There are lots of local bakers and chefs working actual pumpkin into baked goods and entrees. Here are seven to seek out for your real pumpkin fix.
The news wasn't surprising, but it was a jolt into reality: this year, Starbuck's cult-favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte would include real pumpkin and exclude caramel coloring.
Let's break this down. That means, for years, PSL's (what uber fans lovingly call the coffee drink) were pumpkin in idea alone, loaded with spices and flavoring reminiscent of pumpkin pie. It was like buying a glass of orange juice that contains no real oranges.
Despite its taste-yes, I'll admit the flavor of warm pumpkin pie does take the edge off the fall nip in the air-I've always found the return of pumpkin latte season deceptive. So vocal have I been about consuming a drink that contains none of the advertised ingredient, my Pumpkin Spice Latte skepticism has become a running office joke. Accusations have even been made that I am a PSL hater.
In fact, I am not anti-pumpkin treats this time of year. I'm all for the naturally sweet vegetable layered into cakes and cookies, or roasted into a savory hash.
What I am against is artificial flavoring. If you're selling me something pumpkin, there darn well better be some real orangey fleshed veggie somewhere in the mix.
The good news is it's a conundrum with an easy solution. There are lots of local bakers and chefs working actual pumpkin into baked goods and entrees. Here are seven to seek out for your real pumpkin fix.
Pattycake Bakery: This season signals the return of pumpkin-spice whoopie pies from vegan Pattycake Bakery in Clintonville. Chewy pumpkin cookies are made with locally sourced pumpkins for an earthy flavor balanced by sweet icing in the center. pattycakeveganbakery.com
Laughlin's Bakery: This Short North bakeshop will be offering pumpkin layer cakes by the slice throughout the fall season. (If they're sold out, look for maple cream puffs to satisfy any fall flavor cravings.) laughlinsbakery.com
Flip Side: The Easton burger joint's milkshake of the month stars the fall vegetable. The Pumpkin Pie Milkshake is a mix of vanilla ice cream, pumpkin pie filling, pie crust crumble and a dollop of cinnamon-spiced whipped cream. flipsideburger.com
Bake Me Happy: In Merion Village, the gluten-free bakery will soon offer a hand pie filled with pumpkin cream cheese, as well as a pumpkin doughnut muffin. bakemehappygf.com
Gallerie Bar & Bistro: Herb-stuffed chicken will get a pumpkin boost on the Downtown restaurant's fall menu. Real pumpkin will be roasted and rolled into gnocchi served aside chicken, shaved Brussels sprout-cashew slaw and rosemary jus. galleriebarandbistro.com
Wolf's Ridge Brewing: Get a double-whammy at Wolf's Ridge. Local pumpkins will be roasted and smoked to craft the brewery's pumpkin beer, Pi. Pair that brew with the restaurant's new pumpkin pie dessert served with bourbon bacon ice cream, candied pecans, Oktoberfest syrup, and Chantilly. wolfsridgebrewing.com
Little Eater: At her inspired salad stand inside the North Market, Cara Mangini is embracing the seasonal flavor in a variety of ways, including: Pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies made with house pie pumpkin puree, a sweet and sour pumpkin puree crostini, and pumpkin coconut muffins later this fall. littleeater.com