2011 - Pumpkin please
Here's what I've had to date
Arizmendi, San Rafael
Pumpkin bread. The best pumpkin tea bread I've ever had. Nicely spiced, it is moist, yet fluffy with good pumpkin flavor.
Bette's Oceanview, Berkeley
Pumpkin pie. Didn't like it. There was too much clove (or that type of cinnamon that tastes like clove). The butter crust was too tough.
Liled's Candy Kitchen, Vallejo
Pumpkin ice cream. Just swell with nice pumpkin flavor and spicing
Pumpkin pancakes. These were so good that I went to Bette's to compare pancakes (not pumpkin though). IHOP can hold its head high pancake-wise ... especially the pumpkn. Better syrup would be nice, but for the pumpkin pancakes they bring out heated original syrup instead of the dreck on the table.
Sonic, American Canyon
Pumpkin Shake. One of the best I've ever had, super thick with good pumpkin flavor and subdued spice. It wasn't too sweet. The nice touch was the sprinkling of pumpkin pie crumbs on the thick whipped cream.
Indian Wells Brewing Company Spicy pumpkin ale. I did what I rarely do with pumpkin beers ... bought another bottle and it might be the novelty beer for Thanksgiving dinner. Good spicing and some pumpkin flavors. Not so impressed with Blue Moon, or TJ's. Here's the 2011 pumpkin beer thread on the beer board. Someone liked HMB brewery's pumpkin beer.
Pumpkin latte, pumpkin scone - No. The latte was just sweet and discusting. The scone was dry and lacked flavor.
Harvest shake. Ick. They don't actually call it pumpkin. They call it a harvest shake. It is orange and icky.
Although I bake - when I get lazy and it is Fall, Costco's pumpkin pies aren't bad - can't beat the $5.99 price for a huge pie.
I love all things pumpkin, and have been making various items at home.
I had a slice of pumpkin pie from Crixa the other day - it was really delicious. They make deep dish pies, full of pumpkin flavor, lightly spiced, custardy, with very good buttery crust. Sadly, there were eggshells in my slice which messed up the experience, but the flavor was great.
The Pumpkin 5 Spice from Humphry Slocombe tastes like they're missing a few spices, and rationed the pumpkin.
Starbuck's syrup for their Pumpkin Lattes might as well be gingerbead. Doesn't taste like pumpin.
Smitten Ice Cream's pumpkin was exceptionally creamy, and interesting tasting. Still a little delicate on the pumpkin, but I think they're making the best ice cream in the city, and it's all from scratch. No prefab Straus base.
Smitten Ice Cream
Octavia Blvd Linden St, San Francisco, CA 94102
Ponsford's Place Bakery - San Rafael
The best pumpkin cookie I have ever had. The soft cake like round nugget was chock full of nuts and currents soaked in rose water (couldn't taste the rose water). It was topped with a lovely thick icing which seemed to have a little pumpkin in it.
Didn't like the pumpkin bread at all which was a savory whole graiin bread, but really dry.
I wasn't clear and they didn't include the pumpkin apple turnover with rose water infused currents ... sob. Their turnovers are fab-u-lous.
Model Bakery, Napa
They have a great classic pumpkin pie. The pumpkin stars here and isn't overwhelmed by assertive spicing like so many I've tried. There is a little fresh ginger in it which is a nice touch.It isn't overly sweet either, just a beautiful balance that bows to the pumpkin. Great buttery, soft crust.
Studebaker cheesecake, Sonoma
Has anyone tried these? The owner says he's been in business 30 years and sold all over the Bay Area. He didn't have any personal-sized cheesecakes so I passed. He has two pumpkin versions ... plain pumpkin and "Elvira" ... chocolaate pumpkin cheesecake.
610 First Street, Napa, CA 94559
Ponsford's Place Bakery
117 Shaver St, San Rafael, CA 94901
semifreddie's rolls out their pumpkin bread (and usually their ginger bread) around this time. starts early nov and usually ends after christmas.