NOTE: I was going to save this post for later in the week, but given that it’s British Pie Week (March 3 to March 9), I wanted to share with all of you!
Only we’re going to be talking about Irish Pie right now, specifically savory pies from Cooke’s of Dublin at Downtown Disney.
Growing up in North Carolina in the 1970′s and 1980′s our only experience with savory pies was with frozen chicken pot pies… Until we went to Newcastle (England) last summer, while there we had Pies & Pints at the Redhouse three times; yes, we fell in love with Northumbrian savory pies.
We’ve walked past Cooke’s of Dublin at Downtown Disney hundreds of times and have never stopped in to get something to eat – their main food attraction is fish and chips plus they’re so damned close to Raglan Road (we’re much more likely to go to Raglan Road for “nibbly bits”). We stopped in a few weeks ago determined to give the two fresh made pies a try, only to find out that although Cooke’s of Dublin opens at 10:30 or so, the pies wouldn’t be ready until closer to 11:00 (what? why isn’t everything on the menu available when opening?)… So, we specifically planned to return after 11:00 on another day, get the two pies and a couple of pints, and let you know what we thought of them.
We went to the hostess stand at Raglan Road and asked if we bought pies at Cooke’s, could we come into the bar and get a couple of beers and eat at the bar? We were told “no” – so what caused us to think that we could do such a thing? A few days earlier, we had read on the Disney Food Blog that AJ goes into Raglan Road and gets the “Irish Vintage Cheese and Bacon Dip” from Cooke’s while eating at Raglan Road – I believe that she said anyone could do that because they’re basically the same place. Well, anyway, we were told “no” – guess we aren’t famous bloggers who can get special treatment.
Smithwicks (pronounced Smit-icks)
I had a Smithwicks and Nick had a Guiness – we bought these at the small outside bar next to Cooke’s. We were able to get a table in the shade and as it was early midday, the heat wasn’t too bad yet.
There are two pies on the menu, they look pretty much the same when you get them…
Chicken and Field Mushroom Pie with “chips”
The chicken pie contained Chicken Breast, Mushrooms, Leeks, and Potatoes in a Rich Creamy Sauce.
Beef and Lamb Pie
The beef and lamb pie contained Ground Beef and Lamb, Fresh Carrots, and Potatoes.
A good look at the top of an Irish pie
It was also adorned with a bamboo bar skewer (as I said they look the same, so they have to have some way to tell them apart).
Let’s start with the “chips” – these aren’t chips as we came to know them in England and Scotland – they’re more like what we call “steak fries” – too crunchy/crispy and too brown for true chips. Harry wouldn’t like these much, but they’re better than long skinny fries in his estimation. The chips come standard with the pies at Cooke’s of Dublin.
Beef and Lamb Pie
We couldn’t detect any lamb flavor in the ground meat. The carrots are finely julienned. The potatoes are in the form of mashed potatoes forming the top layer of filling. This pie tasted best when you could get a bite of everything – the filling was a bit dull all alone.
Chicken and Field Mushroom Pie
There were large (and small) pieces of chicken breast in here, moist and good. The potato mash was at the bottom of this pie. The flavors were more complex in this pie. We both preferred it over the Beef and Lamb pie.
The crust was flakier than we expected. The pies in England had a “short crust” meaning that it wasn’t flaky. I suspect that the crust here is made by using a cold butter pie dough that is rolled thin and folded over a few times, this creates large flakes in the final product. I also noticed that the crust seemed to be wrapped many times along the “cylinder” of the pie (remember, these are like little chimney pots – this makes for sturdy sides on a taller pastry. Okay, enough discussion of crusts
If we go back to Cooke’s of Dublin for pie, we’d get the chicken over the beef and lamb AND we’d likely ask for no chips. The pies were good and filling… Kevin Dundon, you’re our favorite celebrity chef at Walt Disney World and we’re looking forward to your luncheon demonstration next week, but if we’re thinking about eating pie and having a pint, we’re daydreaming about The Redhouse in Newcastle.