For the truly dedicated pie lovers of the world, having a slice and a cup of joe is an activity not bound to seasons or time of day. But it's certainly true that the holidays add great numbers of pie eaters to our ranks, thanks to Thanksgiving gatherings, Christmas parties and myriad potlucks in between.
This year's gatherings are going to be smaller in size and number (if we're being smart about it, anyway), but the delights of perfect apple pie ala mode (or pumpkin pie slathered in whipped cream or pecan pie or Boston cream pie or rhubarb or, well, you get the idea) remain no matter what the coronavirus does to our social lives. Hell, I can socially distance even better with an abundance of pie on hand! More slices for me!
You don't even have to bake the pies yourself, because the Inland Northwest has a bunch of places offering awesome pies for you to take home. Whether or not you share the goodness is up to you. Here are a few local options:
MADE WITH LOVE BAKERY
2023 W. Dean Ave., mwlbakery.com, 919-0041
This diminutive shop in Spokane's West Central neighborhood is a labor of love for owner Callie Johnson, and you can taste the love in every treat that comes out of her oven. You might want to dive into one of her pop tarts, scones or cookies if you swing by for a cup of coffee, but don't skip the pie, because Johnson makes a seriously great one. Her crust is incredible. Some offerings come and go with the seasons (if you missed the peach blackberry, you really missed out), but you can always order up apple, pumpkin, pecan, apple blackberry or triple berry for $18-$28 each for a whole pie. Watch the website or contact Johnson for what's available for your holiday table.
BEAN & PIE
504 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene, beanandpie.com, 208-930-4065
The crumb is key at Bean & Pie. Owners Katy and Ethan Bean are true believers that crumb is the way to top a tasty pie, and it's hard to argue once you've tried their salted caramel apple pie with that delicious crumbly lid, or the "crumpkin," i.e., pumpkin pie with that buttery crumb up top. Try the quad choco or peanut butter cup if you're looking for something sweet and different, but it's hard for me to resist the berry crumb. All the pies are made to order, and range from $14 to $32 depending on the size; their 6-inch pies serve 2-4 people, while their 10-inch pies serve 8-10.
BIRDIE'S PIE SHOP
1003 N. Spokane St., Post Falls, birdiespies.com, 208-457-7004
Taco pie? Pina Colada pie? Spaghetti pie? Don't knock 'em til you try 'em, and Birdie's is so tasty you'll want to try everything on their vast menu of sweet, savory and specialty pies. Ranging from $5 personal-size pies up to $32 for full-size wonders, there's something for everyone here, whether you're a traditionalist craving apple pie or the classic pecan, or someone who likes to get a little wild with, say, the pulled pork mac-and-cheese pie. You can't go wrong showing up to a party with any of Birdie's best work.
1729 W. Siena Ln. (pickup only), pattispies.com, 220-7640
You can go for classic flavors like apple, cherry and rhubarb, and you can't go wrong. And of course the huckleberry pie is a regional favorite. But take a gander at Patti's specialty pies for something a little different, from a fudge brownie pie to a huckleberry cheesecake pie. Depending on the size and style, pies range from $9 to $25, and you can also pick up some "pandies" — i.e., small handheld pies in a variety of flavors, for just $2 a pop.
CONLEY'S PLACE AND PIONEER PIES BAKERY
12622 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley, conleysplacerestaurant.com, 924-5411
At Conley's, the pie magic isn't limited to the cream and fruit delights you can find every day of the week. They also offer some killer quiche and pot pies, too. But I'm here to praise the classics, like the to-die-for Dutch apple and banana cream, as well as their creative efforts like the peanut butter chocolate pie and the towering Mile High Lemon Meringue. The pies are made fresh daily, range from $12 to $15, and are available year-round except for the seasonal pumpkin and mince — lucky for you, the pumpkin is available now and mince will be before Thanksgiving.
CHAPS DINER AND BAKERY
4237 S. Cheney-Spokane Rd., chapsgirl.com, 624-4182
Celeste Shaw's cafe and bakery is a true treasure in the region. If you pop in Chaps for breakfast, it's pretty much impossible not to be tempted into adding one of the baked goodies on display to your meal — or to your doggie bag to munch on later. Pies are among the magical creations coming out of the kitchen, and Chaps' key lime pie and lemon cloud pie, both available for $18, stand out from the crowd of delicious Inland Northwest pies. ♦