in Manhattan, so we decided to leave a little early and grab a slice of pie before attending to the more boring aspects of life (no one really wants to spend her day off buying face wash).

We found the restaurant empty, as always. It's a little alarming that there never seems to be anybody patronizing this pie shop, but I like to think that I go on completely off-hours (my friends and I all have very odd schedules, we tend to do our pie-eating around 2pm on Mondays) and therefore avoid the hoards of people I assume descend upon the store on evenings and weekends.

We were pleasantly greeted by the only person working behind the counter, inquired of the day's slices (not a large selection, but they tend to focus on in-season ingredients and January is not a great season for much of anything), and ordered to slices to stay. We were told to have a seat, he'd bring the pies out to us in a minute.

And here's where I get really excited - that lovely man behind the counter heated up the pies. He  knew, intrinsically and instinctively, from some deep down pie-loving place, that people don't want a cold pie. I could have kissed him.

Luckily, I avoided all assault charges and simply had a seat.

Our pies arrived, warm and delicious and wonderful.

Amanda ordered the Mississippi Mud Pie, which actually didn't look too great at first glace. It appears as more of a lump of chocolate that can't seem to hold a pie shape. That ceases to matter, however, when you bite into it. Consumers beware! This is not a pie for the faint-of-heart. Or for someone who doesn't really like chocolate. It's pretty much a gooey chocolate brownie baked onto a slightly harder chocolate brownie and topped with a sweeter chocolate brownie, giving you "the comfort of licking the spoon at mom's house." It's absolutely delicious, but it packs a punch and can fill you up quickly (although you will find room to lick the plate clean. It's that good).

Mississippi Mud Pie

I wasn't feeling too adventurous that day and had decided to stick with my tried-and-true - Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie. Now, I'm not one to just throw out superlatives all willy-nilly, but this is hand's down the best apple pie I've ever had. It's cinnamon crunch topping is perfect. Then there's a layer of caramel thinly veiling the apples below, like a mother hen covering her chicks with love. The apples, dotted with walnut slivers and spices, are a paradox amongst themselves - soft but crunchy, sweet but tart, light but creamy. Finally the crust, in all it's flaky goodness, seamlessly morphs into the rest of the pie, and playing it's role of Assistant to the Apple, simply accentuates and supports.

One thing is clear: I have found love, and it is wedge-shaped.

Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie

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