Easing on Down the Pieway

Easing on Down the Pieway

After 8 hour driving days to get to California, we were easing on down the pieway to Los Angeles in less than 6 hours!

Duncan practicing the Art of Loading the Pie-Mobile

The night before our first Los Angeles workshop, we hooked up with our host at the absolutely most charming beach cottage imaginable. If there is a California version of Pie Cottage, this has got to be it! Robin, Duncan, and I wanted to move in immediately! 

“Pie Cottage” A La California!

Our host was concerned that her brand new ovens were not holding true to temperature. Oh dear! What to do? The oven tech had been out to look at them and ever prepared, our host had already contacted several friends with kitchens close by where we might move the workshop if need be. There was even an offer of portable Breville ovens!

We decided to go ahead at our host’s sweet cottage as planned, and we would “walk the pies across the street” to the beachside home of one of her neighbors who had kindly offered ovens in which to bake our pies.  I can promise you that it was quite a sight to see a procession of 7 aproned pie makers carrying unbaked lattice work pies on a sunny Saturday—probably something one might not see everyday in a California beach community! The ovens were preheated when we arrived, so we popped our pies right in, shared some conversation over bubbly and a pie I had baked to share at class. When they came out of the oven as an extra “thank you”, I left an entire pie for them, too. Good pies indeed make good neighbors!

With a late start class the next afternoon, we decided to take Sunday morning off and see a bit of Universal Studios Theme Park. Those in the know gave us a list of what are the “Must-See’s” and the order in which to “see” them. The tram ride was at the top of our list, so as soon as we  arrived, we hopped on for a tour of Universal’s back lot. Many movies we had seen over the decades were filmed there but not one of the houses on any of the streets had a kitchen.  Then we road every thrill-seeker ride in the park, and screamed & laughed ourselves silly!

On the tram at Universal Studios in L.A.

Now we were ready for the late afternoon Thousand Oaks workshop (Day 7) followed by another in Encino the following day (Day 8).

Happy Pie Makers in Encino

At this point on the Pie A La Road journey, we were definitely ready for a longer break and that came in the form of a few days in Santa Barbara, my hometown (Days 9-11). I had scheduled a class on Day 10 but the days surrounding it were FREE! We made the most of every moment there whether that was enjoying sleeping in a bit, beach walking, visiting friends, a driving tour of my favorite spots growing up — yes, I did show them the site of my the sandbox where I used to make Mud Pies in Kindergarden–and we walked through the Mission Rose Gardens and smelled the roses just like I did walking to and from school everyday!

A beautiful bloom in the Mission Santa Barbara Rose Garden. How lucky was I to walk through this garden on my way to school EVERY day!

Duncan enjoyed an afternoon at Skater’s Point on East Beach, and a visit to The Guitar Bar where he could play any instrument in its amazing collection. Of course we ate at a some of my favorite Mexican restaurants in town, Rose Cafe, Los Agaves, and Los Arroyos, too. Still not finding the Pina Colada of our dreams though.

Skater’s Point, East Beach , Santa Barbara CA

Our last afternoon in Santa Barbara (Day 11) we were invited to the home of Don Skipworth of Cosmic Soup, a chef, teacher, and long time friend of Julia Child.

Chef Don Skipworth, Cosmic Soup, Santa Barbara CA

Skip put us right to work in the kitchen, chopping and slicing ingredients for a delicious homemade Phad Thai for our lunch…

Making Phad Thai for Lunch

Yum!

…and you can’t imagine how thrilled we all were when Skip pulled out Julia’s chef’s knife that she had presented to him. You’ve probably seen it in her hands on The French Chef. That knife must weigh over three pounds and has oodles of history in it! What an honor to hold and use it.

Julia Child gave her dear friend, Chef Don Skipworth, her favorite chef’s knife.

The afternoon of Day 11 flew by too quickly, and it was time to say our goodbyes. Our Pie-Mobile merged back onto the pie-way, a/k/a 101 North, for the journey to our San Francisco workshops.

Ah, Santa Barbara. We’ll be back!

Next Up: A Ben & Jerry’s Free Ice Cream Day in San Francisco!

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