Righteous Road Trip: A Pilgrimage to Pie Cottage{21}

Kate McDermott Art of the Pie

Pie aura or halo? Kate McDermott of Pie Cottage.

As a disciple of pie, I take my responsibility in sharing this bake-good gospel very seriously. Oh hear me poor pagan apostles who stray down the wayward path of cake, “Pie is the answer!” If you’re still a doubter, I understand (my name is Thomas after all). Fear not, for all are welcome here. I believe in a world where the proselytes of pie can dine side-by-side with the crusaders of cake (and still avoid a food fight).

homemade pies tall clover farm

Pies I’ve made and loved: Shaker lemon, peach, sweet cherry, sour cherry, plum and blackberry.

And so, as a devout pieman, I want to share with you the day I heeded the call, and embarked on a pilgrimage to Pie Cottage, home to my friend and High Priestess of Pie: Kate McDermott. As founder and voice of Art of the Pie, Kate brings the wonders of making and baking pie to the world, teaching classes, hosting pie camps, and sharing her culinary gifts and wisdom in person and on her blog. After I took a pie class from Kate several years ago, I became a willing convert in the ways of butter, flour, fillings, fruit and lard.

The drive from Vashon Island to Pie Cottage in Port Angeles (like pie) should be shared.  Lucky for me, my pal and fellow baker Linda adores Kate,  the call of adventure, and the promise of pie. We set out for an early ferry off the north end of the island, a time that would fit nicely with a lumberjack’s breakfast an hour or so into the drive.

Map Vashon to Port Angeles

Vashon to Port Angeles: ride a ferry, cross a floating bridge, and be awed by the majestic Olympics.

Past Port Orchard, around Bremerton and across the Hood Canal bridge, we headed west toward the Olympic Mountains and our destination, Port Angeles. First stop, Chimacum, home to my favorite food oasis, Chimacum Corner Farmstand. In their words, “Chimacum Corner Farmstand is a small rural grocery featuring ‘FOOD FROM HERE’ – scrumptious food grown or produced in the mountain-rimmed fertile valleys of Washington State’s NE Olympic Peninsula.” If I had to shop for a last meal, this would be the place.

Chimacum Corner Farmstand

Rob and Linda, top left; and Tom and salmon, lower right. (I’m the one in the green sweater)

We asked our new best farm-stand friend Rob where we should eat breakfast. He suggested Farm’s Reach Cafe, that is, if we were hungry. (And when aren’t we?) A short (and very purposeful) walk later, Linda and I were standing before a display cabinet chockablock with bake-good beauties. I asked what was the local favorite, and the friendly gent behind the counter said, “Hands down, our breakfast burrito.” A half an hour later I could see and taste why; it was exceptional. Add to that a dreamy pour of Stumptown Coffee, and the trip almost ended there.

Farm's Reach Cafe Chimacum

Breakfast is served all day. Joy!

We were so full, but despite our inability to move and our desire to nap, we pressed on toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the promise land. Kate was  expecting us a little after 1 pm. GPS guided us through Sequim and on to Port Angeles, where it seemed to stop functioning. Amazingly without too much back-seat driving or a bout of fisticuffs, we found our way to Pie Cottage (and I didn’t even have to stop and ask for directions, as if that was an option).  Kate met us at the door, her welcome as genuine and generous as the pies she bakes. Her beloved German Shepherd, Gretapie, was also on hand to share in our reunion. Inside, a crackling fire set the stage for enjoying some chai tea and lively conversation.

rhubarb pie kate McDermott

She had us at ‘hello’ and rhubarb pie.

tom and kate pie cottage

Tom and Kate: a good day for pie and reunions.

Kate is one of those rare individuals who lives her passion daily, whether pie, people, teaching or sharing. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her rhubarb pie transformative. We enjoyed a wonderful visit and ended our day plotting ways to get Kate to teach a class on Vashon. She was a willing conspirator, and said she may know just the venue to host a class on the island. Fingers crossed, aprons pressed and forks ready.

pie cottage rhubarb pie

Rhubarb pie, Kate, and her son’s artful window at Pie Cottage.

tom tall clover farm apple pie

The only thing better than homemade apple pie, is homemade apple pie with your own orchard’s apples. Thanks Kate, I’m spreading the pie love.