Our very own mountain day
November 20, 2015 | It has become an annual tradition to visit "apple country" — the Oak Glen area above Yucaipa.
This year Ken volunteered to do the driving, aided by his trusty map app and a dash cam. We're sure the latter is to be able to report any driving miscreants he sees.
Oak Glen is about an hour's drive from Palm Springs, west on the I-10 and north on California 79. "Apple country" itself is a 5-mile loop through the hills lined by apple farms, shops, restaurants, and a B&B.
Since we were going on a Wednesday this year, we decided to return to our previous favorite dining spot, the Hawk's Head Tavern at Riley Farms (it's always closed on Sundays when we have gone in the past). The "Publick House" as it is called, is done up in 18th century style and the serving wenches are similarly attired.
Of course, I forgot my camera in the car, so the Usual Suspects had to wait while I went back to retrieve it.
We ordered mugs of hot spiced cider to quaff while we considered the menu. We had a good giggle over the use of an old-fashioned letter "s" that looks a lot like a ltter "f."
"I think I'll have Ranch dreffing on my salad" was about the level of witticism on display, but we had most fun with "sippets" (or "fippets," whichever it might turn out to be). Our serving wench had no idea what sippets are, Ken had no signal on his cell phone, and I had left my phone at home. So we just had to wait to see what came with out salads.
It turns out that sippet is a legitimate word (Merriam-Webster) that is roughly equivalent to crouton. I hope I can remember that word because it will be so much fun when eating a salad to talk about the sippets on it.
It turns out that going late in the season and on a weekday is wonderful. There's no traffic, you don't have to fight for parking places, the restaurants are not crowded, and the shopkeepers are more relaxed and their natural friendliness re-emerges after the crush of people earlier in the season.
We stopped at SnowLine orchards, which we had not visited for a long time, where they had llamas the previous time and where Réal asked the famous question, "My friend Ken wants to know if you can eat llamas?" Brilliant! There were no llamas this time, but we did enjoy a tasting of various wines and ciders. I picked up a gallon of cider to mull for Thanksgiving. And we learned something new: you can freeze apple cider as long as you leave space for expansion. After it's thawed, just shake it up and it's good as fresh-pressed.
An essential element of the apple adventure is always having apple crisp with ice cream. This time we went to Angus McCurdy's (which used to be called something else); we had wanted to go there several other times but the lines to get in were formidable. This time we were almost the only customers. And it was wonderful to be able to sit on the back patio with our coffee and our crisp, enjoying a perfect fall day. Although the restaurant is under new management, it has the same baker (who has been there a long, long time) and the apple crisp was delicious, as was the coffee.
Last updated on Apr 29, 2016