The Great Pot-Pie Shoot Out
Why do a pot pie comparison? Are you kidding? I think pot pies are nature's most perfect food, and I got to eat them on Tustin Magazine's dime. Besides, I got aced out for the Best Micro Brewery article.
The comparison will continue, but for today's purposes I identified three contenders for the "Best Pot Pie in and around Tustin" award: Ruby's Diner, Claim Jumper, and Boston Market. It was Ruby's that gave me the idea, because they recently added a pot pie to the menu.
So, in no particular order, here are my findings.
The first strike against Ruby's comes from the presentation. My lunch companion (we'll call her DK) and I both ordered the pot pie, and the two platters that arrived seemed to cover the table. People from the neighboring tables stared and pointed, and I had to announce that it was all in the name of research.
But it was all an illusion. Apparently Ruby is a tease. I mean, look at the way she dresses. Ruby's bakes its pot pies in a shallow pan with a very broad lip. Thus, the crust extends out for what must be 14 inches, but the good stuff occupies but mere inches in a small reservoir below the center of the crust. I wanted the option to get sick eating this oversized pie, and I was denied. Even DK finished the entire pot pie, and she eats like a bird (keeping in mind that birds eat five times their weight every day).
Turning to the taste, the pie was passable, but the crust tasted burnt and there was far too much crust because of the aforesaid configuration. The turkey (this was the only non-chicken pie of the group) and vegetables were plentiful in relation to the size of the reservoir, but the creamy sauce I look for in a pot pie was sparse. I think the chefs at Ruby's might have made the mistake of trying to make a healthier pot pie by decreasing the sauce and hence the fat. Sorry, if I want to avoid cream sauce I'll order mincemeat pie. Of
the three pies tasted, Ruby's came in third.
Someone needs to be flogged. The Boston Market pies looked so good on television, but in person they are these wimpy things in throw-away aluminum pie trays. The crust was thin, with the consistency of marzipan rather than the requisite flakiness. Chipping through the hard crust revealed the contents. Two points for including red potatoes (a good pot pie as well as a breakfast burrito must contain potatoes -- it's the law). Also included in the cream sauce were carrots, green beans and green peas. DK complained that it
was too salty, but I didn't experience that. However, mine was also far more cooked than hers, so perhaps the preparation is not consistent. I wouldn't push the pie aside if I was starving, but of the three, Boston Market's came in a distant third.
Complete, unmitigated pot pie heaven. You are presented with a large pie (this is Claim Jumper) that you know is far too big to eat in a single sitting, but once you begin that is forgotten. The crust is flakey perfection. They claim the pies are baked fresh all day, and it certainly tastes like they speak the truth. Chunks of white meat chicken simmered slow in a savory herb cream sauce with fresh carrots, onions, mushrooms and peas. The potatoes are missing, but the pie is perfect in all other regards.
For achieving pot pie nirvana, Tustin Magazine names the Claim Jumper pot pie the Best Pot Pie in and around Tustin.
Claim Jumper Restaurant
2250 E. 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA
Sunday - Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday - Saturday 11am-11pm