Monday, August 29, 2016

Chicago Pie: First Slice Pie Cafe

As a lover of pie and annual host of a Pi(e) Day party, my travels often include a tasting of a city's best round pastry. But in my own city, there is no lack of notable spots: Bang BangHoosier Mama and this one. In this series, I will cover the wonder that is Chicago pie.
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Though the hype machine doesn't back First Slice Pie Cafe as much as its peers--maybe because Hoosier Mama and Bang Bang Pie are in hipper neighborhoods?--it is just as crucial an ingredient to Chicago's pie scene. With community-serving programs that feed those in need and offer food industry job training, they have a business model you can feel good about, too.

The biggest category to highlight on their pie menu are the cheesecakes, especially the Blueberry Cheesecake. It is a misleading name because this pie--yes, pie--completely reimagines the cheesecake, just as Chicago pizza reimagines the pizza. In each of their cheesecakes starts with a graham cracker crust (or sometimes a chocolate cookie crust), followed by a layer of the chosen fruit, then a layer of cheesecake, then an equally-sized layer of whipped cream infused with the chosen fruit. Unlike a lot of cheesecake, these slices aren't too heavy, probably owing to the fact that the size is limited to a pie pan rather than being poured tall into a springform pan. All in all, it stacks up to a wholly imaginative cheesecake with a variety of flavor notes and textures.

Other notable pies at First Slice include their best slice: Michigan cherry pie, which is tart and tasty. Their pecan pie wisely incorporates pecans throughout, meaning there is more of the pie's namesake than that jiggly jelly substance. Also worthy of mention is their Tabasco cream pie, which has a cult following in Chicago. (Add cinnamon to whipped cream and people are hooked; add a slight spicy after burn and the foodies take note.) The last one I'll mention is the gluten-free Polka Dot pie, a cross between a cheesecake brownie and a flourless chocolate cake. Honestly, you can't lose. But, wait, there's more!

My go-to on First Slice's full menu is the coffee-braised pork burritos, but it is far more important that I direct you to one of their beverages. If I'm being completely honest, their seasonal blueberry lemonade is my favorite item on the entire menu, even more than their wonderful, wonderful pie. During the summer months, I am tempted to stop in any time I pass for that sweet elixir, which is fairly often since there's a location in my neighborhood. I wish there were a straw long enough to reach from my apartment to their spot down the street, Daniel Day-Lewis style. (I drink your lemonade!)

Stayed tuned for more of Chicago Pie Week!

1 comment:

colonelsplaffy said...

It sounds like a similar Pie tour at the same time to the Pierateers