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5173 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Many years ago, during my bachelor days, on an occasion that I happened to be being dumped, the woman involved, tearfully exclaimed, "I didn't plan on falling in love." To which I bitterly retorted, "Well, you're probably not planning on finding a bag gold nuggets, but if you did, I think you might stop to pick it up." A silence fell over the two of us, as we were left to confront, that to this woman, I was clearly a bag of something other than gold nuggets.
Yesterday afternoon, I was on the look out for a Thai restaurant about which I'd heard good things. As I headed west along Sunset, I caught sight of a hand painted sign, a beautifully executed logo, the type treatment of which read, "Fork-In Aussie Pies." Good graphics. Clever pun. Tidy new shop. Schedule be damned. Time for a detour.
Lunch having, only moments earlier been finished, I strolled in with the intention of merely grabbing a menu. There I met Amelia. Less a counter woman/barrista, more a true brand ambassador. Amelia talked me through the AFIP ethos of bringing an upscale vision to traditional Australian pies and she offered be a sample of the sides. She asked, "Are you in a hurry?" "No," I lied," and thereupon, a modest rasher of minty mushy peas, garlic mash, yams and stuffing, all topped with creamy thyme gravy was placed before me (after a cautious inquiry concerning food allergies) and was, as quickly, consumed.
Can't say what happened to my face, but my mind went to mist. With a hint of concern in her voice, Amelia queried, "So, what do you think?" I said, somewhat weepily, "I think it tastes like Thanksgiving." "I get that a lot," she said, nodding knowingly. And so it was, that my work schedule for the day was tossed on the scrap heap, along side my hours old recommitment to physical fitness.
Something caught my eye in the display case, and in moments, I was tearing in to my first Hemsworth Roll, which I would describe, owing to the nature of the crust, as a bacon, sausage and cheese 'croissant,' more than a roll. Suddenly, an explosion of savory breakfast flavor went off, simultaneously, in every region of my brain. And now I am theirs. In a world full to bursting with breakfast sandwiches, AFIP is, far and away, the maker of the king of ALL breakfast sandwiches. As I ate, I noted, with some skepticism, where the menu describes how well these sandwiches travel and reheat. "Sausage and cheddar roll to go, please." This morning, as promised, even after a night of refrigeration, 10 minutes in a 325° degree oven, returned the sandwich to display case freshness and crisp crustiness.
These pies would be a deal at twice the price. At $3.50 they represent an almost absurd value - like every minute I'm not eating one of them, I'm actually losing money. Think about that. Now, I didn't plan on finding AFIP. As I said, I had a whole different day in mind. But I'm glad I stopped in when I did. My subsequent visits will not happen by accident.
You know, I think I may call that woman that dumped me.
A few months after we opened, a man was sitting in the corner facing into the corner, eating a pie, and sobbing.
I think his name was Mark.
When I say sobbing, I really mean balling his eyes out, tears running down his cheeks and adding a salty addition to his pie. (Some SM residents think our pies are too salty - others say they are personally seasoned, go figure).
He was clearly emotional about something - and the last time I saw a grown man cry, in solitude, in public was me - about 8 years ago flying 1st class from London to Adelaide on Singapore Airlines for my Mum's funeral - but thats another story...
I gingerly approached the gentleman, and asked if everything was alright. (I know, it clearly wasn't, but i had to check in with him).
"I haven't had this pie for 60 years" he sobbed."My grandmother used to make this lamb pie"
In about October of 2015, a family of 4 from Melbourne were eating at the "big table" in Santa Monica.
It was Mum, Dad and 2 girls about 8 & 10.
It seemed clear they were enjoying their holiday and their lunch, as they were having a very animated (in a good way) lunch, with lots of chatter going on between the 4 of of them throughout the whole meal. (Remember family meals before cell phones….. I digress).
I checked in with them once or twice, and at the end of the lunch, the youngest girl politely said "Hey Mister, can we talk to you?"
The 8 year old started talking.
"We want to open a couple of Aussie Pie Kitchen's in Melbourne. We know 2 places that we think will work. My Dad is going to run everything, and count all the money , and stuff like that. My Mum will cook, and do everything there. Dad will help her. My sister and I are going to look after all the customers and bring their food, and drinks and stuff."
"Is that OK?"
Every shop has a visitors / sketch book and we encourage all customers young and old to write, draw, comment, create in those. Heres a few recent pics from those books.