It's only been two and a half months since I first wrote about Seattle's growing obsession with pie, sampling and comparing the long-standing favorites Seattle Pie Company and Shoofly Pie to the brand-new High 5 Pie and the austerely named Pie ("Save Your Fork, There's Pie," Feb 3). Our city's piescape continues to expand—not only has another pie store opened its doors, but more pie makers have started their own pie delivery services.
Seattle's current pie star is the charming 22-year-old college student Max Kraushaar, the Piecycle. Every Friday and Saturday night, Kraushaar hops on his bike and takes pie wherever pie is needed (so long as it is needed somewhere in the greater University District neighborhood).
Since being written about on Slog and featured on KING 5 News, Kraushaar's fan base has grown so much that he's had to bring on another baker. He now makes anywhere from 12 to 15 pies each weekend. His record is 21.
His pies (including Dutch apple, ginger pear, and toffee s'mores) are so delicious, his fans are demanding a wider delivery area, but Kraushaar can't promise that will happen anytime soon.
"I'm working on the idea of expanding. I would love to own a cafe or something, but I'm finishing up with school—I'm 22, and I don't really have the drive to make it a real thing right now."
Which isn't to say the Piecycle's days are numbered—Kraushaar is looking forward to better pie-delivery-by-bicycle weather.
"I don't know why I did this through the winter," he says with a laugh. "That was just stupid."
A la Mode pies will also come to you—by car, though, not by bike. All you have to do is visit their website—www.alamodeseattle .com—and place your order at least 24 hours in advance.
A whole pie (including bourbon butterscotch, marionberry and hazelnut, and spiced apple) costs a pricey $25, but you can also sample their wares by the slice at Zeitgeist Coffee, Geraldine's Counter, and Knee High Stocking Co.
I tried the spiced apple at Zeitgeist one afternoon, and while $5 a slice also isn't cheap, I had a hard time complaining about it with my mouth full of pie. The crust was gorgeous—a perfect deep golden brown, shimmering with sugar crystals. The apples inside (a mix of Granny Smith, Gala, and Pink Lady) were caramelized and heavily spiced with cinnamon and clove. My only regret was that it wasn't served warm with vanilla ice cream—it would have been perfect.
If you're a true pie lover, a journey to Georgetown is also in order, where you will find the newly opened American Pie (5633 Airport Way S, 708-7813).
The space is small, and it isn't much to look at. Old chairs that look exactly like the ones from my first-grade classroom sit around a small collection of vintage kitchen tables. On one wall, a few acoustic guitars hang above a chalkboard that spells out the goods—slice of pie $3.75, empanadas $2, mini tarts $2.50, etc. On the other wall, there are two framed dessert-themed record covers—the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed (with its cake-covered record player) and something by the Raspberries. The album covers are hung inexplicably high on the wall. They're also crooked. But you do not go to American Pie for the shop's half-assed references to classic rock. You go because the pie is so goddamn delicious.
American Pie's crust—which is "mostly butter, and partly animal fat"—is wonderful. It's tender and flaky, and it doesn't get gummy under the pie's moist fillings.
American Pie also serves up the biggest slices of pie in town, for under $4 a serving. My piece of sour-cream apple pie was huge, both in width and height. It was topped with more than an inch of crumble topping (cinnamon, sugar, large chunks of walnuts) and filled with several more inches of thick slices of tender (but not at all soggy) apple, surrounded with a rich, almost custardlike sour-cream mixture. It tasted incredible.
The coconut jasmine (!) pie was just as good, and the slice just as massive. The chilled coconut custard, lightly flavored with jasmine, was topped with a heaping cloud of meringue. Usually, I adhere to a strict whipped-cream-on-cream-pie policy, but the meringue's light texture melted into the custard so ideally, it convinced me that some rules are meant to be broken.
The only complaint about this otherwise perfect slice is that the jasmine gave the coconut cream a slightly purple-gray tint that looked just a tad too much like the color of a brain. Forgivable. Brains could never taste this good.
In the online comments for my last pie story, several Stranger readers mentioned 3.14 Bakery in White Center (9602 16th Ave SW, 420-4784) as another favorite pie place. 3.14 (get it?) opened in August 2010, though the bakery serves up much more than just pie. The case is full of cookies, blueberry "buttons" (like muffins, but 80 percent top to 20 percent bottom), cake balls (balls of cake!), and more.
I love the shop's mom-and-pop vibe—there's a play area for kids, and the plates and dishware reminded me of my great-grandmother's house—but the pie wasn't quite as good as my great-grandmother's. 3.14's crust was pale, hardly at all golden—in fact, it was quite sad-looking, especially compared to A la Mode's picture-perfect crust. It didn't taste like much, forcing the heavily spiced apples inside to do all the heavy lifting, and there weren't enough of them to lift it very high.
You know what was delicious, though? 3.14 Bakery's chocolate-covered cake balls. They come in flavors like red velvet, piña colada, and lemon, they're only a buck apiece, and they're the size of a fat baby's fist. I'd take a few of those over a slice of their pie any day. If Seattle's next dessert obsession is the cake ball, 3.14 Bakery has a head start.