Mission Im-pie-sible

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love2bake
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2013/02/08 11:11:46 (permalink)

Mission Im-pie-sible

My mission:  to come to this "Mecca" - the National Pie Championships in Celebration, Florida - to judge pies.

 

In the next few days, I'll post pics from two cross-country road trips from the SF Bay Area, California to Celebration, Florida in 2011 and 2012.  (See American Pie Council's Web site for more info:  http://piecouncil.org ) It will not be in-depth coverage, but a few highlights from these adventures, including some spots I learned about through the Roadfood site and the Sterns's book, 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late.  Thanks to buffetbuster for the encouragement to do this.  See you soon!
post edited by love2bake - 2013/02/18 16:25:20
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/08 11:23:16 (permalink)
    I am speechless at those pie tables!  This is going to be a great report!
    #2
    mar52
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/08 12:18:12 (permalink)
    I can't wait!
     
     
    #3
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/08 12:26:11 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    I am speechless at those pie tables!  This is going to be a great report!

    Kind of looks like my kitchen does once a year.
    #4
    lleechef
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/08 12:33:08 (permalink)
    Holy smokes, that's a lot of pie!!!!  Many years ago my mother won a competition in Pennsylvania for the best apple pie.  The funny part is, apple is her least favorite pie.
    #5
    chewingthefat
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/08 13:11:50 (permalink)
    How does one judge all of them?
    #6
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/08 13:37:16 (permalink)
    JRPfeff

    buffetbuster

    I am speechless at those pie tables!  This is going to be a great report!

    Kind of looks like my kitchen does once a year.
    And I can verify this.  Which is amazing since it only comes from one baker!

    #7
    MetroplexJim
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 09:58:48 (permalink)
    I saw a 'documentary' on this contest a few years ago and it was fascinating.  On the 60" Sony you could almost taste the wonderfulness.  Looking forward to the report.
    #8
    love2bake
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 12:04:19 (permalink)
    Thanks, everyone!  How does one judge so many?  We don't have to judge all of them--only the categories we volunteer for and are assigned to (which is still a bunch!).  More on that when I get to the competition.  For now, here goes the trip part.
    When I take I-10 across the country, the route takes me through Pasadena, which is right next to Glendora, which means The Donut Man! 
    http://roadfood.com/Resta...verview/7864/donut-man
    Their biggest claim to fame are their fresh fruit doughnuts; however, everything I've tried here has been wonderful.  One of my favorites is their Chocolate Bavarian Cream, which was worth every calorie:

     

     
    The next highlight of this trip was a stop at the San Francisco Giants Spring Training in Scottsdale, AZ:

     
    As many of you know, Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles is a must-stop in this area.  They recently moved their Phoenix location, and they have a location in Scottsdale as well.
    http://roadfood.com/Resta...os-chicken-and-waffles
    Here's the Betty Boop plate:

    Here's the side of grits.  Seriously--that's real butter on top!  Heavenly.

    Here's what my neighbors ordered:

    Other places I ate in this area were Ciao Cowboy, which was a fun fusion of primarily southwest and Italian cuisines, U.S. Egg (terrific breakfast), and Grimaldi's Pizzeria, which turned out to be a wonderful place of respite from the wild, wacky, spring-break vibe and heat of Scottsdale during Spring Training. Of course, their pizza and Greek salad (enough for two people) were excellent.
    http://roadfood.com/Resta...oal-brickoven-pizzeria
    Taking a break now.  Back soon!
    post edited by love2bake - 2013/02/09 12:21:42
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    mar52
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 13:00:09 (permalink)
    love2bake...  You are the Real Deal!  You even included baseball!
     
    I need one of those Chocolate Bavarian Cream Doughnuts.  I've never been to The Donut Man, but I have had one of their fresh strawberry donuts.  There is so many fresh strawberries on them that they almost seem healthy!
     
    Great start and great pictures.
    #10
    ChrisOC
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 14:36:46 (permalink)
    That is some doughnut!!
    #11
    agnesrob
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 14:57:17 (permalink)
    That Betty Boop plate looks so good!!
    #12
    JRPfeff
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 16:35:12 (permalink)
    Great start, we want more!
    #13
    CajunKing
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 18:39:35 (permalink)
    love2bake
     
    Great thread - Thanks for sharing, I am looking forward to future additions.
     
    HOWEVER - your statement "we don't have to judge them all...."  Let buffetbuster and myself there and we WILL judge all of them. 
    #14
    mr chips
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 19:20:02 (permalink)
    The DoNut Man shop in Glendora"s fresh strawberry donut was the best thing i ate all last year. Great photos Love2Bake.
    #15
    ann peeples
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 19:32:44 (permalink)
    Yum!
    #16
    love2bake
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 21:09:23 (permalink)
    Mar, Chris, and mr chips - Yes--those doughnuts are incredible!  I told myself the fruit ones were healthy, too.   While I've been there several times during strawberry season, my goal is to get there during peach season.  Glendora has some other fun places, including The Hat (known for their pastrami dip sandwiches and huge chili cheese fries) and Flappy Jack's Pancake House.
     
    Haha Mar--yes, legit!  And even though I'm a Giants fan, I don't buy into the Dodgers "hatred" thing.  First of all, life is too short.  Second, it takes the fun out of the game (for me, anyway).  Finally, the Brooklyn Dodgers were my dad's favorite team from his early life in NYC, so I grew up watching them.  I just love baseball.
     
    Cajun - You and BB are on! 
     
    If you or others are interested, here's a link to apply to judge or volunteer in a variety of jobs:  http://www.piecouncil.org...ricanPieFestival  If the link doesn't work (I had one link fail earlier) send me a PM.  I'm not sure if you have to be a member of the American Pie Council (which I am) in order to participate, but just join up (one-time membership fee $45; $35 for seniors and students, and higher for industry professionals - thanks to Foodbme for researching this)!  Volunteers can earn a free ticket to the Never Ending Pie Buffet at the festival.  Also, if you volunteer, once that day's judging is done, you can try pretty much any of those entries.  It is quite an experience!  For instance, here's where they keep the chilled pies.  The person who monitors them will bring out any pie you want to try.  The rest are on the tables in the judging room.

     
    Thanks to everyone for your encouragement!  I hope you'll enjoy the trip(s). 
    post edited by love2bake - 2013/02/09 22:19:02
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    love2bake
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 21:25:59 (permalink)
    Sorry--I'll get better at this!
     
    lleechef - winning the apple pie category is quite an accomplishment for your mother!  It's one of the most "populated" competitions, plus many of them have spice combinations and/or amounts that are overwhelming, and thickeners are often an issue, too, so major congrats to her!!!
     
    JR - I would love to see that pie-filled kitchen!  No, wait--I would love to be IN that pie-filled kitchen.
     
    Agnesrob - I hope you can get to Lo-Lo's or Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe--they're legendary in this region for their soul food.
    post edited by love2bake - 2013/02/09 21:27:12
    #18
    Foodbme
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 21:28:54 (permalink)
    What Are the dates of the National Pie Championships?
    If you're going across I-10, and like Grits, (They have regular and Nassau Grits) & Biscuits and Omelets AND Pies, and good cookin', try to stop at the Coffee Cup in Pensacola, FL.
    Get off I-10 at I- 110, Go south to the Cervantes exit, get off and turn left just a short ways to Breakfast & Lunch in Heaven!
    http://coffeecuppensacola.com/
    http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Overview/387/the-coffee-cup
    If you look at the pictures, at the bottom are pictures of the original coffee urns and the flat top grill. The lady beside the flat top is Creolla. She's been there for decades and is pure poetry in motion. All the orders are called out, nothing written down, never a mistake. What she does with an Omelet is the most beautiful thing that could ever be done with an egg. She takes an egg to another level! At Thanksgiving, they will sell HUNDREDS of punkin pies!
    I lived in P'cola 16 years. I guess you can tell I kinda' like the place.
    Hours:
    M-F 6 AM - 2 PM
    SA 6 AM - 1 PM
    Closed Sunday. 
    #19
    mar52
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 21:42:40 (permalink)
    love2bake....  Can you hum along to Danny Kaye singing the Dodger Song? 
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7qYcyUjDPU
     
    Those were my Dodgers.
    #20
    Foodbme
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 21:55:27 (permalink)
    Researched Membership a little bit.
    An Amateur membership is $45.00, ($35.00 for seniors and students)
    http://www.piecouncil.org/Membership/Amateur
    Boy, I can't believe how Buffetbuster could have missed this all these years!
    The Pie Championships are on 4/26, followed by the Pie Festival on 4/27 & 28
    JRPfeff - Since you're now closer to FL, I'm thinkin' the Pie  Diva needs to be thinkin' about which pie she wants to enter in the Contest!!!
    #21
    Foodbme
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 22:02:16 (permalink)
    I like that you can click on the winners list and get their recipes.
    http://www.piecouncil.org/Events/2012EventWinners
    The Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Pie Got my attention!!!
    Perfect for Valentine's Day!
    #22
    love2bake
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 22:13:56 (permalink)
    Food - This is the first year I will be flying instead of driving.   However, I've bookmarked the Coffee Cup, as I have a friend who lives in Mexico Beach, and I expect to get back to the panhandle again.  Hmmm... thanks for checking about membership!  I guess it's a one-time fee, then, because I joined a few years ago and haven't had to pay since then.  I'll correct my earlier entry.
     
    The National Pie Championships run for three days (Fri - Sun), and the Great American Pie Festival runs for two (concurrently Sat - Sun).  Friday, the commercial pies are judged (see the big tables at the beginning of the report).  On Saturday it's the amateur pies, and Sunday the professional (typically pastry chefs from restaurants or bakeries) and junior chef categories.  Pie Diva should definitely enter!!!  Or volunteer or judge!
     
    Mar - I never heard that song before!  I do remember my dad calling them "dem bums," though.  JI NTS - haha.  I remembered one more reason I cannot dislike the Dodgers:  I had a crush on Sandy Koufax.  I hear he's coming back to consult with the team this year now that there are new owners/management.  Nice.
     
     
    #23
    Foodbme
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 22:22:15 (permalink)
    The more I dig into the World of Pies, the more interesting it becomes!
    In looking at the list of commercial winners, and thinking when I get the urge for pie, where should I go to get one if I don't want to make one; the name Legendary Baking kept popping up.
    So, who are they????
    Walla!! http://www.legendarybaking.com/OurStory/History.aspx
    Legendary is owned by American Blue Ribbon Holdings who just moved their headquarters to Nashville!
    Guess who else they own!!
    http://www.abrholdings.com/
    post edited by Foodbme - 2013/02/09 22:23:42
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    love2bake
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 22:23:06 (permalink)
    Foodbme

    I like that you can click on the winners list and get their recipes.
    http://www.piecouncil.org/Events/2012EventWinners
    The Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Pie Got my attention!!!
    Perfect for Valentine's Day!

    For some reason the recipe link doesn't work, but yes--access to the winning recipes is great!  I recently made a cherry pie recipe from one of the winners (Valarie Enters) who was featured in the Food Network special on this competition a few years ago, and now she's a pastry chef at Walt Disney World.
    #25
    Foodbme
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 22:26:16 (permalink)
    love2bake

    Foodbme

    I like that you can click on the winners list and get their recipes.
    http://www.piecouncil.org/Events/2012EventWinners
    The Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Pie Got my attention!!!
    Perfect for Valentine's Day!

    For some reason the recipe link doesn't work, but yes--access to the winning recipes is great!  I recently made a cherry pie recipe from one of the winners (Valarie Enters) who was featured in the Food Network special on this competition a few years ago, and now she's a pastry chef at Walt Disney World.

    Yea, I noticed that, however, if you go to the first link and scroll down and click on the recipe name it'll pop up.
    #26
    love2bake
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 22:28:35 (permalink)
    Foodbme

    The more I dig into the World of Pies, the more interesting it becomes!
    In looking at the list of commercial winners, and thinking when I get the urge for pie, where should I go to get one if I don't want to make one; the name Legendary Baking kept popping up.
    So, who are they????
    Walla!! http://www.legendarybaking.com/OurStory/History.aspx
    Legendary is owned by American Blue Ribbon Holdings who just moved their headquarters to Nashville!
    Guess who else they own!!
    http://www.abrholdings.com/

    Bakers Square walks away with the lion's share of blue ribbons in the commercial pie competition.  Still, others win, too, and they get bragging rights and lots of business from the honor. 
     
    That's a dangerous site, btw!  Click on Legendary Baking's home page, and they have wonderful pie pics right there. 
    post edited by love2bake - 2013/02/09 23:02:36
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    love2bake
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/09 23:13:21 (permalink)
    MetroplexJim

    I saw a 'documentary' on this contest a few years ago and it was fascinating.  On the 60" Sony you could almost taste the wonderfulness.  Looking forward to the report.

    Rumors have gone around that the Food Network would be coming back again, but so far they have not.  I can't imagine pies on a 60" screen!  I drool over pics on my 13" laptop.
    #28
    love2bake
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/10 17:43:09 (permalink)
    So, I'm trying to keep my two road trips separate, and on this trip I drove northeast from Phoenix to visit a friend in St. Louis (en route to Virginia to see family before heading south to the pie gig).  While I went through some excellent road food cities, I stopped at only two recommended places along the way, because--I forgot to mention this--I was traveling with my puppy.  (When I was at Spring Training and at the pie competition in Florida, I'd arranged for him to stay at a nearby kennel so I could do my thing without worrying about him.)  It's not easy traveling with a dog, but I didn't want to leave him for 3 - 4 weeks, either. 
     
    The places I stopped were Robert's Grill, for their onion-fried burger: http://www.roadfood.com/R...view/148/roberts-grill
    and Clanton's Cafe for their chicken fried steak: http://www.roadfood.com/R...Overview/3676/clantons   both in Oklahoma.
     
    It was too late, and dark, and stormy for me to get any pics of the onion-fried burger, but here are some photos from Clanton's the next day.
    Clanton's proudly raises the cattle for their restaurant, and the chicken fried steak was tender, with light and crunchy breading.  (Not shown are the biscuits and extra gravy.)

     
    While I waited for my order (it came quickly, though), they had some "fun facts" for guests to read through:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! 
    In spite of that tidbit, I enjoyed my breakfast and got a slice of house made coconut cream pie to go:

    (Never too early to start practicing for pie judging.)
    Back soon!
    post edited by love2bake - 2013/02/10 18:07:44
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    1bbqboy
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    Re:Mission Im-pie-sible 2013/02/10 18:17:31 (permalink)
    Nothing better than CFS for breakfast.
    #30
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