’Tis the season for pumpkin pies. But that’s not the only way to get your pumpkin fix. Here’s where you can find some of the area’s best pumpkin food & drinks.
Pumpkin Grilled Cheese at Solstice
Solstice, a modern American restaurant in Newtown, is seasonally-focused and ingredient-driven so it's not surprising to find pumpkin on the menu. Look for pumpkin grilled cheese with maple sage ricotta, smoked gouda, provolone, sautéed spinach and kale on toasted sourdough; pumpkin hummus served on housemaid focaccia; and pumpkin tisotto with toasted walnuts, sherry gastrique, fall herbs and apple gelee.
Tip: Solstice is currently offering contactless menus and payment.
Pumpkin Martini at McGillin’s Olde Ale House
The pumpkin martini is one of the most popular drinks at McGillin’s Olde Ale House, the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia and one of the oldest in the country. A bar doesn’t last 160 years without knowing a thing or two about how to mix awesome drinks. The historic tavern’s pumpkin martini is made with vanilla vodka, pumpkin smash (a liquor), half and half and served in a chilled martini glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar.
Tip: The best place to drink it? Snuggled up by the fireplace at the historic bar. The bar is now open inside (with limited capacity and plexiglass dividers) and out.
Warm Pumpkin Drinks at Good Karma Cafe
Whether you’re a coffee or tea drinker, Good Karma has you covered. The fall line-up includes a Pumpkin Spice Latte with Belizean vanilla and Pumpkin Chai, with honey vanilla chai and pumpkin spice syrup. All four locations in the city are open and ready to serve you. Good Karma is a sustainable coffee shop brewing organic, fair-trade beans. Go all in on the fall flavors and pair it with a bagel and a schmear of housemaid honey cinnamon cream cheese.
Tip: Good Karma offers a variety of gluten-free, vegan and all natural snacks.
Pumpkin Ice Cream at Bassetts Ice Cream
You can only get the Bassett Ice Cream’s pumpkin ice cream this time of year and you can’t lick it! Actually, you can. And you should! It’s available at Bassetts in Reading Terminal Market.
Tip: For the ultimate fall combination, take a pint home and put it on your pumpkin pie for the world's best pie a la mode.
The Fall Mega Milkshake at The Pop Shop
It'll be worth the trip to South Jersey for The Pop Shop’s Fall Mega Milkshake made with pumpkin ice cream blended with caramel. It has a candy corn rim and is topped with whipped cream, fall sprinkles and a whole slice of pumpkin pie! And for brunch, try the Pumpkin Pie Bettys - from-scratch pancakes filled with bits of pumpkin pie and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.
Tip: Both the Medford and Collingswood locations are now open for indoor/outdoor dining, take out and delivery.
And don't miss:
• Though not traditional pumpkin, you won’t want to miss the breakable chocolate pumpkins at Aurora Grace Chocolates, a sweet chocolate shop on 5th Street just off South Street in Center City. These candies are studded with house made trail mix made with caramelized almonds, pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, golden raisins and black currants. Pumpkin pies and other baked goods are available too. Tip: A great gift for the people you can’t be with on Thanksgiving.
• The pumpkin spice bubble tea at Crunchik’n, at 11th & Walnut in Center City. Available for take out at the restaurant, which specializes in Korean fried chicken, rice bowls and dumplings. Tip: Order on the website.
• The chocolate pumpkin fudge bar with salted peanut butter and smoked pumpkin seeds at Vedge, a Washington Square restaurant that foregoes all animal products. Tip: It's vegan.
• If you're inspired to make your own pumpkin dish, try the pumpkin hummus recipe from the queen of tahini, Amy Zitelman, CEO and co-founder of Soom Foods. Her pumpkin hummus is moist and fresh, using white beans instead of chickpeas for better color and purer vegetable flavor. You'll find the recipe in her new cookbook, The Tahini Table: Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal. Tip: It was just released in November, so you’ll be one of the first readers.
If the suddenly cool evenings make you crave pumpkin foods, these places are sure to satisfy.
Irene Levy Baker is author of the newly-published second edition of 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. For more information about the books visit www.100ThingsToDoInPhiladelphia.com. Planning a staycation? Need gifts? Get signed copies of books on the website. Readers of this newspaper can use promo code NEWSPAPER for a discount.
Amy Zitelman’s Pumpkin Hummus
Reprinted with permission from The Tahini Table by Amy Zitelman, Agate
Publishing, November 2020.
I grew up thinking pumpkins were for carving and pie, nothing else. But when I got to Israel, pumpkin was all over the place, and most of the time it was eaten like other squashes: baked into stews and casseroles, roasted, or fried. When it was puréed, it was more often incorporated into mains than pies. Pumpkin hummus is moister and fresher tasting than typical hummus bi tahini. This one is made with white beans instead of chickpeas for better color and purer vegetable flavor.
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 dates, pitted and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced with coarse sea salt
½ cup canned pumpkin purée
¼ cup premium tahini paste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch crushed red pepper
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup white and black sesame seeds
In a food processor, combine the beans, dates, and garlic and process until mushy.
Add the pumpkin purée, tahini, olive oil, cumin, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper and process until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed, pulsing briefly to mix.
To serve, spread the hummus on a serving plate, drizzle with more olive oil, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
Store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.