Food and Travels10 Apr 2010 06:14 pm

Pizza pies and cherry pies, that is.

On our way to Lake Louise, our friends Dave and Jenn were kind enough to host us for a night. They were originally going to join us for the buffet, but couldn’t make it in the end.

We weren’t sure what to eat that night, but felt like pizza. After doing some internet research (which consists of googling “best pizza calgary”, a method that has had great success in most cities), I had decided that Pizza Bob’s was the place to try as it did thin crust pizza and it was close to Kensington, where Dave and Jenn live.

Turns out the sources I used were wrong. Horribly horribly wrong. I will have to ignore recommendations from the forum that suggested this place it was just that poor.

I’m not sure where it went wrong…is there just no good thin crust pizza in Calgary? In Edmonton we have Tony’s and Pizza Boys Ragazzi Bistro (and lesser so, Famoso) to pick from. I thought it would be easy to find a good ‘za in Calgary.  I guess I was wrong. Recommendations are VERY welcome for next time.

Lots of toppings, but dare I say too many? This was the Fire Chicken pizza with pineapple, chicken, and hot sauce. The crust couldn’t sustain the eye popping load of toppings and most ended up at the bottom of the box as soon as you picked up a piece. On our other pizza, a traditional with pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage and veggies, there wasn’t enough sauce. Same problem with tumbling toppings. They’re no good to me on the box.

The major problem was the burnt, overly dry crust with no chew. It reminded us all of a water cracker. Ugh. Atleast we had the buffet the next day to take our  mind off of it.

On the way home to Edmonton, we stopped at Log Barn 1912 for another kind of pie.

Dave and Jenn live mere minutes away from Log Barn 1912. For years it was a travel agency, but then was renovated to become this kitsch factory and drive through pie pick up joint. (yes, you read that correctly.)

Every visit we’ve had to Calgary, we joke and talk about it, but have never visited. We’re also surprised it remains open. For one, it’s kind of awkward to get to (it is only accessible from the westbound lane of 16 Ave NW) and for two, was their pie even any good?

Mike and I finally took the time to find out on our way back home to Edmonton from Lake Louise.

We didn’t use the drive through as I had a feeling this place would be special. Turns out I was right. This place is all over the place.

There is bric-a-brac anywhere your eye rests, which isn’t for long. Quilts, preserves, wooden motorcycles, sausage, sock monkeys, juices… it’s packed to the gills with crap that is not pies.

Jams, jellies, pickles and preserves.

I guess pies alone do not pay the bills, so they have to add as much filler as possible. I was just hoping their pies weren’t all filler.

Alright, this is more my speed. Mennonite sausage and jerky. I tried to look up what makes Mennonite sausage such, but there did not seem to be many recipes. I guess it will remain a Mennonite Mystery. We were given a sample of warm sausage ring and also garlic ring, but I found little about it worth recounting here. Maybe my standards are just too high after Mike started making his own sausage.

Although we had hoped to just get a piece of pie each, two slices cost half as much as a pie. So that is how we ended up eating cherry pie out of the box on the QE2 as we drove back to Edmonton. Should I feel shame?

(note: photo not taken while driving)

My brother – who lives in Kelowna – said there are places like this all over the Okanagan flogging Mennonite sausage, fresh fruit and pies. Log Barn 1912 in particular is an offshoot of a location near Armstrong, B.C., where they peddle more of the same: a bit of the country life, with fresh fruit and over priced tchotchkes.

The pie report: We got a cherry pie, filled with standard from-the-can pie filling (a flavour I enjoy, actually). Perhaps we would have been best to try another variety of fruit like apple to really gauge the pie. The crust was good and did appear to be hand formed. Flakier than most, without a soggy bottom which plagues many pies, but no where near as awesome as the masterpies my mom makes. They claim a special sugar mixture goes on top to help it melt in your mouth, but in my opinion a good pie doesn’t need it. I’m a pie purist, though. I suspect the pies are half baked and frozen and then rebaked fresh that day at the store, as ours was still warm when we got it.

Mostly this place is just hype to try and suck people into buying nostalgia and a “piece of their past” in the form of pie. (The box actually says “Reclaiming our past” I don’t know what that means.) While I think the pie was better than most I’ve had from retail outlets and supermarkets, little about it justified the $15 price tag. But atleast we answered the question of what the Log Barn was all about.

Pizza Bobs
2610 Kensington Road NW
Calgary, Alberta

Log Barn 1912
1510 – 16th Avenue NW
Calgary, Alberta

2 Responses to “Pies of all kinds, Calgary”

  1. on 11 Apr 2010 at 12:11 pm rocketBouchard

    Owning the critique. It can be hard to tell professionals who own a business that they suck at what they’re doing. Glad to hear it. Also, don’t worry about being a snob. You’re writing about (and searching for) good food. If you can make better at home, they shouldn’t be charging for it. I TOO have had trouble with the sausage thing. Cheap, crappy sausage with bad ingredients or SUPER expensive “gourmet” sausage with meh ingredients and decent flavour. I had a deer sausage roll in a little shop near the Banff Springs when I was about 13 and everthing since then has been disappointing. Oh, there’s one other. Just outside of innisfree there used to be a sketchy shack that sold homemade sausage burgers. Wow.

  2. on 11 Apr 2010 at 3:10 pm Jenny

    Hi Kelly!
    Just came across your blog after seeing a link from the Edmonton Journal. I’m really enjoying your stories about food around the city! Keep it up!