sage bakehouse...a handful of savory pies
Farmer's markets are like Starbucks in SF now, wait long enough and one will show up in your neighborhood. Considering how hood-ish folks are, it's a boon for those not wanting to travel across town for stuff. Maybe if MUNI wasn't such a chore, but nevertheless, it does make it handy. I don't really keep up with the schedules of the markets so it's always kind of a surprise when I'm somewhere and one pops up. It happened on a jaunt to Green Apple Books recently.
After a slow perusal through the store, I went outside and saw a gathering group down toward the end of Clement street and decided to check it out. The market was a decent enough size, but as per my ilk, I was on the lookout for something to nosh on I'd not had before, and I was really freakin' hungry! It's not the biggest market so after a round of the booths I found myself locking in on Sage Bakehouse.
They make these hand held pies, which if you need a reference are like round empanada or a thicker crust version of a pot pie you can eat on the run. They have roughly 8 flavors to choose from and they have both hot and ready to eat ones and ones you can take and bake. All will run you $7 a pop, that's right on the $10 sandwich edge for me, and while my comfort level would have been $5 or $6, I still decided to try them, in the interest of reviewing, of course. But, they do use ingredients from local farms and, as much as they can, they feature products from the vendors in the actual farmer's market, in their pies. Local on local on local, we'll give them kudos for that support.
First up was their minced beef and cheddar. Let's start with the crust, it is light, buttery and flaky enough to pretty much get all over everything. Particularly when it was a foggy windy day in the Richmond district, shocking, I know. Either way, that means it was good, somewhere between a croissant and a pie crust. It had just the right bit of crispness on the outside and and soft bready layers inside. It's crust you could eat by itself, if that's your thing. The pie is relatively big and fully filled inside, making it a hefty bite. Not sure it's exactly enough to share, at least not for me, but it is larger than your average hand held pie.
Inside is minced beef--a fancy name for ground beef. Here it's mixed with a slightly tomato based sauce with, I think, bits of onions and green peppers. Then there is a layer of cheddar on top between the beef and the crust. It is meant to be cheeseburger like, though in truth it comes off as more sloppy joe. It has that same flavor I remember from childhood of Manwich in a can. In essence, I kind of liked it for that very reason. It wasn't quite that sweet, which is a good thing and the cheese was a nice touch we never did as a kid.
It was like a warm comfort food bite reminding me of both sloppy's and those Swanson's pot pie we always seemed to be having. Tasty enough I could have easily eaten two of them, but it seemed appropriate to try a different one next.
Seemed like a good idea to get the bulgogi one, a kind of out of the box flavor you see over rice, not necessarily in a pie. While the crust still had the same great flavor, this one could have used a bit more time in the oven as some of the layers (as you can see in the pic) were still on the wet doughy side. The filling was a mix of beef, onions, red peppers, zucchini and I'm pretty sure some garlic and ginger is in there too. Beef was tender and they did a good job with the flavor combo, plus it had a real kick to it. Super spicy no, along the lines of a light sprinkle of sriracha as opposed to a burn your tongue habanero. It worked great for me, but probably not for everyone.
So, what did we learn today kids? Every neighborhood has a farmer's market. It's windy and foggy in the Richmond district. Empanadas can be round. Minced beef is ground beef. I had sloppy joe's and pot pies as a kid, a lot! Bulgogi can be used as a filling and it's spicy. Minced beef pies are really big in New Zealand (ok, that's a new one, but it's where these folks came upon the idea). While I think they are slightly pricey at $7, they do utilize local folks and are big enough to be filling. When you eat one, you're gonna get flakes all over yourself or don't eat them in windy conditions. And finally, they are tasty, savory bites that may strike a childhood memory making them worth biting into. That's all, class dismissed!