In San Diego, cool, summery desserts dominate. We've got frozen yogurt, ice cream, and gelato shops in spades. But pie? Ehhh... not so much. That is, until Betty's Pie Whole opened in Encinitas. The shop, which has an Old West-theme complete with swinging saloon doors that separate the display case and kitchen from the dining room, is owned by Elizabeth Harris, whose bakery, Elizabethan Desserts, previously occupied the space (and has since moved to a new location nearby).
I tried three pies during my visit, including two savory varieties (turkey meatball and a breakfast pie with eggs, turkey bacon, and smoked poultry sausage), but the pie that has been haunting my dreams ever since is the sour cherry pie ($5.95 individual, $28.00 whole).
The pie is topped with a lattice crust that's as buttery and crumbly as a sugar-crusted shortbread cookie. Breaking through the thick top layer reveals a filling of tart and tender Michigan sour cherries bathing in a thick, syrupy sauce made from their own juices. You can add a scoop of ice cream ($2) or a dollop of whipped cream ($1) but I was perfectly satisfied without any additional accoutrements, which lets the natural flavor of the fruit shine through.
The selection of sweet and savory pies at Betty's varies day by day, but the sour cherry pie is almost always in stock. To avoid disappointment, call ahead and see what's available. Worst case scenario: you may need to choose another flavor, like berry crumble, coconut cream, or key lime.
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