For this week I thought, what would be more fun than to do a pie tour of New York City? When I am in the mood for something sweet I usually ask my mom where I should go and what I should eat. However, this week I did not seek her advice. I took a chance by simply googling “best pie in NYC” and allowing the Internet to guide me. After conducting some research from various articles and blogs I decided that I would taste pies in Upper Manhattan. The places were selected, all I had to do was find friends to join me... and go for a run. Like my mother, I love a good run, and I thought it was only appropriate to exercise before eating many pies. Recruitment was easy; I selected three of my closet companions who had an extensive knowledge of Ellen’s pies. Elaine, Erica, and Adrienne were in and so our afternoon of pie began.
As much as the tour was about enjoying different pies of the city, we were also to judge each slice. Based on a 1-5 scale (with 1 the worst and 5 the best), the following were evaluated:
1. Presentation- was it sliced beautifully or did it look like a mess?
2. Crust- crust is always tricky because most of the time it is not handmade and tastes lackluster
3. Overall Taste
The first stop on my list was Sugar and Plumm on 78th and Amsterdam. During my research I had learned about their key lime pie with oreo crust. Unfortunately, the key lime was not available as a slice and so Elaine, Adrienne, and I decided that we would order peach pie and peanut butter pie. Knowing that those are two of my mother’s best pies, I tried to dive into the first slice with an open mind. The pies smelled good, but would they taste it?
2. Crust 1.5. It was mediocre, but the crumble topping was surprisingly delicious.
3. Taste 2.5. We were sad to discover that the peaches were perhaps not fresh.
peanut butter pie
2. Crust 3.5. It had a graham cracker crust that was nice, but you couldn’t really taste it.
3. Taste 3.8. It was very tasty, all of the flavors worked, especially with some chocolate between the peanut butter and crust. It was rich, but not overpowering. It also had a nice consistency.
Leaving Elaine on the Upper West Side, Adrienne and I hopped in a cab heading east to meet Erica at our next location.
Agata and Valentina’s on 79th and 1st Ave was next on our agenda. Agata’s is actually a fine food store, but they have a gorgeous dessert section with cakes, napoleans, cream puffs, tarts, you name it. I was strictly advised to go to Agata’s by a co-worker (whom I lovingly refer to as Mama Bird) who praises the store night and day and says that I must try the fruit tart. I know fruit tart is not pie, but I always listen to Mama Bird.
for the fruit tart...
2. Crust 3.5. It tasted like a cookie and was a little difficult to maneuver with plastic forks and spoons.
3. Taste 3.5. Tasty custard and fruit, but the fruit did not taste as fresh as I would have liked.
We then selected the Cherry Berry Crumb “Tart”/Pie
2. Crust 1. It was SUPER mushy. Unfortunate.
3. Taste 4. The filling was delicious. It had the right amount of tart.
We sampled a classic Apple Crumb
2. Crust 3. Dry but not terrible
3. Taste 4 (I’d give it a 3.5). We thought it was tasty, but the other desserts were most likely better. If only the slice had been served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…
coconut custard (on left)/ lemon chess (on right)
2. Crust 4.5. We thought it was the best crust of the tour. Nice and flakey.
3. Taste 5. So incredibly delicious. Just the right amount of tangy and sweet.
1. Presentation 3. Nothing special
2. Crust 4.5 (I would have given it a 3, it was fine, nothing special).
3. Taste 5. Perfect custard. Best pie of the tour