Butter Plus Flour Equals Magic
As you walk through the doors of the new Pacific Pie Co on NW 23rd, one of the first things that catches your eye is a large signboard behind the counter – “Butter plus Flour equals Magic.” After an evening sampling an amazing spread of sweet and savory pastries and visiting with owners Sarah Curtis-Fawley and her Australian husband, Chris Powell about their newest eatery, I have to agree.
Chris and Sarah began making and selling their Aussie-style pies in Portland in 2009, and opened their first Pacific Pie Co (at 1520 SE 7th Avenue) in 2011. This new 23rd Avenue location (1668 NW 23rd Ave.) sports an expanded bar and a more open, fresh space – one that Pacific Pie manager Dalton hopes will create a friendly, inviting place for people to gather. In his words, it’s about creating relationships, and making people feel comfortable. (He probably won’t have any trouble with that; I spoke with Dalton – an extremely warm, amiable man – for all of four minutes and walked away feeling like we were old friends.) As for the space itself, the room seems to strike just the right balance between space and intimacy – like a neighborhood pub with cleaner lines and an open, Portlandy feel, if you know what I mean. I sat and chatted for over an hour with my fellow foodies, and the time flew by – the space was comfortable and easy to be in.
Now let’s talk pies, shall we? I’ve made a lot of pies in my day, so I can tell you from experience that producing a perfect crust takes practice and more practice, especially when you are working in high volume – and Pacific Pie Company (more specifically, Sarah) has nailed it. Created with European style butter, her crust has a wonderful bite that perfectly balances with fillings to complement and enhance them without overwhelming. Equal attention is paid to fillings, each carefully developed and created with locally sourced fruits, vegetables and meats.
Pacific Pie offers a hearty menu of savory pies, including vegetarian choices and even a few gluten-free pies (made with rice flour). I very much enjoyed the Spinach-Feta Pie, and the classic Cornish Pasties were little bites of comfort in its purest form. I wasn’t so keen on the sausage rolls – too much meat in one place for me. (Keep in mind that’s coming from someone who doesn’t usually eat that much meat in one bite, so take it for what it’s worth.) My personal choice for Savory Pie of the Day went to the Curried Samosas. I make a pretty good samosa myself, so I do know what I’m talking about – these little babies were a deliciously balanced blend of sweet and savory, wrapped in just the right amount of tender pastry and complemented perfectly with a yogurt sauce flavored with cilantro, curry, spices and enough chili to give it a good kick.
On to the Sweet Pies… Pacific Pie serves up every fruity, custardy, moussey kind of pie you can think of, with specific varieties varying seasonally. We were treated to berry, pumpkin, chocolate and pecan pies – every one of them very, very good. But to pick my favorite – well, I’m usually a Marionberry girl. (It kind of comes with the territory.) (←That’s a joke!) So I was caught completely by surprise by my first bite of Pacific Pie Co’s deliciously decadent, but oh so not-too-crazy-sweet Pecan Pie. Now it may have been that I loved it because my tiny party pie had just the right ratio of crust to sticky sweet filling. Or it may be that in the dark of the moon on a cold autumn night, pecan pie just tastes better. Whatever it was, that was some delicious Pecan Pie.
Pacific Pie Co on 23rd & Savier has what it takes to become your favorite after work destination, including a short but solidly savory Happy Hour menu. [Monday - Friday 3-6pm] They also offer personal size pies to take home, and a full Take-out Menu. I suggest you stop in for a pint and a pie soon!
One final note: I really like this new location from a practical standpoint. Early in the alphabet streets on NW 23rd, it can be a bear when it comes to finding parking, but at “S” things aren’t quite so difficult – at 5pm I got a space right out front!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend a hosted media event at Pacific Pie Co. and all the food and beverages I sampled were complimentary. All opinions offered here are one-hundred percent my own. ♥ Renée