Sunday, December 21, 2008

Malibu Diner, Hoboken

Malibu Diner
259 14th St
Pie, $2.85
Coffee, $1.50

The Malibu Diner is well appointed for Christmas. There's a tree, holiday music, and decorations hang from the ceiling: snowflakes, peppermint candy, and ornaments. It's festive!

The water was very, very good. The coffee was acceptable. Okay, that's it for the make nice. The Malibu Diner pie was clearly refrigerator damaged. Would it be too much to ask that the exposed edge of the pie be shaved off? The pie was over-microwaved and served too hot. There was concern of scalding the tongue. And the microwaving further affected the exposed edge of the pie. The word "clot" came to mind. Our friend, a physician, had these comments: "The freezer-edge was like a sticky, rubbery blood clot. The ratio of goo to cherry was way too high, and the goo was flavorless. Even the cherries had more like the ghost of cherry flavor than actual cherry flavor, although they were the best part of the pie."

It is a mystery what the goal of the diner pie crust is. These crusts clearly do not even aspire to flakiness. Even Hostess pie crusts seem to be tipping their hat to flakiness. This crust was soggy, and something... we can't even find a word to describe the texture of these crusts. Is it more like bread?

Come on, New Jersey. This pie situation is outrageous. We have yet to taste a single pie we would be happy to try again. Isn't cherry pie part of Americana? Well... turns out the first cherry pie was made for Queen Elizabeth I. Could the hostility expressed through these cherry pies have something to do with a Revolution against our neighbors across the Pond? We know there's a whole world of cherry pies out there. But, for now, we'll continue to explore our little slice. It would appear that we may have to venture away from the venerable diner to find a slice of pie truly worth blogging about. So, stay tuned.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Arlington Diner, Arlington

Arlington Diner
1 River Road, Arlington
Cherry Pie, $2.85
Coffee, $1.10

The car needed a lube job, so we headed out to the Kearny Auto Spa today, knowing that the Arlington Diner was kitty corner from the Auto Spa, and they were likely to have... cherry pie.

Poor Arlington Diner. We really caught them with their cherry pie pants down. We have generally high regard for the Arlington Diner, so we will proceed under the presumption of "today's cherry pie," as distinct from "Arlington Diner's" cherry pie.

After lunch, we ordered a piece of pie to split, and refreshed our coffee. The second cup of coffee was thinner and more disappointing than the first. It was far too hot, and tasted like it had been blasted in the microwave. We aren't saying they did it. We really don't believe anyone would.

Our waitress asked us if we wanted our pie heated up, and we said yes. She delivered a good-size slice of pie on white diner china that matched our saucers. The crust looked like it would not be flaky, but had a pretty glaze. The filling was an appetizing, dark red color, and the ratio of cherries to corn-starchy, gelatinous goo was pretty agreeable. That means more fruit than goo. The flavor of the filling was pleasantly sour, not too sweet, and the cherries offered some resistance when chewed. The crust tasted of refrigerator, and the bottom crust was burned. On the plus side, that burning does seem to support their claim of making their pies on the premises. We will make it a point to return to the Arlington Diner to give them a chance to redeem themselves, but for now we have say that their cherry pie was ... disappointing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Coach House Diner, North Bergen

Coach House Diner
951 Kennedy, North Bergen
Cherry Pie $2.75
Decaf $1.45

We started our search for New Jersey's best cherry pie at the Coach House Diner in North Bergen. Our server made us nervous serving our decaf before bringing the pie. "I don't think our waiter understands the pie and coffee experience," we said. We were calmed somewhat by the outstanding flavor of Coach House's decaf. "Better than many places' regular coffee," we agreed.

The pie thankfully arrived while the coffee was still hot. It was a generous slice presented on plain white diner china that matched the coffee cup and saucer. Most agreeable. Visually, it was already obvious that this was not a flaky crust, and that there was a lot of gelatinous goo in the filling.

The first bite brought some delights. The filling was not too sweet, and the cherries had some integrity. The waiter had asked if we wanted our pie warmed up, and we were glad we said yes.

Decaf was the star of this desert experience, however. When we asked for a warm-up the waiter left a carafe. The second cup was as surprisingly good as the first. Perhaps more surprising, since the first one was so good for diner coffee that we were sure it was a fluke.