From pizzas to cocktails, there are plenty of ways to live a pumpkin spice life
From candles and glittery decorations to every edible item Trader Joe’s can invent, pumpkins are a trend we just can’t escape.
The bright orange gourd - a powerhouse of vitamin A - lights up the fall season with vibrant, yet comforting dishes from breakfast to seasonal cocktails.
In the hands of local chefs, bartenders and distilleries, pumpkin is prepared in a variety of delectable ways, here’s what you’ll find this season around San Diego County:
Spill the Beans: Start with a wake-up call with The Basic Witch, a combination of pumpkin, caramel, vanilla, milk and espresso; or the Punk-in Cold Brew, a shaken cold brew latte infused with pumpkin, white chocolate and cream. Pair your beverage with s pumpkin spice bagel, topped with ... you guessed it, pumpkin cheesecake cream cheese. Spill the Beans is at 555 Market St. in the Gaslamp, spillthebeanssd.com.
Cork & Craft: Enjoy pumpkin goodness from day to night, courtesy of Executive Chef Scott Cannon. Start with Sunday brunch and his Pumpkin Spice French Toast with almond crust, candied pecans and cinnamon whipped cream. Then try the Braised Short Rib with Pumpkin Risotto, a hearty dinner dish with caramelized leeks, butternut squash and cinnamon balsamic demi glace. Cork & Craft is at 16990 Via Tazon in Rancho Bernardo, thecorkandcraft.com.
Fig Tree: Speaking of French toast, try out an infused version with the Pumpkin Spice Latte French Toast at any of Fig Tree’s locations. The breakfast dish features pumpkin and coffee-infused French toast topped with pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting and espresso syrup drizzle. Locations include 2400 Historic Decatur Road Suite 103 in Liberty Station; 5119 Cass St. in Pacific Beach; and 416 University Ave., Hillcrest, figtreeeatery.com.
Grant Grill: Featured on the Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate, the Smashing Pumpkin Martini is a pumpkin and star anise-infused cocktail crafted with 10 Cane Rum, Grand Marnier, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Saffron syrup, cardamom bitters and fresh Meyer lemon. This showstopper is served in a martini glass and garnished with a spice-sugared rim and a wooden pumpkin ornament. Grant Grill is at 326 Broadway, downtown, grantgrill.com.
The Oceanaire: Toast to the mighty gourd with a twist on a classic cocktail, the Spiced Pumpkin Old Fashioned, made with Jack Daniels Black Label whiskey, pumpkin spice syrup, Bénédictine and orange bitters, and garnished with a pumpkin spiced orange wedge. 400 J St., downtown; theoceanaire.com.
Il Dandy: Feed your pumpkin hunger with The Buongustaia Pizza, made on their special three flour dough topped with house pumpkin puree, guanciale, Italian truffle shavings, hazelnuts and Calabrian pecorino. 2550 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill, ildandyrestaurant.com.
7 Mile Kitchen: Go around the world and home again with the Japanese Pumpkin Ravioli, using the freshest local produce, arugula and Reggiano cheese. 5420 Grand Pacific Drive, Carlsbad, 7milekitchen.com.
Tajima: Get a little tipsy with the Drunken Pumpkin before digging into your ramen. This seasonal cocktail is made with spiced rum, RumChata, Amaretto, pumpkin spice syrup, lemon juice, star-anise cloves and cinnamon sticks, and a splash of dark rum. It’s only at the 4411 Mercury St. location in Kearny Mesa, tajimasandiego.com.
Saint Archer Brewing Company: Get ready for a dose of cinnamon, clove and allspice with a seasonal Imperial Pumpkin Porter, available at both tasting rooms in Miramar, 9550 Distribution Ave., and Leucadia, 978 North Coast Highway 101, saintarcherbrewery.com.
One Door North: The Spiced Pumpkin Martini at this North Park eatery is crafted with spiced rum from San Diego distillery Malahat Spirits, cinnamon, black pepper, Szechuan spice, pumpkin puree and egg white, and served with a graham cracker rim. 3422 30th St., onedoornorthsd.com.
Or if you prefer to stay in, how about making your own pumpkin cocktail? Here’s a spooky drink from Laura Price at local distillery Cutwater Spirits:
House of Horrorchatas
1.5 ounces Cutwater Horchata Vodka
1.5 ounces pumpkin spice purée
.5 ounces coffee liqueur
Pinch of activated charcoal
Combine horchata vodka and pumpkin spice purée in cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake and dump in glass. Float activated charcoal-infused coffee liqueur. Garnish with grated nutmeg and candy corn. More details at cutwaterspirits.com.