HaPIE Anniversary!

Eeeeeesh: OK, that title was awful,* but you know what is the opposite of awful? Pie! And — stick with me now — what’s better than regular pie? Mission Pie! In fact, Mission Pie is my favorite pie place in the whole world — no small compliment coming from someone who loves a buttery crust as much as this lady.

By now you’ve probably heard, but Mission Pie held their fifth anniversary celebration last night from 3:00 to 8:00. A family friendly affair, the get-together featured a prayer flag decorating table, live music, unbelievably good agua fresca, and lots and lots of snacks catered by La Cocina vendors. Also, there was free pie, which set my heart aflutter — truly, it was a symbol of goodwill (and great baking skills).

Here’s a quick, non-comprehensive pictorial roundup of the evening’s events, as experienced by myself and Alex:

This blurry lit’l guy was my first appetizer of the evening — a hard-boiled egg wrapped in spicy sausage and deep fried; the morsel is, according to the kind lady who served it, a Nigerian specialty. Though the sausage had heat and was astonishingly un-greasy, I couldn’t wrap my head around eating a deep-fried boiled egg, so I only took a few nibbles. Don’t worry, though: I didn’t starve to death (as you’ve surmised, because I’m still a’bloggin).For this event, MP opened their kitchen space to guests — a rare treat. Many is the time that I’ve walked by and wondered what it would be like to chill near the stand mixer, and now, my question has been answered. (Answer: such chilling is just as cool as expected.)

I chatted for a few with the good people of Emmy’s Pickles & Jams, who started their outfit as a reaction against large-scale food waste. At the outset, they made small batches of pickled produce and jams, but they’re now comfortable working with higher-volume batches — “200 pounds of cucumbers,” for example. The dill pickle I tried was crisp (even at room temp) and none too briny. The pickled beet — sunset orange and also crisp — would make a mean addition to a charcuterie plate. San Franciscans can purchase Emmy’s goods at Mission Pie, Bi-Rite, and Avedanos, among other places; out-of-towners, contact Emmy for more information! (Or, if you know me, shout a holla and I’ll send you some jam.)Moving through the kitchen, we ran into Josey Bread Baker, who was selling loaves and giving away lovingly buttered slices of toast(!) A. and I each bought a loaf. Also, I may have had a fangirl moment when I blurted, “I READ YOUR BLOG!” Heh heh heh. You can understand my enthusiasm, though, when you consider the context in which I’ve acquainted myself with this bread. Indeed, the very first time Alex made me toast, he used Josey’s bread. Snacking on my slice, I thought, “Man, this is some good toast.” People who make delicious toast are the best people of all.

Even as 8:00 neared, the dining room remained packed. A & I ate delicious finger foods (meatballs, pork and chicken tamales, deep-fried cheese quesadillaesque bites, &c) and topped off our feast with pie! Crumb-topped apple for myself, and walnut for the Alex; naturally, I availed myself of a hearty portion of fresh whipped cream, which cures all illz. Before leaving, Alex decorated a section of the prayer flag to be hung outside the shop. Looking through the flags already decorated, I couldn’t help but feel buoyed by the optimism of the messages — responses to the question, “What do you wish for?” A few people expressed wishes for personal gain (“to be prosperous!” was one person’s response), but most expressed desire for a larger good — for everyone to have enough to eat, for peace in the community and worldwide. Even I, normally a bit of a snarkmeister, felt warm and cozy.

And that’s just it: Mission Pie engenders feelings of warmth and coziness without being twee or exclusive or otherwise annoying. As much as I love the food scene here, so many aspects of it are accessible to a select few. Mission Pie practices the egalitarian message they preach, and make damn fine desserts while doing so.

***

*And you’d think that after having spent seven years studying creative writing, I’d be better at generating titles, right? WRONG! Titles are but one of my Achilles cankles.

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