Photograph by Elizabeth Seward
UPPER CRUST: Angelo Sacerdote and Lina Hoshino's shop has proven a hit for lovers.
Hey There, Sweetie Pie
Petaluma Pie Company celebrates sensory appeal of homemade
By David Templeton
There should be more pie in the world!"
So proclaims one of the ecstatically scrawled-upon index cards currently tacked to the wall—beneath the large words "PIE STORIES"—at the instantly popular Petaluma Pie Company. The above-quoted 3-by-5 card, authored by a pie admirer named Tamara, represents just one of many posted by the two-month-old pie shop's enthusiastic proprietors, Lina Hoshino and Angelo Sacerdote.
"What we like about that one," explains Hoshino, "is that it's not just about a love of pie—it's a real love story. A love story that happens to include pie."
True enough. After several sentences with which Tamara heaps praise on the small pie shop and wishes it success, she goes on: "We look forward to your new creations, perhaps a frozen-custard pie on a stick for summertime—just like my husband and I remember on our wedding day. Frozen Key Lime pie on a stick, in Key West, Florida."
Though Key Lime, on or off a stick, is not currently on the menu at the Petaluma Pie Co., the shop's long list of all-natural, mostly organic flavors makes up for it with an array of outrageously tantalizing combinations from the sweet (coconut cream, sweet potato, chocolate pudding, shaker lemon) to the savory (mixed mushroom, Japanese curry, smoked salmon). The pies' various ingredients—including those grown in the proprietors' home garden—are all locally cultivated. That "homegrown" element, the pie-making pair believes, is part of their shop's escalating appeal—the soothing sense that, simply put, pie = good.
"I don't know what it is, but people do have this really special connection to pie," says Sacerdote. "It goes deep for a lot of people. They come in here with their eyes wide open, saying, 'Oh wow, look—pie!'"
"Did you know," Hoshino asks, "that there is pie in almost any culture? It's comfort food all around the world. We have a lot of people from England and Australia come in. They seem really drawn to the word 'pie,' but of course for them it means meat pies—shepherd's pies. That's another deep memory for people. It summons a lot of really good feelings and sensations."
Such pie memories are taken very seriously by Hoshino and Sacerdote, who've consequently added a line of meat pies to the menu.
For Valentine's Day, "You can give your sweetie pie an actual pie," says Hoshino.
And on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 2pm, Hoshino and Sacerdote will be teaming with Copperfeld's Books, right around the corner in Petaluma, for their first-ever Valentine's Day "pie-ku" contest. Along with samples of pie served up in the store, attendees are encouraged to submit pie-themed haiku, and awards will be handed out for the most humorous, most profound and most romantic.
Shrugging, Sacerdote adds, "Pie is perfect for Valentine's Day, because pie is sexy. It is. It's a full sensory experience. There's almost nothing as satisfying as a good piece of pie."
Petaluma Pie Company, 125 Petaluma Blvd., Petaluma. 707.347.9743. www.petalumapie.com.
Send a letter to the editor about this story.