About one of the only places near San Diego where you can experience “real weather” is by taking a little trip up into the mountains to visit Julian, CA. It’s our little mountainside retreat, best known for their Apple Pies in the fall when it’s Apple Picking Season. My friend, Laura and I took a little trip up to the mountain town on Halloween weekend for a little break from the city and to try out a few different pies from around town.
I think most everyone can agree that the two “big contenders” for Julian apple pie are “Mom’s Pie House” and the “Julian Pie Company” so we definitely made sure to visit both. Our “third” contender was the Apple Alley Bakery, which is a small shop just across the street from “Mom’s”.
First place we went to on our day trip (after lunch, of course) was to the Julian Pie Company.
They sell a bunch of stuff – not just pies. Including cider donuts!
I had a sample. Damn. It was good.
We went with “Crumb Apple Pie” at the Julian Pie Company. I’ll tell you right now this is the prettiest piece we had that day. The pie was only slightly heated for us (I suspect it had been heated longer but maybe sat on the counter for a bit before being give to us) which made us a little sad since it was cold and windy and we had to sit outside to eat it. The apples inside the pie had a good flavor and weren’t too mushy. The crumb topping really covers every inch of the pie and is golden, flaky, crumbly and sweet. The pie crust is flaky, too with a nice crispness to it.
We wandered a bit into a few shops before our 2nd pie stop at Apple Alley Bakery.
I had a dumb headache and only took this photo of the pies from outside of the shop instead of the case inside the restaurant.
At Apple Alley, we got a slice of their Caramel Pecan Apple Pie. In retrospect, we should have also gotten an Apple Crumb pie but my taste buds wanted to try something different. With the caramel-pecan thing going on, I was reminded of a sticky bun right off the bat. It was tart on one side of the pie, and really sweet on the (caramel) side. The balance of flavors was kind of off for my tastes. I didn’t like that some of the apples tasted way too tart. The caramel also got stuck to my teeth, which made me slightly resentful of this pie. Sorry, pie, I know it wasn’t your fault.
Our last stop for pie was at Mom’s Pie Shop. Here’s a slightly blurry inside photo of a their shop. Look at all of those pies!
Since it was getting late in the day and I didn’t want to drive down the winding roads in the dark, this was our last stop of the day. I decided to buy 2 whole pies here simply because it was our last stop and we didn’t have time to get a slice (besides, I was pretty full by then – good thing we shared our slices!).
Since I cut this slice out, it was ugly looking. But never you mind that because it still tasted fine, no matter how it looked. This one isn’t too sweet but the apples aren’t tart, either. The crumb topping is sweet enough to satisfy any sweet tooth. Nice flaky crust and good overall flavor.
I think my favorite pie is still the crumb apple pie from the Julian Pie Company – which is where I usually go for my slices of pie when I visit Julian. Mom’s is in a very, very close second – you really can’t go wrong with either pie – while Apple Alley is in 3rd even though I didn’t give them a fair shot since I tried a different pie. In any case, everyone’s a winner with eating delicious pies and a boost to the local economy! Yay for pie!