Humble Pie: a Cautionary Tale

My recent move has not disappointed in being an exciting, fresh chapter. And I promise to wax poetic on all my new feelings and Ikea furniture soon. But for now, I want to tell you about how many desserts I’ve been eating.

Cities are best explored meal by meal and I’ve never been above commuting for pizza. After four weeks, I’d followed my stomach through most of SF. Now, standing firmly on two months, I saw the last major neighborhoods get scraped off my plate. But if moving across the country has taught me anything it’s, “shit gets hard when you’re alone.” So it’s especially important to celebrate each victory with something that reminds you of home (lard).

After much Craigslist-ing, emailing, and lying to people about how clean I am; I did the impossible and found a nice apartment, in a cool neighborhood, that I could afford. Only moments after getting the enthusiastic, “I guess you can live here” text I rounded a corner and saw this:


Immediately, I knew what it must be like to score the winning goal, get the big promotion, or find the perfect table lamp. After weeks of pounding the pavement of San Francisco and asking it to love me – she had opened up her big, foggy heart and said, “Sup.” My moment to celebrate was here.

Lemme break this place down:

**“Pie” is on 15th and Church. They serve pies sweet and savory. So you may grab a personal chicken pot pie for lunch or snag a blueberry cobbler for days that end in “y” – they’ve got you. It’s small, charming, and not even on Yelp yet. Go there.

But here’s the GOODS:

Pie serves “Chilly Pies,” a signature concoction where they start with a delicious milkshake from their homemade ice cream selection, then you pick a slice of warm, gooey pie and they BLEND IT INTO YOUR MILKSHAKE. Twice the amount of dessert becomes accessible WITHOUT EVEN HAVING TO CHEW. It’s just practical, really.

Here is my Chilly Pie:



It’s a piece of Mixed Berry Cobbler gracefully civil unionized with a Lemon Cookie Milkshake. I picked a milkshake that already had a “cookie” element because you have to be the change you want to see in the world. (That’s three desserts in one, for those playing at home.) Paid with cash. Tipped all my change. Double guns. Out.

I put in the PVC pipe they call a straw, and started seeing how many calories one can consume while walking. I had no idea what street I was on, but I didn’t need to know. I was building a life in a new city and doing a pretty great job. Each day I was taking down obstacles and learning my strengths. I was finding underground restaurants that sold a menu in a cup! I felt like Lance Armstrong or Mary Tyler Moore – what could I not do?!


Chewing is what I couldn’t do.

Where there’s pie, there’s crust. And sucking down a glory shake like you’re a shop-vac will always send that proverbial piece of crust straight into your humble pie. The un-masticated crust lump stopped right in the middle of my throat, horizontal like prom night.

I tried to swallow and could not. I knew the worst thing to do was panic. I mean, when is it ever the thing to do? I tried to breath gently through my mouth – no avail. I tried to breath through my nose — Jordin Sparks status, no air. The humble realization that I was about to die drinking a pie shake alone in the streets of San Francisco drifted through me. I’m not one for regrets, and certainly couldn’t scold myself for the fatal flaw of being too excited – too excited! – to chew. (I mean, that’s what killed the Dinosaurs.) I took another, unrewarded attempt at breathing and thought to myself, “At least I died the way I lived.”

I took a hard shallow, then another, then another. Slowly I felt the crust demon yield and slip into my bread box (stomach). I breathed in, I breathed out. I realized how precious life is. I finished the rest of my shake, wiser.

“Risk vs. reward” can be a hard balance to crack. But I can say that when it comes to making a drastic move, the reward is staggering. If you are thinking about packing up all your cardigans and heading somewhere new – you should do it. I can’t express how much I have personally grown in just a short period of independent, improvised living. I’ll talk more about that later, but for now – celebrate your victories one dessert at a time.


**The name of the restaurant was and is not “Pie.” It’s called Chile Pies and is on Yelp. Turns out it was never really a hidden gem – just a place I liked and was calling by the wrong name for a few year. What can I say? I get excited.