If you’ve lunched at The Blue Owl’s Canon Perdido location — or stumbled in late at night — chances are you’ve already sampled your way around the Tartisan menu. Dreamed up by Santa Barbaran Jacqui Wou, and facilitated by Wou’s longtime cooking buddy — and Blue Owl owner — Cindy Black, Tartisan’s pies have been popping up on the Blue Owl menu since June. Still, it wasn’t until last month’s epicure.sb celebration that Black and Wou finally decided to make it official. For the Owl’s last “Secret Sunday” supper, Black turned her kitchen over to Wou’s tasty pastry creations and served up a $15 prix fixe menu featuring 13 goodness-stuffed, flaky-crusted — and yes, completely adorable — handheld pies. There were sweet treats like candied squash and pumpkin, brandy pecan, and chocolate peanut butter (all mouthwatering, I might add), but the majority of the menu was weighted toward the savory: classics like chicken and osso bucco, as well as punch-packing wild cards like roasted eggplant in coconut curry, lamb tagine, and pork belly. And oh, the pork belly; it’s braised in beer, fat-filled, totally flavorful, and balanced by a mix of shiitakes, hard-boiled egg, scallions, and cilantro.
Currently, Black is offering two sweet and two savory pies (one vegetarian, one carnivore friendly) as part of the Blue Owl’s daily menu. And Wou, who is currently splitting her time between pie baking, private cheffing, and working in the pastry kitchen at Metropulos Fine Foods, could not be happier.
“I didn’t get into pastry until I went to SBCC, but I always loved cooking savory foods, so I really liked the option of being able to do both,” says Wou, who’s using a medley of organic, local ingredients for filling fodder.
For pie-ficionados, though, the true test is all in the crust, and Tartisan doesn’t skimp on the good stuff. “There’s lots of butter,” laughs Wou, who whips up both sweet and savory styles, depending on the filling. And as for the secret, she says it’s just practice, practice, practice.
“My crust recipe is really simple, but I definitely had to make it a lot to perfect it,” she explains. “Cindy makes bread, and she told me that with crust you kind of have to treat it like a baby’s bottom; you have to be super gentle with it.”
And with the biggest pie day of the year fast approaching, Tartisan is cranking things into high gear — and taking orders for everything on the menu. Those looking to elevate their T-Day table can choose between 15 pie flavors in sizes ranging from bite-size, minis, and handhelds to tartlets and to 9-inch rounds. To place an order, call (310) 351-3232. It is, quite literally, easy as pie.