Category Archives: pie

Formidable French Bakery in Central Washington State

French toast and strong coffee hits the spot at Anjou Bakery near Cashmere, Washington

French toast and strong coffee hits the spot at Anjou Bakery near Cashmere, Washington

An artisan bakery near the speck-on-a-map town of Cashmere in central Washington has my GPS so befuddled it sends me out to an apple orchard. Finally, I seek directions from a local, who directs me back to Highway 97/2, just west of Wenatchee, where I soon spy a big road sign for Anjou Bakery (which aptly is backed by a pear orchard). So much for high technology.

Inside the lovely cafe is a bakery, which for some two decades has been producing loaves of hearth-fired bread. But that’s just the opening act for an irresistible lineup of baked goodies one might expect in a French patisserie.

There are flaky almandines, airy meringues, mini cherry and marionberry pies. I go for a crispy slice of fruit-filled French “toast” to accompany a good, strong coffee. Formidable!

Why go for a slice of formidable pie when you have the whole thing?

Why go for a slice of formidable pie when you have the whole thing?

Other customers don’t seem encumbered by my directional challenges, as there’s a steady stream of travellers stopping for their morning treats. One simply says to the server: “Give me six of your pastries. You choose.”

Anjou Bakery
3898 Old Monitor Highway, Cashmere, Washington
Thursday to Sunday 8 am-5 pm. Closed Monday to Wednesday
509-782-4360

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Old-School Diner in Snowville, Utah

Mollie's Cafe is a classic diner just off the interstate in tiny Snowville, Utah

Mollie’s Cafe is a classic diner just off the interstate in tiny Snowville, Utah

A woman peers over the high counter as I enter Mollie’s Cafe in Snowville, the last Utah outpost on the I-84 west before it enters Idaho.

“Are you a salesman?” she asks, perhaps noticing the nylon briefcase slung over my shoulder. “Because if you are, I’m not buying.”

“But, hey,” I counter, “aren’t you selling something? Like, maybe, food?”

“I’m just the cook,” she laughs.

Lots of barstools and red vinyl booths. What's not to like?

Lots of barstools and red vinyl booths. What’s not to like?

Mollie’s is the kind of place you enter as much for the colour, the character and the conversation as the food—and the food’s pretty damn good for a classic country kitchen.

I go for a classic BLT on sourdough, lots of crunchy bacon to offset the tomatoes. Nicely done, with a side of chunky vegetable and beef soup. There’s nearly a dozen fresh fruit and cream pies to tempt, but with hours still to drive, I don’t want to fall into a food coma.

The classic diner fare is bountiful and affordable

The classic diner fare is bountiful and affordable

Of course, the soup comes with crackers

Of course, the soup comes with crackers

Mollie’s Café
15 Main Street, Snowville, Utah
Daily 6 am-10 pm
435-872-8295

A Perfect Way to Fill Your Pie Hole

The sour cherry hand pie at Calgary's Pie Hole is a devastating combination of buttery pastry and tangy berries

The sour cherry hand pie at Calgary’s Pie Hole is a devastating combination of buttery pastry and tangy berries

Contemplating some pie? You’re no doubt fixated on the contents. Will it be apple or key lime? Chicken or beef?

Sure, the crust is important. But critical?

Well, it certainly is when you bite into the splendid offerings at Calgary’s charming new Pie Hole. Virtually everything on the short menu is cocooned inside the daily, made-from-scratch pastry. There’s fruit pies, meat pies, quiches and perfect, snack-sized hand pies of sweet and savoury varieties.

Take your time getting to the inside of  these delicacies, because the pastry is worth savouring like a fine wine. There’s a lot to consider here: the slight crunch, the flakiness, the butter. Ah, the butter. Pie Hole goes through some 30 pounds a day of this elixir, and it makes all the difference in the richness of the pies.

Golden brown pastry shells awaiting their contents. Though I think you could eat these beauties on their own.

Golden brown pastry shells awaiting their contents. Though I think you could eat these beauties on their own.

This is not to say the innards don’t matter. The chicken pot pie ($8), for instance, contains tender chunks of chicken, gravy and all the requisite vegetables. A winter quiche might feature tomato, fresh herbs and chevre.

And then there’s the sour cherry hand pie ($5), a devastating combination of tart Saskatchewan berries and that amazing pastry. You can take it, or anything else, home with you. But I’ll bet it’s gone by the time you reach the car, crumbs trailing you across the parking lot.

Pie Hole partner Torin Shuster after a 12-hour shift of pie making. Now that's dedication

Pie Hole partner Torin Shuster after a 12-hour shift of pie making. Now that’s dedication

The Pie Hole
8 Spruce Centre SW, Calgary
Wednesday to Sunday 9 am-6 pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday
403-452-3960