Nothing quite says “America” like a freshly baked fruit pie. (It doesn’t necessarily say “New York,” but that’s neither here nor there.) And nothing says fresh baked fruit pie like blueberry: the soft, purplish little berry works so well in a fruity, sweet pie, the sugar level of the fruit filling lower than pies with tarter berries. Blueberry pies have been a staple in American cooking since the nineteenth century, especially way up north in Maine, where blueberry pie is the official state dessert!
My friend Clio, a Maine native, may be interested in celebrating (an official state dessert she probably never knew about!) with a slice of blueberry pie in the city, and one of the best slices around comes from the Westville East diner. The Eastern division of this comfort food powerhouse serves a thick, flavorful slice of blueberry pie with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream right on top–the only real way to enjoy a slice of pie. The berries stay firm inside the sweet crust instead of tumbling out in a messy mix of fruit and jelly, which means Westville’s pie is perfect to have by the slice. It’s a great treat to bring you back to the memories of old-fashioned diners and comforting, slow, good home cookin’ in a time (and a city) when everyone’s looking towards the future for food.
173 Ave A
“Still, it’s unwise to judge a pie solely by its appearance, and in this case, we’re glad we didn’t. Because the filling, though ostensibly immobile, was delicious — sweet but not too sweet, and comprised almost solely of luscious berries. The crust, though not particularly flaky, was incredibly tender, and buttery and a bit toasty in flavor. Eating it, we could see how it would make an excellent complement to the scoop of ice cream that Westville serves with the pie when you order it in the restaurant. We (foolishly) opted out of the à la mode option because we had to transport the pie some distance, but won’t make this mistake the next time we find ourselves at the restaurant. Because the only thing better than a slice of blueberry pie is the way it tastes as it slowly disintegrates beneath a rapidly melting scoop of ice cream.”–Village Voice
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“For dessert there was blueberry pie a la mode. Again, good. Interesting, wheat-y crust and a little more savory, in a good way.”–Annie B.
“holy blueberry pie! i’ve been to westville west before, which was equally awesome (got the cobb salad, and im not a salad person, but there were lots of goodies involved in there, loved it), but my first meal at westville east was a very memorable one. particularly because i would never think to order pie or even eat pie if it’s not thanksgiving or some other pie-eating holiday. I don’t even really love sweets that much, I usually opt for something salty. But this blueberry pie was hot, just out of the oven, the top was crispy and sugary, and the filling was gooey, and the whole thing was acoompanied by ice cream. the mixture of hot and cold was almost intoxicating. (i like to exaggerate, but for real, this pie is no joke).”–Jenny S.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!