When I learned that my doctor’s family was originally from the India subcontinent I was looking forward to telling him of my fondness for Kipling and the poetry of the Raj and maybe even trying out the Gunga Din-Do Nuthin’ joke that I sprang on Max the other day.
Then I realized that my colonoscopy would leave me fully unconscious for 30 minutes or more, stretched out on a table wearing a gown with no back, my rump unclothed and unprotected, and totally at his mercy. I decided to defer all attempts at humor.
This, of course, has nothing to do with today’s tale but it explains in part why I have been away from WordPress. October has simply been chock-a-block full of thrilling, enriching appointments like the colonoscopy. Anyway…
Last Sunday, the Alpha Japanese Female and I decided to take Max up into the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains in search of an apple pie.
Before heading to the mountains we went to Farmer Boys (Motto: “Farm Food Ain’t Fast Food!”) for breakfast on the dog-friendly patio. I wasn’t too hungry and chose a breakfast sandwich while the AJF, all 5 foot-and-a-skosh and 102 pounds wearing boots, tore through a Farmer Boys special which I think was called the Starving Lumberjack and consisted of 3 eggs, hashed brown potatoes, bacon, ham and wheat toast. Max noshed on a little bacon and some egg begged from his DogMom.
For us, the apple pie trip is an annual autumnal tradition. In years past we secured our pie from a roadside fruit stand in a quaint Northern California district called, appropriately enough, Apple Valley. Last year we skipped the trip because of Covid concerns.
This year we elected to stay closer to home and opted to drive to the small agricultural community of Oak Glen. Oak Glen is about 1,350 meters above sea level which is just dandy for growing apples, the first of which were planted there over 100 years ago. Before that, the indigenous Cahuilla and the Serrano peoples pretty much sat around eating acorns and chasing squirrels for sustenance.
The road through Oak Glen is one of California’s prettiest scenic byways especially when Fall colors have appeared. Along the five mile route are some 30 farms and ranches and almost all of the 650 residents are involved to some degree with agri-tourism.
Each year, about 300,000 people come to Oak Glen to visit the apple farms, shops, restaurants, group camps, nature trails, bakeries, cafes, ciderys, and historical landmarks. Judging by the traffic, about 279,000 of those annual visitors chose the same weekend as us to make the pilgrimage. But I digress.
Some preliminary research indicated that the best apple pie could be found at Apple Annie’s Bakery at Oak Mountain which started 50 years ago as a roadside apple stand. It has since grown to become a combined restaurant, bakery, and self-described “14 acre family fun park” replete with petting zoo, axe-throwing booths, mini train rides, piglet races, bumper cars, fishing contests and goat milking.
Despite the hodgepodge of activities, the website for Oak Mountain says that the place “was created for folks to come and enjoy a simpler way of life, surrounded by the fresh crisp air…” Uh huh.
Surprisingly, neither Max nor the AJF were attracted by piglet races or enthusiastic about trying their hands/paws at goat milking. On the other hand/paw, the promise of a delicious apple pie was alluring, especially when we learned that Apple Annie’s signature pie was a 5 pound (2.23 kg) behemoth called the “Mile High Apple Pie.”
Getting the pie took some effort because of the crowds. We had to park the car quite a ways down the road, put Max in his poussette and then hike uphill to the bakery. After roaming around the family fun park avoiding creatures porcine and ruminant, the AJF got in a long line outside the bakery while the Furbeast and I sat on a hay bale and did some people watching.
It was a good thing we were sitting down because I nearly passed out when the AJF returned and I learned the price for a Mile High Apple Pie. No, I’m not going to tell you. Not now, not ever – I will never admit to having spent that much on an apple pie.
After exploring Oak Mountain we continued our road trip, sightseeing along the byway and stopping at a few other roadside attractions where we bought additional baked goods featuring apples. By then Max was tired out and needed to go home and nap.
We dug into the pie that evening with coffee and Calvados accompanied by the sound of a snoring Maltese. Cutting the pie was somewhat awkward due to its Matterhorn shape but we triumphed in the face of enormous adversity.
The Mile High Pie was delicious but not the best we’ve ever had. I think its massive size and shape worked against maximization of flavor but it was certainly tasty and we’ll have ample opportunity to reconsider our flavor ranking as we froze the leftovers and there were a lot of leftovers.
Categories: The Dog From Rancho Cucaracha