This week, Fat Pants Friday is doing double duty as the latest installment in Adventures in Price Gouging. Because while Fat Pants exists for the sole purpose of celebrating the sweeter side of life, it sometimes encounters a dessert whose ample qualities are severely compromised by the price tag attached to it.
Such is the case with Blue Smoke Bake Shop’s key lime pie. It is a marvelous example of its kind: The filling is light, creamy, and redolent of tart citrus, and rests upon a sturdy graham cracker crust that’s got a pleasantly toasty flavor and terrific crunch. And the blob of unsweetened whipped cream is a nice touch, and plenty of fun to lick off a fork.
It’s an ethereal pie. But it’s brought crashing down to earth by its price tag, which is $8.66 including tax.
As you can see from the picture above, while this is a very good slice of pie, it is not a very substantial slice of pie. And while quantity certainly shouldn’t be the sole determining factor in cost, charging almost $9 for one dainty piece of pie is, if not criminal, then certainly ridiculous.
If the pie were the product of a tiny, independent bakeshop struggling to make its rent, then perhaps one could be more sympathetic, but it comes from a large, profitable restaurant that is part of a large, profitable restaurant group. It’s not as if Blue Smoke is living and dying by this bakeshop, which isn’t a shop but a dollhouse-sized counter and display case wedged next to the front door. So the pricing feels both unnecessary and mean, designed to remind you that your reward for buying into Blue Smoke’s version of homey, just-like-mom-used-to-make Americana is being bitch-slapped by only-in-New York retail prices.
So can Fat Pants recommend this pie? If we’re taking only quality into account, then yes. But if we’re looking at the bigger, more tawdry picture of forking over almost nine bucks for a dessert that is neither without rival nor likely to satisfy an appetite, then no. Sometimes, dignity has to trump dessert.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 3, 2010