Sunday, June 21, 2009

MinuteMan Family Restaurant, Morristown

990 Mount Kemble Ave.
Morristown, NJ 07960
Small Cherry Pie (for 2): $4.95
Coffee: $1.25

It's funny when you really notice how things happen, how one thing leads to another. Last week's blog entry ended with a vintage New York Times article about a New Jersey Pie Shop robbery. The phrase "jersey pie shop" seemed like a "well, duh" key word search for a blog called Jersey Pie. The "jersey pie shop" key word search did turn up this interesting item: Minuteman Restaurant and Pie Shop.

Add to that, Jersey Pie received its first hate mail this week. An advocate for the Jubilee Park Diner wants to know whether we don't have anything better to do, and why are we so damn cheap (in so many words). So, maybe we were feeling doubly disinclined to return to the Jersey diner-scape. First because the cherry pie sucks, and doubly because now they hate us. Anyhoo, we headed out to the Minuteman where we could pick up a whole, fresh-baked cherry pie if we wanted to, and bring it home to eat with a cup of our own fresh ground coffee.

The Minuteman menu describes the origins of their Country Pie Shop. In a nutshell: they decided to sell pie. They give the sequence in which the different pies became available, first apple, then blueberry, cherry, and pecan. 1979 is when they started selling cherry pie, and that's all we need to know here at Jersey Pie. That's 30 years of baking experience. It's just got to be delicious, doesn't it? We had called ahead to make sure they had a cherry pie. By the time we got there they had sold it (sound of needle scratching across the vinyl). Cancel that vision of us sitting at home eating pie with a steaming mug of homemade brew. They did have a small cherry pie for us though, so we sat under the outsider art in the red-barn motif restaurant, sipped their pretty good cup of decaf, and ate the best cherry pie we have found on our quest. Don't un-follow Jersey Pie yet, though...

When the waitress asked us whether we wanted our pie heated with ice-cream, we consulted on the ice-cream then said "no." She took our meaning so far as the ice-cream goes, but, when, not long after that, we heard a "ding," we knew she had nuked our pie, the last cherry pie in the joint. Our hearts sank. Make no mistake, we ARE recommending the Minuteman cherry pie; it IS the BEST pie we have tasted so far. However, that had to be gleaned through the unfortunate effects of the nuking. The very, very flaky pastry was made soggy and a tad rubbery. The filling was scalding hot. But we ate every bite. Yum. It was delicious. And here's a heads up to all you Jersey diners out there: cherry pie does not have to be full of goo! This cherry pie was juicy, tart, and lightly sweet. Its juices had soaked into the pastry and burbled over the lip of the crust and burned a bit, just a bit, in a good way. As far as the whole mini-pie, small pie concept is concerned, however, Jersey Pie is voting "no." It's just too much crust.

While we were not totally disappointed, we agreed (with the help of some word deconstruction) that perhaps we could not honestly say that we were really "appointed." As we rolled back toward Jersey City over NJ-24 E we reflected on all the pies-sibilities represented by the road signs, the white on green beacons guiding drivers back home, to work, or maybe to cherry pie: Caldwell, Livingston, Chatham, Summit. But those slices will have to wait, for these pie hounds are howling farewell to slices and coffee, at least for the summer. No, we aren't so thin-skinned that we can't take a little hate mail. Jersey Pie will be busy this summer tracking down home-baked, farm-fresh cherry pies from farm stands and blogging about them. Mmmmmmm. Jealous much? And in case you are reading along and haven't recommended your favorite Jersey pie place yet, please chime in! We want to hear from our readers in other states about their cherry pies, too. Send us a comment! We love you all, and we'll be blogging to you soon, direct from a Jersey farm stand.


Mia said...

I concur about the "too much crust" in a mini-pie.

As for the hate mail, I congratulate you!

I have a very talented 16 year old cousin who goes by the stage name of K-Rose and she has a song whose refrain is "haters bring me fame...haters bring me fame..." (You can find it on youtube).

Mia said...

Kate Forster said...

Oh, how romantic. Country roads, farm-fresh stands, attended by the kids of the family. Fresh eggs, flowers, jams, corn, vegetables, apples, berries---but pies? Really?? PIES?? Oh, my. You are definitely onto something now. And if no pies, driving the country roads is so restorative and sweet. What a wonderful summer plan. Wear a sun-dress.

Phyllis Ray said...

O Jennifer and Kendall, what a noble and worthwhile quest you are on! The search for the Holy Pie. I love reading your accounts. My own particular pie quest, which is not nearly so organized as yours is for Lemon Meringue. Yesterday we were in Woodland (home of the family farm) and dropped in for lunch at the restaurant where my Mom and Dad had their 65th wedding anniversary party. The lemon meringue tarts lept out of the pastry case. What could I do? I mean, it was my Mom's favorite food. The meringue was piled 5 inches high and had a slight tinge of toastiness to them. But, alas, the meringue was too much air, too sweet, and the little bit of lemon pie was way too sweet and cloying with hardly any tart. The crust was well....cardboardish. I would have taken it to make an offering at my Mother's grave, but it just wasn't good enough. The thing about a bad that it makes you more hungry for the real deal. Happy Hunting!! Phyllis

Charlotte said...