In Search of Pie: Coffee Cup Cafe and More

IMG_8639
A slice of peach and a slice of blackberry pie at Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully, IA

Whenever I travel I brake for pie. When I travel in Iowa I make a special effort to seek out pie. Before I left I found an on-line feature by Michaela Kendall, “10 Places in Iowa Where You Can Get the Most Mouth-Watering Pie.” (February 21, 2016) I looked these restaurants up on Google maps to see if I’d be going near on my road trip. Alas, only one was close enough to ask my cousins to go with me to try the pie.

The Coffee Cup Cafe in Sully, Iowa is somewhere my cousins know well. We made it part of my tour of Pella and surrounding countryside. We had to work up an appetite for lunch before we got to Sully. I learned a lot about the Vermeer tractor manufacturer, and Goalsetter basketball hoops. It was great also to see the golf course where my cousin Jerry plays and the reservoir where the Army Corps is retrofitting hydroelectric power. (With wind power, Iowa is getting very green!) .

IMG_8632Then we arrived for pie in Sully. Sully has another claim to fame: a Freedom Rock by Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II. The artist is creating a rock painting to honor veterans in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

The Coffee Cup Cafe had a group of Vermeer employees arrive for pie just before we walked in. These hungry gentlemen almost wiped out the white board of pies available. We quickly ordered pie, whew! We enjoyed our lunch and pie and continued on our way.

Cousins also recommended that we try the Menlo Cafe in Menlo, IA. It is a cafe owned by the city and leased to a caterer so the town will always have a breakfast and lunch place for people to gather. Fortunately, the caterers also bake good pie. Tevis and I tried their breakfast buffet and I ordered a slice of rhubarb pie. It was excellent and the waitress complemented me on my breakfast choice of pie.

RAGBRAI is going to roll through Menlo and Stuart in a couple of weeks. I highly recommend you try the pie at Menlo Cafe. My cousin Kathy bakes a terrific pie and she lives in Dexter/Stuart. I thought for sure she’d be baking for a pie fundraiser for her Catholic church when RAGBRAI rolled through. Too bad for the cyclists, the church as decided to bake and sell cookies. Lucky for me, she brought a gooseberry pie and her famous black raspberry pie and I got to try a small slice of each at our family reunion.

IMG_8792
Saving the best for last! Kathy’s black raspberry pie and gooseberry pie.

American as… pie

Pie Ranch on California Highway 1
Pie Ranch on California Highway 1

While driving from Capitola to Half Moon Bay on California Highway 1, I saw this sign and almost broke my axle turning off the road to check it out.

I love pie. I love pie more than cookies, or cake or any other sweet thing. So the idea of a ranch that produces pies sounded like heaven. And it was a little slice of.

I parked the car and entered a large barn. Pie Ranch is a combination of fruit and veggie stand, community center and pie bakery. They had hosted a barn dance the night before and they had lots of individual pies left over. I debated between ordering peach and walnut.  I chose peach pie. The filling was delicious but the crust was too dense. Still it tasted yummy.  And with a cup of coffee it made a great treat.

Pie Ranch is in Pescadero not far from the Ano Nuevo State Park famous for the colony of elephant seals that breed here in winter and an easy bike ride from the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel.

The experience also inspired me to think about celebrating pie at least once a month. I come from a long line of pie baking women and I enjoy making pies. Yet I should not eat a whole pie alone, so I invited some friends to join me at the Wednesday Night Farmers market for “Pie Night.” And last night I made a peach pie with my friend Petrea using the recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Tonight I took the peach pie, a blanket to sit on and a thermos of decaf coffee and shared my pie. It was delicious and just the right balance of fruit and crust.

Peaches grown in Hughson, pie made by American Julie
Peaches grown in Hughson, pie made by American Julie