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Oct 1, 2013 05:10 PM

Pie - SF Dish of the Month October 2013

The SF Bay Area Dish of the Month for October 2013 is Pie!

There are tons of previous pie reports, so now is your chance to return to long-time favorite places and also try some new pies that you haven't tasted before. Some discussion on the voting thread leaned toward focussing on sweet pies focus this month.

Let's collectively try as many versions of pies as possible during the month of October! Report back with reviews and photos.

Here's a link to the this month's vote:

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  1. Pie Fridays, the street pie cart found on Friday nights, just off Valencia, has been some of the best pie I've had in SF. Comes with fresh whipped cream, and there's usually around 5 different pies to pick through, with a lot of real interesting variations of the norm. Caramel Banana, Pumpkin with a Ginger Cookie Crust and Chocolate Maple Pecan. and Blueberry Nectarine, were last weeks options. The cream pies sound a little too Bakers Square in concept, but they've been some of my favorite. I like getting 2 half slices.

    The Berry Cobbler ice cream at Smitten, with crumbles from Batter Bakery is a non-traditional way to get some pie. It could use more crumble though, in my opinion, and the berry flavor is fresh but light.

    1. My favorite Bay Area pies are two: the pumpkin pie and the apple pie @ Crixa Cakes in Berkeley.

      Perfectly done fillings, great crusts--really the best of those two types of pie I've had.

      If I really want a fall/winter treat, I get a slice (sometimes w/ whipped cream, sometimes no) and a cup of their terrific decaf (they have great teas as well, but this is my routine) and sit with a novel or old New Yorker--and I'm beyond happy.

      p.s. What's curious is that I haven't had a spring/summer fruit pie from Crixa that I've loved as much. Some (apricot) get gummy. Others (berry) don't sing w/ brilliant fruit flavor. And the pies that are on offer sometimes stray beyond seasonal, such that I wonder whence the fruit comes.

      17 Replies
      1. re: sundeck sue

        Hey sue, would you be kind enough to elaborate a bit on the apple pie from Crixa, specifically the crust? Is it a short crust or are they using butter? Thick or thin? White flour or brown? My auxiliary stomach loves a good apple pie and I like to keep him happy :-).

        1. re: grayelf

          This is going to be a little challenging, since I've not had either of the pies I adore (apple or pumpkin) since last year. When I was there last week, no apple (only one pie left--it was late in the afternoon--and I think it was one of the sketchy ones, like cherry). So I settled for a piece of poppyseed rugelach (delicious).

          She does an all butter crust; and it's definitely thick--pretty sure, white flour. It's not overly sweet (crust and fruit both), piled high w/ apples (don't know which types she uses). If and when you go, eager to hear if it makes your auxiliary stomach happy!

          1. re: sundeck sue

            I wish Crixa didn't always seem to be sold out of over half their offerings.

            1. re: sugartoof

              Funny, I realized, reading your post, something I felt but hadn't consciously thought--that I kind of like the fact that they're often sold out of some items.

              They are clearly making a choice to put a line through items no longer available rather than erasing them on their blackboard. I assume that that in part conveys a sense of demand and bounty.

              With the open kitchen, you see them baking throughout the day, so that there are additions, as well as subtractions (an item is crossed off--they bake another batch--it's back on). And everything that IS available is practically still warm.

              I like that they're not over-stocking--which you'd have to do to keep everything on offer til closing time--with the inevitable (relative) staleness of pastries sitting around through the day and overnight.

              It's all part of their being small and homey, in my mind.

              And I guess I even like it that, in this instant-gratification century, "you can't always get what you want."

              Especially when what you DO get, chosen from the items not crossed-off on the board, is gonna be delicious!

              1. re: sundeck sue

                Today's is pumpkin or peach and blueberry. And it is so much better when they don't have stuff left-over.

                1. re: wally

                  It turned out to just be peach rather than peach and blueberry. Both white and yellow peaches. Flavorful peaches. Good crust as always.Deep dish with a galette type top. Bottom still crisp at 9 tonight.

                2. re: sundeck sue

                  I normally appreciate a place that makes a limited quality batch of something, and once they sell out, they sell out. In this case, knowing they bake through the day just makes it frustrating, and impossible to justify going out of the way for them. It also makes me wish they limited what they do to keeping the stuff that routinely sells out, more stocked.

                  1. re: sugartoof

                    Definitely annoying when you drive 45 minutes to make a special visit and they've sold out of all the items you wanted to try that day.

                    1. re: emily

                      I usually buy something I wouldn't normally want, simply because it's all they have, and I went out of my way.

              2. re: sundeck sue

                Just got a Facebook status update from Crixa:

                pumpkin pie back on the October menu!

                Happy days....

                1. re: sundeck sue

                  crap. they have FB updates? this could be my demise.

              3. re: grayelf

                yo GE, the apple pie at Crixa is definitely all butter. And a thick crust.
                And it's white flour, but it's a beautiful deep color.

              4. re: sundeck sue

                Stopped by Crixa this morning at 9:15 to pick up some pie for the office, and do some "research" for pie month.

                So saddened to see it has new hours: Doesn't open until 10:00am.


                1. re: escargot3

                  Oh wow, that is sad that they are no longer open at 9. However, they almost never have pie before 11...

                2. re: sundeck sue

                  had a slice of the double apple pie at Crixa today.
                  simply put: perfection in every regard --spicing, texture, flavor.

                  1. re: sundeck sue

                    Just saw the Crixa is taking orders for Thanksgiving pies, to be picked up the Tuesday or Wednesday before T-day.

                  2. I have to say I'm partial to the lemon meringue pie at Nation's, although nothing else there has captured my fancy. Since it's October hopefully there will be some good pumpkin pie reports.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      We recently had Nation's banana cream pie and enjoyed the short crust, the whipped topping, sliced bananas and cream filling. This pie from Vacaville was superior to the same pie at the Nation's at Westlake Shopping Center/Daly City.

                      1. re: Cynsa

                        i have always loved the banana cream pie there (El Cerrito location), and the lemon cream pie, too. and chocolate cream pie, now that i think of it.

                        1. re: Cynsa

                          Had to go to AAA last to get some maps and the closest lunch place was Nations. For dessert I had a slice of boysenberry pie that was surprisingly good. The filling was flavorful and the crust on the mealy side but passable.

                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                          this is revelatory to me! never would have occurred to me to stop off @ a Nation's. next time I'm in El Cerrito, I'm there!

                        3. Today's pie selections at Fillmore Bakeshop are apple, cherry, and apricot. $3.75/slice $30/whole pie w/$10 deposit

                          Apricot Pie has filling of apricot halves baked in a flaky crust. I like that the bottom crust is browned and crisp. It's an old-fashioned kind of pie like the pie you'd find cooling on Gramma's windowsill on a summer's day in Ohio.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Cynsa

                            When are you coming by my office to drop one off, Cynsa? I love apricot pie, and it's hard to find one that isn't over-thickened.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              I'd rather bake one just for you! but then we'd post on Home Cooking. lol, it's true that the Fillmore Bakeshop pie had just a tad too much thickening for my tastes, too.

                          2. Do only sweet pies count, or can some savories be included?

                            1 Reply