Five Great Pumpkin-Less Fall Treats

Eugh.
Eugh.
Photo by Kate Ter Haar

Satirist John Oliver put it best in his recent rant on the pumpkin spice gimmick: Come autumn, we look at pumpkins and go "I don't know why, but I simply have to drink that."

There are plenty of valid (and delicious) applications for pumpkin, don't get us wrong, but there are a myriad of other fall flavors that get neglected by pumpkin-crazed consumers. Thankfully, Orange County hasn't entirely forgotten about autumn specialties like spiced apples and gingerbread. Here are five non-pumpkin autumn treats to devour in Orange County.

1. Apple Crumble Pie at SusieCakes Bakery

America!
America!
Photo by Courtney Hamilton

Too often, apple pies are little more than a vehicle for ice cream. They're prone to dryness, mushiness, flavorlessness (and in the worst cases, all of the above), and you tolerate them on a Thanksgiving spread out of tradition. Not so at SusieCakes, a California bakery chain with locations in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. Their apple crumble pie, a seasonal special, is more aptly named apple nugget pie: The "crumbles" are thumb-tip-sized chunks with a texture and flavor reminiscent of a butter cookie. Their subtle sweetness is offset by a bit of salt and cinnamon. Layers upon layers of thinly sliced granny smith apples rest under the "crumble" topping, providing a tangy, tart contrast to the buttery sweetness. The pie comes in a smaller and larger size, with the small easily satisfying three people. Don't be fooled by the picture--those apples are piled high!

2. Honey Cinnamon Latte at Euro Caffé

Europe!
Europe!
Photo by Courtney Hamilton

Euro Caffé, the Costa Mesa coffee shop that attempts to recreate the European café experience, isn't immune to the pumpkin gimmick: they've got pumpkin spice and pumpkin pie lattes on their seasonal menu--but don't waste your time with those.

Instead, order the seasonal honey cinnamon latte. Like Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte, it contains autumnal spice and sweetness, but avoids the weird gloopy texture and shitty coffee. The scent of cinnamon reaches you before the drink is in your hands. The spice forms a pretty swirl with the frothed milk, like the classy version of the milk remaining after a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The honey provides a hint of sweetness without overpowering the rich Illy espresso. Every time you take a sip, your nose delights in whiffs of cinnamon--a marked improvement from pumpkin gloop.



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