While the island of Oahu is one of the bigger, and the most populated, of the Hawaiian islands, at times it is a very small place. Indeed, once you get up to the North Shore, there’s not a whole lot of different dining options, and of the existing ones, there are just a few places that consistently get recommended, such as various Kahuku shrimp trucks. One place that gets an awful lot of North Shore recommendations is Ted’s Bakery, and it’s one of the more obvious stops on the Kamehameha Highway, so we decided to stop and give them a try.
After our stop for Italian Ice, the Death March continued through the UIC campus, and then downtown to the Loop. After brief stops to check out The Bean and Block 37 (for restrooms, and Beard Papa Cream Puffs, which have been on all three Death Marches), we walked through downtown on State Street to Chicago, and started heading west. At the beginning of the March, our Chicago host Kevin posted: “Today, friends, Richard Kaszeta, Carol Kowalski, Martin Puller and I shall embark on an event that swallows the weak: a 23-mile walk that few are expected to survive, one that challenges the gastronomic capacity of man. And there will be pie. Oh yes, there will be pie.” But here we were approaching the halfway mark on the March, and we hadn’t yet had pie. Sure, we’d already had pastries, carnitas, Italian beef sandwiches, Italian Ice, and cream puffs… but we were promised pie. Where was the pie? Well, after bit over a mile of westward walking on Chicago Ave, just after we passed Ashland, we arrived at the much-celebrated pie stop: Hoosier Mama Pie Company…
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.
My friend Karla wanted to meet with us for a mid-afternoon snack while we were in Phoenix. She recommended that we get pie at Linda’s, which is at 24th and Osborn in Phoenix. It’s a little hard to find, since the only obvious name on the place is BJ’s (from the previous business name). However, it was worth our effort tracking this joint down. Despite the non-descript exterior, Linda’s has quite a good selection of homemade pies. Our group opted for Coconut Cream, Banana-Chocolate (shown here), and Cherry. Mine was the Banana-Chocolate, which was pleasantly creamy, not too banana-y, with a good substantial flaky crust and a nice chocolate flavor.