Before I even get down to telling you the details I have to say that I ate the best pie I have eaten in Chicago at Pleasant House. In all honesty I haven’t had a better pie that wasn’t baked by my Mum and she was with me on this visit and proclaimed to the pleasant house guys that it was “The best pie I have had in America”. So with that recommendation I suppose I could just leave this blog entry at this point but I guess that would not be fair as I haven’t even described eating the pie yet.
Now I know I am kind of telling you the story now having spoilt the ending but that does not need to ruin the tale. At this point we were looking at the board debating which pies to try. I had heard good reports of this place, but I have eaten a lot of pies in my life and I have hardly ever eaten a decent pie on this side of the pond in the last 7 years so I was only going to be trusting my opinons on this extremely important topic that is so dear to my heart. Of the three pies options the true test had to be the Steak and Ale Pie as this is a true British Classic.
When this arrived it looked truly scrumptious, just like a real English Pie, I was almost too nervous to cut into it and taste it in case I was let down at the last moment. I had no reason to fear though, cutting it in half revealed some great looking chunks of steak, some bits of carrot and some tomato, the inside looked just great and moist but I poured a little of the gravy over it as well just to make it as close to a perfect bite as it could be. Now eating this was a revalation, the guys behind the counter did not sound British, but they had managed to produce this great pie, my faith in humanity was restored. It is hard to describe the flavour of the pie, I think that you need the genetic breeding of an English native to fully comprehend some of the subtleties. The meat chunks had a great beefy taste, some subtle tomato flavour, and the carrot pieces were melting in your mouth with a lovely sweetness. But a good pie is not just the filling, it is the pie crust itself and this pie has great crust. It is hard to explain but my favourite bit is the base which was firm, crusty and also has a little soft moist layer just above the base, ok I had better stop now or I will sound like an obsessive.
All I can say is that if there is a better pie than this in Chicago please tell me now, I would be amazed to see this pie beaten, and I will probably doubt your words until I taste it and you had better be right as well.
Locate at 964 West 31st Street, Chicago, website:http://pleasanthousebakery.com/
I tracked here along the Orange line to Halstead and then jumped onto the CTA 8 bus south to West 31st Street, you could also ride that bus from a couple of other stations, on the way back we rode all the way back up to the red line at North and Clybourn