|Julian's Fresh Apple Pie|
This restaurant is an area classic and is very very busy because of its long reputation. I've dined here several times during recent stays at the Carlisle Inn. The chicken is great whether you get broasted or pan friend. Beyond that, a number of dishes are lacking. The green beans are undoubtedly canned as they have the telltale 'tin' taste. The mashed potatoes and stuffing are good and reliable choices. The buffet/salad bar are great if you have big eaters in your party. The pie, often sought after because of its Amish reputation, has sadly not been very good in recent times.
On my visit in 2013 I found the crusts pasty and white, rather than flaky and browned. They certainly did not look or taste homemade. Worse yet the fruit pie filling was obviously coming from processed fruit in the bag/can. I ordered blackberry pie last year and there was not a berry in it. Rather there were only bits and pieces, and a large amount of paste that accounted for the filling. It was more like jam in a pie crust. I had the same experience with other fruit pies.
This summer (July 2014) I talked with the staff and was pleased to see them differentiating "fresh" fruit pies from their standard line. So I ordered "Fresh Peach." I anticipated that a cook would have peeled and stoned the peaches, placed them a crust coated with a little sugar and starch, topped the pie with a crust and baked it. Instead I received a pie that was more like what you might expect with fresh strawberry. These were uncooked (I would say, previously frozen and thawed) peaches that had been mixed with a generous (and I mean huge) amount of peach flavored gelatin. In fact, in the store they sell the "Peach Redi-Pak" so you can make these at home yourself (although why you would want to, I don't know.) It's not that the pie tasted bad, but simply that it really isn't a fresh peach pie they way you might make it at home, or expect it to be made in a Amish home kitchen.
|Dutch Valley "Fresh Peach" and I use the term loosely!|
Grandma's Homestead Restaurant
This was the favorite restaurant in Amish Country of my Uncle Roy and Aunt Rose, who dined here regularly as they lived in the area. Word did get around of the excellent food and the popularity has not done this restaurant any favors. Volume has somewhat decreased service levels. With that said, during my recent visit they still had the best meatloaf I've ever tasted in a restaurant. I'm not sure what they put it it, but it certainly is very good. They offer a small buffet at lunchtime to handle the crowd, and it had both meatloaf and chicken leg/thigh quarters. On subsequent visits I found the meatloaf had been replaced with pork, which was also good. The mashed potatoes are homemade and the Amish noodles are not to be missed, especially when served over the potatoes in Amish country style. If you are put off by the inconsistency of service, I would suggest you consider dining elsewhere but do come here midday for the pie.
|Grandma's Homestead Classic: Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie|