Halloween has come and gone. Our costumes are once again being put away, packed in boxes or hung in closets, pushed to the corners of our minds until next year. But one culinary theme remains throughout the rest of autumn: pumpkins. While your squash-based sculptures won't keep through November, pumpkin flavors are practically a constant through the Thanksgiving holiday. (Where would we be without pumpkin pie?)
For those of you unwilling to let everyone's favorite orange squash fade into memories of October, here are five amazing pumpkin treats in Orange County that'll keep you in the spirit until winter.
5. Pumpkin Spice Latte at Kéan Coffee in Newport
Forget what Starbucks has taught you about the pumpkin spice latte and
trek over to Kéan. This more perfect realization of the pumpkin is
perfect for those few nights in Southern California when scarves replace
shorts in our vocabularies; here, the latte art holds beneath it a
treasure trove of mellow pumpkin and even mellower coffee flavors.
Sweet, but not overbearing, the warm flavor from this latte goes
straight from the middle of your pallate down to your chest to reheat
your entire body. Add a good book, and that's a pretty good night, if you
2043 Westcliff Dr., Ste. 100, Newport Beach, (949) 642-5326; www.keancoffee.com.
4. Pumpkin Ginger Cake and Honey Pumpkin Tart from Blackmarket Bakery
The title should really read “Anything from Blackmarket Bakery,” but
keeping it strictly pumpkin gives these two treats the titular edge. The
Honey Pumpkin Tarts are as tasty as they are stunningly beautiful, with
bits of torched meringue that will oust spray-can topping any day of
the week. Though not as pretty as its petite cousin, the Pumpkin Ginger
Cake is moist and flavorful. Candied ginger lace the inside and top of
the cake where one might have expected chopped walnuts in a lesser loaf;
the ginger is a subtle and unexpected surprise, but one that is
ultimately very well-received on the tongue.
17941 Sky Park Circle, Irvine, (949) 852-4609; www.blackmarketbakery.com.
3. Pumpkin Hummus at Rutabegorz in Orange or Fullerton
Mad props to whoever decided to put this together; pumpkin isn't seen in
savory applications nearly enough. At Rutabegorz, the “41¢ Anniversary
Dip” is pumpkin hummus served with tortilla chips. Here, the pumpkin
flavors are a subtle addition, but one definitely worth checking out. You
might have to dig a bit to really taste the pumpkin, but it's there
lying underneath the hummus. (Note: This is only the special at the Rutabegorz in Orange or Fullerton, not in Tustin.)
264 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 633-3260; also at 211 N. Pomona Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-9339; www.rutabegorz.com.
2. Bootlegger's Pumpkin Ale from Bootlegger's Brewery in Fullerton
Even though the fine folks at Bootlegger's Brewery managed to cram more than
300 pounds of baked pumpkin into this brew, the pumpkin flavor in this
beer remains light and airy through its (very) smooth finish. Drinking
this Pumpkin Ale is more reminiscent of the turning, windy weather than
an earthen squash, but the flavors are still upfront. Molasses and
spices are present without being unpleasantly sweet.
401 S. Richman Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-2337; www.bootleggersbrewery.com.
1. Pumpkin Shake at Bruxie
The main focus at Bruxie, of course, is its waffles. These bits of
delicious, fluffy, yeast-risen Belgian textured goodness get a makeover
at Bruxie and are suited to either savory or sweet applications. But
tucked just above the order window, a chalkboard menu spotlights
something any autumn aficionado will delight in — The Pumpkin Milkshake.
See, this is why California is so great: we can have all of the fall
flavors without becoming hypothermic before the end of the shake.
Bruxie's would be especially good on one of the sporadically warm days
we have left before winter, but these can still be enjoyed at night.
Underneath a pillow of whipped cream, this shake both looks and tastes
like pumpkin pie in a cup. Delicious. (Tip: Get a Brussels waffle and
dip it in the shake.)