Posted by: Pat | November 12, 2011

Apple Pan Diner

While on a short lay over in LA, California, we decided to visit with one of our sons who now calls LA home. It was lunch time, so he suggested that we go to  a local dinner that specializes in steak hamburgers and home-made pies, The Apple Pan. How could you say no to that. LA has a lot of small restaurants that are supported by the locals but undiscovered by the tourist. This was one of these spots. The seating is limited, just one counter. The regulars just hang out around the wall until a seat opens up. The seats turn over quickly. There is no reason to soak up the ambience. It is all about the hamburger. There a few other things on the menu (egg salad, tuna fish). But I didn’t see anyone eating any thing other than hamburgers and fries,  and of course home-made pies. The hamburgers were delicious. I especially like the steak burger. The food is prepared on the other side of the counter. You can watch your burger get flipped and wrap while you sip your coke or iced tea.

It is hard to describe the customer service. It was good if you were a regular and knew how to order. But the counter server becomes inpatient if you haven’t decided your order before you sit down. After eating a large steak burger and sharing an order of pie,  we shared a huge slice of apple pie for desert. It was home-made and the origin of the recipe was on the menu. If you want a bit of nostalgia then you will enjoy The Apple Pan. You will find it in the Culver City neighborhood. www.applepan.com

Posted by: Pat | August 19, 2009

Shaker Village, New Hampshire

While in New Hampshire we visited the Canterbury Shaker Village. The village was now a museum since there only three Shakers left in the US. The Shakers are a branch of the Quakers.  One of the things that I did not know about the Shakers is that they were a celibate sect. They increased their numbers by adopting orphans. The orphans were given an option to leave the sect when they turned 18. The Shakers are known for their simplicity. This is demonstrated in their furniture, farm buildings, and even their pies.

We had a pocket pie at the Shaker Village. Pocket pies are now the new rage. William-Sonoma is currently offering pocket pie mold. The pocket pie that we had was a simpler version, no mold required.

The Shaker women rolled out a large rectangle pastry made from flour, shortening, sugar, salt and milk. They would then put dabs of filling (usually a fruit filling) about 3 inches apart on the pastry. Then fold the pastry over and then cut them into individual servings, usually in a square. An opening was cut in the center of each square to let the steam escaped while cooking.  The pies were baked and then given to the men to take to the fields to eat as a morning snack. The pocket pie that we had was a wonderful blueberry in a circle shape. This was a wonderful treat of flaky pastry and sweet, gooey filling.

Posted by: Pat | August 17, 2009

Whoopie Pie

We are visiting NH and enjoying beautiful views. We were there the week of the Lupine Festival. We found a beautiful field of Lupines that was carefully cared for by a group of neighbors. Throughout the garden was inspirational plaques. While visiting here, we ate our first Whoopie Pie.

Whoopie pie is not really a pie but a small cake about the size of a hamburger. The whoopie pie was created by the Pennsylvania Amish but New England has adopted the whoopie pie as one of their comfort foods. The pie was originally made with left over batter and filling. The pies were made small to be placed in lunch boxes as a treat. When the pie was discovered, the recipient yelled “Whoopie”. So they became known as a whoopie pie.

The pie is soft cake sandwich with a cream filling. The cake is usually chocolate or vanilla and is always made with a vegetable shortening. A commercial bakery in Maine  has baked Whoopie Pies since the 1930s. They use marshmallow fluff for the filling. The local bakers made fillings from egg whites, confectioners sugar, shortening, milk, vanilla, and desired flavor. We had lemon filling between our two vanilla cakes. But you could make the filling with marshmallow cream. I think I prefer the lemon filling.  This is a yummy dessert and would be easy to do at home.

Posted by: Pat | August 5, 2009

New Hampshire

I spent a week in the beautiful New Hampshire in June just at the beginning of the berry season. Our first stop after we got our bags at the airport was to find a fresh pie. We were told that we could get great pie at the Sugar River Baking Company in Manchester. We settled on the strawberry-rhubarb pie since the strawberries were still in season in NH. I didn’t ask about the rhubarb since I can’t imagine having rhubarb in anything especially pie. It happens that my husband grew up eating strawberry-rhubarb pie in the  Midwest and claimed that this was his favorite pie. The strawberry-rhubarb  pie was great. Both tart and sweet at the same time.

I really wanted a cranberry pie since I was in New England. I had a cranberry pie one Thanksgiving and was blown away by its tartness. Luck have it we found a great Cherry- Cranberry pie  at the Common Man Restaurant. The Common Man had to be one of my favorite restaurants. We ate there three times while visiting NH. There are several Common Man restaurants throughout the stare, all with a different theme. The one in Lincoln had woodsy mountain theme and a sophisticated menu. I liked the combination of the cherry with the cranberry. It added sweetness to the pie. These New Englanders have a talent in combining sweetness and tartness.

cherry cranberry

cherry cranberry

Posted by: Pat | January 28, 2009

Texas Pies

Texas is lucky to have several pie shops. There is Fredericksbutg Pie company in Fredericksburg, Beverly Kitchen in Chappel Hill, Royers in Round Top, and  Texas Pie Company in Kyle, Texas. It was hard to decide which one to visit, Since Texas is so big, it ended in being a decision about location. Being near Austin, the Texas Pie Company in Kyle was a definite destination.   Texas Pie Company is lunch counter diner where you can order sandwiches, soup and chicken pot pie. With you sweet pies, you can either buy a whole pie or a small individual pie. There were a large selection that day and choosing just one was too difficult.   So we chose three individual pies. My husband’s choice was the pecan pie. Their secret is a special spice that they put  in the pecan mixture.  I had heard about the Texas Buttermilk Pie and definitely wanted to try a slice. The Buttermilk pie is similar to a chess pie. The filling is  simple mixture of buttermilk, eggs, and the secret spice. I was intrigue by the Almond Joy pie. The filling consist of buttermilk, coconut, almonds, chocolate, butter, sugar and eggs. It did taste like an Almond Joy candy bar.

If you are in Austin, visit Kyle Texas and then head West to the Hill Country of Texas to visit President Johnson’s ranch know as the Texas White House. The ranch is now a state park and still an active working farm. You may have to negotiate around cows and tractors but well worth the trip. You can see why Johnson loved coming here. In the Spring, you can witness bluebonnets and many varieties of wildflowers covering the rolling hills. They have restored the working office as it was in the 60s. It was interesting to see pictures of the Johnson hosting Texas barbecue for foreign head of states.

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