Du-pars is where you want to eat a pie, with its brown leather, black and white tiles, and light that’s gold like pastry. But I’m in a hurry so, regrettably, it’s coconut pie to go or no coconut pie at all. Du-Pars asks me, impatiently: “Coconut cream or coconut custard?”.
“What’s the difference?” (I want the good one.)
“One has cream; one has custard.” (Lol.)
A big man nearby says “you got the good one” and I shout “really?!” even though I know he’s right by the number of pies he’s eaten.
I spend the hot, hot day protecting my slice from becoming as oozy as I am. It makes it. By the time I eat it, the filling is lukewarm but good and smooth – a true dairy custard loaded with desiccated coconut. I concur.
We’re on one of those drives that LA haters love to go on about. It is painful, and we’ve heard Hotline Bling six times in the last hour, so we swerve off at Apple Pan. The horseshoe-shaped bar contains a man in a white hat, striding from customer to burger to pie slice.
The steakburger comes with a cinnamony relish in a greaseproof parcel that is made for your hand and mine. I turn to my neighbour (a stranger) and talk pie. “I share with my wife”, he says. “She always gets the pecan. She likes the pecan.” He then tells me, s l o w l y and d e l i b e r a t e l y, what other flavours there are (banana cream, chocolate cream, boysenberry cream, apple), and that he’s been coming here for 64 years. He likes banana cream but has been getting pecan for 64 years.
I don’t want to hurt his feelings but I am 100% sure it has to be boysenberry cream. It’s laden with slightly sour dark fruit, and topped with a thick layer of sweet cream. It’s a really balanced meal.
We are driving around looking for more pie and I hear myself say: “you’re turning right on Sunset”. Is there a more delicious thing you could ask your driver (husband) to do? I turn it over in my mouth (you’re turning right on sunset) while watching the flash of palms in my window.
Four ’n’ Twenty is an old resto with Tiffany lamps, vintage pie posters and creamer in little containers. Our waiter tells us the special is banana fudge with added peanut butter. Get real, sir. I’ll take it.
There are slices of banana lost in the thickest, richest, heaviest custard, and there is frilly whipped cream just about everywhere. It’s ludicrous, and we wipe it out.
In NoHo, the Republic of Pie is quite Central Perk – raggedy sofas and wooden tables with laptops on them, plus a spotlit area comprising two stools, two mics and one
guitar – poised for some sort of horrible entertainment.
Peach and blueberry pie is a thick, almost-savoury pastry shell around a super-sweet party of a filling – two of the posterboys of the fruit world. It can’t fail.
I take key lime home for later. It’s pale yellow-green zesty custard and nothing else.
Show me the world and the citrus pie will always win.