The Passion of the Pi(e)
3.14 is upon us – and no, pizza doesn’t count. What could possibly go better with the Spring Classics than frites and waffles, you ask?
Pie. And maybe beer with the pie.
I hate to let the words slip from my mouth for fear of the fury of Benelux, but there are few other foods suitable to either A) Sate yourself during/after a 4000 calorie spring cycling cook-off, or B) Make you feel enormously guilty while watching others engage in said kj-burn (often with such diabolical monikers as the “Hell of the North”). The heavenly combination of butter, flour, sugar, and any combination of milkfat/fruit/chocolateypeanutbutterypumpkiny fillings is tough to match.
In any case, whenever I find myself riding, racing, or training (especially in a new locale), highest on my list of priorities is the procurement of suitable baked goods. Pie is always foremost, but I’ve been known to make exceptions for exceptional cookies and pastries. I’ve become convinced that deep inside each and every bike racer is trapped a fat kid. Not just any fat kid, mind you – not the typical American who’s fallen victim to a culture of sedentarianism and processed food. No, this is a TRUE fat kid of mental Mr. Creosote-proportions – the one capable of demolishing entire bags of cookies at any given moment.
So, without further adieu, my top-three Utah spots (in no particular order) for the procurement of the unholy union of saturated fat and sucrose:
Veyo Pies - Veyo, UT
This quaint pie shop on a popular winter Southern Utah training loop (AKA, the Gunlock Road Race) could easily get away with serving up cardboard topped with pureed fruit and generic Cool Whip to famished cyclists in the middle of their rides…but they don’t. Instead, you’ll find yourself standing dumbstruck in front of their cold-cases displaying a dazzling array of slices of pie, cookies, and pastries, all certain to please (and fresh-brewed coffee to boot). My personal suggestions? The Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, any of the deep-dish cookies, or the Sour Cream Lemon pie. Of course, it goes without saying that in rural Utah, their availability on Sunday is an exceptional exception to the rule.
Penny Ann’s Cafe - Salt Lake City, UT
Truly the greatest spot to experience sweetly-encrusted sweets in Salt Lake. The best pie I’ve ever had. Period. The Peanut Butter Chocolate is decadent, yet not overwhelming like most gut-bomb dessert pies that are heavy on the heady ingredients – your pallete still picks up all the flavors without being crushed by an onslaught of cream and sugar. Available a la mode, not only is the pie fantastic, but nearly everything else on Penny Ann’s heinously affordable menu is. Straight up down-home comfort food, just like ma used to make, and many powers better than the likes of IHOP. Sadly, Penny Ann’s is closed Sundays, so the mid-ride fix has to wait until post-Sabbath if you find yourself in a pinch.
RubySnap - Salt Lake City, UT
Okay…so RubySnap doesn’t really do pie. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve NEVER seen pie here. However, the cookies are simply astonishingly good, their branding is fantastic (all cookies are named akin to 40s/50s pinup girls with accompanying models), and they’re big supporters of local cycling. I’ve yet to find one I didn’t love – but Vivianna, a mango/citrus dough/dark chocolate bomb holds the key to my ever-famished stomach. Another Utah establishment falling victim to the norm of being closed on Sundays, BUT you can order their dough frozen online for baking at home…so what are you waiting for?
That about does it. Like I said, I’m always on the hunt for new stuff. With this week’s visit to the Inland Empire for some racing at San Dimas and Redlands, I’ll definitely be on the lookout, and appreciate any local tips. Of course, failing that, I’ve been known to rely on an old standby that rarely fails in the Western US – the ubiquitous panaderia.