after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Magpie me in the face anytime

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t says:  For my last day of my staycation, I needed to do something “new”.  g was working so it’s not like I’m going to go to someplace super-uber-awesome without her, but I did want someplace that had potential for awesomeness that she wouldn’t mind missing out on.  In short, I needed to find a new place for dessert.  Scanning through old foobooz posts, I was reminded that Magpie opened.  Hmmmm.  Pies.  Seems like something that g wouldn’t mind missing out on.  And they had some savory pies, meaning I could go for lunch and dessert.  And so off I went.

September 2012, Friday Lunch, Party of Me.  I have to confess that I was afraid of what I’d find at Magpie.  It’s a concept-y place on South street … meaning that it could be small and cute and lovely … or it could be a hipster haven.  (Actually, there are various other things it could have been, but I was most worried about a hipster haven.)  To my surprise, it was actually very nice and neat and clean and cute in there.  There was no irony anywhere.  Amaze!  (That was meant to be ironic.)  And, as with all small, cute places, there needed to be the obligatory chalkboard menu:

blackboard

I believe that there was a chocolate peanut butter custard pie that was absent, which made me sad, as that was definitely one that I was looking forward to.  But it’s ok, there were several other flavors to be had …

lunch pie!

So my first slice of pie was a savory pie … you know … because I needed lunch.  I have to confess that I was not particularly blown away with the ideas behind any of the listed flavors – but maybe it was because I couldn’t really conceptualize their pie counterparts.  So I went with what I felt was going to be “an easy one”: croque monsieur.  As you can see from above, this was far cooler than some kinda simple “French grilled ham and cheese”.  First off, I half-expected the pie to come out kind of quiche-like, which for me, would have been awful (now why it is I would have ordered something that I half-expected expected to be awful, I don’t know).  My problem with quiche: most quiches are often way too “eggy”, with not enough “stuff”.  Fortunately, this was NO quiche.  This was more similar to a super-roasted bread pudding (“super” because unlike normal bread pudding, there’s a nice dense crusting on top).  So yes, there’s bread that had been soaked in some kind of cheesy mixture before the cooking process – maybe it involved eggs, maybe not.  The point is that the end result is more bread-like than egg-like/custard.  Hide in there a thin layer of ham, make sure it has that dense crust I mentioned on top, shove it all in a pie, and you get the result pictured above.  Sounds simple, right?  Sure.  But it all came together wonderfully – at first bite, everything clicked: this was everything that a hot pocket wishes it was (But it was also everything a hot pocket isn’t).  The ham and accompanying flavors were light and danced across the palate.  There were little flirty tastes of ?mustard? and herbs.  There wasn’t an molten, tongue-searing liquidy cheese leaking anywhere.  I didn’t feel gross when I was done.  And, to be honest, it was even easier to eat in one hand than a Hot Pocket (seriously, I just picked it up with one hand and began chomping it like I would a piece of thick-crust pizza).  It was simple, but quite lovely.  Of course, keep in mind that I’m apparently comparing this thing to a Hot Pocket and not a meal at a 4-bell restaurant; it is, after all, “only” a piece of pie.

Lime Custard Pie

Then I attempted the lime custard pie with basil whip.  I took a bite.  Holy.  Crapballs.  What the hell was that?  It tasted creamy and silky like a perfect custard should, but then the flirtacious lime came across, beckoning me to have another bite as soon as I could just so I could taste it again.  But, if you held out (i.e. if you were fumbling with the fork and couldn’t quite shovel another bite into your mouth fast enough), you’d be rewarded by a breath of basil that’d tweak your brain into forgetting everything it ever knew about key lime pie.  Yes, there’s a perfect crust that gives a nice salty backbone for the sweetness of the pie.  Yes, there’s pistachio nuttiness.  But this one’s about the flirtacious lime-basil.  Actually, that’s dumb.  It’s about everything – it’s all good.  If I had to get hit in the face with a pie, I’d choose this one.  (I like it very-nearly-as-much as our fave (Penza’s pies), but this one would hurt a whole lot less than getting hit in the face with one of those heavy-as-hell suckers.)

Peach Pie

Now where there’s a winner, there’s also a loser.  Meet your loser: orange blossom, peach, raspberry pie.  It wins points for having an “interesting” flavor, most likely due to the orange blossom.  As you bit into it, the super-sweet peach (it’s rich and thick like it came from a can, except without the metallic taste of canned peaches), but then you get this dose of roibis herbal tea, that kind of gives the pie some teeth amidst the cloying sweet.  It was actually kind of fun.  But that’s where the success stopped.  The raspberries were kind of like an afterthought, stuck on top and unappealing to the eyes (and tongue).  The crumb was mushy.  The bottom crust was mushy.  There just wasn’t enough structure or savory to compete with the powerful peaches.  A Penza’s fruit pie would destroy this one, orange blossoms be damned.

As an aside: I saw those “pie fries”, which were essentially baked-off pie crust, cut into strips, and dipped into jams – and they looked amazing.  The kids at the counter I saw eating them were in heaven.  Because I have a similar child-like attraction to sweets, I imagine I would like those, too!

I do want to point out some non-pie issues I had with Magpie.  First off: their service is a little inept at this point.  Maybe I should cut them a break because they’re brand new, but it did seem like (i.e. I watched them as) they took a ridiculous amount of time figuring out what would be needed to pack the pies I ordered, obtaining those necessary supplies, packing the pies, and operating the cash register so that I could be appropriately charged for the pies (between failed transactions, failed attempts at printing out receipts, etc).  And of course, 3 steps after I left, I realized they also failed to provide me with utensils.  I did return to retrieve the utensils, but then I discovered my biggest annoyance with Magpie: the plastic utensils.  That’s right.  They have uber-sucky utensils.  There, I said it.  And yes – it’s a problem.  These were undoubtedly the cheapest possible plastic forks on Earth, which would have been ok if these were some namby-pamby hospital cafeteria pies (or jello), but no, two of these had wonderfully tenacious crusts that needed to be pierced with sharp, sturdy tines.  Oh what I would have given for a not-crappy fork! … or hell – I would have even taken a pair of chopsticks!  Fortunately, after struggling with the provided utensils, I sourced my own plastic utensils, swearing that next time I’m going to have to either eat-in or BYOF.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

16 September 2012 at 3:31pm

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