Kristina Von Kroug at Meat á la Mode has been on a fateful path to pie stardom since she won the Pietopia pie/writing contest in 2009. Her winning entry, which spoke of her soul-sucking job and her desire to make pies for a living actually lead to her losing her job and pursuing her dream after her superiors saw the winning entry.
Meat á la Mode specializes in meat pies and savory ice creams. The pies, according to Kristina, “explore the flavors of more rarely used game meats such as rabbit, oxtail, or alligator.” She said that she models her pies after a more “medieval” style of pies – which is totally cool because that is where pie got its start.
Kristina was kind enough to give me a sampler platter of a few Meat á la Mode pies. I tried the Oxtail Veggie & Dill, Chicken & Rhubarb and Coconut Pulled Pork.
Oxtail Veggie & Dill: This was my least favorite of the three. It had a pretty strong dill flavor, which I’m not a huge fan of personally, and I think that’s the biggest thing that threw me off. It also seemed to be a little light on the meat. Nonetheless, I did enjoy it, even though I am a “recovering picky eater” who has never had a lot of rare meats, like oxtail (which is cattle tail… you probably knew that, but I didn’t). The flavors were balanced so that the fact that I was eating a meat I wasn’t used to wasn’t even noticeable. I give this pie a 3.5 out of 5 rating.
Chicken & Rhubarb: This one I was a little iffy on because it seemed like a strange combo. Rhubarb has a very strong flavor, which is fantastic with loads of sugar in sweet pie form, but in a savory pie with chicken? However, I was pleasantly surprised. Kristina does a great job of balancing the flavors in this pie and it really works. I give it a 4 out of 5 rating.
Coconut Pulled Pork: Again, I was a little iffy on this one because I’m not a coconut fan, but this pie is packed with delicious pulled pork, and the coconut is very subtle. Kristina said this is one of her most popular offerings, and I can see why. She serves it with her spicy mango BBQ sauce, which is amazing and complements the pie perfectly. I give this pie a solid 4.5 out of 5 rating!
Generally speaking, I was really impressed with these little golden pies (literally, she sprays a touch of 24k gold on the crust to give it that medieval touch). The crust is really done well, flaky on the outer layer, a little bit chewy on the inner layer and durable (they held up very well in the refrigerator and reheated nicely).
And, keep in mind that if you are a more adventurous eater than myself, you will probably like the more exotic meats and flavors that she offers (check out her full list of offerings – she is helping to Keep Portland Weird, and Pied) – so don’t put too much stock in the 3.5 rating on the oxtail… I think other people would probably like it more than me, especially if you like dill. But, generally speaking, I think all eaters would be very happy with the traditional offerings that Meat á la Mode has to offer.
Oh, and I didn’t get a chance to try the ice creams, but I’m guessing they complement the pies as well!
Kristina has long term plans to find a full time commercial kitchen/ pie shop and you can help her bring Meat á la Mode to the masses by donating money via the PayPal link on her website. Or you can order pies – call her at 503-702-0002 or email meatalamode [at] gmail.com.