When I began my journey up to Seattle earlier this summer, a fairly young pie shop in Portland called Pacific Pie Co. gave me my first taste of the region’s local cuisine. Now, as I head back to California, it will give me my last.
A married couple named Chris and Sarah started this business in 2009 after they moved to Portland from Chris’ native Australia. After Chris began to miss the Aussie meat pies from his homeland, his wife started making them at home. The pies spread in popularity after they began selling them at local farmers’ markets, and in 2011, their current location on 7th Ave was opened.
This bakery is more spacious than I expected. I thought the inside would resemble little more than a simple hole-in-the-wall, but there’s plenty of seating inside if you feel like dining in.
I ordered what sounded like the best thing on the menu: a Classic Beef pie. Pacific Pie Co. blends locally-sourced grass-fed beef with an onion gravy. The beef is minced quite finely, so don’t expect very chunky, heavy filling like you’d find in, say, a shepherd’s pie. The filling as a whole is quite saucy, but is still thick and rich enough that it isn’t spilling out when you slice open the pie:
You may also notice how flexible the pie crust is. The crust is soft and flaky, but hefty enough that it doesn’t fall apart if you decide to eat the whole pie by hand, which is what I suggest doing. Why? Because it’s delicious, fun, and a bit silly. After all, how often can you eat an entire pot pie like a slice of toast?
The crust certainly isn’t as dense as the crusts on those frozen Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies you can find at your local Costco. The soft crust works well with the saucy filling, because both just seem to easily melt and blend together inside your mouth.
There are other flavors, such as Beef and Mushroom, Beef and Stout, Creamy Chicken, and Sunday Roast Lamb. Beef and Mushroom is basically Classic Beef with organic crimini mushrooms added in, and as a result tastes just as good, if not better.
Beef and Stout has beef that’s been cooked in a stout from Burnside Brewing Co., a local Portland brewery (totally loving all this local flavor!). The stout flavoring is quite prominent in the pie, but doesn’t overwhelm the beef. Tasty.
Sunday Roast Lamb has lamb from, of course, a local Oregon farm, that is braised in a Shiraz wine sauce. The filling also includes roasted potatoes, onions, yams, and carrots. I’ve always loved a good wine-flavored stew, like beef bourguignon, but in a pie? I’m not quite sure. It tasted good, and like the Beef and Stout, you can easily taste the wine, but the whole thing just seems slightly out-of-place when you stuff it in a pie.
There are also menu items that aren’t pot pies, such as Cornish pasties and sausage rolls. I tried both, and while they were both good in their own rights, I didn’t think they were as good as the pies.
So, if you come here and you’re a foodie like me, try ’em all. The pies all cost around $6, with pasties usually costing about a dollar less, so you won’t exactly be blowing your budget. When you consider the quality of the food, and the amount of locally-sourced ingredients you’re trying out just in one place, I’d say it’s practically a bargain.