The Loop to Pie Town, New Mexico

Pie Town, New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

 

Have you ever driven 2.5 hours for a piece of pie?  People do it quite often here in New Mexico and some people drive even longer.  Last week Bobby and I took the day off and drove to Pie Town, New Mexico, for lunch.  Pie Town is on Hwy 60, west of Socorro, NM and north of the Gila National Forest. It’s one of those towns that if you end up there, then that’s because you were headed there.  Why else would you be out in the middle of nowhere?

When we drove to Pie Town it was a Thursday, so the only cafe open was Pie-O-Neer Pies, a small restaurant that has TWO non-pie items on the menu – a salad and a bowl of green chile. Everything else is pie, soda, and milk. The day we were there, there was at least 12 different types of pies and they kept changing.  It seemed like every time a new customer walked in, a couple of new pies came out of the kitchen.  We were there for an hour and business was non-stop. It was amazing, because Pie Town is literally in the middle of nowhere!

 

Pie-O-Neer Cafe in Pie Town, New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

So let’s see. What did we have for lunch? I started off with the Blueberry Cherry Pie, a tender, flaky crust with lots of blueberry flavor and a burst of cherry in every bite.  Bobby started off with the Apple Crumb Pie, which was his favorite of the day. The apple crumb pie was beautifully seasoned and not too sweet. In fact, none of the pies were too sweet.  For the second round, I had a creamy and delicious Chocolate Cream Pie (my favorite) and Bobby got Strawberry Rhubarb.  We didn’t get a picture of the strawberry rhubarb because it was served straight out of the oven and was so soft they had to serve it in a bowl.  It was actually too tart for Bobby’s taste, but not for mine. I loved that the rhubarb was the dominate flavor of the pie.  And yes…of course we tried each others’ pies!

Pie from Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, NM | mjskitchen.comApple Crumb Pie from Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, NM | mjskitchen.comChocolate Cream Pie from Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

Click to enlarge and see the goodness in each piece of pie! From left to right – Blueberry Cherry Pie, Apple Crumb Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie.

The only other restaurant in Pie Town is the Pie Town Cafe. It serves a potpouri of pies as well, but it’s not open on Thursday.  It appears, that in order to spread the little bit of wealth that comes to Pie Town, the two restaurants have set their schedules so they don’t compete with each other.  The Pie Town Cafe is open Sunday through Wednesday while Pie-O-Neer Pies is open Thursday through Sunday.  So if you want to try pie from both cafes, you’ll have to go on a Sunday, and this time of year…it’s probably going to be busy.

 

Open Sign at Pie-O-Neer in Pie Town, New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

So if you are ever driving through New Mexico and feel like a piece of pie, be sure to head out to Pie Town.  You’ll know you’re there when you see the only STOP sign in Pie Town telling you to STOP!  How can anyone not stop and have a piece of pie.

Stop for pie in Pie Town, New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

 

As I mentioned, we drove a loop to and from Pie Town.  The front end of the loop took us off I-40, down 117 through the El Malpais National Monument where we did a little exploring. From there we drove on a dirt road (41) to get to Pie Town. After a lunch of pie, we headed east on Hwy 60 which took us through the Very Large Array (VLA) of the National Radio Astronomical Observatory where we stopped for a short lesson in radio astronomy.

 

El Malpais National Monument

Click on pictures to enlarge.

El Malpais National Park in New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

El Malpais is Spanish for badlands or bad country. It was used by early Spanish map makers to describe areas of volcanic terrainThe El Malpais National Monument was created by volcanic forces over the past million years.  Dozens of eruptions created a molten lava flow that spread out over this wide open space, creating caves, trenches, and a variety of interesting formations, most of which is accessible to the public. (nps.gov)

El Malpais National Park in New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

“This stark landscape preserves one of the best continuous geologic records of volcanism on the planet.” (nps.gov)

El Malpais National Park in New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

The valley is one huge volcanic field of lava flows.  A lot of growth has hidden much of it but you can still see large volcanic rock in the black areas.

El Malpais National Park in New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

Except for the arch photo below, all of these pictures were taken from the main overlook off Hwy 117.  There are a few short trails scattered throughout the monument that take you into the lava fields, which is pretty cool.

El Malpais National Park in New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

El Malpais offers everything from easy drives, scenic overlooks, and short walks to strenuous trails, caving, and rugged backcountry.  It’s home to one of the largest sandstone arches in New Mexico – the La Ventana Arch.  There is a short hiking trail that you can take into the arch.

The largest natural arch in New Mexico - the La Ventana Arch in the El Malpais National Monument | mjskitchen.com

 

Very Large Array – National Radio Astronomical Observatory

The Very Large Array in New Mexico | mjskitchen.com

The Very Large Array is on the Plains of San Agustin, 50 miles west of Socorro,  New Mexico.  It is one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories, consisting of 27 radio antennas.  Each antenna has a diameter of 25 meters (82 feet).  When combined into a Y-configuration, the antenna array provides “the resolution of an antenna 36 km (22 miles) in diameter with the sensitivity of a dish 130 meters (422 feet) in diameter”. (http://www.vla.nrao.edu/)  While we were there, the antennas were in the BnA configuration.  In this configuration they can collect data from the galaxy Hercules A and more specifically from a supermassive black hole in the core of the galaxy (shown below).

Image of the supermassive black hole in the center of the Hercules A galaxy

Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Baum and C. O’Dea (RIT), R. Perley and W. Cotton (NRAO/AUI/NSF), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

 

Click here to learn more about this image that was created from data collected from the VLA and the Hubble Space Telescope.  It’s pretty amazing stuff!

 

Dish of the Very Large Array in New Mexico | mjskitchen.comA large railroad track system covers the area of the VLA and is used to move the antennas into different configurations. This antenna had been moved into the repair hanger for maintenance.  I took this picture back in 2001 when me and some other teachers from the college took a tour of the VLA.  We were allowed to climb up into the top of this dish, which was pretty incredible.  It would have been more dramatic if the antenna had been outside of the hanger, but, at times, you just have to take what you can get.

After a short tour of the VLA we drove to Pete’s Cafe in Belen for New Mexican food, then headed home.  What a wonderful day! After two pieces of pie for lunch and a Navajo Taco with extra green chile for supper, I know I blew whatever diet I may or may not have been on, but it was well worth it. I can always rationalize it by saying that I did burn a few calories with the little bit of walking we did, but truthfully, it wasn’t near enough.  🙂

Hope you enjoyed the Loop to Pie Town, New Mexico.

 

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38 Responses to “The Loop to Pie Town, New Mexico”

  1. Zsuzsa August 22, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    Hello MJ,

    I love pies but I especially like astronomical observatories.

    • mj August 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

      Then you would love this loop! Good to see you Zsuzsa!

  2. Mark July 11, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Hi MJ, that’s funny, I was just going to email you about Pie Town. Reese & I saw a segment on CBS Sunday Morning about it, and were wondering if you and Bobby had ever been there. Looks like it’s worth a visit!

    Wow, Pie Town & the National Radio Astronomical Observatory! You have me sold on New Mexico. Reese will confirm that pie & space are two of my favorite things:)

    Thanks for sharing this post, MJ. Really enjoyed reading through it.

    • mj July 12, 2015 at 2:13 pm #

      I saw that short on CBS Sunday Morning as well. 🙂 Great little clip. So yes, we have been to Pie Town. 🙂 The town itself is nothing. In fact, one could drive right through it and never really know that they just drove through a town. Next time we go, we’ll go at the first of the week so we can try the pies at the second of the 2 cafes. 🙂 No, I did not know that pie and space were 2 of your favorite things. Then I dedicate this post to you. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Dedy@Dentist Chef June 14, 2015 at 5:23 am #

    awesome place, i think i need plenty of mineral water there….

    • mj June 14, 2015 at 8:41 am #

      Thanks Dedy!

  4. Amy (Savory Moments) June 12, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    This pie place looks like so much fun! I have never driven that far for pie, but this place looks worth it. Your other scenery shots are just gorgeous, too!

    • mj June 14, 2015 at 8:41 am #

      Thanks Amy! The drive was well worth it! 🙂

  5. Evylone@cheapethniceatz June 12, 2015 at 8:01 am #

    Always blown away by your drive pics MJ. And wow a town named pie after pie. Do they have savory pies? That was not lunch but 2 desserts lol 😉 Yum on the Strawberry Rhubarb, one of my favorites!

    • mj June 12, 2015 at 8:54 am #

      Actually, they don’t have savory pies. Just sweet ones, so plan on a hike afterwards.

  6. Bam's Kitchen June 12, 2015 at 4:37 am #

    What a fun reason for a trip! I can imagine it looking like an old fashion soda shop inside. I think I will have a blueberry pie dessert for my main and and apple crumble for dessert. The techy in me loves your visit out to the dessert and checking out the astronomical observatory. Have a super weekend!

    • mj June 12, 2015 at 8:53 am #

      Thanks Bobbi! Yep…I have a lot of tetchy in me as well so I love things like the VLA and all it stands for. And when I can have a piece of pie it two, while being a geek, that’s even better.

  7. Raymund June 11, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Looks like I want to go there too and try those different pies

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

      Thanks Raymund!

  8. Katerina June 11, 2015 at 5:44 am #

    Beautiful pictures from places I don’t think I will ever visit! Thanks MJ!

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

      Thanks Katerina!

  9. Viviane Bauquet Farre June 9, 2015 at 6:04 pm #

    A pie lover’s Mecca! I’m jealous of your lunch, MJ. That place sounds like heaven. And of course, the terrain is beautiful. You’re making me want to visit New Mexico 🙂

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

      Thanks so much Viviane! I’m glad I’m inspiring you to visit NM. That’s my objective. 🙂

  10. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef June 7, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

    I want to go to Pie Town!! I want to see everything else too. I’ve never been to New Mexico. I might have flown over it. 🙂

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

      Thanks Maureen! You’d be a really serious pie eater to fly from where you are just for pie in Pie Town. 🙂

  11. Sissi June 7, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    I wouldn’t be surprised anyone drives any amount of time for good food since I regularly travel by bus and tram about 1 hour just to buy excellent bread in my favourite French bakery… (imagine the looks people give me when I say I buy my bread only abroad…).
    The Pie Town sounds fantastic and your pies look irresistible… I’d take on at least 2 kilos in one hour! The landscapes look so unusual… You must have had a wonderful trip!

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

      I think bread and pies are the two things that I would drive the distance for. Of course if I couldn’t get NM green chile from the local market I would definitely drive the distance needed to get that as well. 🙂 I bet you do get a lot of looks. If I had had more room, I would have eaten another piece, but two pieces of pie and a glass of milk, did me in. Glad you enjoyed some more of New Mexico’s unusual and enchanting landscapes. Thanks!

  12. Roz @ La Bella Vita Cucina June 7, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    Since my husband and I just love the Southwest, New Mexico in particular, we’ll have to make this trip! What a wonderful way to have a meal … . all pie! My husband would be over the moon!

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

      Thanks so much Roz!

  13. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles June 7, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    you realize you’ve just described my rock ‘n roll desert fantasy, right? One of the things that appeals to me the most about travel is the very idea of finding myself in the middle of nowhere and experiencing the singular cafe in the center of it all. In short: Pie Town 😀 . Don’t know if it’s the homespun feel, the idea of being in a place where people still actually talk to each other or some other romantic holdover, but I love it and crave it.

    Hilarious about the pie only (almost) menu — was there not a third round though? I was waiting… I’m glad I clicked on the images; you’re right, they do reveal themselves in all of their deliciousness. Cherry pie has been one of my fave desserts forever… never had it with blueberry though — gorgeous!! What a great trip you had MJ; thank you for sharing it all with us, including El Malpais. We have so much to discover.

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks so much Kelly! and Yes, Pie-O-Neer definitely has that homespun feel. The owner, Kathy Knapp, even walks around and makes sure that everyone is enjoying her pies. 🙂 She also took the time to stop by and comment on this post. A great “PieLady”. 🙂 The blueberry cherry combination was really nice, but I would have liked a few more cherries. Hope you get in this area some day.

  14. Angie@Angie's Recipes June 6, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    It looks like a wonderful trip, MJ. I would love to start off and finish my lunch with just pies too!

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      Thanks So much Angie!

  15. Debra June 6, 2015 at 7:18 am #

    So here is another trip I want to follow you on. We started watching Longmire on Netflix just so we could get a fix for New Mexico scenery! 🙂 I got my NM fix today from this post and your beautiful pictures!

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

      I love Longmire! It was filmed around Las Vegas, NM,mostly. The office and “town center” are downtown Las Vegas. So glad to have given you a NM fix. 🙂 Thanks Debra!

  16. Vicki Bensinger June 4, 2015 at 10:16 pm #

    What a fun trip. Wow I bet your bellies were full after that trip. I need to check out their website to see of all the yummy pies they make. How fun is that. I bet you were glad to explore after those pies to take a walk/hike before your 2 hour ride home. Thanks for sharing this.

    • mj June 11, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

      Thanks Vicki! YES – our bellies were quiet full. 🙂

  17. Kathy Knapp June 4, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    FABULOUS!!! Thanks so much for the kind comments about our pie shop/road house. Incredible pix and great tips for travelers. Will be checking out your blogroll!

    • mj June 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

      You are most welcome Kathy and thank you for providing such great pies for me to talk about. We had a fun visit. We would have liked to have said Hello but you were really busy. We’ll be back soon. Thanks for stopping by and saying Hi!

  18. The Wimpy Vegetarian June 4, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    Pie Town is obviously worth the drive!! Next time I’m in the area, I definitely need to make the trip! Love all the photos too – really beautiful!

    • mj June 4, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

      Thanks Susan! Hope you do get down there some day. What fun to stand there looking at all those pies and then getting try them. 🙂

  19. John@Kitchen Riffs June 4, 2015 at 9:52 am #

    Who wouldn’t want to visit Pie Town? It’s definitely on our list of places to visit sometime. Maybe we should stay for a couple of days so we can sample the entire menu. 😉 Great pictures — you live in such a gorgeous part of the world.

    • mj June 4, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

      Isn’t that the truth? Everyone needs to stop in Pie Town at least once in their lifetime. We’re already planning another trip in a few weeks at the first of the week to test out the pies at the other cafe. 🙂 Thanks John and yes, we do live in a gorgeous state.

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