Friday, May 18, 2012

Fireside Pies' strawberry shortcake

The first time Dustin and I went to Fireside Pies, an estimated 45 minute wait stretched into an hour and a half. And just as we were getting ready to make a break for it, to cross Henderson for the somewhat dubious looking Uptown Deli and devour whatever it was willing to sell us, someone called our name and whisked us off to the back porch. We were pretty sure that despite our hunger, nothing we ordered would seem worth the wait. Two bites into the Texas Bibb Salad, we were convinced otherwise.

We've never had a wait since, but I'm prepared for lines around the block as diners discover the strawberry shortcake now on special. I am a sucker for bread pudding, but I am a connoisseur of the shortcake. And before Wednesday I would have told you the best strawberry shortcake anywhere is at Boccali's in Ojai, CA. I would, in fact, have given you very specific instructions: sit outside, order the homemade lemonade, split the lasagna but get your own side salad, and then shortcakes all around! The strawberries are local, the whip cream whipped there, and the biscuit-style shortcake soaks everything up. You won't want to share more than a biteful. If you find yourself in California, I still recommend you stop by. But if you want the best anywhere, come to Texas.

I have instructions for Fireside Pies, too. Share a salad, share a pie--listen to the server when she says the white pie with mushroom and arugula is even better with prosciutto. And then prepare yourself, and ask for the strawberry shortcake. There's sugar in the crust of the biscuit, in fact it tastes a smudge like cake. The berries are fresh and sweet and vibrant red. The whip cream, whipped there of course, is whipped with a lavender simple syrup, which you won't quite be able to identify until the chef comes over to see how you like it. The chef is a beautiful young woman, I would think too young to be so accomplished, but the proof is on the plate. She asks what we think. We think we should order a second one. And for the next two months, for as long as they can get the strawberries, I think we will.

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