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the road to à la mode in {julian}…


About 90 minutes outside of San Diego, lies a quaint town called Julian known for their apple orchards and apple pies. If you've ever taken the Road to Hana, the drive to Julian is similar with windy roads and twists and turns around mountains and tree aplenty. Only this time, the long sinuous road leads to a land of sweetness called the Julian Pie Company.

The pies from the Julian Pie Company are sold at grocery stores in the San Diego area, but there's something about driving three hours for a fresh slice that seems intriguing {even if a bit ridiculous} to me. The waft of baking apples and buttery crusts consume your nasal passages as soon as you crack open the front door to the shop. There are pies aplenty {traditional apple, dutch apple, strawberry rhubarb, berry apple crumb, etc.}, pie toppings like cinnamon ice cream and cheddar cheese, as well as mini cider donuts. The pie was excellent – tart apples, sweet filling, and buttery crust gives it that homemade je ne sais quois. If you've never tried an apple pie with melted cheddar cheese before, do yourself a favor and order this during your next visit. It's surprisingly good and offers an extra dose of fat to plop on top of your slice of pie. The maple glazed cider donut was delicious as is the heart-shaped cinnamon & sugar-topped crust pieces, lovingly named Apple Memories.

Final thoughts…delicious and worth the 3 hour drive for the experience of seeing a much talked about San Diego legend. However, because they do ship and sell locally in the San Diego area, I probably won't be taking the road to à la mode again anytime soon and would turn to one of the more convenient options instead.

{photo by Oh Joy}


  1. My favorite, hands down, is the Boysenberry Apple with crumbles on top! My husband and I did the drive once and it was beautiful. We stick to buying our pies at the local stores now but you have me thinking it might be a fun drive to do again before Christmas this year : )

  2. i’ve never tried the cheese + pie combo – but it looks great! while living in SD, i always got a kick out of my native SD friends calling going to julian “going to the snow” because of the cooler temps and chance of some snow. have you heard that yet?

  3. Glad you made the trip! You should definitely go back up for the hiking – pie is great and all, but nature’s even better. 🙂 My favorite sort of day up there is hiking in Mt. Laguna in the morning, rowing at Lake Cuyamaca in the afternoon, and then heading over to Julian for food and pie. It’s perfection. 🙂

  4. I will absolutely have to go. I’ve been desperate for some apple orchards. And apple pie with melted cheddar cheese sounds fascinating. I’m not sure if it would be my cup of tea, but I’d definitely try it.

  5. I have known of Julian for a while now and have been meaning to go for years. Thanks for this reminder…I definitley will be visiting before the holidays.

  6. We make the trek to Julian every year in October. It really feels like fall out east which is nice for transplanted Midwesterners.
    I totally agree with you about the ride. As someone who suffers from motion sickness it is not for the faint of heart. In fact, this summer in Maui my husband proclaimed, “You are not taking the road to Hana. You can barely handle the road to Julian!”


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