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Tiny Pies Serves Up Austin Thanksgiving Flavor

Large size pumpkin pie from Tiny Pies in Austin, TX

November: when families across America come together to eat. Yes, lofty reasons exist for gathering and tasty dishes are made for savoring but face it: no Thanksgiving table is complete without pie.

But what kind of pie?

Austin’s locally owned Tiny Pies owner and founder Amanda Bates answers that question handily.

“Thanksgiving really goes with the Tiny Pies idea, our whole business concept, which is that everyone can have their favorite. No one has to be stuck eating their aunt’s favorite pie….We’re in the best business, and our storefront says all–‘We’re baking up smiles.’ That’s truly what we do.”

Tiny Pies is Austin Grown

Front view of Tiny Pies Burnet Road store in Austin, TX
Tiny Pies original shop on Burnet Rd. Photo Credit: Annie Ray Photography

 

Tiny Pies founders and owners Amanda Bates and her mother Kit Seay have lived in Austin since 1976. Both women graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, and this mother and daughter duo has always loved baking. Since 2011, Tiny Pies has been the family business and a labor of love.

Listening to Bates talk about pies reveals the depth of that love. Just try to nail down her preferences:

“My favorite pie changes seasonally, along with the local produce. Right now it’s cherry (I love how really bold and tart the flavor is). Pear cranberry is delicious, and I’m a pumpkin pie kind of gal, so there’s that. But year ‘round, coconut cream is one of my favorites. In the summer, I go for something that’s not too sweet, like our summer peach pie and the strawberry rhubarb.”

Large size pumpkin pie from Tiny Pies in Austin, TX
Pumpkin pie at Austin’s Tiny Pies can be big, too. Photo Credit: Annie Ray Photography

 

Bates and Seay developed Tiny Pies to solve a problem: how to pack pie in school lunches (truly, this is a family of serious pie lovers). Answer: handheld pie. Production started small but grew exponentially in 2012 after national exposure (Oprah Winfrey’s magazine). Tiny Pies moved out of Austin’s farmers markets, into retail locations (Burnet Rd. flagship and production facility, plus South Lamar shop), and expanded their offerings.

Still, Tiny Pies remains a family business. “‘Mom and I do pretty much everything,” Bates said. “I’m marketing and business development, and I oversee catering. Mom makes sure we’re on track—she’s involved in so much it’s hard to list it all.” Regular staff numbers about 20 employees, though ranks swell somewhat during busy times.

Tiny Pies box of pecan bites packaged for holiday gift giving
Pecan bites are perfect holiday host gift. Photo Credit: Annie Ray Photography

 

“We’re still a very hands-on shop,” Bates explained. “Nothing goes out of the kitchen without me knowing about it.” And if you’re arranging a catered event or corporate-branded gifts, that’s Bates on the Tiny Pies end.

“This is the time of year when we’re shipping pies all over the country for businesses to say ‘thank you’ to their clients. Working out those details (selection, shipping, price point, dates, etc.) is a very back-and-forth process. I do tons of that,” said Bates. “And I love working with customers; if I could, I’d work the store every day.”

Pie Beyond Thanksgiving

Platter of empanadas and savories from Austin's Tiny Pie company
When Austin temperatures drop, savory is on Tiny Pies menu. Photo Credit: Annie Ray Photography

 

December is a busy pie time, too. According to Bates, “we try to bring in more rich and hearty flavors,” tastes that pair well with a hot chocolate or a nice after-dinner toddy on a winter day. She mentioned a Christmas-y chocolate cream pie with peppermint whip is in the works. One of her favorite fruit pies, cranberry pear, and cherry are traditional choices for festive tables.

Don’t forget Pi Day (March 14). This national math-focused celebration is like Tiny Pies’ Super Bowl. “Pi Day is even harder than Thanksgiving, because it’s all compressed down to one day, “ Bates explained. Tiny Pies gets into Pi Day in a big way; each pie sports a pi cut out, perfect for that photo op. While stores normally carry 12 to 15 flavors, Tiny Pies adds some additional flavors so every pi lover can find the perfect treat.

What’s New at Tiny Pies

South Lamar location of Austin's Tiny Pies store
South Lamar Tiny Pies location in Austin, TX. Photo Credit: Annie Ray Photography

Not into sweets? November’s featured savory tiny pie is the Texas Pete (vegetarian chili and cornbread). How ‘bout spinach ricotta empanadas (half-moon filled pastries)? Or there’s the 5-inch veggie potpie, full of whatever seasonal goodness local resource Johnsons Backyard Garden has produced. At that size, potpies are a hearty solo meal or nicely shared by two.

“A lot of people don’t know we’re full-on lunch and dinner,” explained Bates. While the Burnet Rd. store is primarily for pick-up, the South Lamar location has indoor and outdoor seating, perfect for lingering.

The Tiny Pies team keeps baking up new ideas. “Oh, yeah, we take requests,” replied Bates when asked if customers ask for specific flavors.

Though the November menu is locked down, Bates pointed out that’s not usual: “ If people want to start seeing something in store or need a specific flavor for a party, sure.” She quickly added a caveat: Tiny Pies won’t compromise quality, so “everything has to be vegetarian, locally sourced when possible, and meet standards.”

Though Bates herself eats gluten free, there’s not currently a gluten free Tiny Pies option. Why? Too much flour flies around and Bates would hate to risk kitchen cross contamination. But in January, Tiny Pies hopes to add cups packed offsite with gluten-free pie fillings and cookie crust as an option.

How to Build the Perfect Holiday Pie Platter

Sampler of handheld pies from Austin's Tiny Pie
Pick up a sampler at Tiny Pies. Photo Credit: Annie Ray Photography

 

Austin’s Tiny Pies provided tips for a tasty no-fuss pie platter.

Provide an assortment. Bates says to choose an assortment of nut, fruit, and cream pies: “Everyone’s going to have a favorite; this covers your bases.”

Think about transport. Cream pies need refrigeration, so if you’re traveling for 30 minutes or more, these have to be kept cold. Tell the shop staff about your travel plans so they can assist with selection and packing (boxes work well for flights).

Choose size. Lots of tiny pies or a few big ones (Tiny Pies has 9-inch pies, too)? This Thanksgiving, pick up a box of 6 or 12 in-house assorted tiny pies Monday through Wednesday; you can pre-order selected assortments until Nov. 15. Would you like a bite? Tiny Pies has pecan pie bites for those who just “want a taste.”

Opt for seasonal. Bates gave November-specific recommendations. “Fruit, go with pear cranberry and cherry; someone always wants apple. We have two pumpkin varieties: chai whip and pumpkin cheesecake. Nut, choose Sweet Texas Pecan or the Texas Two-Step (pecan with brownie). And for cream, coconut and chocolate cream are always crowd pleasers.”

Top Trip Rentals Recommends

Measure Up Strong Man street art at Tiny Pies in Austin, Texas
Austin loves a good mural and Tiny Pies delivers. Photo Credit: Annie Ray Photography

 

Austin’s known for its wonderfully Instagrammable spots. Stop by the Burnet Rd. store to experience the original Tiny Pies vibe. Savor wonderful pie smells, pick one out, and snap an iconic Austin pic against the “Measure Up Strong Man” wall.

You can also bake your own Tiny Pie in our vacation rental home kitchens. Pick up a Tiny Pie in a jar and make your Austin “home away from home” smell heavenly.

Mmmm, pie.

 

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November 13, 2017

Do Holidays Right With a Vacation Rental Home

Package with tag and caption Vacation Homes for the Holidays

Is the thought of getting your home ready for holiday guests dragging you down? Are you worried that there just isn’t room for everyone? Will you be lucky to get time off to spend with family—and just forget about having days to cook and clean for visitors!

Why not let someone else take the hassle out of holiday hosting? Here are a few good reasons to book a vacation rental home for your next holiday gathering.

5 Holiday Reasons to Rent a Vacation Rental Home

group of four photos showing vacation rental homes in Austin for holidays

1. Grow a Spare Bedroom

Package with gift tag showing Top Trip Rentals logoGetting together as a group can be tough, especially when you have a big family. Many vacation rental homes maximize space with flexible floor plans; they’re set up to accommodate more guests.

For example, Top Trip Rental’s amazing private residence, the Graeber House, has multiple living areas, two kitchens, three bedrooms, and 3.5 baths (nobody’s waiting for a shower here!). A little secret for grown-ups: an indoor pool plus its location in the heart of Austin’s downtown destination, 6th St., provide amazing “wow” factor for special occasions.

 

2. Get Along Better with Family

Package with gift tag showing Top Trip Rentals logoThese days, many families are blended. Not everybody can comfortably share space. Why not book a cluster of rooms? Vacation rental homes’ more affordable pricing makes multiple books a realistic option for family members with varying needs.

Littlefield Lofts in Austin was recently holiday “home” for Top Trip Rentals company owner Chereen Fisher’s extended family.

“It was great,” Fisher said. “The kids opted to sleep in Grandma’s room as a special treat. We picked one loft, #701, where the families ate and gathered together. And my brother and sister-in-law had private, quiet space for baby in their own home.”

Littlefield Lofts’ 24 vacation rental homes within one building ensure a combination of space and privacy that works for your family. The Top Trip Rentals reservation team is happy to help you select the best lofts for your groups’ needs.

 

3. Let Someone Else Sweat the Prep

Package with gift tag showing Top Trip Rentals logoWouldn’t it be nice to simply spend your holiday time enjoying friends and loved ones? That vacation rental home you’ve booked for Thanksgiving will be clean and ready for company, plus you’ll be rested and ready for family fun.

Done celebrating? Someone else can wash sheets, clean bathrooms, and handle that messy kitchen.

Not everyone wants to cook a big meal. If you’d like to order in, Austin has several ways to work out having holiday dinner without the hassle.

Staying at Top Trip Rentals’ Hyde Park Hideaway? Maybe your crew would like to sup on Hyde Park Bar & Grill’s fabulous Cajun fried turkey. Since 1982, this local destination decorated by a giant fork has been wowing folks with comfort food (and everything on the menu can be ordered “take out”).

 

4. Pull Together a Friendsgiving

Package with gift tag showing Top Trip Rentals logoSometimes it’s the family we choose that needs celebrating. Why not make that holiday with friends an outing?

Choose a vacation rental home where everyone can fully relax. If you’re used to tiny house living, a large home with a spacious outdoor patio area might be just the thing for gathering together and kicking back. Go for a roomy kitchen for all the festive cooking you can’t accomplish in a crowded apartment.

Top Trip Rentals’ University Hills vacation rental home has four bedrooms (two are master suites with their own private baths!) and a big backyard patio. Plus there’s plenty of room inside to relax and watch those bowl games.

 

5. Make Holidays a Destination

Package with gift tag showing Top Trip Rentals logoGetting away to focus on the people you love is truly special. A beautiful location makes that precious time with family even more memorable.

If lakeside chats, strolls along the shore, and happy hours on the deck appeal to your family, book Top Trip Rentals’ Sunset Shores vacation rental home.

This large, 3,500-sq. ft. home, situated right on the shores of constant-level Lake LBJ in Marble Falls, provides plenty of room to roam and relax for as many as 12 people. And Central Texas’ mild winter temperatures allow you enjoy the outdoors no matter what season.

End every day of your special holiday retreat with a gorgeous sunset view from the deck!

 

Three photos showing Austin vacation rental home and New Year's Eve and holiday decorations

Rooms pictured here are Top Trip Rentals vacation homes ready for your holiday fun.

Book Now!

 

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November 8, 2017