Sunday, August 20, 2017

A La Mode Pies

Exterior at A La Mode Pies Phinney Ridge location
 As our trio drove up to the A La Mode Phinney Ridge location on the last Friday in July I wished we had budgeted time to visit the nearby zoo. I liked the look of the neighborhood and could see this being a place I would bicycle to in cooler weather.

The case was filled with a variety of delicious fruit and cream pie options. We got carried away by our first glimpse of the display case and decided to take home several whole pies rather than a sampling of single slices as had been my original plan. Knowing that the berries would be seasonal and local getting the cherry pie and the huckleberry-hazelnut pies was non-negotiable. Since I had competed another blogger's version of their Blue Hawaiian pie (blueberry pineapple with coconut crumb topping) in the second Heights Pie Contest in Houston, I had to get some of that pie so I could compare her recipe to theirs. The guys working behind the counter that day pursuaded us to get some of the cream pies as well, including Mexican chocolate and Peanut butter chocolate mousse pies.

I absolutely loved the marionberry-hazelnut and the cherry pies. The flavor of the former is like a sophisticated version of a PB&J. I learned from sampling a lot of different types of berry jams (marionberry, bumbleberry, tayberry, huckleberry, and loganberry) from Johnson Berry Farms in Pike Place Market that each has a distinct level of tartness and sweetness. Marionberry and loganberry both have more complex darker flavors that are reminiscent of fig or cocoa, so I can see why they make great pies. Cherry pie made from a canned filling just doesn't hold a candle to a sour cherry pie made from fresh cherries pitted by hand and cooked with sugar. The original version of Blue Hawaiian pie had a much finer amount of crumb topping with the majority being toasted coconut that was exactly what I thought needed tweaking from the Chattavore version. I'm sure local blueberries and fresh pineapple make a difference in the filling taste as well. We wound up eating these pies for breakfast in Anacortes for the next several days.

Mexican chocolate pie
Spiced apple pie
Blue Hawaiian pie
Star-Spangled Sour Cherry pie
We bought enough pie that we earned a free ice cream sample (completing our A La Mode). I was amused to find out that their ice creams are prepared for A La Mode by Snoqualmie Ice Cream because I had just discovered their lavender ice cream in Central Market in Houston. (I think because of lavender's being in the mint family, you get the same cold feeling from eating it as mint ice cream. I would probably tone down the lavender a bit and add blueberry or marionberry, which is unusual since I usually feel that ice cream needs more flavoring.)

The menu board

A collection of antique pie plates decorates the window

I only wish that we had time to have stopped at the West Seattle location on SW Alaska Street. They have an extensive menu of savory pies too. We could have made an entire meal on pies at that location. I guess that will have to wait for my next visit.

My wife models their sign board outside

All in all a great pie bakery that earns it's place among Rick Sebak's A Few Good Pie Places list (I found an article citing this PBS documentary on the bathroom wall). Great filling flavors, good crust, and friendly service. Little did we know at that point how much "damn good" pie we had yet to experience in the Northwest before our vacation ended...

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