My family decided to ease our Thanksgiving trip by splitting up our gathering this year, with the gang from San Francisco dining there and our considerably smaller contingent from the East Bay dining on this side of the bay. My job is to bring Thanksgiving pie, just for six people.
My problem is that I can’t stand pumpkin pie. I am also not a competent or willing baker. She would have to buy two pies, one pumpkin and one pecan, but she had no idea where the best place to order them would be. So, I did what any reasonable Alamedan would do. I went on Facebook and posted a request in the Alameda Peeps group for recommendations: “Best place on the island to get delicious pies for Thanksgiving?”
peeps to the rescue
Suggestions poured in. Julie’s Coffee and Tea Garden, at 1223 Park St., was first, with a side note that their pre-orders were already at 75 to 80 percent capacity. I immediately opened the link and saw photos of beautiful cakes: rich looking pumpkin for $34 to $36 and chocolate pecan for $42 to $44. under $76, for just six people, but if you have a larger group or just need a cake, by all means order online by Saturday, November 19 for Wednesday pickup from 9am to 4pm
Another pie source possibility is my new favorite neighborhood grocery store, Island Savoy Market, 1200 Lincoln Ave. They offer Shannon Marsden’s delicious pies, while they last. These are the same cakes available for pre-order from Julie’s Coffee and Tea Garden.
Crispian Bakery, at 1700 Park St., was next on Peeps’ list, along with another surprisingly popular option: Nation’s, at 1432 Webster St. Both places had devoted fans. I knew there were a couple of other places I wanted to visit too, so I decided to do it the old-fashioned way: in person.
Taking a Look at Thanksgiving Pie Contenders
My first stop was Feel Good Bakery at Alameda Marketplace, 1650 Park St., (they have a second location at 3215 Encinal Ave.) mostly because I’ve bought fantastic cakes there in the past, and they have a great parking lot. They had lots of beautiful cakes and breads and other pastries on display, but no cakes in the case. The person behind the counter gave me a pre-order list, which included pumpkin pie for $35 and pecan pie for $38. I’m sure they’re delicious, but invisible sight doesn’t work for me, so I gave it a pass. There is an online ordering page on their website, but I didn’t see any cakes on it, so you can check them out or call them at 510-864-2733 if you’re interested.
Next up was Crispian, where the heavenly aroma of freshly baked pies delighted my senses through the open window onto the sidewalk. I had seen the cakes in photos and they looked amazingly delicious. The cakes were quite large, and the prices were surprisingly a bit lower than Julie and Feel Good. Crispian’s pumpkin pie is $30 and the bourbon pecan pie, a big favorite among some of the Peeps, is $32. The person at the window gave me some good advice: There’s nothing particularly fancy about pumpkin pie, so when funds are tight, splurge on a pie like their bourbon pecan. “Bourbon is one of the main ingredients,” he said proudly. Reserve online for pick up on November 23.
From there, I briefly stopped at Nob Hill Foods Bakery, 2531 Blanding Ave., where I asked if they would have freshly baked pies available to order ahead for Thanksgiving. No. All of their cakes are frozen, they told me. So much for that.
the cake of choice
Finally, I visited Nation’s, where the bakery was full of pies, many of which had too much whipped cream or meringue on top for my liking, but both the pumpkin and pecan were unadorned and seemed like perfect examples of Thanksgiving pies. the old school. . They were smaller than the ones at artisan bakeries, which suited my needs perfectly, and were only $15 each. I ordered one of each. They’re open on Thanksgiving, so I’ll be picking up my pies that morning.
If none of these pie possibilities suit your tastes, you can always travel to Oakland or Berkeley to try one of the many bakeries where “East Bay pastry chefs are working overtime to bake the best Thanksgiving pies you could ask for.” “, according to Oaklandside. That list, by the way, also includes that of a nation.
Liz Barrett is the copyeditor for the Alameda Post Office and write about our community. Contact her through [email protected]. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Liz-Barrett.