You know how you eat something, and it's amazing, and then you try it again somewhere else, made some other way, and it's never quite the same, and you know it might never be that good again?
I had only two meat pies while in Australia. That was about the right amount of meat pies to be consumed over a two-week vacation, I suppose. Fact is, I expected to consume more than two, but the first meat pie I tried was of such exceptional quality that I all but avoided other meat pies for the rest of our trip.
It was our first day in Australia, and we'd gone to pick up the nephews after class. On the way to the train station, we stopped to pick up fruits, veggies and meats from the butcher. We made our way to the station, but the kids had hunger pangs, so we popped into a cafe just around the corner from the rail line.
I said I didn't want my own meat pie, that I was tired and would sit outside and wait. I wasn't about to ruin my appetite for dinner or appear like the food-obsessed woman that I am within hours of our arrival, no sir.
But when I saw the boys devouring theirs, I immediately regretted my decision.
So I shared one with Mike. And I immediately regretted my decision. (On the sharing bit.)
Meat pies are truly a genius concept, and I've been meaning to do some research. Why aren't they available here in the States? Have Australia meat pie makers attempted and failed to win the hearts of Americans in the past? Am I, at 37, too young to have missed a meat pie movement? Why aren't they a staple of the already terrifying American diet?
Let's deconstruct: you've got flaky, buttery pastry-like dough (pretty fantastic, right?) that's substantial enough to withstand being stuffed with sauteed mushrooms and quality ground beef (come on). Sprinkle on some poppyseeds, a little catsup if you're into that sort of thing ... What's not to love?
But say you don't like mushrooms. Or you're a a vegetarian. That's all right. The ingredients found within the meat pie tend to vary. You can really mix 'em up, get jiggy with your meat pie. Mike recalls some sort of green curry and scallop pie from a previous trip; we weren't able to find anything of the sort this time though not for lack of trying. I saw so many varieties at the Victoria Market (or Vic Market, as the locals say). Veggie meat pies, potato and meat meat pies, chicken, cheese, fish, ham, salami, proscuitto ... you see where I'm going with this.
Our second meat pie was the Four 'N Twenty, Australia's most popular brand, consumed at an Australia Rules Football match. It wasn't as good as The First Day Meat Pie. But that's okay. If I learned anything on this trip to Australia it's that a mediocre meat pie is still a damn fine meat pie.