A Two-Day Drive for a Piece of Pie in Richland, Washington

Storm Coffee is set up in a beautifully restored Airstream trailer in Richland, Washington

Storm Coffee is set up in a beautifully restored Airstream trailer in Richland, Washington

This is a story that begins in Jasper, Alberta and ends a month and thousands of kilometres away in Richland, Washington. Ostensibly, the quest is a failure, but as is often the case, the accidental result is equally rewarding, if not more so, than if everything went according to plan.

The Jasper beginning is in laundromat/café SnowDome, which pulls a wicked espresso from a custom Slayer machine with walnut paddles, built in Seattle. Intrigued, I check the Slayer website, which features one of its machines in a beautifully restored 1964 Airstream trailer in Richland, part of the Tri-Cities area of southeast Washington.

I’m planning a long road trip that will pass through the area, so I pencil in a must-see visit to Strom Coffee. I’m also impressed by owner Kelly Nelson’s attention to detail, witness the house-made coffee syrups, organic dairy products from grass-fed cows, availability of cashew milk and refusal to drown their meticulous shots in milk or sugar. But when I arrive expectantly on the trailer doorstep, a sign announces they’re closed for the day (a reminder to check Twitter feeds more often). Say it ain’t so!

So I wander over to a nearby food truck, *The Street Grill, whose owner, Rebecca says of Strom, “He’s never closed.” And yet, he is.

The Street Grill makes great artisan burgers in Richland, Washington

The Street Grill makes great artisan burgers in Richland, Washington

With nothing better to do, I order one of her artisan burgers—hand fashioned from a Windy River Meat blend of brisket, short rib and chuck, with a little butter added to the mix, southern style, to add some flavour to the lean cuts. Perfectly grilled, with crispy onions aboard and stacked inside an excellent, custom bun that holds its shape, it reminds me of the lightly adorned burgers we used to make at home, only better.

Everything's better with a little butter, including this fresh-ground burger at The Street Grill

Everything’s better with a little butter, including this fresh-ground burger at The Street Grill

Almost as an afterthought, Rebecca asks if I’d like to try a sample of one of her almost tart-sized, thin pies. This is a blueberry-raspberry version, with a reduction sauce from a local winery’s Syrah port.

I rarely eat pie, but this looks so good, I try a bite. And then another. And another. Oh, my God, is this good! I drag over a new-found food friend, who wolfs down an entire mini pie in perhaps a minute. We agree, it’s probably the best pie we’ve had in maybe, FOREVER.

Cast your eyes on this blueberry-raspberry, port-reduction pie and jump in your car.

Cast your eyes on this blueberry-raspberry, port-reduction pie and then jump in your car. It’s that life-altering good

Rebecca then interrupts the reverie with the news that this might be a pie that’s only available to the winery, Barnard Griffin, and its patrons. Someone’s got to stop her.

The Street Grill
300 Knight Street (John Dam Plaza), Richland, Washington
Monday to Saturday 11 am-5 pm. Closed Sunday

Strom Coffee
300 Knight Street (John Dam Plaza), Richland, Washington
Monday to Thursday 6:30 am-3:30 pm, Friday 6:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sunday

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One thought on “A Two-Day Drive for a Piece of Pie in Richland, Washington

  1. N. Corbett

    One of your best posts yet! Drama, passion, . . . initial expectations dashed, only to find an unexpected, swoony thrill right next door. Also loved the bit about dragging over a new-found food friend ’cause you just had to share the bliss. Great ending, too.

    Like

    Reply

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