Having come to Martha's Vineyard for the last 28 years I can tell you that it is not a place you come to eat in great restaurants. I always advise my friends who vacation here to buy some fresh fish at Larsen's, Poole's, The Net Result, or John's Fish Market, some freshly picked lettuce and corn at a farmer's market, and a few vine-ripened tomatoes, and then you'll eat like a king or queen at the house you've rented.
But the island does have one amazing foodstuff you can't get anywhere else, Mrs. Blake's pies. Mrs. Blake's husband sells her pies in a little hut in front of their house on State Road a couple of hundred yards before you get to the grocery store known as Up Island Cronig's. It might be my imagination, but I swear every time I go to pick up a pie at Mrs. Blakes (which is every day I'm on the Vineyard) Mr. Blake is there with his feet up relaxed but ready to sell you one of his wife's amazing pies.
Mrs. Blake is a flaky pie crust master. I figure the test of a pie crust is whether you'd be willing to empty out the pie's filling and just eat the crust.
Mrs. Blake gets an A plus on that score. Her shortening crust is oh so flaky, golden brown, and has a wonderfully crisp exterior.
She makes perfectly good crumb pies, but you wouldn't go to Peter Luger's and order the salmon, would you? Of course not. I often get two pies when I go to Mrs. Blakes (if my wife's not with me, that is), but the second pie is either a Tollhouse Pie, which is simply a chocolate chip pie she sells with or without nuts, or a very fine if not quite tart enough Lemon Chess pie, which Mr. Blake will always tell you is Bill Clinton's pie of choice when he and the missus come to the Vineyard.
So which doublecrusted fruit pie do I get at Mrs. Blake's? Yesterday I bought a Blueberry-Blackberry pie, but just as often I get a blueberry peach or the strawberry rhubarb pie.
On the plain white box Mrs. Blake's pies come in there's a phone number, 508-693-0528. I've never called, but it's somehow comforting to know that it exists.
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