Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple of weeks and there is one thing that is synonymous with the holiday other than of course turkey – Pies! Whether it be apple, blueberry, rhubarb, or pumpkin, the fillings that make pies complete are in harvest, making it the perfect season for Pie Wars!
Our challenger is a new addition to the city but a staple for those who venture back and forth between Calgary and Kelowna on a seasonal basis. The Log Barn’s original location is near Armstrong BC which is between Sycamous and Vernon. At this time of year the property is covered in pumpkins and the parking lot is full of adventurous travelers looking for the best in fruit, cheese, smoked meat products and of course, pies.
Our reining heavyweight champion is Pies Plus, who have been serving Calgary from the same location in the Avenida shopping center for over 20 years. Pies Plus is a family owned business that has been passed on at least once to a new generation of pie makers. Pies Plus’ claim to fame is its 70 year old double pizza oven and 100 year old commercial pastry mixer. As owner Patrick puts it, they don’t make em like they used too, and the age of both of these machines is a testament to that statement.
The Log Barn’s pies are good. The crust is flaky, the fillings are fresh, and they go great with ice cream. The pie drive through makes for a quick stop on the way home for the perfect dessert. The pies at Log Barn run around $15 which may seem a little high considering that you can pick up a fairly similar pie from Safeway’s bakery for much cheaper.
Pies Plus on the other hand is slightly more expensive at around $18 per pie. This may seem quite high, but let me assure you, you are getting every pennies worth out of these pies. Pies Plus has to use specially made pie plates that are stronger than normal because their pies are so full of filling that they would buckle a normal pie plate under the weight of the fillings. They have to charge a $1.50 deposit on these plates because of the cost of making them, I don’t imagine many get returned because you can’t buy pie plates of this quality in the store for that price. Pies Plus uses only fresh fruit, and fresh pumpkins in season, and it is not uncommon to see a crate full of apples show up to be hand peeled and cut. During thanksgiving Pies Plus orders more than 2200 pounds of fresh pumpkins that will be hand carved and cleaned, just to fill the thousands of pie orders that come in.
Pies Plus has over 100 pies available, and their apple pie, which is the only pie that maintains its pre-oven shape, stands more than five inches high. Patrick says that all of the pies start out that big, but all of the others cook down to look like normal pies. Interestingly enough, I went to several other bakeries to check out their pies and Patrick’s were the only ones I could find that had a top shaped like a dome instead of flat or convex like a bowl.
The definite winner here is Pies Plus by a land slide, check them out in the Avenida shopping center between Anderson and Canyon Meadows Drive on Macleod Trail.