We’d just come back from Julian, land of all that is apple, with a rather large bag of them, but no pie (actually, Julian apple pies rarely consist of Julian apples. Bet you didn’t want to know that). We’d been too busy visiting my favorite Julian folk: The O’Dells, Long Beach transplants who grow organic pears and sell their fresh, raw goat’s milk by the gallon; Jeremy Manley, the 23 year-old Cordon Bleu chef and soul behind Jeremy’s on the Hill; and the decidedly dedicated Albert Lewis, whose Wynola Farms Marketplace was decked in farmers market attire. It was Sunday, after all. As we said our goodbyes, every pie shop in Julian did the same with their last customer of the day. And so it was. We were destined for McDonald’s.
Don’t think we didn’t try to find a holier alternative. The minute we got home, I scoured the ‘net for a late night pie shop. Nothing in the vicinity. We stopped at a market; apparently to become a supermarket pie you have to bear a rundown of ingredients lengthier than my bucket list (I’m young, so my list is quite thorough). At this point, McDonald’s was clearly in the cards. And so it was.
Our local McDonald’s looks nothing like a fast food join. It’s one of the few Bistro Gourmet varieties in the U.S. — leather seating, stainless steel accents, paninis and gelato. Everyone speaks English (at one point I was convinced all the Latino employees worked the regular McDonald’s side of the counter while the white workers worked the panini/gelato side. I was going to raise a stink with corporate until I subsequently noted a more balanced skin tonal blend). Thanks be; the benevolent Bistro sells wee apple pie. At two for $1, it’s clear I’m not supporting the O’Dells of the food world.
I flip over the box, which lacks a list of nutritional (or non nutritional) contents, and find that Mickey Dee’s has, in a sentence, defined our nation’s food culture: ”Mom didn’t have time today so we made you this baked apple pie; I’m lovin’ it.”
Read about my first road trip to Julian this year in the fall issue of Edible San Diego.