THE NAME OF A PLACE... doesn't have to correspond with what that place does or serves or the tenets or ideas it holds most dear. In fact, sticking a fanciful moniker on your business, all to stand out and rise above, has long been a practice of those who think creatively. But here is a delicious and toothsome truth, one that must be embraced in these colder winter months, when hearty foodstuffs tantalize and satisfy: The Apple Farm, the historic inn in San Luis Obispo, really does do right by its namesake fruit. Sure, the apple is in the logo for the destination, which has been a SLO staple for four decades, but it is also seen on the menu at the inn's adjacent Apple Farm Restaurant & Bakery. The "Bakery" part of that handle is a giveaway to the fact that the fruity offering will be from the pastry side of the aisle, and it is, and if you were hoping/wishing that it might be a classic, filling, and nicely spiced Hot Apple Dumpling, wish no more: That is, indeed, the celebrated sweet at the celebrated Central Coast stop.
A COUPLE OF ICE CREAM SCOOPS... accompany the dumpling, which is on the menu all year long, and not just in wintertime. It comes in at just under a tenner, price-wise, and probably can be shared, with your co-dumpling devotee, or enjoyed on your own, if you're a through-and-through apple pie person, but like to see the whole apple pie concept spun in different ways. What's interesting is that SLO is also home to another classic dessert — the Pink Champagne cake at the Madonna Inn — which can lead one to believe that the friendly town must have some sort of lock on creating luscious confections that become well-known beyond the city's borders. Doing a dessert-focused swing-through of dear SLO? The mere thought of such an afternoon feels as satisfying as a Hot Apple Dumpling.