I have to admit that for the past two months I haven’t been keeping up on my motherly meal preparation duties very well. Between my work schedule, the kids’ after school activities, the orthodontist trips and the hubby’s new job, we’ve fallen into a bad habit of dining out for dinner at least two school nights a week, and another night has fallen into a take home pizza/Chipotle/Lenny’s day. With another one of those nights devoted to our favorite neighborhood Japanese noodle shop, I had one night left open with no idea what to do. Luckily, the answer came with the recent opening of NYC’s first Steak ‘n Shake.

From my devoted passion for the Ring Ding to my burning desire to one day open my own Dairy Queen, it should be no surprise that I have long felt the need to one day eat at a Steak ‘n Shake. With the recent opening of Steak ‘n Shake I couldn’t hold myself back any longer. And since it is conveniently located on the way home from karate lessons, it has become our new Wednesday night dinner stop.

Steak ‘n Shake manages to set itself a step above the typical fast food burger, but it’s not quite The Burger Joint or even Five Guys. However, they do rise above all the rest with their fantastic shakes and thoughtful Midwestern hospitality (although they do need to work on a few of their New York employees a bit more). And the prices are insanely cheap and guaranteed to remain the same for their first year. My kids love to sit at the bar and watch them prepare the food while they eat. So for me it’s a win/win situation. Just make sure to ask them not to make your shake back to back to a banana one because I don’t think they clean the beater in between and we’ve gotten a few banana-flavored surprises (not a bonus when you’re allergic like me).

Now if this little piece of happiness wasn’t enough all by itself, two stores down is an Aussie chain, Pie Face, that just opened. It’s a classic meat pie shop. But I have to say I’m not totally sold on the meat pie thing. I’m not much for crust to begin with so I don’t see the need for encouraging it with savory pies, although I’m certainly down for the mash and gravy. However they have a nice selection of sweet pies as well, so of course I was game to try something from the sweets menu. I was slightly discouraged when the guy wanted to pack my open faced lemon curd pie in a paper bag where surely it would be a pile of mush by the time I got it home. And when I expressed my concern, I got a lidless tray with a piece of paper on top. Not really a solution for a place that serves pie and mini cakes, but better than the bag.

On first glance the mini pies seemed really pricey and didn’t look that spectacular. But, I was pleasantly surprised. My first bite of the lemon curd pie took me aback. This was no ordinary lemon pie, no run-of-the-mill, throw-everything-in-the-pot-and-go lemon curd, and it definitely didn’t come jarred or in a hermetically sealed bag. This tasted just like the lemon curd of none other than that fabulous god of pastry, Pierre Hermé. I would know that recipe anywhere. In my mind, it stands apart as one of his greatest gifts to our art. I was impressed, to say the least, that a chain would have such a delicious treat. Well they had just gotten my vote and sealed the deal. On top of that lemon tart, we tasted the Lammington cake which was wonderfully tender and quite fresh. Unfortunately, the chocolate pie was rich but not nearly intense enough for my taste.

As for the savory pies, I did try the sausage roll and honestly, I just didn’t get it. But for a sweet treat if you’re in the hood, have some pie in your face.

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