Monday, March 07, 2011

Chile Pies and Ice Cream in San Francisco

They say pies are the new cupcakes, and there’s no better way to test this theory than at Chile Pies and Ice Cream.

This corner shop in a quiet neighborhood north of the Panhandle in San Francisco has been opened since last spring. I noticed it awhile back and always made a mental note to check it out, which I finally got around to this past weekend.

Chile Pies was opened by Trevor Logan, who previously ran the Green Chile Kitchen in the space. But he moved his restaurant up the street to a larger space and opened this pie shop in its place. Logan’s Green Chile Kitchen focused on the flavors of New Mexico, and that theme continues with his homey pie shop.

Chile Pies has a wonderful home-made feel to the décor, with eclectic toy pieces on shelves and lots of hand-written chalkboard signs. It plays up the whole country feel, from the galvanized tin cans to the mason jars used for water glasses.

With a place totally dedicated to pies, you can imagine the selection – and the challenge of making a decision. I actually came around lunchtime, and not having lunch yet, I decided to order a savory pie. One of the few savory pies on the menu is the house specialty, the Chile-Apple Pie with Cheddar Crust.

Side note: A slice of pie cost $5 and you can buy whole pies for $25. The ice cream served at an additional cost is sourced from Three Twins Ice Cream.

The Chile-Apple pie was this humongous piece of pie that was made by layering several thinly sliced apple. The chile, of course, gives it that heat and that’s why it’s considered a savory pie, but sweetness still comes through with the walnut streusel and honey. I really enjoyed the streusel, like a crumble, and even though the pie was supposedly cheddar, the cheddar flavor only comes when you eat the crust’s edge. (It was actually kind of nice, like eating cheddar cookies.)

I probably would have been OK just with that one big slice of Chile-Apple Pie, but when trying to decide I saw this amazing Country Peach and Blueberry pie and had to get a piece. And with a sweet pie, you need the ice cream so I got a scoop of cardamom ice cream, which was so lovely. The pie itself was so good, even though I wondered how they got such great-tasting peaches this time of year. Again, I loved the crumble on top. The pie filling wasn’t sweet – just the naturally sweetness of the fruit coming through.

I learned that you can’t really design a lunch around pies, but you can definitely have an enjoyable pie-eating experience at Chile Pies, which offers up some delectable pies made fresh every day. (I have to go back for the lemon buttermilk or chocolate peanut butter or banana cream! But only one slice at a time next time around.)

I still like looking for cupcakes, because they are smaller than pies. But if pies are the new cupcakes, Chile Pies is definitely leading the way.

Chile Pies and Ice Cream, 601 Baker St. (at Fulton), San Francisco. PH: 415.614.9411. Website


Anonymous said...

You didn't order the namesake savory item -- Frito chile pie? I once had it at a Woolworth's in Santa Fe -- it's chile literally served in a bag of Frito's chips. I don't remember it being great but it's definitely different. -- David

Hungry Dog said...

This has been on my to-check-out list too--and just came up yesterday with some friends. I guess I have no excuse not to roll down the hill and try it for myself. I really like that ice cream brand too--their ice cream is delicious!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reviewing this place. I've been curious about their pies and unable to commit an entire meal to pie-eating. Having also eaten the Woolworth's Frito Pies in Santa Fe (I practically lived on them during the late 80's-early 90's), I am very curious about Trevor's version. Pie, savory or sweet, is YUM!

Single Guy Ben said...

When I asked the girl at the counter about the savory pies, she recommended the Chile Apple and didn't mention the Frito Pie. I may have to try that next time because I did like Fritos growing up, even though now I don't eat chips. I wonder if Chile Pies make theirs actually from Fritos or if it just taste like Fritos. BTW, you guys are all dating yourself by mentioning Woolworth! Teasing! ;-)

Carolyn Jung said...

What a cute place! I must say I would have never thought about chile and apples going together in a pie. But it does sound rather wonderful, especially with a buttery, flaky crust holding it all together.

foodhoe said...

let me know if you need help with the frito pie, I'm up for splitting! ooh and chocolate peanut butter pie and OMG pie shake?

Indian Recipe book said...

Never tried it..but am really tempted to after seeing it being substituted for so many dishes..this one sounds so good..

Sasa said...

Ooh, I'm planning a visit to SF this year (I'm a Kiwi but live in Europe) will have to visit, hear pies in the States are amazing ^_^