From West Hollywood, Ca.
Nice little pies. That about sums up our experience at Simple Things, a cute little pie shop in a hip little strip of Los Angeles.
Nestled among chic eateries and upscale vintage clothing stores in West Hollywood, Simple Things bills itself as a sandwich and pie shop. But it isn’t homey like its name and website make it sound. It’s an appealing place, don’t get me wrong; but it is sleek-minimal nice, not comfy-like-your-kitchen nice.
The folks at Simple Things chose two sizes for pie: small and teensy. The teensy one, about 3 inches in diameter, offers about four spoonfuls. The small one, about 6 inches across, is a nice size for two servings. Full-size pies can be made with 24 hours’ notice. So the case that greeted us when we walked in the other day was full of small and teensy pies, in a half-dozen of the 12 sweet flavors the shop rotates during the week (they also serve five kinds of savory pie).
The teensy pies were perfect for sampling, and that was perfect for us, since it was just before lunchtime and we didn’t want to completely wreck our appetites. So my two traveling companions–Sweetie Pie Sara and Sweetie Pie Hannah–and I decided to sample four flavors: banana cream, chocolate peanut butter, strawberry rhubarb and salted caramel.
The banana cream got big points from me for its really big, fresh banana flavor. Salted caramel was good, but the salt overpowered the caramel, in my opinion; both daughters disagreed, and thought it was yummy. Peanut butter chocolate was delicious, deep and creamy, with a nice balance of the two flavors.
Both the salted caramel and banana cream had nice little graham-cracker crusts, and the chocolate peanut butter had a chocolate-cookie-crumb crust. All the crumb crusts had nice flavor, but suffered from too light a touch when they were pressed into the pie tins, so they pretty much fell apart when you touched them. It would have been nicer to have a firmly packed crumb crust as a counterpoint to the soft filling. Instead, it all sort of mooshed together.
The strawberry rhubarb was the only pie with a pastry crust, and I thought it was a little triumph; proportionately thin for its tiny tin, beautifully shaped, and with a nice flavor. Unfortunately, though, the crumb top and pastry outweighed the filling, leaving not a whole lot of fruitiness in the experience. It’s awfully tricky to get the filling-to-crust-and-topping ratio right in those teensy pies, and this one didn’t quite make it, in my opinion. The teensy cream pies fared better.
All in all, we enjoyed our teensy-pie experience, and the shop is very pleasant to sit in. It’s a great place to stop in for a sweet pick-me-up in a neighborhood that’s fun to wander around in anyway.