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When you’re far away from home for a long time, you sometimes need a bit of familiar comfort food. Nothing brings back memories like smell and taste and meat pies fit both of those bills for Aussie expats.
But they can be a little difficult to find in the US, depending on where you live and how much income you have at your disposal.
So I embarked on a meat pie journey, driving from the San Francisco peninsula up to Windsor, across to Vallejo, down to Cupertino and then over to San Jose in the pursuit of meat pies.
Please note that some companies gave me a discount, allowed me to order less than the usual minimum, or gave me freebies. These are denoted with an asterisk.
Some pies had to be eaten while I was out so they didn’t make the video, but I’ll write about them instead.
What an appealing cover photo for this video… you’re welcome
This is also the first proper video I’ve done (with Mr M’s technological assistance) so if you’d like to see more, let me know in the comments, and if you think I should never front a camera again, be brutal.
Updated: AUSSIE PIES AND SAUSAGES
Jay Jay Wolfpie (as he is known on Facebook) is a bit of a legend in the Aussie expat circles. He sells meat pies, sausage rolls, and Aussie-style sausages for the barbecue. I finally got around to make it to one of his pie drops on his way to San Francisco and picked up a beef pie to try.
Whack it in the oven at 350F for half an hour and you’re golden. I give Jay Jay’s pies two thumbs up, and a dollop of tomato sauce. The lid pastry is flaky, and the bottom is the perfect ‘hand pie’ consistency, that you could easily sit and eat at the footy. And the filling isn’t a mystery, it looks and tastes as meaty as you’d expect. If Jay Jay’s doing a pie run in your neck of the woods, be sure to make an order, you will not be disappointed.
Price: Vary depending on the pie. The classic meat pie is $6.65
Shipping: No. Check the website to find out where you can pick up.
FAIR DINKUM AUSSIE PIES
With a name like that, they’ve got to be good, right? The owners hold their Australian-ness close to their hearts and have tried to recreate the taste of home.
Their meat pies have been developed over “a few years of trial and error”. It’s a delight of flaky pastry, gravy and beef that you’ll love.
The only downside is that the pie warmer in Vallejo Great Donuts is all about the condensation so the pies and sausage rolls are a little soggy. No worries, just drive them home and pop them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to dry out and crisp up!
Where: Vallejo Great Donuts, 630 Tennessee Street, Vallejo, CA.
Shipping: No, but you can order online to pick up in store.
AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTS CO
There are two types of pie available here – the “Aussie” style and the “British” kind. Personally, I don’t see the difference between the two, but they’re made by different companies and sold frozen.
I tried the Australian brand ground steak & onion pie and the Piccadilly British steak & mushroom pie. If you haven’t had a pie in ages and are craving one, these will definitely do the trick.
Just keep in mind that they’re closer to the party pies you’d buy at Woolies or Coles than they are to the ones you’d grab at the footy.
Where: Australian Product Co, 3828 Stevens Creek Boulevard, San Jose, CA.
Price: Both are $6.95
Shipping: Yes, but must be shipped “overnight”.
These were bloody good and there’s a variety to choose from. They specialise in pies from around the world for homesick expats, so you’ll find pies for Aussies, Britons, Portugese and South Africans in the mix.
Their website helpfully points out which pies are closest to your home country’s which is a nice touch. I tried the Dinky Di Aussie pie and wasn’t disappointed.
It’s gravy is more on the tomato side of things than the thick, beef gravy that you might be used to, but I think it gives the pie a nice tang. And the meat is good quality as well.
Where: 151 e. Broad Street, Athens, Georgia
Shipping: Yes, they come in boxes of six or 12 pies that you can mix and match
BURTO NZ BAKERY
It’s worth the drive north to Burto NZ Bakery from San Francisco, because you’ll find a little slice of home tucked into an outdoor shopping centre.
I visited Burto NZ Bakery on a Saturday morning and loved every bit of it. From the pie warmer to the window full of treats from home like lamingtons and cream buns. They gave me tomato sauce for my pies and the owner/baker is the jolliest dude this side of the Pacific Ocean.
You can get a ready-cooked pie to eat on the go, or pre-cooked refrigerated ones to take home and bake yourself. I did the later and really loved the flaky pastry and the steak & mushroom filling.
Do yourself a favour and get over there.
Where: Burto NZ Bakery, 9060 Brooks Road South, Windsor, CA
DOWN UNDER BAKERY PIES*
These guys won my video taste test, however I’ve got to say that none of the pies were bad or not worth the money, but DUB Pies were the best of an awesome bunch.
This pie took me straight back to the tuck shop in primary school. I just realised the pies in primary school were better than high school.
The pastry isn’t exactly flaky but it’s spot on for the pie, there is a great amount of gravy that’s nice and peppery. Al up it’s a delicious pie and if you’re in New York, definitely seek them out. Or get some shipped to you.
DUB Pies also has a variety of sweet and savoury pies to choose from and they’re about to kick off shipping a “Starter Pack” of a few pies for you to try out, so look out for that.
Where: Down Under Bakery Pies, 211 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY (Also keep an eye out for their food truck at fairs and festivals).
Shipping: Yes, and there is a minimum order for shipping. Shipping is free in the “East Zone” (see website).
Since discovering Artisan Hand Food’s Rogue Pyes, I’ve tried two different flavours – lamb curry and the traditional meat pie.
Both are spot on in terms of value, the quality and amount of filling you get. Basically, they’re made with quality ingredients and it really does show.
The Aussie-style meat pie is made with grass fed, hormone free ground beef with onions, masala wine, tomato paste, chutney and beef stock thrown in for good measure.
The pastry is deliciously buttery and makes for a satisfying crunch as you bite into it. As I’ve said before, all the pies were great, but this and DUB pies were the best. If you’re in Northern California, get your hands on a Rogue Pyes pie.
Where: Rogue Pyes/Artisan Hand Food, no shop front yet but they deliver free in Santa Cruz
Shipping: Yes, monthly delivery pick up for the Bay Area
There are heaps more places where you can get meat pies in the US. Some of them don’t ship, or I didn’t hear back from them, which is why I couldn’t review them. But they’re all worth a go, and I’d love it if you would leave a comment letting me know what you think.
- Pie-Not, the Aussie Style Bakery: 270 E 17th Street #17, Costa Mesa, OR Lot579 Pacific City, 21058 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648.
- Garlo’s Aussie Pie Shop: 1010 Glendon Avenue, Los Angeles. Read an Aussie’s thoughts on Garlo’s here.
- Bronzed Aussie: 714a S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles. Pies, fish and chips, lamingtons and other desserts.
- Fork-in Aussie Pies: 2510 Main Street, Santa Monica, OR 11918 Aviation Blvd, Inglewood. Pies, lamingtons and ANZAC biscuits.
- Pot Pie Paradise & Deli: 3522 Arden Rd, Hayward.
- Boomerang’s Pies: In the freezer section of some Safeways and Wholefoods stores. (I couldn’t find them though).
- Sage Bakehouse: Available ready-to-eat at The Clement Street Farmer’s Market on Sundays only, Clement St & 3rd Ave, San Francisco.
Online: (CA only) https://www.sagebakehousesf.com/pies/
- Australian Bakery Cafe: 48 South Park Square, Marietta, GA OR 101 Colony Park Drive, Cumming, GA. All things Australian (including hot cross buns).
New York/New Jersey
- The Flying Pie Guy: 61 North Park Avenue, Hazlet, New Jersey. Cafe, food truck and available in other restaurants in the area. Sausage rolls and pies (with mashed potato and mushy peas if you want!). Will soon be shipping as well.
- The Australian Bar and Restaurant: 20 West 38th Street, between 5th & 6th Ave, NY. Pub food and meat pies.
- Pacific Pie Co: 1520 SE 7th Ave, Portland, OR. Meat pies, sausage rolls, salads and sandwiches.
- Australian Pie Co: 425 SW 152nd st Seattle, WA. Meat pies, sausage rolls and desserts.
- Premier Meat Pies: Seattle Center Armory, 305 Harrison Street, Seattle, WA. More on the British side of meat pies.
- Four ‘N Twenty Pies: Does “pie drops” of the Four ‘N Twenty pies all over the states.