Attack of the (Edible) Pumpkin

The ultimate autumnal ingredient has moved beyond spicing our lattes and is now appearing on fall menus around Portland.

By Allison Jones October 19, 2012

Even though the Halloween decorations appear on store shelves before Labor Day, Portland's dedication to seasonal eating means real pumpkin-spiked potables and palate pleasers are just showing up now. Here are some stand-by spots that are aiming to satisfy your squash-loving appetites this fall:

Frozen: Pick up some pumpkin cheesecake ice cream now at Salt & Straw, or beginning November 2nd, scoop up some of their Pumpkin Custard swirled in Spiced Chevre ice cream (also available as a to-go ice cream pie). Ruby Jewel is also stirring up squashy scoops made with local, organic Stahlbush Island Farms pumpkin at both scoop shops, and Burgerville's seasonal favorite—pumpkin milkshakes and smoothies—are just a drive thru away. For more frozen pumpkin goodness, Cool Moon in the Pearl is offering whole Pumpkin Ice Cream Pies with ginger snap crust filled with pumpkin ice cream topped with maple leaf cookies. Need more? Saint Cupcake's got Pumpkin and Nutmeg ice cream Whoopiewiches. Whoopie!

Savory: Southeast Belmont’s Accanto is serving braised beef short ribs with pumpkin risotto and sautéed escarole. Johanna Ware's NE Fremont hot spot smallwares is featuring octopus with pumpkin, miso, sesame, and chili on the new fall lunch and dinner menus, and down the street at Acadia, chef Adam Higgs is offering roasted pumpkin and blue crab bisque topped with toasted pecans and brown butter. At East Burnside's PaaDee (featured in our 2012 restaurant issue), you'll find gang aom goong, a savory bowl of prawns and pumpkin is shrimp paste broth with roasted rice and greens.

Sweet: Northeast Alberta's newly 100% gluten-free vegan bakery Back to Eden is offering pumpkin whoopie pies and maple-glazed pumpkin doughnuts. At Castagna, Southeast Hawthorne's temple of modernist cuisine, you'll find a stunning dessert crafted from pumpkin, warm chocolate, walnut praline, and black cardamom. Daniel Mondok's wine country wonder Paulee has pumpkin buttermilk pancakes on the new breakfast menu, and the Bent Brick's dessert list highlights a "Pumpkin Pie Smash": think cream cheese ice cream and candied pumpkin over fall-spiced graham cake.

Brewed: If you're more interested in liquid forms of culinary exploration, the Green Dragon's annual Killer Pumpkin Fest is taking place on Monday, October 22nd starting at 5 pm, bringing together dozens of Oregon-made pumpkin ales, pumpkin snacks, pumpkin bowling, and pumpkin smashing. Think Oakshire Brewing's Big Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter, Hop Squash IPA (Ninkasi's collab with Seattle's Elysian Brewing), and over 20 more.

How do you satisfy your pumpkin cravings? Tell me in the comments, email me at [email protected], or holler at me on Twitter at @allisonejones. 

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