It's probably prudent to give thanks to Nicole Rucker for the insanely delicious pies at Gjusta, the new Venice food hall opened by the Gjelina folks. Rucker was the opening pastry chef at Gjusta, and though she's since left the business, the quality of her pies lives on. Whether you're in search of a seasonal fruit pie or something more dense and chocolatey or lemony, the daily selection will have something to thrill you. The savory pies are revelatory, particularly the pork pot pie. Slight variations on a theme — such as a raspberry rhubarb pie rather than the usual strawberry rhubarb — show us the glories possible when just a little creativity is added to the mix. Perfectly buttery, flaky crusts and fillings that dance on that sweet/sour edge with extreme elegance put these pies way above most of the dedicated pie shops in town. And if pie isn't your thing, the chocolate olive oil cake with pink peppercorn icing is pretty amazing, too.
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