NOTE: We’re sorry to report that shortly after posting this story we discovered that Z Pie had closed several weeks earlier. But there are still plenty of fruit pie options on the road to Tahoe. Enjoy!
Lots of travelers enjoy stopping for a sweet slice of fruit pie at an Apple Hill orchard on the road to Lake Tahoe. But the most unique pies in the region just may be the savory variety available at a tiny pot pie restaurant not far away in Placerville.
The Outlaw, our amazing son-in-law, and his family have summered for a week or two at Tahoe’s Camp Richardson for decades. MontaraManDan and the Geek are Slackers-come-lately to the party but have enjoyed immersing ourselves in Outlaw traditions such as lazy days at the beach, ice cream as lunch and mid-afternoon rum runners at The Beacon.
And in three short summers, we’ve forged at least one tradition of our own – pot pies for lunch at Z Pie in Placerville on the drive to Tahoe. We prefer steak cabernet.
We could drive from the Coastside to Tahoe in a morning, but since we typically don’t hit the road till the Slacker-like hour of 9 a.m., we’re more than ready for lunch by the time we’ve battled traffic in San Francisco and Sacramento and arrived in Placerville, aka “Hangtown” dating to California’s Gold Rush.
If you exit Highway 50 on Center Street, stumbling across Z Pie is a bit like stumbling across AT&T Park as you exit I-280 in San Francisco. You can’t miss it. And unlike the ballpark, there’s a parking garage on the left with two hours of free parking. Perfect!
This summer we decided we should share our tradition with the Outlaws, so after scarfing down our lunchtime pies, we selected a frozen variety pack to share at dinner – steak cabernet, rosemary lamb, southwest chicken and tomatillo stew. Yum!
The cooking instructions required a bit of tweaking given the altitude at Tahoe and the limitations of the Outlaw RV’s tiny oven. But the real challenge was figuring out which pie was which – accomplished by a bit of dissection. Only after dinner ended did we discover the variety was labeled on the bottom of the tin. Oops.
True confessions. We also stopped and bought an apple pie from Boa Vista Orchard on Apple Hill to share. C’mon, did you think we were gonna skip dessert? And we got a dozen sugar apple donuts for breakfast.
Don’t you love new traditions?
“Who Knew?” is an occasional feature of www.CoastsideSlacking.com that spotlights roadside wonders and oddities that might be worth a gawk if you’re in the neighborhood.