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Firebaugh (I-5): The Apricot Tree - The apricot shake still remains the only great thing here ... but it is FABULOUS

I haven't been to the Apricot Tree for at least six years and not a thing has changed from this visit. The four starts are for the shake only.

I-5 - The best fresh apricot shake
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/84928

They have added apricot muffins since then. While these are better than the rest of the baked goods, though they are made in-house they have that supermarket muffin texture. Nice touch that they come with Dickenson's apricot jam.

The staff is always helpful and friendly.

Having eaten out quite a bit more over the years. If I had to choose something to eat other than the shake, I might go for the hamurger since they go to trouble to define rare to well-done on the menu.

For breakfast I might go for the pancakes, waffles or French toast with thier apricots.

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Apricot Tree Restaurant Interstate
5 Panoche Rd, Firebaugh, CA 93622

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  1. Driven past this dozens of time but never stopped. Thanks for giving us a reason. Apricot is an under appreciated flavor here, but not in Europe where along with raspberry it is a classic standard. Looking forward to validating your recommendation.

    1. The shake sounds great. So "fresh" apricot shake is available year-round?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        They start out fresh. The restaurant cans fresh apricots for use all year.

        1. re: rworange

          Pray tell, what else could they start out as. Melanie is right, they cannot have "fresh" apricots year round. In fact, there is a very short season for fresh apricots.

          However, that being said canned apricots, particularly home canned apricots, can provide a delicious flavor but like most canned fruit not even close to the original flavor. Apricot jams rarely come close to a reasonably proximate fresh apricot flavor, unless they too are home canned.

          This conflict obviously can only be resolved by a few of us stopping there and trying them at various times of the coming and brief apricot season.

          1. re: glbtrtr

            Ok, it being Melanie, I was taking the high road and not saying to read the original link which puts the words "fresh" in quotes. I was guessing she MAY have read the OP from 2002 and could have been trying to clarify. I'm on the road 12 hours a day after a grueling month of packing up my stuff and moving to Central America. \

            I write these reports after a long day of driving where there aren't even prarie dogs out there because I'll forget in 2 - 3 weeks. The most wildlife action I've seen is a vulture eating a skunk ... which must prove vultures have nno sense of smell.

            So I am not as clear as I might be.

            The bottom line is they are delicious shakes. The menu lists them as fresh and theny explains. I'm going with the flow here.

        2. Beware, Google maps places the address given (5 Panoche Rd) roughly 3 miles west of I-5, basically in the "middle of nowhere". Address should read:

          46272 West Panoche Road which is the NW corner of I-5 and Panoche Rd.

          1. Tried the apricot milk shake last month. Had one to drink on my drive to Fresno (lunch) and put a second shake in the cooler for my apricot-loving friend in Fresno -- $4.25 each and delish -- she loved it!

            Was using a straw while driving between Apricot Tree (located on the west side of the Panoche/I-5 interchange) and Fresno. Couldn't understand why it was so hard to suck up -- turned out there were about 5 or 6 apricot halves at the bottom of the cup blocking the straw.

            1. Since this topic is 4 years old, I'm wondering if anyone has more up-to-date info? Is the apricot shake still there & still good?

              12 Replies
              1. re: indigirl

                It's a better place to stop than most of your alternatives on I5 for liquid refreshment and restrooms. In October I tried to order an apricot slushee instead but the waiter said I should get the milkshake. I don't recall apricot halves but still a lot of good fruit.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9684...

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Thanks Melanie! Haven't had to do this drive alone since I was much younger, so I think I will need/deserve an apricot shake ;)

                  1. re: indigirl

                    I notice that the report of apricot halves was from a June visit. Maybe the apricots were fresh then, whereas mine in October probably were not. Perhaps you'll luck out if your travel is soon.

                    Oh, the reason I was trying to get something other than a milkshake is that I'd been to four ice cream parlors in the previous 36 hours and thought I should take a break from dairy.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      hahaha, so you ended up w/ a 5th helping of ice cream & lived to tell the tale! I'm impressed!

                      Keeping fingers crossed for fresh apricots :)

                      1. re: indigirl

                        If you drive up Hwy 99, check the ice cream posts.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          I've never driven 99 before. Is it nicer (foodwise & otherwise)? Worth the extra time over 5?

                          1. re: indigirl

                            From Oakland to Pasadena, for example, Hwy 99 is only 30 to 45 mins slower in travel time. I've been stopping in Bakersfield and Fresno. This last jaunt, I enjoyed checking out Kingsburg for Swedish pancake breakfast and had some good ice cream there.

                            I cannot drive I5 all the way by myself, just too mind-numbingly boring for long stretches. The last time I tried, going southbound, I wound up taking the first exit that would take me to Modesto and 99. When i have a friend with me and speed is important, then we will take 5.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Hmmm very good food for thought (pun intended). Will investigate further! I did see your ice cream post :)

                              1. re: indigirl

                                You will need to factor in that you might spend more time at your rest stops along 99.

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  Given this, would you say 101 becomes a competitive alternative as well? Or do you lose all the benefit of it by having to go through San Jose & up 880?

                2. re: indigirl

                  Have stopped at Apricot Tree a couple more times since 2010, usually during summer months, going to Fresno. On those repeat visits, the apricot halves were frozen -- a plus since I drive the shakes to Fresno to share with my apricot-loving friend.

                  1. re: Stephanie Wong

                    Thanks for the info! I assume it's still yummy though?