By the middle of September each year, our foodie hearts turn toward root vegetables, nutmeg and, of course, pumpkins. Pretty soon the gourd will plague every restaurant, bakery and café menu in town. By the time November rolls around, we'll surely be pushing the pumpkin pie out of the way due to pumpkin exhaustion, but, until then, we have five treats made locally that you have to have before the pumpkin burn out sets in.
Urban Cookies' Pumpkin Bread Sweet, spicy and available year 'round--Urban Cookies' pumpkin bread is the perfect way to inject a fall flavor pallet into your diet, even in the middle of summer. The super moist pumpkin bread is topped with an addicting cinnamon pecan streusel. At $2.50 per slice, you're liable to get hooked for good. Plus, if you're looking for an easy treat to bring to an autumnal soiree, you can buy whole loaves for about $30.
St. Francis' Pumpkin Soup Soup season is coming back in a big way and one of our very favorite options that is both soup and seasonal is St. Francis' pumpkin soup. As if the velvety, luxurious pumpkin base wasn't enough, St. Francis builds on the rustic flavors with sage, roasted peppitas and a cinnamon crème fraiche. Then the soup gets a tangy twist with pomegranate areals and orange zest. A bowl of this beautifully well-rounded, vegetarian and gluten-free soup will cost you $6.
Petite Maison's Pumpkin Dinner Petite Maison is known for having some of the most well-executed theme dinners in town. Everything from the annual Halloween Offal dinner to Julia Child-inspired dessert have come from James Porter's inventive kitchen. This time Petite Maison is giving dinner the pumpkin treatment with a four-course menu with pumpkin everything and a wine pairing for each dish. The menu includes a pumpkin wrapped scallop with a pumpkin latke and pepita foie pesto, pumpkin and apple glazed pork belly with pumpkin and pecan polenta and a slow roasted pumpkin and ricotta agnolotti with duck confit and crispy sage.
What trip to Petite Maison would be complete without a soufflé? Well, don't worry, they've also got a pumpkin soufflé with hazelnut crème anglaise on the list. The dinner, which is $39 per person (a steal in our book) and an additional $16 for the wine pairings, will be available October 17 through 20 in peak pumpkin season.
Four Peaks' Pumpkin Porter If you can't wait to get your hands on a glass of Four Peaks' Pumpkin Porter, don't worry--you're definitely not alone. The extremely popular craft, seasonal brew seems to run out more quickly every year, despite the fact that Four Peaks brews it in greater quantities every year. This year, though they plan to brew even more than last year, you should rush out and grab a few pints or a growler-full of the spicy porter that tastes pretty much like liquid, buzz-inducing pumpkin pie before all the kegs run dry. According to Four Peaks' Tim Neuman, we can expect to see the first of these pumpkiny suds at all three Four Peaks brewhouses on September 23 and in other local spots beginning October 1. This year, we hear it might also be offered in cans.
AZ Pop's Pumpkin Spice Popsicle While everyone else has begun to bundle up, sitting around campfires with hot mugs of spiced apple cider, it's still over 100 degrees here in Phoenix. AZ Pops, one of the best popsicle makers in town, has made a treat that both satisfies your pumpkin cravings while helping you beat the heat. The pumpkin spice popsicle, made with fresh pumpkin puree, is kind of like eating frozen pumpkin pie--minus the crust. The popsicle purveyors at AZ Pops plan on making the first batch at the end of September when the pumpkins are ripe, so plan on picking up a couple in October at the Old Town Farmers Market.