by Gina Goff - 6741 Reviews - 27 List
While pie hasn't quite had the food-trend takeoff of cupcakes and macaroons, we're angling for it to be the next on the list of retro-hip calorie bombs--because a world with more pie is just a better world to live in. Here are our picks for the top five places to stuff your pie hole in the Bay Area.
Updated: March 17, 2010
Known especially for their selection of vegan-friendly pies, this Mission cafe sells a seasonally rotating roster of organic pies, like ginger-pear (vegan), banana cream and even sweet potato--sold whole or by the slice. Order a slice with a cup of fair-trade coffee and do a little people-watching through the big windows facing Mission and 25th Streets.
Perhaps the best-known bakery in San Francisco (and for good reason), this rustic French bakeshop does more than a mean baguette and morning bun. Tarts vary by season, the best produce available at the farmers market and the pastry chefs' moods--the banana cream cannot be skipped if it's available, but all are guaranteed fantastic.
Founded by Australian expat and Chez Panisse alum Alison Barakat, this Oakland bakery has developed a cult following. "Betty's" treats--which are available both at the shop and at the Temescal Farmers Market--include both traditional Australian sweets, such as sticky date pudding and lamingtons (bars made of vanilla sponge cake with strawberry jam, then rolled in chocolate and coconut) and all-American favorites like fudge brownies, oatmeal-raisin cookies and, of course, an amazing apple pie. The pie selection rotates, so call ahead to find out what's on offer.
The menu of pies at this popular corner cafe is both deep and decadent. Sold whole or by the slice, options run the gamut from sour cherry and lemon velvet to banana butterscotch and pumpkin hazelnut mousse. And now that the dreamy "Top Chef" alum Ryan Scott is no longer at the helm (i.e., within viewing distance), adoring ladies and gents can feel free to take the expression "stuff your pie hole" quite literally.
Pican's decor is supposed to bring to mind a contemporary version of a grand plantation of the antebellum South, and its dessert menu reflects that vision, too. The fried peach pie, Georgian pecan tart and lemon-buttermilk chess pie, while all big enough to share, are worth skipping dinner to gorge on solo.