Battle of the Big-Ass Apple Pies: Take Note, Man v. Food!

Ah... apple pie. It's as American as mom and baseball, Botox and Internet porn. When I spotted a gargantuan version of this classic dessert in one local restaurant's refrigerated case, I knew it was fodder for a brutal Battle of the Dishes.

Will my original find nab top honors in this week's showdown, or will it fall under the mighty weight of a local breakfast joint's cleaner version? Let's watch. (And drool.)

In One Corner: Sucker Punch Sally's Diner
4 E University Dr. in Tempe

This pie is a Sucker Punch to the gut.

You know that old nursery rhyme about the "four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie?" Yeah, that's exactly what Sucker Punch Sally's 20 Apple Pie looks like, perched atop green checkered cloth in the old-school diner's display case. This $30 pie is ginormous -- and yes, it's actually made with 20 apples. According to our spunky and very informative server, the apples were hand-peeled by Sally's dishwasher, who just got out of the military. Way to put those potato peeling skills to use.

​Sally's, owned by the same folks who sell choppers, is a 24-hour diner with a classic rock n' roll twist. The bones of the old Ruby Tuesday are still there -- brick arches, wood-paneled walls, big booths -- but Sally's took the place up a notch with bright teal walls, sparkly vinyl-covered booths and rock guitars hung on the walls. Each table has its own retro theme; ours contained vintage instructions for putting together a carburetor.

Back to the pie. As our server set a slice down on our table, my dining companion and I burst into laughter. Seriously? Adam Richman of Man v. Food needs to get his ass to Tempe, stat! Pair this thing with a Sasquatch burger from The Lodge (think giant burger tucked between two grilled cheese sammies) and you've got a combo Adam might have trouble getting down. Or at least, keeping down.

"Mmm, the apples are very crisp and tart," my friend said as he wolfed down the first taste. "Give me some of that whipped cream to cut the bite!" 

The good: The crust was flaky and dense. The Granny Smith apples were sweet, crispy and best of all, clearly NOT from a can. Most diner pies are made with canned pie stock, so this was a refreshing change. When I grabbed a forkful of back crust with the filling, the pie tasted just like the $1 Hostess fruit pies I used to gorge on as a kid, when I could eat anything and not get fat. Sweet, sweet memories.

The bad: The pie was a little thick on the cinnamon and the apples were so tart and acidic that my dining companion puckered up like cellulite thighs.  

The ugly: There's no way one human being can finish this thing, unless you fast all day and eat this as one big meal. Or have the stomach capacity of a sperm whale. Tip: Walk off a few calories on Mill Avenue afterwards and the street kids will happily take your leftovers.

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