There is no "I" in team, but there is an "I" in pie. And there's an "I" in meat pie. An anagram of meat is team... PIE TEAM!
I apologise… Pies make you lazy.
Posted on 9 October, 2013
Today’s pie is a pie that I hold deep within my heart. Lining the pulmonary arteries and chilling in my aorta, this pie will always be a part of me and I will always be fond of it no matter the distance that separates us or how many pies I’ve been with in between. This is the same for so many others in the close knit community of Hataitai, because everyone round here knows that when it’s pie time, it’s Hataitai Hot Bread Shop time.
That time is usually 3am on a Friday or Saturday when the sensible kids are returning home from yucky Wellingtontown feeling abused and disillusioned with life in general, so naturally we seek comfort from the 24/7 Hataitai bakery. And what a spread these chaps put on! I’ve never seen anyone handle masses of drunken dicks as competently as the Asian family who run this ‘French’ bakery, giving us what we need with a smile on their face (probably; I never really remember exactly what they are up to when I go in there but I do remember them staying calm as my friend made his order with no pants on). If only bouncers handled crowds like these guys, altercations would decrease considerably of that I am certain.
But I can’t review this fine establishment based on the collective hazy memories of what must be at least 50 visits by now, this is serious and a review should be carried out with some respect. So the actual review took place a couple of weeks ago at an earlier time than usual; 10pm-ish on a Friday when chums and I were out drinking at The Realm (across the road from the bakery). The atmosphere was merry, vino did flow, as did the banter. I had just embarrassed myself at Big Buck Safari by 1) choosing the wrong game mode and 2) losing to Terence who is usually ruddy incompetent when it comes to Spacies games. Looking for some time out, Bill Kibblesworth and I rocked over to the bakery with beers still in hand to make an assessment.
As always, our louder-than-what-is-appropriate-for-such-a-small-room greeting was met with a polite smile by the friendly little girl behind the counter. Bill Kibbleswit made the wise choice of Steak and Cheese, and I the wiser choice of Steak and Mushroom.
LOOK AT THEM!!!
…Just look at them. Classic, timeless, vintage, synonyms! Amazing! Their classic looks are such a drawcard as to what makes them great, igniting the nostalgia of Playlunch at Intermediate (Playlunch: bring it back!). They are my ultimate comfort food. Flaky pastry with plenty of volume and a light sprinkling of grilled cheese on top for that golden finish. Great structure all round. Somehow they manage to make the lid stick on where most pies with a fluffy lid would separate about halfway through.
Anyway, these little parcels got ravished!
Possessed by Pie Lust!
So good! I guess I’ll kick off the interior description now by outlining that I think these guys created (or honed over time) their recipe with drunk or hungover apetites in mind. The fat content seems very high based on what it tastes like, the paper bags don’t have nutritional information but you can get a pretty telling indication based on how long it takes the bag to go see-through with grease, which in this case is about 30 seconds. It’s a full flavoured pie which can be a bit overpowering if you’re not inebriated, as the mincey-gravy just seems thick with fat. There are steak chunks aplenty to make up for this though with a ratio of around 60:40 which I think is about ideal for a standard pie. They aren’t stingy with the mushroom bits either which are chunky and numerous.
Speaking from experience with the Steak and Cheese, there is a good layer of cheese insulating the pie lid and once again - the delicious grilled stuff on top. These combine to make a creamy-crispy cheese combo which can’t be beaten. Bill, if you have anything in particular you wish to say about the pie, get in touch, or write your own guest post and I’ll put it up quick smart!
So there we go, that’s why real estate prices are so high in Hataitai. This is the economic environment I live in; dictated by a pie shop, perfect.
Sober: 7 Steak Chunks out of 10
Drunk: 9.5 Steak Chunks out of 10
Price: $3.90 This varies based on the pie. Mince is a steal at only $3 bills!
Hataitai Hot Bread Shop Beer Match: Fresh-Up Apple and Lime if it’s morning or midday, Orangeboom if it’s between evening and midnight and either Purple Drank or Water depending on your situation between midnight and 8am. Be safe.
Already this pie blog is getting out of control. One post in and it has been featured on the highly-regarded and deeply influential Big River FM of Dargaville (twice). The hungry masses plead shamelessly for a new post of pie prose though Twitter and Facebook. Nightly I struggle with the responsibility that accompanies my new found fame. Everyone wants a piece of the pie.
The most shameless of all, my flatmate Rowan thought he could buy his way in by bringing me a pie back from Lower Hutt’s Celsius Cafe. Placing it in front of me and shuffling out of the room backwards knocking over the lamp, his hunger for internet pie fame was palpable and pathetic. So this is where our journey starts, a relatively unknown cafe and bakery from the Hutt.
This pie’s appearance was weak and sagging like a trampoline missing too many springs; my expectations were low. The colour, a dull brown with a flourish of light buttery yellow however, was more promising. Upon my first bite I immediately felt the tender resistance of a good steak chunk as a small amount of gravy burst forth with a light cheesy aftertaste. This was good.
It’s worth noting here as a clarifying aside, that the first bite of a pie is almost invariably the worst. The temperature - too high, the pastry - too abundant, the structure of the pie - immediately compromised, leaving weaknesses to appear and valuable gravy and/or cheese to be lost to the bottom of the packet or worse, the footpath. This pie’s first bite however, really stacked up there with the best, possibly due to the rubbery nature of the pastry holding everything together which was in this case rather enjoyable.
Rubbery pastry however, is the worst of the Three Major Pastry Consistencies; Rubbery, Flaky and Brittle(y?). Of course, you are entitled to your own pastry opinion and that is the beauty of pie and something that unites us through our differences. Nonetheless, a rubbery pastry will not feature in a legendary pie, and for that this pie loses points. It’s filling was above average, the ratio of steak chunk to gravy was about 55:45 -respectable. The cheese was apparent throughout and not overpowering, although they probably only used Colby. Flavour intensity overall was decent, but not something to truly grab you and demand that you return to Celsius Cafe to satisfy your pie needs. In many ways this pie bears comparison to a Big Ben, e.g. in appearance and pastry consistency, so if you are Big Ben, Mighty Murph or Irvines regular I would recommend this pie as an easy step in the right direction toward pie enlightenment. Which is lucky because you’re probably from the Hutt anyway.
6.5 Steak Chunks out of 10
Price: $4.00, although receiving it for free did make it taste slightly better. I will aim to stay neutral in future however. Keep them free pies coming guys. Cheers.
Celsius Cafe’s Beer Match: Emerson’s Bookbinder. A good example of taking something ordinary (such as an everyday english ale) and making it beautiful, something that Celsius almost achieved here.
Posted on 21 May, 2011
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