Pie Party Live at Rodeo Bar NYC (October 15, 2011)

This weekend I had the pleasure of being a part of Jackie (The Diva That Ate New York) and Ken's (Hungry Rabbit NY) Pie Party Live! Ken and Jackie participated in a virtual pie event and decided to throw one for real at Rodeo Bar in the Flatiron District in NYC. This was the pie party to end all pie parties! There were seventy or so pies available, in both the sweet and savory variety. There were bakers and cooks and enthusiasts alike ready to gorge. When my best bud Dana and I arrived I don't think we expected there to be as much deliciousness as there was. We were pleasantly surprised.

I tried my hand at Banoffee pie again. Last year I was none too happy with the results from the Claire Robinson 5 ingredient fix. So this year I went with a name I knew I could trust: Paula Deen. While I should never anticipate that Banoffee pie is quick to make it did go smoother than boiling a can for several hours. Well, this time the crust was way buttery and rose. I asked a couple of other Pie Party Live participants who had made pies with graham cracker crusts their secrets and Kelsey (Kefir lime meringue pie) said that she had put a smaller ratio of butter to graham crackers, while Tara of Chip Chip Hooray (S'mores pie) informed me that she added sweetness to her pie. She also noticed that hers rose but  found after she took it out of the oven the crust tended to flatten on its own. Mine did not flatten but was buttery goodness and overly sweet. Score!

The thing about Banoffee pie is that it is something to be refrigerated and served cold and immediately. So carrying it on a subway for an hour and then being in a pie party for an additional few hours will make it a bit of a gloopy mess. It still tastes good but is just a mess. So unfortunately it had to be dumped post-party. Next pie party I'll venture to make something savory or at least non-refrigerated.

The pies at Pie Party Live were bountiful and it was great to have a mix of sweet and savory. Some people went with the idea, a smart one at that, of having solely savory first and then working their way to the sweet pies. I tried to toggle between both and found myself quite full, quite fast.

There were some heavy duty celebrities at Pie Party Live. I was so excited to meet Allison Kave of First Prize Pies. Her S'mores pie was one of the first I delved into and it was my fave sweet pie of the day. It was a good mixture of sweetness with chocolate and caramel and the lightness of the meringue just made my mouth water. As I offered a bit to my friend Dana we exchanged that knowing nod of appreciation.

Another fave pie of mine was Ken's apple-onion tart. When we asked him how prep went he said he did have a bunch of tears from having to shred the onions so thin for the tart. There was a great balance of sweetness from the carmelized onions mixed with the apple and it wasn't too heavy of an onion flavor. It was a great savory dish to wash the palette as you delved into other foods.

I got to taste Nomnivorous' chicken pot pie made with phyllo dough and had a nice hearty flavor to it. Not too salty as sometimes pot pies can be.

I also tasted Georgiecakes apple dulce de leche pie. She made two batches, one so her husband could get in as well.

There were some tasty empanadas in the forms of beef and chicken. The beef had grapes in it and I recall that beef empanada's I've had from places like Ruben's also add grapes into the mixture. Rodney's spicy chicken empanada had a nice kick to it, but wasn't overly spicy for heat lightweights like myself.

And baker extraordinaire Abby Dodge had some bite sized apple pies!

Chip Chip Hooray also made a S'mores pie that wasn't overly sweet and had a nice pudding center.

I had a heavy-duty chocolate ganache pie from One Tough Cookie and a nice sweet potato pie that reminded me of my mom's by Angela's of Mind Over Batter. I also met Miranda of MorelloBello and Alissa of GlamorousSnacker.

The crowd itself was such a great group of people. All nice and interested in talking pie and baking and an overall love of cooking. It was like being outside of New York City for moment. Everyone was happy and polite and willing to scoot over for you to get your slice of pie. No elbows. No shoving. We kept it classy at Pie Party Live!

About halfway through I have to say stomachs were bulging and we were starting to force stuff into our mouths. There was so much I still had to try! DUB Pies provided several dozen savory pies from steak/mushroom to spicy thai chicken to vegetarian and shepherd's. Must try! Rodeo Bar allowed us to take pictures and taste new items from their menu! Must try! Wait, did someone else come in with empanadas?! And thus it went on until 3pm when the raffle was announced. There were many prizes including cookbooks  by Pie Party Live attendees and baking aficionados, baking utensils, and the big prize was a Kitchenaid food processor. As the raffle went on a bunch of people won great gifts including pie from Ivy Bakery in one case. (Ivy Bakery's buttermilk pie was available at Pie Party Live and had a soft texture, was buttery sweet and perfect if you just wanted to have something light with a cup of tea.)

By the time the winner of the Kitchenaid processor was announced I was in a bit of a food coma and didn't realize at first that I had won it! My first pie party and I won a processor? Craziness! It was the perfect cap to the day. Full belly, great people, and a win! So cool.

I can't wait for the next Pie Party Live and hope I get to meet all these great people again. They are talented in the kitchen and super sweet in-person. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. In addition to the pictures posted here you can see the abundance of them on my Flickr page including close-ups of the ones from Rodeo Bar that I made a collage of below. Jackie has also posted pictures of Pie Party Live on her Flickr page and if you do a keyword search for Pie Party Live I'm sure you'll see many others from attendees.

And as Rodeo Bar was kind enough to provide samples of their newer dishes. (Their mac n' cheese is super rich.) I wanted to make sure to provide pictures to make your mouth water so you'll go to Rodeo and partake in these delectable items. Also they have a great happy hour!