Monday, June 11, 2012

Man Pies - Bellingham, WA

I'm down in the US of A again to do my little shopping splurge for groceries that I do every 3-4 weeks - the exchange rate ain't great but I got gas for under $1.00 a liter ($3.93 per gallon) so no whining here.  Instead of eating the cheap (but sometimes sinfully good) $1.50 hot dog combo from the big box store, this Piglet likes to seek out some local eats.  
You don't know this but Bellingham and it's surrounding areas are full of sustainable, organic and all-naturally fueled hipsters and hippies.  Go into any of these small eateries and you'll undoubtedly find a newsletter with ads for local farmer's markets, recipes with ancient grains and articles about green recycling.  Man Pies encompasses those values with handmade pies crafted by a pair of chefs influenced by the French method and the Australian love for meat pies.  It's located in a quaint little area of downtown Bellingham (it totally exists!) on a strip that features a ton of independent clothing stores and eateries.  
It's kind of funny that I'm the only woman ordering - I guess Man Pies does attract all of the men!  Not a lot of sitting room inside and there's a few tables outside on the sidewalk, which on this beautiful day is perfect for outdoor dining.  The interior is sparse but you don't come here for the ambiance.  You're here for the delicious smelling pies (I wish I could attach smells to this post).  The kitchen is open to the front and you can see them doing prep work out back - if this were a cartoon, there would be aroma wave lines coming out from the ovens...

Braised Lamb - $8.29
Braised lamb shoulder with yukon gold potatoes, green onions, garlic and carrots
Kinda pricey for an individual sized pie...  hopefully it's good.  I got mine fresh of the oven with a warning as it just came out of a 400 degree oven and would be smoking hot.  I brought these across the border and they were will hot when I got home.  Score!  The crust is thin and a bit more dense, probably because it has to hold a whole lot of stuffing.  I mean, this thing is PACKED with stuff - veggies and lots of tender tender lamb pieces.  The sauce is a bit peppery, not spicy but peppery, which I like with this kind of cream based pie.  Halfway through and I can feel it in my tummy - definitely a hearty MAN's pie.  One of these bad boys here'll do you right for lunch or dinner so the price isn't bad at all.  Note: the crust is only cracked because of transportation issues - what you get served in-house is a perfectly baked crust with no cracks whatsoever.  


You thought the lamb pie was packed?  Wait for it...


Braised Chicken - $6.91
Braised chicken simmered in creamy gravy with nutmeg, pepper, carrots, peas and celery
BAM!  This pie is PACKED!  Holy smokes I've never seen so much chicken packed into a little flaky crust - how can they turn a profit with so much chicken in the pie???  Seriously, the chicken to vegetable ratio here is 2:1.  I'm not complaining, I'm just in awe.  The flavors here are a bit more subtle than the lamb (as chicken always is) and the peppery-ness is a bit more subdued so this pie is for you if you have more sensitive tastebuds.  I think this pie could've done with a dollop of their gravy for some extra punch but unfortunately hindsight is 20:20.  Either way, another excellent thin crust jam-packed with tons of chicken and veggies.  Well done Man Pies, well done.


I couldn't go away without tasting some savory from their kitchen - I ask for this dessert tart but when the server says she might be sold out, I'm a bit disappointed.  When she comes back and says there's a few left in the fridge, I'm more disappointed.  Does that mean it isn't made fresh?  


Summer Berry Almond Tart - $5
It's a bit dense and the berries and almond flavor are there but it lacks any pizzazz like the other pies had.  The crust at the bottom also tended to stick to the foil making it difficult to get at and a bit dense for this dessert.  I think next time I'm going to skip the desserts and just go for the savory pies and be done with it.


Overall, a delicious experience was had by the Hungry Piglets.  The pies are on the pricey side but they are handmade with REAL ingredients.  I saw a carrot being peeled and pie dough being prepared - you're not getting dehydrated rehydrated carrots or dough here.  Man Pies also holds various cooking classes - they teach you how to make pie, french pastry and puff pastry dough, then they feed you a large lunch and then they take you down to the farmer's market to explore local produce.  Can you get more all-encompassing than that??  Man Pies is a delicious little independent spot and if you have the time to pop down for lunch or in-between one grocery store to the next, it is worth your time and your stomach will thank you.  Bon appetite!


Pros:
  • Cash and credit/debit cards accepted
  • Delicious savory pie selections (vegetarian and gluten free options also available)
  • Located close to the bus station and within a great walking area
  • Friendly service
Cons:
  • Pricier side - the pies are quite hearty though
  • Pay street parking - it's cheap ($0.25 for 20 min, $0.75 for an hour) so don't worry but definitely put money in the meter because the Bellingham Police were out full force handing out parking tickets


Man Pies on Urbanspoon

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