Sometimes you want pie, sometimes you want ice cream and sometimes, no matter how much you want them together, you don't want to eat them à la mode.

That's when I reach not for my revolver but for the pie shake at Polly's Bakery Cafe, which is a bit like a revolver in that eating too many of them is like playing Russian roulette with your arteries. For this double dose of dessert, pick your pie — they have over two dozen — and let Polly's blend it with milk and ice cream. It looks impressive enough in its hefty root beer mug — then you notice the “sidecar” filled with another complete serving ($3.99).

Aside from the stunt-eating aspect of the pie shake, there's a pleasing textural advantage to combining these two classic desserts. It's all the cool smoothness of ice cream tinged with the roughage of the smithereened crust.

I have a shelf in my heart for classic American diners, especially one-offs and local chains, located mostly in the burbs. (Polly's has 15 locations throughout Southern California.) The waitresses who have worked there for decades, the leatherette booths, the resistance to food fads, the prices, the consistency, the utter lack of pretension. The bonus is that Polly's makes good food and very good pies.

My favorite is their Banberry, a Polly's original that combines the velvety base of a banana cream pie with a crown of strawberries. Already a hybrid, it becomes an inter-species sensation when transformed into pie shake.

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