Late one afternoon in mid-march, as winter stubbornly continued to dictate the weather patterns in North America, I had a sudden and unforeseen yearning for apple pie. This was unusual as I was in the midst of a highly successful low-carb diet and had steadfastly committed to my austere regimen. Also, I have always had some fondness for that particular dessert, but it was never my favorite, nor was it ever really in my top ten, should I have decided to build such a list. Nonetheless Malus sieversii flan thoughts and neuroimagery began to feature more conspicuously in my consciousness.
This undeclared craving was ultimately revealed a few weeks later, when driving home late at night from a rock concert, without warning, I turned and said to my amazingly supportive wife, “Fancy some apple pie and coffee at the Silver Diner in Tysons Corner?” “Sure,” she fired back enthusiastically, never being one to miss out on any form of culinary excursion, regardless of time or place. And so my journey began. Over the next three months I would eat thirty-three apple pies.
My thirty-three pies were consumed at western-style eateries throughout North America, Central America, and Asia in a variety of establishments ranging from diners to high-end restaurants. I did not set out to make a Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) Apple Pies Me type of documentary but I found myself increasingly taking mental notes and making comparisons nonetheless. Oh, and there is a handy little camera built into my phone which now has a purpose. I did end up using a few Spurlockian ground rules, for example, I would ask the server for apple pie and ice cream or the closest dessert item fitting that general description. If an item was not suggested as a close alternative I would forgo the feasting experience.
The best pie I had in this adventure was from the Little Apple Pastry shop in Aldie VA. This is a bakery in a tiny little drive-through, one-street kinda town run by delightful old ladies who look as though they have been working there since the civil war. The pie was sooo good, measured by the fact that the naked apple slices rivaled the pastry for my attention (10/10).
The worst experience was at the Cheesecake Factory in Tysons Corner, VA, where they served me the biggest portion of stuff that looked as though a fire extinguisher had gone off in the kitchen next to the pie. It was just a big caloric soupy mix of ice cream and other whitish-brownish creams with some sunken apple creation underneath. This was a real shame, and a surprise to me, as the Cheesecake Factory is excellent for most other items including their signature desserts (1/10).
Other notables include the Silver Diner in Tysons (7/10), the Metro Diner in Arlington VA (7/10), Old Angler’s Inn in MD (8/10), Cooper’s Hawk Winery in Tampa, FL (8/10), and Barrel and Bushel’s in the Hyatt hotel in Tysons (7/10).
In any event, my culinary experiment is over for now, as I must, for the sake of my skinny jeans, return to the rigor of my low-carb diet. But what a journey! I will most certainly seek out and enjoy apple pies in the future but for the time being I need to earn that luxury.