Hangry or Not? Fork-In Aussie Pie Kitchen (Santa Monica, CA)

To be hangry or not to be hangry, that is the question. Did I leave hangry or not? Well, the bottom line is that I left Aussie Pie HANGRY, and this why!

Fork-In Aussie Pie specializes in pies specializes in pies. The kind of pies that you’d get in… well… Australia. Now, I’ve been to New Zealand and Bermuda, where I’ve devoured dozens of pies. I’ve also had my fair share of pies in British, Scottish, and Irish establishments, so there’s something to compare this fare to.

At the end of the day, I had three issues with Aussie Pie. Here they are:

  1. The wait. A sign outside said they take three days to make and 30 seconds to re-make. That wasn’t the case. We went when it was slow and still waited about 10 minutes for our order. I don’t mind waiting for good food, but manage the expectations of your patrons. Be honest.
  2. The value wasn’t quite there. At $8-9 a pie, they could afford to give you more filling. The ratio of crust to what was inside was just off and the reason that bothered me was not just for the value, but also for…
  3. The top crust was not as good as the bottom crust. Now, the problem is that their bottom crust is so damn good that you can’t help but expect the same for the top. When it fall short of those expectations, you’re disappointed. I’d much rather have it open, without the top crust and with more of the filling, because all five of the different pies that I tried had great filling.

So the good news is that the filling and bottom crust are well done. The texture provided by the crisp and flaky lower crust contrast beautifully with the soft center, whether it’s made with meat or vegetable based. Also, the flavors are vibrant. Their use of alcohol in their cooking process is masterful.

Aussie Pie would win my heart if they kept their price point while improving their top crust and adding more filling. Otherwise they can lower the price point of the current pies they offer and I’d still return.

Still, I left hangry and I’d love to see some minor changes made here because with those adjustments I know I would leave not-so-hangry!

P.S. – The gravy that comes with the takeout lacks flavor and doesn’t feel like the flour has been totally cooked down. It’s grainy and the flavor in the pies themselves outshine it completely.

With that being said, their packaging for to-go orders is excellent and their marketing on the sidewalk is both clever and amusing. Good work! Here are some images for you to enjoy…. Australian food porn, if you will.




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Trader Joes is the WORST!

I don’t get it, seriously. You see all these videos and read all these articles about how expiration dates are nothing close to being accurate because companies are forced to put an earlier date for federal regulations, and then this happens. What is this? Trader Joe’s products “go bad” long before the best before date listed on the product.

Best before… yes, that’s very vague and I’m sure they could argue it was definitely best before that date. I’ll tell you what though, on November 13th, this milk wasn’t good. It wasn’t pleasant. It was sour and I can’t understand why. It was sitting in a brand new, expensive, and cold refrigerator for its whole life… at least in its new home.

The thing is, this has happened so many times with TJ’s food in the past and while some people give me the old, “it’s a good thing because they don’t use preservatives” I know better than that because they do have preservatives and plenty of them! So again, why does this happen so often?

Cheese gets mold far in advance, jarred marinara sauce under the lid, milk spoils, frozen products... the list goes on and it’s been in different places with different fridges and freezers. If the milk goes bad in three days, that’s fine! Just let me know when it’s actually going to be less enjoyable to consume. Then, I can chug accordingly.

The Best Vegetable Ever?

We could talk about my love for olives, capers, anchovies, and the long list of other foods that are heavily underappreciated in many cultures, especially here in the US. Mushrooms, however, are on a whole different level.

They’re the meat of the vegetarian kingdom and who doesn’t love meat? Vegetarians and vegans, of course, so they love mushrooms instead. There are big mushrooms and small mushrooms, light mushrooms and dark mushrooms; there are definitely enough mushrooms for Dr. Seuss to write a book about them.

They’re on the healthy side and they also take flavor so well. Curries, white wine, garlic… you name it and it will taste good with mushrooms. Ice cream? Sure, why not, we’ll see it on Chopped one day. And they cook down so well into the most pleasing texture possible.

While we’d love to call them the best vegetable, technically they’re a specific kind of fungus. Still, because we’re so rebellious, we’re going to call mushrooms the best vegetable. Don’t worry fruit lovers, I won’t even joke about going there. Tell us your thoughts about mushrooms!