Tag Archives: pecan

I’ll Sorta Miss The Elks…

This time last week, I had zero to little knowledge of the Elks Lodge.  I wasn’t sure what the Elks did or how you became an Elk.  After the past few days, I’ve learned that the Elks are a) super nice, b) super helpful, c) have a super happening bar that is open in the afternoon and evening, and d) you have to be an Elk to purchase a drink in that happening bar, despite how desperate you appear or how covered in flour you might be.  Ahem.

Three days of hanging exclusively at 4747 E. Elk Park Drive netted us a whole lot of pies and a whole lot of happy customers today.  It was so fun to hand out all our pies and to meet so many customers who we’ve come to know through Facebook and Kickstarter.  After a few long days of baking, boxing, labeling, we were happy to have a successful first venture into holiday baking.  The unknowns of a temporary location and our social media reliant ordering system brought challenges, but we think overall that it all worked exceptionally well.

Here are our the top 5 questions we received today:

  1. Q:  When and where will your new location be?  A:  For all of our new readers, we are planning to open at 3601 Buttonwood Drive.  That is at Buttonwood and Nifong and behind Sonic…on the flip side of JoAnn’s Fabrics.  We are still working on lease negotiations but everything continues to look positive.
  2. Q:  Will you be in your location by Christmas?  A.  If the entire world would yield to my desires and demands, then yes, we will be there by Christmas.  But since experience has shown me that I don’t always get my way, then my answer is “I HOPE SO.”  If not, then maybe we will head back to the Elks.  But I might see about joining if that happens so I can have the special access key card to their happening nightspot.
  3. Q:  Did you all make all these pies?  A. YES.  Every single one.  Yesterday.  True story.
  4. Q:  What was the top selling Thanksgiving pie?  A.  Chocolate Bourbon Pecan.
  5. Q:  Will we be eating pie on Thanksgiving?  A.  Doubtful.  We didn’t have any left!  We will probably be having chocolate rolls, which is rolled out pie crust, sprinkled with cocoa and sugar and then dotted with butter, rolled up and baked.  It is basically a pie, but rolled up instead of in a round pie dish.  If it sounds ugly, that is because it is.  The taste though?  LOVE.  We are working on a way to bring these to PJP V 2.0 when we are finally open.

Again, thanks to everyone who ordered and picked up today.  We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow!

Apple and Peach Praline Pie…Oh My…

Our Thanksgiving order form has been open for about two weeks now and we’ve been watching the orders update to our fancy(ish) spreadsheet.  The thing about doing this for the first time in ten years is that most of our conversations with each other start with “I wonder…” and so around here lately, it has been “I wonder how many orders we will get?” (so far, about 100) or “I wonder what the top selling pie will be?” (so far, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan) or “I wonder if we will need to start at 4 am ALL OF THE DAYS?” (so far, probably so).

Surprisingly, we hadn’t asked ourselves, “I wonder if we offered enough variety of pie?”  We were trying to keep it simple.  A maiden voyage in a temporary kitchen made us reserved and unsure…in other words, nothing like ourselves in real life.  And not surprisingly soon after the form went live, the emails and Facebook messages began to roll in with requests for favorites like apple and peach praline.

If there is anything about this journey that we value the most, it is keeping it real.  We should have just added all the favorites for Thanksgiving from the get-go.  Our bad.  It isn’t too late though…the smart thing about messing up is fixing it when you realize it.  So, that said, the new Thanksgiving order form includes the following pies:

  • Pumpkin
  • Pecan
  • Chocolate Bourbon Pecan
  • French Silk
  • Apple
  • Dutch Apple
  • Peach Praline

We will leave the order system open through Sunday to accommodate late orders based on our new additions.

Now that the ordering issues are resolved, we are getting SUPER EXCITED to begin baking! Check this out – our temporary food permit for our few days at the Elks Lodge:

health permit

Let me tell you, THIS IS A BIG DEAL.  The health department people have rules…oh, so many rules.  All issued permits should come with a free iTunes download of the “Chariots of Fire” theme song so you can just listen to it whenever you need to be inspired from your harrowing journey.  (The Missouri Department of Revenue should just send you a thank you note and a bottle of wine in the mail on a periodic basis).  (I bet there is a special “booze in the mail” tax, right?).

In one final note, we visited the Elks Lodge today to scope it out.  First of all, it is really easy to find (just a bit down Highway WW and on the right).  Second of all, it is HUGE in there.  It has a large kitchen that is completely equipped (hello, commercial dishwasher!  I already love you!).  It also has a restaurant area, a bar, and a massive room for wedding receptions and parties.  Elks, you have impressed me.

So, order away on those new options.  We can’t wait to see you on Wednesday!





The Devil Is In The Details…

So far, this process of PJP V 2.0 has been easy sailing through smooth seas.  Sure, we’ve learned a few things (I’m looking at you, costly surety bonds) and been waylaid by obstacles (I’m looking at you, city permit office), but overall, well, overall we’ve had the most fun.  And now as we are TEN days from the crown jewel of pie holidays – Thanksgiving – we are knee deep in the details that will come together to ensure that pies are ready for pickup on Wednesday, November 20th.

Those of you who own a small business, feel free to roll your eyes, groan, and waste some time on Pinterest while we work through the gritty reality of our to-do this week.  Everyone else, read on…

Our One Week and Three Day to Thanksgiving Countdown Must Do List

1)  Pie Tins – Believe or not, 12 inch is an exceptionally rare size for a retail pie.  Most grocery store and bakery pies will be an average of nine or ten inches.  Those pie tins are readily available in bulk quantities from all sorts of websites.  The 12 inch?  It’s like looking for a needle in haystack.  We found a supplier finally and placed our order for 500 tins.  Then we got a call saying that they only actually had 300…not 500 and they don’t know if they will EVER get any more.  Really?  It seems to me that if you sell enough plastic containers to deem yourself a “CITY”, then you should probably have a grasp of whether you plan to sell a certain product in a time frame longer than two weeks.  (Anyone else notice a theme here with the two weeks?  http://peggyjeans.blogspot.com/2013/11/really-really.html).  Goal today:  find some 12 inch pie tins.  300 will cover us for Thanksgiving, but gives us no margin for error and no margin for caving and saying yes to late orders.  Moral of this story:  our pies are even more special because they are 12 inch and are sized the same as a Pyrex pie plate.

2) Pie Boxes – I almost ordered several weeks ago, but when I added the 500 boxes to the cart and it calculated shipping, the boxes cost $377 and the shipping was $298.  So I can own 500 boxes for $79 more than it costs me to ship 500 boxes?  Oh, the irony of paying to ship boxes.  I just couldn’t hit the “place the order” button because of my indignant outrage.  That said, we can’t hand out pies on the 20th with indignant outrage and a caution to hold your un-boxed pie carefully in the car.  Caving on this one will be necessary, but not until I uncover every bakery box supplier that speaks English and has a website.  Moral of this story:  if I think about shipping boxes for too long, my brain short circuits.

3)  County Food Permits – The Elks Lodge is in Boone County, not the City of Columbia.  This changes the game of permits and licenses.  We have to complete a Commissary Agreement with the Elks and then turn it in to the county food inspector.  ASAP.  Moral of this story:  these people mean business and this should probably be moved to #1 on my list.

4)  Food Supply – we are getting orders every day.  If you haven’t ordered yet, remember that you can order from our website:  www.pjpies.com.  If we do fill 300 orders, we need to estimate and work with our food broker for how much flour, sugar, pecans, pumpkin, etc we are going to need.  We also need to confirm with the Elks that we can have a delivery sent there on Friday.  Because if not, and it comes to my house, you know my neighbors are going to wonder why exactly I have 400 pounds of floor on my front porch.  Moral of this story:  my math skills are sub-par at best, but they are even worse under pressure.  Order your pies early so we have longer to work on calculations that show how much sugar one needs to make 100 French Silk pies.  Thanks:)

5)  Our Lease – the offer is being presented tomorrow and we should know something after that.  I have no idea who receives that offer, what their name is, where they are located, or if they like to eat pie.  Since we can’t focus on brain waves on that person, let’s all just direct them to our agent, Mel.  Mel, please make this work for us in a way that doesn’t cost 50 billion dollars or take 3 months.

He has a face that looks like he could pull that request off, don’t you think?  Moral of this story:  I lack patience.

6)  If number 5 works out to perfection, my next plan is to call Contractor Steve and tell him to dust off his hammer and give me a go date.  We have a VIP party to plan and a pre-Christmas open date to select.  Also look into effective ways to not drive your contractor crazy by asking a lot of questions and demanding things be done faster.  Research whether offering bribes in the form of pie and Sonic drinks violates any sort of obscure Missouri state law.  Moral of this story: I consider a Sonic drink a bribe.  That may say more about me than I ever wanted to share.