As American as Apple Pie

15 10 2008

This weekend I found myself in the area of Ramona while on a Men’s Retreat at the Oakbridge Camp, which is a beautiful place.  A tradition some of us have while there is to go to Julian on our free time and get some pie.  Fall is the perfect time of year to get pie since it’s apple season, and the Julian Pie Company really knows how to put those apples to work!

I bet you can guess where the Julian Pie Company started…  Yep, right there in Julian, but they’ve become so popular for their delicious pies that they have another store in Santa Ysabel (literally right down the road), and they even ship their pies to SoCal grocery stores.  When we go to Albertson’s they usually have a table right up front loaded down with Julian Pies.  So obviously, you can try the pie in the comfort of your own home, but if you’re looking for a fun, romantic, or adventurous Saturday or Sunday activity, we recommend taking the drive up to Julian and making a day of it since it’s a scenic one-hour drive from San Diego.

As you walk up to the Julian Pie Company, you might catch the scent of different kinds of pies baking in the oven, or you might catch the scent of the BBQ place nearby.  Either way, your nose is in for a treat!  The store itself is fairly small, with most of the property dedicated to the deck and patio seating; we’d suggest going around to the back for quiet, shaded, garden-like seating.  When you enter the front doors, the first thing you’ll see is the big glass-windowed pie display.  Go ahead and take a few minutes to pry yourself off the glass after trying to decide which type of pie you want.  To give you a head-start, check out the brief list of pies below.  For most of the pies you have the option to order by the slice, or whole, and you can even get some varieties unbaked so that you can just pop it in the oven and let the scent fill up your home.

To make a day of it, try the BBQ place nearby, or one of the other restaurants, or just bring a picnic.  You might also want to visit one of the nearby wineries, Orfila has a tasting room a couple miles down the road, or just continue NW on Main Street and follow the signs for a more local winery.  There are also plenty of B&B’s there, and Main Street is just a fun place to take a stroll and browse the shops.  If you’re into hiking, there’s lots of trails in the area, so stop by the Julian Pie Company to refuel after your adventure.

So here’s a quick rundown of some of their pies:

Organic Apple; Natural Apple; Apple Mountain Berry; Peach Apple; Pecan; Dutch Apple; Boysenberry Apple; Strawberry Rhubarb; Cherry.

They also have Roast Beef and Chicken Pot Pies.

Seasonally they have:

Pumpkin; Chocolate Chip Pecan; Pumpkin Apple Crumb (tried it, it’s great!); Mincemeat.

Our favorite pie they make is the Caramel Apple Dutch.  It’s apple with caramel mixed in, crumb topping, with extra caramel sauce on top.

If you like toppings, try one of these:

Cinnamon Ice Cream; Vanilla Ice Cream; Sharp Cheddar Cheese (so good melted over apple pie); Fresh Whipped Cream; Cinnamon Sauce; Warm Caramel.

They also offer other tasty treats like Apple Nut Bread, Cinnamon Rolls, Wunderbars (double chocolate over beanut butter crunch), Cider Doughnuts, and more.  If you like your pie with coffee or tea, they can meet your needs, but also try their fresh-squeezed Cider.

So plan a day trip, or stay for a vacation, just don’t miss out on the Julian Pie Company while you’re in Julian.

Here’s the quick rundown:

Hours:  9 AM-5 PM, 7 days.

Decor:  Think modern rustic poineer.  There’s an olde-tyme feel to it, but more as a rememberance than an intentional style.

Address:  2225 Main St., Julian CA 92036, or 21976 Hwy. 79, Santa Ysabel, CA 92070, or click here to find a store near you that sells Julian Pies.

Phone:  760-765-2449, and yes, you can call ahead.


Cost:  $2.95-$3.95/slice, 12.95-14.95/whole.  The average cost of things you might buy in Julian is more than it should be, but if you’re planning a day trip, we’d recommend saving up some cash and really enjoying yourself while there because it’s just fun!



3 10 2008

Every once in a while, Laura babysits a couple kids from her class, and last weekend we had a very excited 3-year old girl with us.  We decided to take her with us to the zoo, but not just any zoo; the world-famous San Diego Zoo!

You see it all over their publications, and you’ll hear people refer to it as world-famous, but the question is why is it famous?  Is it because of what Melman said in Madagascar?  “White, sandy beaches; cleverly simulated natural environment; wide-open enclosures. I’m telling you, this could be the San Diego Zoo. Complete with fake rocks.  Wow!  That looks real!”  Well the answer is simply, yes, but there’s so much more to it.

The San Diego Zoo is truly world-famous for its endangered species breeding program, and its huge success with that program.  Actually, it’s the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park together that accomplish that noble task, but when it comes right down to it, what does that mean for us?  That means we get to see some species of animals that are literally extinct in the wild, and we get to see them in a “cleverly simulated natural environment!”

There is so much to tell you about the San Diego Zoo, but it’s better if you just go yourself; I’ll stick to giving you pointers on how to prepare for your visit.

First, get a Zoo membership.  If you think there’s even a remote possibility that you’ll want to go more than once in 12 months, or that you’ll want to check out the Wild Animal Park, too, then it will save you lots of money to get a membership.  Also, having the option to return for free any time you want takes the pressure off of seeing the whole Zoo in a day, which is just exhausting.  So, Zoo membership.  Check!

Next, bring your own food.  You don’t have to hide it or anything; bring the whole picnic basket, they don’t care!  Anything you bring will be less expensive than what they sell at the Zoo, and will probably taste better, too.  Remember, you’re going to the Zoo for the animals, not the cuisine.  One thing to keep in mind, though:  If you’re going to bring a beverage that requires a straw, hide the straw.  They HATE straws at the San Diego Zoo, probably because the wandering peacocks will try to eat them and die, or something like that.  Basically, if you’re going to bring a straw, hide it, and take it out of the park with you when you leave.

Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, and whatever other sun gear you think necessary.  No matter when you go, the Zoo is going to get some sun, and you’re going to be in it for the vast majority of your time there.  Make sure that right next to your sun gear, you have plenty of water, too.

And the final thing you should bring is a bag of stuff you can mess with that’s not food.  Bring that bag of stuff with you to the orangutans (just go straight through the entrance and hang a right at the jungly “cave”), try to get their attention, then set down your bag and make a show of taking something out and using it right next to the glass.  They’ll probably come over and sit right next to you to see what you’re doing.  It’s fun, and they’re so curious!  Just remember not to do that with food because they’ll get jealous or something.  It’s like taunting them instead of playing with them.

So here’s the quick rundown:

Address:  2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA 92112 (not 100% on that zip)

Phone:  619-231-1515


Hours:  Click here.

Cost:  Daily:  $34 adult, $24 child (3-11); Membership:  $71 adult $24 child.

We’ve been Zoo members for the past 2 years, and will probably continue that tradition, so next time you go to the Zoo, look for us and say hi!  See you there!