"Ooooo, that's blasphemy," MFM pronounced when I suggested deviating from our usual on-the-way-to Tahoe pit/snack stop to try a new place. "I think it's pretty much illegal if we don't stop at Ikeda's," he said.
A tradition that goes back to when I was a kid - it's pretty much a given that either on the way there or back (sometimes both) - we stop at Ikeda's in Auburn for a snack. Sometimes it's a luscious milkshake, or a delicious teriyaki burger & fries - but it always ends with pie, for which they are famous. You may think it sounds impossible to get full use of their frequent pie card (purchase 12 and the 13th is free) but my family was totally able to redeem it. Within a year. That's a lot of pie.
So when my sister Mandy, or Mandy-rin Orange (she requested a foodie name with "beignets" in it, but I just couldn't think of anything) recommended a newly discovered spot for pie, Machado Orchards, I was a bit skeptical. But I kept an open mind. After all, she and her boyfriend Pat-strami have great taste when it comes to food, and great noses when it comes to sniffing out value.
Located just a few blocks from Ikeda's, Machado is definitely smaller, but is warm, cozy and inviting. Like Ikeda's, it features fresh fruit and produce, as well as typical farmer's market-type fare like homemade jams and preserves, jarred sauces, local honey, breads, nuts and pickles.
But the star of the show was its open bakery, where rows and rows of freshly baked pies sat waiting behind the window. Though the flavors were limited to just a few fruits in season, there was a homespun, baked-with-love quality that radiated from the kitchen. Nothing fancy. Nothing exotic. Just pure baked delicious goodness.
We tried the apple pie ($14 for a whole, $3.50 for a slice) which was fresh and comforting, made with apples from the trees in the orchard right outside. Not too sweet, with a crust not too buttery, with just the right pinch of salt.
No burgers, fries, or much else here (though we did not get to try the homemade tamales that we overheard had sold out at 7am that morning) - but the small seating area consisting of just a few tables, the friendly staff and surrounding orchards were lovely. Maybe not quite the destination to replace Ikeda's on our road trips to Tahoe, but one that is definitely worth adding in.
SAMIWICH'S TASTE RATING