Seattle is one happenin’ pie town, showcasing its seasonal bounty in both sweet and savory options. Coffee shops, cafes, high-end restaurants and the most casual of markets boast pie temptations. The smallest touches distinguish these pies from their East Coast counterparts. Cardamom, ginger and lavender are used with just enough abandon to enhance, without overpowering. Local means local, as in the delicious Marionberry, the “Cabernet of Blackberries.” Salt is its own ingredient, teaming up with vanilla beans, lemon zest and espresso. Pies are generously spiked with bourbon, judiciously textured with cocoa nibs. Not a single pie stop along the way disappoints.
A La Mode Pies on Phinney Avenue may be on my short list of new best friends in Seattle. There are enough choices to induce a pie coma, and for those who require à la mode gilding, superb Bluebird Ice Cream is available. ALMP tucks Marionberries into a crust spiked with Holmquist hazelnuts, the sum of these two ingredients quintessential Pacific Northwest. Their rich Peanut Butter Mousse towers over a chocolate lined pie crust, generously crowned with ganache and salty peanuts. Apple & Ginger Pear is double crusted and mighty impressive, elbowing for room on a sheet tray just out of the oven. Had I not recently traveled with a freshly baked pie on my lap, I would have considered flying home with one. Next time I’ll plan accordingly and also allow room in my personal food pyramid for a slice of their Bourbon Butterscotch.
Ballard’s Pico Café is tucked within the sprawling Ristorante Picolinos. Their lattice-topped Marionberry pie is comfortably sized, just enough for breakfast or a mid-day pie pause with a rich cup of locally roasted Caffee Umbria.
High Five Pie in Capitol Hill and Pie in Fremont are retro and modern, updating old-fashioned pies into new-fangled offerings. There are handpies, mile wides, slab pies and lollypop-pies. Butter serves as the common denominator.
Thank goodness Sibling Baker suggests we swing by The Book Larder, Seattle’s Community Cookbook Store. After extensive pie-ing, the quiet of a cookbook store is essential. Or as they like to say at A La Mode Pies, it was time for me to Piece Out.