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2009 - All things pumpkin

I haven't been feeling the pumpkin urge this year. Maybe it was the flu. Maybe I'm unable to let go of summer.

Also pumpkin seems to be eluding me. Stopped a few places ... nothing pumpkin.

Today I went to buy my pumpkin sausage at the Tuesday El Cerrito farmers market and the vendor wasn't there. I was all geared up for that sausage on a crusty roll ... or sauteed with mashed sweet potatoes on the side. Sigh.

Haven't tried much this year and most of it has be bleh though there were a few good items.

Bouchon Bakery pumpkin macaron - Very nice. I got it at just the correct 'ripeness' ...a slightly crackly shell, soft almost marzipany interior. Three pumpkin seeds decorated the outside, pretty pumpkin color, nice spicing and while I'm not really sure if there was a pumpkin flavor there was the illusion of it with the texture and spicing.

Screamin' Mimi's pumpkin ice cream. Just had a taste as I wasn't really in the mood, but this was very good this year. Nice pumpkin flavor that wasn't overwhelmed by spice

Cheeseboard pumpkin scone - absolutely no pumpkin flavor. Nice color, moist scone though

Jack in the Box pumpkin shake and Starbucks pumpkin latte. I've found over the years it depends on location and luck of who's making it. Sometimes overly sweet othertimes no taste. The latte was fine. The shake had no pumpkin flavor.

Sooooo ... anyone have pumpkin recs

Past pumpkin posts

Pumpkin pie list

2008 Pumpkin Thread

Bouchon Bakery
6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

Screamin' Mimi's
6902 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, CA 95472

6534 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599

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  1. Oh wolfie, don't you know who you are talking to? The whole making food thing gives me the vapors.

    However I am still circling and stalking that Galeux d'Eysines pumpkin at Berkley Bowl so I might do something cooking wise. If only they weren't so large.

    A past pumpkin ice cream thread. IIRC, by the end of it Mitchell's came out on top. I still haven't found anything as good as Mitchell's pumpkin ice cream.

    Gunther's in Pinole has a lovely pumpkin shake. I should have used my pumpkin shake calories there instead of Jack in the Box

    Along the junk lines I'm finding myself attracted to the pumpkin and gingerbread pancakes at IHOP. I have no shame at times ... or taste.

    Beckmann's still remains my favorite pumpkin pie with Bear Claw in Pinole second.

    And though it is only pumpkin-shaped, that pumpkin princess cake at Scandia Bakery in Sonoma is good to keep in mind should I need to bring something for a Thanksgiving dinner

    My not very successful pumpkin stop at Fat Apples a few years back.

    I also need to remember the Spring Hill pumpkin quark

    I'm a little sorry now I didn't get the pumpkin millet bread at Oak Hill Farm in Sonoma but it sounded so ... healthy. Other pumpkin breads

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      You might want to wait on the Spring Hill pumpkin quark a bit. They need a new batch, as the stuff I had last week didn't live up to the usual quality. A bit too much spice (obscured pumpkin flavor), may have been less sweet (not that it's super-sweet, but this wasn't at all), and even worse, a grainy, uneven texture, as if the pumpkin hadn't been thoroughly incorporated - not smooth as usual.

      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        The lemon quark we bought a month ago was nicer than the pumpkin one.

        Pumpkin ice cream at Spring Hill was good.

        1. re: Cindy

          I've liked the pumpkin quark in past years, but this batch was off. The lemon quark is always good IME.

        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Got more Spring Hill pumpkin quark, and the texture is correct, but there's something slightly off in the formula this year, a little harsh in the spicing.

      2. It's not seasonal, they have them all the time, but I love the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins at Hopkins Street Bakery in Berkeley.....something I really miss now that I'm on the other side of the Bay.

        1. Ricks ice cream in Palo Alto has some good pumpkin ice cream - really good with a scoop of their industrial chocolate :)

          1. At the Ferry Bldg last weekend, I noticed a sign at Imperial Tea promoting "pumpkin shao mai". Wondering if anyone has tried 'em.

            Imperial Tea
            1511 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              The Berkeley location also has them on the specials menu. They were good but not really pumpkiny

              I think I need to give up on pumpkin this year and acknowlege that for me, this was the year of the apple. I've had great apples and apple dishes without really trying. While chasing around after pumpkin has yielded little.

              Di Brova didn't show up at the El Cerrito Farmers market on Tuesday and after driving down to the Friday Oakland Farmers market for the sole purpose of buying pumpkin sausage, I learned they don't have them this year. The place they contracted to make them didn't want to bother.

              Scream had sweet potato and coconut gelato, but no pumpkin. The flavor of the sweet potato was more Carribean than ... Autumn.

              Whole Foods Oakland had lots of things pumpkin ... none of which caught my attention. The free sample of the pumpkin pie was ok, but on the bland side. The pumpkin donut holes were a healthy version and there were just too many in the bag to try. They had pumpkin cheesecake, but that is low on my ladder of pumpkin cravings. Didn't see the pumpkin cookies or pumpkin bars.

              Naia Gelato at Whole Foods had a sign for pumpkin gelato ... they just ran out. The butternut squash gelato didn't do much for me.

              However, keeping with this year's theme, Naia's apple gelato is great and the free sample of mulled cider Whole Foods was selling was very good ... especially on a cold, rainy day.

              Lush Gelato didn't have pumpkin on the menu that day. The lady at the shop said she would ask about them making more since it fabulous. Sigh. The pear sorbet is amazing though.

              Forced to finally set foot in Fenton's, the pumpkin was a little too subtle but the other holiday flavor were wonderful. I also found out I really like Fenton's Ice Cream.

              There was no nearby parking at John's $1 ice cream and it was raining too hard to walk far.

              And in last ditch desperation, I bought Safeway's pumpkin yogurt ... HFCS be damned. It didn't taste like much ... no spice ... no pumpkin flavor

              I bow to the food gods and will stop trying so hard to seek it out. If pumpkin happens fine.

            2. Marianne's ice cream shop in Santa Cruz has the best pumpkin ice cream I've had. I ate a great pumpkin that was an Australian pumpkin with a pale green skin. It was so sweet that it was great mashed with butter and cinnamon.

              1. Tried the pumpkin gelato at Almare in Berkeley last week. . . rather faintly flavored.

                1. Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale - seasonal microbrew bottled by the Pyramid folks. Saw it at Berkeley Bowl W for the first time this season yesterday (it may have been around longer, but I hadn't noticed). I've seen it other places, but cannot remember where - Whole Foods, I think.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: pockyjunkie

                    Oddly enough I was drinking it as I opened the post. Usually Buffalo Bill is a flop. I avoided it ... but again ... it hasn't been a pumpkin year for me,, so I went ahead and bought a bottle. It is nicer this year with a pleasant pumpkin and spice aroma and a pleasant taste. I bought it at Whole Foods, but almost everone sells it. Raley's is a pain because they won't sell single bottles like everyone else, only six packs ... which is dumb because I am not going to commit to six bottles until I try at least one.

                    1. re: rworange

                      That's definitely why I like Berkeley Bowl - the one-offs make it much easier to go out on a limb. The Buffalo Bill Orange Blossom ale (spring) was far too sweet and heavy on the orange last season, so if you feel their Pumpkin's improving, I hope that will be refined as well.

                      1. re: osho

                        Unfortunately, I tried it but sort of hated it

                        1. re: osho

                          I loved the Dogfish Head 'Punkin' Ale; it tasted like a double bock.

                          On the other hand, I don't recommend Mavericks Pumpkin Harvest Ale from Half Moon Bay Brewing Co; It tasted watered down.

                          1. re: ssfire

                            Any other pumpkin brews you recommend ?

                      2. Liked the pumpkin pancakes at Brenda's French Soul Food shown here

                        Brenda's French Soul Food
                        652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                        1. The only thing pumpkiny about John's $1 ice cream was the color ... and it was icy on top of it. That never happened at John's before. They did have a really swell spumoni with little bits of fruit and nuts ... $1 swell though ... however maybe the best $1 scoop of spumoni in the world. It just wasn't fancy or anything ... low-class spumoni like I like it with green pistachio ice cream.

                          Keeping with my pumpkin luck, even though it isn't seasonal, the only reason I sat down at the new L & L Chinese restaurant in El Cerrito was because of the sliced pumpkin with plum sauce. They didn't have pumpkin yet.

                          1. The chalkboard at Venus listed pumpkin pancakes today.

                            Venus Restaurant
                            2327 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704

                            1. There are pumpkin cream puffs at The Bread Workshop on University Ave. I didn't try them.

                              1. Sweet Adeline has really good cupcakes. The pumpkin cupcake w/ chocolate frosting & some pomegranates is good! $2.50 ea.

                                Had dinner at King of Thai (O'Farrell @ Powell) Union Square and there was a special chicken & pumpkin curry dish. Didn't try it.

                                Sweet Adeline
                                3350 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA

                                King of Thai
                                184 O Farrell St, San Francisco, CA

                                1. Had a nice pumpkin shake at the original Taylor's last night -- good pumpkin flavor, not too much "pumpkin pie spice". (If you want to go to Taylor's and not wait in line, a cold November evening is a good bet, and eating under the heat lamps is really not too bad!)

                                  Gott's Roadside
                                  933 Main St, Saint Helena, CA 94574

                                  1. Firefly restaurant has Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin steak on the menu. I have never had it myself but have heard good things about it.

                                    Firefly Restaurant
                                    4288 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

                                    1. I have been enjoying the pumpkin muffins at Specialty's. For ice cream, Double Rainbow is a perennial favorite. I also like the pumpkin "rocks" (cookies) and pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting at Sweet Things.

                                      Last night my husband and I had an informal pumpkin pie tasting. The contestants were Sweet Things, Tartine, Bay Bread Boulangerie, Mission Pie, and Trader Joe's (the ringer - hey, it's $4.99, I had to try it). Sweet Things came out the winner, for their very traditional pie crust and filling. The overall flavor was light, not overly spiced, and familiar - like Libby's recipe. Next favorite was Bay Bread Boulangerie's pumpkin tart. I liked that it had lots of filling, with a deeper flavor (brown sugar?) and more spice than Sweet Things' pie. It has a tart crust rather than pie crust, but that was fine with me. Trader Joe's pie was actually not bad. The spice in the filling was a bit harsh, but we thought it was a good value. Mission Pie's filling had a nice, somewhat different flavor and was clearly from fresh pumpkin; I didn't mind the stringiness of the filling, but there were some seeds which definitely detracted from the eating experience. Their crust tasted good, but could be a bit more tender. Surprisingly, the least favorite was Tartine's pie. The filling was too rich and creamy, not quite sweet enough, and overly spiced - the pumpkin flavor just didn't come through. I also prefer a more traditional crust to their super flaky, super dark crust. I was especially surprised that I didn't like it more since I've baked (and enjoyed) the pumpkin pie recipe from their cookbook (although I might have ad libbed a little - can't remember for sure).

                                      Mission Pie
                                      2901 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                      Bay Bread
                                      2325 Pine St, San Francisco, CA 94115

                                      Sweet Things
                                      3585 California St, San Francisco, CA

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Anya L

                                        Thanks for doing this tasting. I also saw pumpkin pies, along with apple, sweet potato and pecan at Cheese Plus on Polk Street. I think they are made by Katiana, but couldn't find any info online. The pies are $15. I haven't tried any yet, but I'm tempted.

                                        Cheese Plus
                                        2001 Polk St, San Francisco, CA

                                        1. re: Anya L

                                          Just wanted to agree on the Tartine pie. I hoped last years batch was just off, but your description matches what I had. I thought it bordered on savory.

                                          Maybe it's geared towards someone who dislikes crust, or pumpkin flavors?
                                          Really lovely presentation but that's about it.

                                        2. Thep Phenom does a pretty good Pumpkin Curry, although I still find them to be slightly overpriced.

                                          I haven't been, but Helmand Palace's pumpkin-heavy menu has always enticed me.

                                          Helmand Palace
                                          2424 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94109

                                          1. There's pumpkin pie flavor frozen yogurt at TuttiFrutti on Piedmont Ave. I actually really liked it -- usually frozen yogurt flavors don't really taste like much, but this was very flavorful, lots of pumpkin pie type spices and such.

                                            1. Pumpkin buttermilk doughnuts on Pizzaiolo's breakfast menu. The pumpkin flavor is not very pronounced, but with the wonderful crumb and crunchy sugar dusting, all is forgiven.

                                              5008 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                                              1. I tried a sample of the pumpkin bread at Semi freddi. It was quite good, very moist and nice balance spicing. Has anyone tried their pumpkin pie? They only sell it whole.

                                                Also, Moterrey Market is selling Sierra Glen pies. Any one tried the pumpkin or any of them?

                                                1. Lucca has pumpkin ravioli for $6.50 a flat. They are vegetarian and have their usually ricotta in them. Very tasty with a little sage and olive oil.

                                                  They are not pumpkin-flavored pasta though, and mild if you're on a bright orange flavor kick.

                                                  1. Anyone try Humphry Slocombe's pumpkin 5 spice?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jsaimd

                                                      It's good. I don't know if I would pick it over some of their other concoctions and order it again but it had a good healthy natural pumpkin taste. I will say, it's heavy on the Anise, giving it a licorice-y flavor, which worked for me, but will not be for everyone. Honestly, after a while, my taste buds stopped recognizing the spices which were overpowered by the vanilla base. Other tastebuds might recognize the clove, fennel, or pepper more than I could.

                                                    2. Tasted a sample of the pumpkin ice cream at Chocolatier Blue Patisserie. I liked it - I don't have much to compare it to, but it was good.

                                                      1. Moonlite Bakery at the Berkeley Farmers market sells slices of pumpkin date bread. Not too sweet...just enough pumpkin taste.

                                                        1. Ichabod's Revenge, $12, seasonal cocktail at Cyrus in Healdsburg. Faithfully reproduces the flavors of the finest pumpkin pie you've ever had in drinkable form. Fresh squeezed pumpkin juice, vanilla bean rum, allspice syrup, orange, and other stuff I'm forgetting. Usually i hate sugared rims but this was ground pepitas and raw brown sugar that was lovely. Barkeep Erica was fantastic.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                            That sounds amazing but how does one squeeze pumpkin juice?

                                                            Looks like the highlight of my pumpkin season were the pie and cake at a Thanksgiving buffet at Lake Chalet.

                                                            I had pumpkin pie ice cream with caramel sauce at Chocoletier Blue today. It had good spicing but the pumpkin was a little subtle. Very nice caramel sauce though.

                                                            They have a pumpkin bon bon but again, it is more about the spice than the pumpkin

                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              No idea. I was told they make it themselves.

                                                              My friend had another of the seasonal drinks. Just gorgeous with pomegranate, lime and mint. Another choice that was very pretty combined Clementines and huckleberries.

                                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                                No photo of the pumpkin cocktail. But here's the shot of the pomegranate one that my friend took.

                                                              2. re: rworange

                                                                Jamba Juice actually has a pumpkin pulp with nutmeg themed seasonal juice. It was sold out when I went to try it, and I was told it's popular.

                                                                1. re: sugartoof

                                                                  It's pretty good. I think it's made with a pumpkin sorbet, so it's not actually that much squash inside it.