October 14, 2006

Pumpkin Pandemonium

Oh, October. No other month is quite better than you, are they? First of all, you host one of my favorite holidays*. Your air is crisp and invigorating. And the foliage? Do not even ge
t me started on the foliage. Look at yourself, you practically epitomize the Autumn season. I could go on and on about your 31 days of blissful existence, but I only have the time to focus on my favorite of your offerings: limited edition pumpkin-flavored novelties.

There is no arguing that the Pumpkin dominates the month of October. Although it is usually revered for its decorative (and sometimes spooky! – ed.) purposes, let us take the time to celebrate the Pumpkin for its culinary delights. On the outside, the Pumpkin may seem like quite the goofy gourd, but within those orange walls lurks one of the most distinctive and scrumptious flavors in modern cooking today.

There is, of course, the “normal duprez”: pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup, etc…These foods, while delicious, are not blog-worthy by any means. So, without further ado, let’s begin the Pumpkin Pandemonium

Pumpkin Beer. I feel kind of lame beginning with this, but you’d be surprised how many breweries are producing this seasonal ale. I’ve had three varieties already. The first one I had in Orlando, Florida of all places. I cannot, for the life of me, remember who made it, but it was perfect as a pumpkin is plump. The second pumpkin beer was brought to me by the Buffalo Bill brewing company. I don’t know too much about this Buffalo Bill character, but he too makes a damn fine pumpkin ale. A couple days later I was treated to Blue Moon’s interpretation of pumpkin beer. It was a characteristically sweet “brew”, but compared to the other two beers, it left me wanting more. I suppose you could make the argument that they’re going for a subtlety here, but perhaps too much. If they put a picture of rhubarb** on the label and I tasted it, I would be like, “Hmm…yeah, this tastes like rhubarb I guess”.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese. The “cream” of the crop (or patch? – ed.) goes to the Einstein Brother’s pumpkin flavored cream cheese. When it comes to bagels, I’m usually not into sweet spreads like “strawberry” or “blueberry”, but these brothers know their shit. First of all, the cream cheese is whipped, which always helps with the application process. It is light brown in color and the smell of it melting upon a freshly toasted bagel is guaranteed to initiate salivation. Its taste is comparable to pumpkin pie filling, but the eating experience is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I honestly wish I could start every morning with a shmear of pumpkin on my bagel, but alas, this is a limited edition, so stock up for the rest of the year!

Pumpkin Milk Shake. As unlikely as it is, Jack in the Box brings this delicious desert to the table. I would not usually recommend that anyone go to a Jack in the Box (for various reasons), but this is something that even the pumpkin-curious should try. It is think and rich in essence of pumpkin, although, it apparently contains 830 calories. However, if you think about it, an actual pumpkin has over 1000***, so it’s healthier (and tastier!) to enjoy it in milk-shake form.

Pumpkin Donut. Most top-of-the-line organizations (Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, etc) are producing this treat. Mine came courtesy of Tim Horton’s, the Starbucks of Canada. I have to admit, compared to the other pumpkin curiosities of this season, it left much to be desired. Not to say it was a bad donut, I just wish Mr. Horton could have put more thought (and pumpkin) into it before rushing it out onto the shelves.

Pumpkin Coffee. I am no regular customer of Starbucks, but when they blatantly advertise their seasonal pumpkin awareness, I will throw up my hands and give in. Starbucks offers a nice looking pumpkin muffin, and two seductive pumpkin beverages to wash it down with. I could choose from either their “Pumpkin Spice Frapaccino” or their “Pumpkin Spice Latte”. Not having the money (or stomach capacity) to try both, I went for an iced pumpkin spice latte. The drink was presented with whipped cream and topped off with cinnamon sprinkles, and, as you might imagine, was a delight to my tastebuds. However, like Tim Horton’s botched donut and Blue Moon’s mild ale, I felt like I was being gypped out of my pumpkin “spice”. Pumpkin themed foods should be as fat, bright and flamboyant as the fruit itself. As I left the Starbucks, I proceeded to walk past the other stores’ Halloween displays, brimming full of orange pumpkins with mischievous faces. I took a sip of my pumpkin latte, trying to capture that spirit of pumpkinness, only to end up with a hollow feeling inside.

I hope other pumpkin-enthusiasts find this guide helpful, and if anyone knows of any other pumpkin innovations, by all means, let me know.

- Dr. Pumpkin****

* October 6th - Bipolar Awareness Day
I do wish someone would make this into beer.
* Do the math
**** Thomas Hughes


kelli said...


michelle said...

In Boston, JP Licks sells lactose free pumpkin ice cream and Tealuxe sells pumpkin spice chai. I've also found at some of the farmer's market stands pumpkin whoopie pies, yes, pumpkin whoopie pies! Homemade pumpkin bread is also the cat's pajamas. I've forgotten the name of the best pumpkin ale, at least by my beer loving roommate's standard, but I will find out and pass it on.

michelle said...

P.S. I did not realize that the new song was "Cat's Pajamas" I really wasn't referencing it in my last post. Here's pumpkin ale advice from my beer loving brother, http://mugwarrior.com/2006/09/18/the-pumpkin-king/

chrissy said...

There is this chocolate chip pumpkin bread at Great Harvest Bread Company. I have no idea if there will ever be one where you are going, but if you do find one, you will never forget the voluptuous taste of the ecstasy that is chocolate chip pumpkin bread. I dream about it.

K.L. Thompson said...

...you think that autumns in new england
are the greatest of them all
but give me sweet virginia for the fireworks of fall
the prettiest october in all the fifty states
just drive up to the skyline
park the car and wait...

Last night I was walking around New York City alone in the middle of the night and dwelling on this verse of Old Dominion. There is absolutely nothing more wonderful than a Virginia October.

kari said...

tim horton's...crazy cult or coffee shop? question answered.

alice said...

I can't think of anything pumpkin-flavored sold here, only the pumpkins.

krisan said...

oooh, the photos are posted in the shape of a pumpkin...faaancy. the wonders you can do in the warmth :)

nin(j)a said...

if anyone recommends any thing pumpkin-ish from coffee bean, beware. as a ninja, it's my duty to inform you that many customers have complained of its grainy and unblended texture and all in all, disgusting taste.


Bobby said...

You people really use their imaginations with pumpkins.. we just throw the gunk in the bin and stick a candle in!

ryan said...

I would argue that pumpkin ice cream was unfairly excluded, but maybe you thought it falls under the same category as milkshakes. Also, I have never had a pumpkin milkshake, so maybe it's worth excluding ice cream for. Only 830 calories, eh? Nice.

kristen carling said...

you missed out on some meannn pumpkin gellato in toronto

krisan said...

ooooooooh man, dairy queen's pumpkin blizzard is heaven.

Alex MCCANN~ said...

And, on the 14th... You can't forget. YOU SAW ME! With carrot cake which is also orange so it's close.

I miss your warm embrace!