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Good pie places in South Bay / Peninsula?

American_Pie Apr 25, 2013 11:01 PM

Are there any good pie places in the South Bay or the Peninsula?

  1. bbulkow Apr 26, 2013 10:21 AM

    What do you like in a Pie?

    Palo Alto Creamery is big on pie, they have an entire pie counter and pie bakery in the back in the downtown PA location. They do a substantial to-go / take-out business. Oddly, there is _not a single mention_ of Pie on their website. Trust me, they have pie, give them a call. It's Huge Pie - a crust topping more than 2x the height of the pie plate. I have not eaten even a single slice, which is peculiar. I like my father's pie, don't bother eating pie when out.

    Pie being kind of a southern (us) thing, or at least a diner thing, that kind of cooking isn't strong like you have in the east bay - places like Bakesale Betty's. South India, sure --- South East Asia, sure --- The South, not so much. I wonder if there are places in south san jose.

    When I think "pie" down here I usually go over to Drager's and get whatever looks good, which is a thin reed. I'll end up with a gallette for a dinner party.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bbulkow
      ML8000 Apr 26, 2013 11:23 AM

      I don't think Bakesale Betty sells pies any longer. Or it's very limited, and irregular like the hours and everything else. They made some exceptional pies however.

    2. Melanie Wong Apr 26, 2013 10:43 AM

      Anyone know if Ann's Coffee Shop in Menlo Park still makes its own pies? Only had breakfast there . . . and that was in 2005.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Melanie Wong
        ceekskat Apr 26, 2013 11:20 AM

        My sister had their coconut cream pie couple of years ago and liked it...it was too sweet for my taste. But to answer your question, I think they still make their own pies.

        I prefer cherry/berry pies and around here, I like Draeger's & Whole Foods; although, these are nothing compared to a berry pie I had from Michigan a few years ago. Tried Susie Cakes in Menlo Park but wasn't thrilled. I think ratio of filling to crust was too much or I waited too long to eat it (bought for surprise party but didn't work out and ended up eating a day or two later).

        Have also heard of Pilgrim Kitchen in Belmont...may be other hounds can chime in on this one.

      2. CarrieWas218 Apr 26, 2013 03:00 PM

        The Half Moon Bay Bakery makes some pretty kick-ass pie and there is also the Pie Ranch and Duarte's Tavern in Pescadero, both of which are known for their pies.

        4 Replies
        1. re: CarrieWas218
          ML8000 Apr 26, 2013 03:05 PM

          Warning on Pie Ranch: they sold from a Santa Cruz bakery over this past summer and not their own. The drive out from SF wasn't always do-able or efficient according to the staffer there.

          I can't recall if it was on Sunday they sold the other pies, or Sat and Sunday but FYI just the same. Also could change this season. I'd call.

          1. re: ML8000
            Melanie Wong Apr 26, 2013 03:17 PM

            My pie purchase at Pie Ranch was baked by Companion Bakeshop in Santa Cruz, as posted here,

            I recall asking about the relationship with Mission Pie, and it seemed not to be as tied as I had previously been lead to believe. Looking at Mission Pie's website now, Pie Ranch is not even listed as a supplier.

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              ML8000 Apr 26, 2013 03:40 PM

              They were connected at the start. Not sure now. Any way, Mission Pies are really good...and was disappointed buying the non MP pie since they weren't as good.

          2. re: CarrieWas218
            Robert Lauriston Apr 26, 2013 04:13 PM

            Duarte's is known for pie despite making really lousy crust.

          3. a
            American_Pie Apr 26, 2013 10:17 PM

            Thanks for all the tips. I like a good crust, followed by the filling. I sampled the banana cream pie at Pilgrim Kitchen in Belmont but was not impressed (very bland filling, crust was not flaky or substantial). My go-to place for pie so far has been Marie Callendar's, which are vanishing one by one. I'll try Palo Alto Creamery some time, and Duarte's Tavern if I ever drive out there on the 1 (I read that they're famous for their ollalieberry pie).

            1. Melanie Wong Apr 26, 2013 10:35 PM

              You might check Beckmann's website for the farmers markets in the South Bay where it sells. The pie crust is very good.


              1. letsindulge Apr 27, 2013 12:40 AM

                Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville makes excellent pie. Not sure where you can find it in S. Bay/Peninsula but Shopper's Corner in Santa Cruz, Sunnyside Produce in Soquel, and Cabrillo College Farmers Market carries them. My personal favorite is the ollalieberry.

                1. eatzalot Apr 27, 2013 01:07 AM

                  Like bbulkow I don't try commercial pies often (but unlike him I lack a dad who makes them) but the usual run of US commercial pie crusts in my experience is one of the reasons for avoiding them.

                  I'm with you on the importance of crust, A_P, but was surprised to see the mention of Marie Callendars. I used to pick those up by request for holiday dinners 10-15 years back, but stopped because the crust tasted to me like soap, usually a sign of cheap US commercial fat (hydrogenated vegetable oil or "flavored roll-in" among bakers if it has some suggestion of imitation butter - i.e. in normal English, "margarine"). Marie Callendars confirmed the suspicion when I enquired, they showed me those big tombstone slabs of HVO, a principal US dietary source of trans-fatty acids, besides tasting awful IMO. So I'd like to find a S. Bay or Penin. pie baker who routinely uses something more natural like butter or even (dare I say its name?) lard. The two of which have produced, between them, far and away the best-textured and best-tasting short pastry crusts I have ever tasted. It seems almost an extinct art in today's culture...

                  1. majordanby Apr 27, 2013 03:43 PM

                    Beckmann's, a bakery based in santa cruz, frequents many south bay markets. they sell fruit pies based on what is in season. i've tried their olallieberry and pumpkin pies and they were fine. i havent visited a south bay market in awhile, but i do remember them in the saratoga, campbell and sunnyvale markets.

                    1. bbulkow Apr 27, 2013 05:44 PM

                      I typed Pie into Yelp and came up with other options I've never seen, perhaps others can comment:

                      Nita Bee's, Meridian, San Jose - looks about as "down home" as can be

                      Peter's Bakery - Alum Rock, since 1936


                      Icing on the Cake - Los Gatos

                      [ lots and lots of people for cakes and wedding cakes and cupcakes and cake on a stick.... fewer pies... and search 'pie' and you'll find a lot of pizza ]

                      1. a
                        American_Pie Apr 27, 2013 10:36 PM

                        Marie Callendar's pie crust with partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening? Probably why they taste the way they do. The other pie places so far haven't exceeded Marie Callendar's - hence my question on this site for tips. Thanks, everyone. Now I have some more options to check out.
                        I did try Heidi's Pies in Belmont - strawberry pie is decent (lots of fruit, but not enough crust, and still not a fabulous crust).

                        1. a
                          American_Pie May 8, 2013 11:03 PM

                          Thumbs up for Nita Bee's sweet potato pie and pecan pie - good crust, fillings are not too sweet but flavorful. First time eating a pecan pie that didn't make my teeth hurt from too much sugar.

                          1. a
                            American_Pie May 8, 2013 11:06 PM

                            Forgot to add that Nita Bee's other pies are by special order only (sweet potato and pecan were the only pies available in the display case - probably being the most popular).

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