Portland’s food scene is steeped in culinary sophistication. The ongoing foodie craze has paved the way for local chefs to experiment with gastronomical delights that tickle the fancy of some of the most refined palates. Pastry chefs and bakers are not excluded from this trend and have taken dessert-making to another level at a parallel pace. But sometimes you just want something simple. Sometimes instead of the caramel-drizzled Peach Melba with Bailey’s liquor-infused vanilla ice cream, you want something more basic.
Sometimes you just want pie and coffee. And when that mood strikes, set your GPS-enabled device to 18th and Alberta in Portland and walk into Random Order Coffeehouse & Bakery.
Random Order bakes so many kinds of pies that it’s almost impossible to remember them all, from the classic apple, peach and cherry to pecan and coconut cream to vanilla salted caramel apple, deemed one of “America’s Best Pies” by Travel & Leisure Magazine.
But in the name of simplicity, grace and local Northwest spirit, it is the “Old World Apple Farm” apple pie that really gives you a sense of home-baked goodness. Made with heritage apples locally grown on a small, family-owned orchard in southwest Washington, the “Old World” apple pie is only available during the fall season harvest. Unlike the homogenous varieties such as Braeburns, Fujis and Granny Smiths, the heritage apples used in these pies have retained their natural, genetically various strand of seed that has not been subject to genetic splicing and controls.
“The heritage apples are amazingly beautiful; the colors alone vary so greatly and not just on the inside,” explains Tracy Olson, Random Order’s proprietor. “You’d be amazed to see the variety of pinks and shades of colors that you won’t commonly find in the stores — and you can see [the color] in the finished pies, too.”
If you’d like to taste these heritage apples for yourself, Random Order’s “Old World Apple Farm” apple pie is available now and will last throughout the rest of the season. After that, you’ll have to wait awhile to get a chance to taste the homegrown goodness. But trust me, the wait would be worth it.