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Best of LA: Finding A Winner

We search, we sample, we argue. Deciding on the best isn’t as easy as pie

1 For the Best Pie category, associate editor Leilah Bernstein polled friends, coworkers, and fellow foodies on which establishments were their favorites. Food blogs and message boards expanded the options.

2 On the appointed tasting day, Bernstein conscripted family members to help pick up pies at several Eastside bakeries and restaurants. Dine editor Lesley Bargar rounded up samples in Mid City. Senior writer Margot Dougherty made stops on the Westside, while research editor Eric Mercado brought in samples from Long Beach.

3 Twenty-two pies, identifi ed only by number, were laid out on the conference room table. For once, everyone showed up to a meeting on time. Hungry staffers piled in to offer their taste buds’ service.

4 As editors and designers sampled berry pies and chocolate cream concoctions, Bernstein and senior writer Dave Gardetta captured comments. “Tastes like baby vomit” was one. “Intimidating crust” was another. Others were rated “yummy,” “perfect,” and “not too sweet.”

5 Everyone loved the banana cream pie from Jongewaard’s Baken-Broil, in Long Beach. But the overwhelming favorite was the pecan from Pie ’n Burger.

6 Bernstein wanted to confirm that Pie ’n Burger excelled at making other flavors, so she stopped into the Pasadena restaurant on a weekend for a slice of lemon meringue. Mission accomplished: Without a doubt, Pie ’n Burger makes the best pies in L.A.

Photograph courtesy of flickr/Martin Cathrae