There are always questions about the culinary wasteland that is I-5.
I recommend the apricot shake at a restaurant called the Apricot Tree.
Fresh is relative, but it seems that the Apricot Tree cans their own apricots. They are excellent halves in a not overly sweet syrup. The apricot halves, syrup, milk and ice cream are all blended together to make the best shake Ive ever had. There are little bits of apricot in the shake.
As Ive traveled up and down I-5 quite a bit recently, I tried most of their apricot desserts. The apricot pie has an excellent filling loaded with those apricot halves. I wasnt crazy about the crust though. It was ok, brown, crisp and with hints of cinnamon.
The apricot bread pudding and apricot shortcake were impressive hunks of dessert generously decorated with whipped cream and apricot halves. I dont recommend either. The bread pudding was slightly better but too dense and leaden. The shortcake was teeth achingly sweet. I fed it to a flock of birds outside.
Pass on the apricot and apricot walnut fudge. While there are nice bits of dried apricot, the divinity fudge is tasteless.
The rest of the food I havent tried. Its standard coffee house fare from what I could see. The portions are huge and actually the food looked pretty good, but then again, so did the shortcake. Ill probably give it a try on a future trip.
This is a nice rest stop on I-5. At one end of the parking lot theres a stretch of grass with a long row of trees and lots of cars were pulled up to escape the heat under the welcome shade. Theres also a market in another building and some fast food restaurants.
Dont miss that shake though. There are a few acres of fruit trees next to the restaurant and my fantasy is that they are the actual apricot trees that supply the restaurant.
There are big signs on I-5 at the exit about the fresh apricot pie. The location is;
46272 Panoche RD & i-5
On one drive back up on 101 I stopped at the SLO BBQ.