- Kat Robinson
- COOL SWEET PIE: Pineapple Delight at Red Oak Fillin Station
There are some pies that work much better in the summer and others that work much better in the winter. Pumpkin and sweet potato pies tend to be wintery pies, as are pecan pies. Icebox and cream pies and fresh fruit pies are summer-friendly.
Can’t get much more summer-friendly than the Pineapple Delight pie at the Red Oak Fillin Station outside of Hot Springs. This last stop convenience store slash gas station slash restaurant serves up a selection of different pies every day, along with home cooking specials and a burger I have yet to try.
Dropped by the place on my way back from an assignment not too long ago, aiming to catch a pie if they had one just to see if they were any good. I’ve been by a time or two for breakfast
but have missed out on just about everything else.
The pies, which ones are offered each day, are kept in a big pie case in the counter, right next to the call window from the kitchen. These aren’t hoity toity pies. They’re just about what you’d get if you went and found a maternal relative of a certain age who was preparing something sweet for Sunday potluck.
For instance, the Key Lime Pie sitting in the case looked just like the old Eagle Brand Condensed Milk recipe version. That’s not a bad thing. Dave’s Place
does a version of this that will regress you 20 years or more.
It was hot, over 100 degrees outside, and the offered baked peach pie also sounded a bit too hot. But there appeared to be an icebox pie of sorts, and without even asking what it was first I ordered it.
Good choice. Turned out to be a Pineapple Delight pie. Think ambrosia — not necessarily the nectar of the gods but the sort of stuff you get at those Sunday picnics, which includes marshmallow fluff and coconut flakes and bits of fruit. My family’s version was the mandarin orange version — my traveling companion said it was maraschino cherries in his family.
This version — big fluffy creamy marshmallow-infused goodness coagulated together with coconut flakes and lots of juicy bits of shredded pineapple, straight from the can and into a pressed graham crust. It was fluffy and cold and sweet and such an antidote to the raging sun outside. But somehow it wasn’t too sweet. I think I detected a bit of lemon juice in the background flavors. And there was a tartness about it. It was quite pleasant.
It was another lick-the-plate sort of pies, moreso for the fact that if it ventured beyond the doors of the Red Oak Fillin Station, I could envision an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusades bit happening, with everything collapsing around us. Okay, that may be a bit much, but at anything more than room temperature the pie would have been a sticky pool of goo.
Sometimes it’s best to go ahead and have that pie and eat it too all in one setting.
One more thing — and this is not something I ordinarily add to my reviews but it must be said — for a gas station or convenience store, the Red Oak Fillin Station has the absolute cleanest bathroom I have ever seen. It’s practically no-touch — with automatic lights that come on when you enter, self-flushing toilet, automated sink and soap dispenser. Nicely done in large taupe and brown stone tiles, too. Very nice. Almost doesn’t seem right, considering all the taxidermilogical representations of formerly living animals that dot the interior of the place.
You’ll find the Red Oak Fillin Station at 2169 Carpenter Dam Road on the southeast side of Hot Springs, on the way out to Garvan Woodland Gardens. It’s open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (501) 262-0400.