meat the pie in the sky

it may sound a little weird, but for the longest time, i have longed to finally sample a traditional british meat pie. for a little perspective … each year, when the holidays rolled around, my very canadian grandmother always prepared one staple dish: pork pie. (it later evolved into a turkey pie, in order to cut the fat from the recipe after my grandfather suffered a heart attack. and yes, my very skilled nana was able to make this leaner cut of meat taste just as amazing.) it was the one dish i looked forward to the most each thanksgiving. keep your turkey. keep your stuffing. keep your mashed potatoes and gravy. (just kidding; please give all of that to me.) but the pork pie was the dish that stole the show.

so i guess it’s really no surprise that i longed to try a traditional british meat pie. the british variation is decidedly different from the one i grew up with. whereas my meat pie was a traditional pie crust, the british version is handheld, involving amazing, creamy filling wrapped in flaky puff pastry.

while i didn’t actively seek out british meat pies at all waking moments, i was pleasantly surprised when i learned that, unbeknownst to me, a small cafe (wheat fields in tampa), not two blocks from my office, served up a fresh offering of traditional, pub-style british pies. truth be told, i still don’t remember exactly how i stumbled upon this place, but i’m elated that i did.

the pies are giant (about the size of my fist) but, being my first time, i still ordered two after chatting with the owner and asking for her recommendations, i opted for the steak and kidney pie; it was full of tender chunks of meat and left me craving more. the curry chicken with potato and peas was delicious, but truth be told, it paled in comparison to the other. (moral of the story: traditional flavors are traditional for a reason.)

the bakery has an app (i’d recommend downloading it) that serves as a virtual punch card that leads to a free pie. i’m looking forward to repeat visits and my eventual freebie.

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