It’s hard to find a good Key Lime pie. Seriously, while the city of Key West is choc-a-bloc with stores making and selling key lime pie, often with “factory” in the name, there’s a lot of bad pie out there. A lot of it is chalky. The crusty is soggy (although that is a well-known hazard of the climate). The lime and sugar levels are off, leaving you with something that’s acidic and metallic, or sticky sweet. Really, the best key-lime pies aren’t the ones the tourists easily find, they are made by local residents in their own kitchens, for their own consumption. However, there are a number of places that do decent mass-produced pies. One I found (on a recommendation from a local kayak guide) was the Key West Key Lime Shoppe, which was recommended with a simple “There are better pies, but this is one of the best ones on the tourist strip.” Located across from Conch Republic’s bar, it’s pretty much one of those “all things Key Lime and/or lime green” stores, but they do have good pie.
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
This summer had two trips up to Montreal, both associated with my annual Death March tradition (in which we find a city and hike across it, exploring the sights and eating the food). The drive from NH up to Montreal is always a bit amazing to me, since driving up I-89 it’s basically the rolling green mountains of Vermont, until you cross the border at Highgate Springs. I-89 becomes Provincial Highway 133, and the rolling green mountains of Vermont become…. Iowa. Well, at least a Quebecois version of it. The land becomes flat and open, with spacious farms lining farm fields. And, at least until the expansion of Provincial Highway 35 goes all the way to the border (expected sometime about a decade from now), it also means a transition from highway driving to fairly quiet country roads. Along the way, the route to Montreal meanders through several smaller farm towns, with a nice mix of English and French names (Saint-Sebastien, Saint-Armand, and Pike River). And most of these towns actually have some interesting little diner places, two of which have been on my hit list for a while. One of these is Restaurant Chez Pépé, right on the border between Pike River and Saint-Sebastien, which always has a healthy collection of cars outside (The other, Chez Ti Polo, over in Henryville, is no longer on the route since the Hwy 35 expansion, so I’ll have to catch it another time). So this time, we decided to stop and give them a try.