I’ve already blogged about Vegemite and pavlova, so in honor of Australia Day the next most Aussie thing I can think of eating is a meat pie! My obsession with meat pies dates back to my study abroad in New Zealand 5 years ago. I’ll never forget my first pie from the 24 (pron: Two Four) convenience store. Since then I’ve discovered that pies can range from the ultimate bogan cuisine (ones that come in a sealed plastic bag from the 24) to gourmet masterpieces filled with quality meats and cheeses.
A famous place to eat the quintessential Aussie meat pie is Harry’s Café de Wheels on the Sydney Harbor, just down from Russell Crowe’s house! It dates back to the 1930s and is famous for the Tiger, which is on the Sydney Morning Herald’s 50 Things Every Sydney Food Lover Should Try. It’s named after the founder, Harry “Tiger” Edwards and simply put, the Tiger is a basic meat pie, topped with a scoop of mashed potatoes, a scoop of mushy peas, and a scoop of gravy (a pie floater). It sounds like an absolute mess to eat but the artful way in which they scoop the toppings onto the pie makes it surprisingly easy! I can’t say the actual pie is the best meat pie I’ve ever had—that award goes to Lure in Brisbane’s Paddington suburb where I am currently living—but it’s meant to be a pie floater and if the pie was amazing it would steal the show away from the potatoes and peas.
Harry’s has seen quite a few celebrities over the years, such as Anthony Bourdain, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Brook Shields, Kevin Costner, Billy Crystal, Pamela Anderson, Olivia Newton-John, and Colonel Sanders! The Colonel reportedly scarfed down 3 pies during his 1974 visit. Who knew he ate anything but chicken?!
I noticed before I left the U.S. that hand pies were coming into vogue. Williams-Sonoma is now selling a Breville pie maker (Aussie brand!) and they were featured in several food magazine’s January issues as trends for 2011. Be on the lookout for them, but I must warn you – they are highly addicting and are terrible for your waistline.
Happy Australia Day!