There is truly nothing like hot apple pie... Well, except when it has ooey, gooey, yummy melted cheddar cheese ontop. O! Heaven! Reminds me of the scene from the John Travolta flick "Michael": the gang is sitting around a table in some dive diner trying every pie on the menu and Andi McDowell's character breaks out in song extolling the joys of variety in flavors available to those who seek it. The lyrics end in "Pie, me oh my! I love pie!" And yes, I do.
NOT ALL PIES ARE CREATED EQUAL: I've been making treks up to Julian, California – an hour drive from downtown San Diego – for apple pie and a dose of small town Americana as long as I've had a driver's license. There are several competing pie bakeries on or near Main Street but the two that strike up the most discussion are Mom's Pies and the Julian Pie Company.
For years, my friends and I have dealt with the lines and crowds at Mom's which is in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of Main Street. The interior is quaint with plenty of tables and a wood burning fireplace that helps cut the chill during winter visits. The aroma of warm apples and cinnamon envelop you like a big warm hug the moment you open the door. Service has always been fast and friendly and then of course there is the subject of apple pie. The pie has always been good, the crust flaky, the apples juicy and sweet.
The recent (as in the last 6 years) favorite has become the Julian Pie Company. It's towards the end of "downtown" Julian and I discovered it while roaming around looking for Pioneer Cemetery. The smiles and laughter of customers sitting on the patio of the bakery caught my attention first and then as I neared, the smell of fresh coffee intermingling with cinnamon apples hit me next. There was a sign out listing their specials and I was pleasantly surprised that they offered half sandwiches, chips, a drink and a slice of pie for a very reasonable price. Hunger drew me in that first time but it's the service and of course, their specialty of warm melted cheese over a slice of pie of your choice that keeps me coming back trek after trek. They have a comfortable backyard patio, limited indoor seating and a front patio. I have never encounterd a shortage of places to rest and enjoy a meal.
See you in Julian! I'll be the one sitting in the shade on the back patio with the big cuppa joe and apple crumb pie with melted cheddar on top. Yum!
YOUR TURN: If you're in Southern California, do you prefer Mom's or the Julian Pie Company?