As you know, we Farris girl’s heart pie. So while John and I were visiting Knoxville, Lynley and I decided we had to go on a pie crawl to see what the south could offer up in the way of pie. Lynley researched and we had a really good plan…EXCEPT the pie situation in Knoxville is a pretty sad state of affairs. There aren’t too many places that have pie and if they do the options are very limited (and mostly cream based). Can you tell how we felt about it already?
This was mind-boggling to us, but somehow, we still carried on:
We came up with list of what we would be judging:
Meringue (stiff vs. mushy and height)
Whipped Cream (canned vs. homemade)
Filling (canned vs. homemade and too sweet or not sweet enough)
Bang for the Buck
We used a 4 star rating system (1 is oh my God, why am I eating this and 4 is HOLY-PIE-OLY!-that’s amazing!)
First Stop: Pete’s diner Lemon Pie
Crust- Graham cracker (which we judged as just right)
Whipped Cream- Canned and lacking in taste
Filling – Couldn’t tell if it was homemade or not, but it was very creamy in a good way- “refreshing” and not too sweet.
Bang for the Buck- $2.25- We agreed it was a high bang for the buck!
John: 2 1/2 stars
Lynley: 2 1/2 stars
Stephane 2 1/2 stars
Second stop: Tomatohead- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
Crust- Another cookie crust (we were starting to get suspicious at this point that we might be running into crust trouble. Where was the real crust?). Chocolate cookie crust was good, not overpowering, but fine.
Filling- Can’t tell if it’s canned or homemade (which trust me, when it’s bad canned, you can tell). Another cream filled, however, the peanut butter was not overly rich or too strong on the sweet peanut butteriness, which can happen with peanut butter pies.
Size- Bigger than normal, but not extravagant
Presentation- The restaurant was so crazy busy that we had to get a to-go container. It held up well quite well in the plastic, still kept its dignity despite the plateless situation it had been put in.
Bang for the Buck- $5.00 – Ok for the price. It looks pretty fancy and there’s been thought on how to fancy it up with the chocolate ganache topping.
John: 2 1/2 stars- He felt like the filling had a good consistency.
Lynley: 2 1/2 stars- She also felt like the filling had a good consistency and liked the chocolate on top. She described it as “Pleasantly Adequate.”
Stephanie: 2 stars- I agreed that it tasted good, BUT the filling was too creamy for me, too soft. I wanted the peanut butter filling or the crust to be a little firmer.
Third Stop: Linton’s- Their Coconut Cream Pie as featured in Southern Living Magazine was SOLD OUT!!!!! And that was the only pie they sell most of the time (except on Tuesdays and another day of the week when they offer one other kind of pie…no kidding).
Exhausting our pie resources in Knoxville, we extended the crawl a day and went to Pigeon Forge. The Saint Dolly Patron has turned this little town into a less flashy Branson vacation spot. To be very honest, we googled “best pie in Pigeon Forge” and this came up…
Fourth Stop: Old Mill Restaurant (Known for their Pecan Pie and a huge tourist draw. This looked like THE place to eat).
Crust- Store-bought frozen crust with an oil base and little flavor
Whipped Cream- NA
Filling- Canned and more sugar than pecans. Pecans were very tiny, almost and after thought. As Lynley said, “Bullsh*t! There’s no pecan’s in this pie!”
Presentation- Once again the restaurant was so packed, we just grabbed a to-go box. The styrofoam really didn’t help this pie out. There was no dignity for this piece of pie…sad, very sad.
Bang for the Buck- $2.20- compared to the similarly priced pie at Pete’s diner, not a great bang for the buck. Pete sold 3 pies and this was the ONLY pie the Old Mill makes (and they make chocolate cake as the only other dessert option). For them to put all their eggs in this pie-basket and then ask $2.20, not a good idea.
John: 2 stars- Not memorable, but not the awful tasting.
Lynley: 1 star- “Bullsh*t!”
Stephanie: 1.5- Not memorable tasting, even moments after the last bite- it gave my taste buds amnesia. And I am still amazed they bill it as “homemade.”
Lesson Learned by this Pie Crawl:
I know we are tough customers and demand a lot from our pies, however, the Knoxville Tennessee area needs some help with their expectations about dessert in general. The lack of options on the menus were jaw-dropping, as was the lack of flavor. Perhaps the tea is so sweet they just don’t need dessert, but I don’t buy it. Where is the dessert hiding? We decided that the pie we would order again was Pete’s Lemon Pie. Yet, sadly, nothing blew us away, it was just all ok and that’s not right when we’re talking pie.
Lyn– I think we need to teach this town what pie is all about!