CLEVELAND, Ohio — By day, Emily Thome is the incoming Executive Director of the Third Federal Foundation. But Cleveland foodies know her as the founder of the blog Pie Eyed Love.
Emily started the blog as a way to chronicle her journey as she taught herself how to make pie. But the hobby soon began to take on a social mission, too. Call it random acts of pie-ness.
“I was making so much pie that I started giving it away and writing stories of the people I was meeting,” she says. “Let me tell you, people love pie. The reactions I received from this seemingly simple gesture made me realize that pie was way more than just a dessert.”
Fast-forward 10 years later and the blog is still going strong as Emily and her partner-in-pie Christie Yonkers (her strawberry balsamic pie is “the best,” Emily says) regularly post their pie recipes and tips.
“I am still baking and giving away pie to strangers and friends alike,” she says. “I don’t charge for the pie I make, and it’s been such a fascinating exercise in giving and receiving without condition.”
Recently, a chance interaction on Twitter with longtime Cleveland radio personality Jimmy Malone led to the idea of a community-building endeavor they’ve dubbed Cleveland Pie Festival.
“We are hatching some plans to raise money for the Jimmy Malone Scholarship Fund by coming together over pie and ice cream at Mason’s Creamery on August 1,” Emily teases. You can follow the event on Instagram (@clevelandpiefestival) and Twitter (@pieinthecle) for the latest updates.
In the meantime, check out some of her favorite dining choices in Cleveland.
1. What’s your favorite Cleveland-area restaurant and why?
I love all food, but you will find me firmly planted in the baking department. I could sustain myself on just desserts and bread (and coffee). For bread, it’s On the Rise— try the Finnish Rye. Luna Bakery and Cafe for cookies. For scones, I go to Fluffy Duck.
2. Favorite dish you have ordered from anywhere in the Cleveland area?
So often, we think of our favorite dishes as coming from brick-and-mortar restaurants. Cleveland has this amazing subculture of independent bakers that do pop-ups or have their products at local coffee shops, cafes, etc. Some of my absolute favorite things have come from these incredible bakers like the oatmeal cream pies from Baked AF. Amira Fahmy quit her day job to pour herself into her throwback snack endeavor and I couldn’t be happier that she did. There’s also Roaming Biscuit’s breakfast sandwich. It will change your life. I met Shawnda Moye a few years ago when I was buying bagels at Cleveland Bagel Co. and she was so enthusiastic about her biscuit pop-up that I became a loyal follower. So loyal that I might have invested in their latest endeavor and ended up with a lot of biscuit credits to share if you want to try one!
3. What’s your favorite dish/meal to prepare at home?
Need I even answer this question? For the record, I can’t cook and I don’t like it one bit. I can make three respectable dishes and my boys hate it when I’m in charge of dinner because they know they will be getting one of those three things. Thank goodness my husband loves to cook.
4. Favorite place for takeout?
If you have never heard of Koko Bakery, make a point to take a trip there this weekend. Among all of their amazing things, my favorite grab-and-go breakfast is their warm, runny egg bun. There’s a system to this, though. If you get there right when the bakery opens at 9 a.m., you’ll see carts of warm Chinese buns coming out of the oven. Among these buns are ones filled with turkey or ham and a warm egg that, if you get it right as it comes out, is still runny. I’ve been known to take one right off the cart before it even makes its way into the display cabinet.
5. Favorite ice cream spot?
You are never going to invite me back because I just cannot choose just one. Mitchell’s has the best everyday ice cream (because some of us eat ice cream every day). Mason’s Creamery for the best unique product. Their egg waffle is a warm, airy, doughy waffle cone filled with ice cream. It’s one of those dishes that make you sad when it’s gone. And Daisy’s serves ice cream the way it should be. Old school, walk-up ice cream on Fleet Ave. in Slavic Village. Vanilla soft serve with crunch coat is where it’s at.