Best PotPies

Pot Pie Paradise

In a strange dream one night, Indonesian-born Theresia Gunawan saw herself selling potpies. She woke up confused, not entirely sure what potpies even were. But Gunawan, a former chief cook at Mills College, believed in the power of dreams and was game to learn more. Three years later, she presides over Pot Pie Paradise, selling her golden treats stuffed with a world-spanning retinue of meat, vegetarian, and vegan fillings at the Temescal and Castro Valley farmers' markets as well as at her own Hayward shop. Raised outside the West, thus not restrictively loyal to classic chicken potpie — although she does make those, too — Gunawan offers more than two dozen varieties, ranging from fricassee pie to tikka masala pie to tempeh pie to gumbo pie to goulash pie to Creole gumbo pie to Thai-curry pie to chicken-cacciatore pie (with rice-shaped orzo pasta) to Osaka-beef pie (with soy sauce and sake) to beef-and-egg-noodles pie to lime-lamb pie. Dessert pies include a rum-spiked piña colada pie that was featured in last August's issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. What is it about potpies and other stuffed baked things that makes us feel so snuggly and satisfied? Maybe it's their self-contained neatness. Maybe it's their circularity. Maybe it's that they're the culinary version of wrapped gifts.
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