- 3-5pm Natural Grocers, Happy Valley, OR
- 7-9pm The Abbey Bar /Coffee Time substitute location
Today, we were supposed to be at Coffee Time, which is our favorite place to get a hot cocoa after a movie at Cinema 21. But they have had a run of bad luck with a remodel, so a few weeks ago the owner said she would make alternate celebration arrangements for us with her next door neighbors at The Abbey Bar, just in case they could not host us. Though I understood this was a possibility from the start, I held out hope that Coffee Time would come through.
We arrived at the The Abbey Bar next door to Coffee Time right before 7, and while the bartenders and cook seemed pleasant enough, they told me they had only found out earlier that day that they would be our host location. The fellow behind the bar asked, “What is this pie day thing?”
I tried to explain what the Nine Days Of Pie was, they nodded but still looked confused. Then, the guy said he would not be eating any pie. I cut some pieces for them no matter what, to which the cook seemed very pleased, and even asked for a second helping of one of them.
Shane and I set out the “Pie Worship” doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnut, and three pies, Tangerine Chiffon, Malted Walnut, and Yam & Pecan, which according to the cookbook was the 1958 winning recipe of the “Yambilee”.
Friends began to arrive, and one even brought us a variety of stickers in a pie dish, she called it a “Sticker Pie”! As it turned out, the sticker pie was a big hit with the staff of The Abbey Pub, and they took several stickers they liked.
I offered all of the bar’s patrons pie and few took me up on the offer. One couple seemed very excited about the whole concept and enjoyed slices of each pie and a doughnut, others were less excited about it. I offered a group of three pie, and the woman told me they were medical students and didn’t have any money. I said I didn’t want any money, it was a little awkward.
A little while later, one of the wonderful cinefiles that work at Cinema 21, Issac came into the bar. We’d told him and a co-worker about the Nine Days Of Pie a few weeks back while getting popcorn before a movie, and we were shocked to see in a social media notification that he had shared the event and written nice things about the upcoming holiday. I gave him a few slices of pie and he ordered a beer. We talked about movies and technology and life with him for about an hour, it was great conversation.
When Issac left, we packed up and left too, which seemed to be a big relief for the two bartenders. The guy especially made me feel weird, like we were panhandlers, but in reverse. Shane said this was his least favorite day of the Nine Days Of Pie.
Aside from Isaac, the other high point of my day was the third and final pie demo I did at natural grocers in Happy Valley. This was the most well attended of all of the Natural Grocers pie demos with more than a dozen attendees. I was challenged by a staff member of the store to create a vegan and grain free pie, so I whipped up a nut crust and made a quick blueberry pie with a crumble topping.
This was before the demo even began officially. Next came samples of crust, one from a gluten free mix and the other my creation – a mix of gluten free flours, including tapioca, millet, and others. The people were really engaged which was great, and all asked lots of questions. Then came the popular leek and chèvre tarts, this time with some saffron added into the mix. Next came the Amish Vanilla Pie, but with orange extract instead of vanilla, and finally a pumpkin pie. The attendees seemed pretty surprised I completed four different pies in less than two hours. They wanted to know all about the Nine Days Of Pie and it’s origins, and then they wanted to know why vanilla has been getting so expensive, and I was of course glad to explain the situation. One woman, Christine who attended with her husband Jon said they were going to put forward the idea of sharing food with people they didn’t know, two ladies who sat up front said they’d always been afraid to make pie since they’d gone gluten free, but now they felt more confident about it. The Nutritional coach was a great help and even helped me clean up after the demo, which allowed me to get on the road that much sooner.
It was a really great experience, and the nutritional coach said I should set up a vanilla demo there soon. I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to Natural Grocers for doing these demos, it was a lot of fun! Natural Grocers is a really nice store, especially for bulk spices, and with affordable prices on natural foods. Thanks also to Coffee Time for almost hosting us, and to The Abbey Bar for letting us invade their space for a couple hours.