Pumpkin Bucket List: Where to Get Your Pumpkin Spice on in Chicago
October is pumpkin spice season. When seemingly every food and beverage product becomes available in pumpkin spice flavor, the formula starts to become a tad grating. Which is why it would behoove you to seek out legitimate pumpkin spice delicacies; dishes and drinks that are worth your while this season. From pumpkin-packed margaritas to gnocchi, soup, and French toast, here's your handy and heady guide to pumpkin dining this season.
Kinmont: Pumpkin and lobster may not be the most obvious pairing, but the two work wonders together at Kinmont, where chef Aaron Cushieri combines a a bit of surf with some vegetal turf. Pumpkin ravioli lends an aromatic accent and creamy richness to his dish of butter-poached lobster with saffron beurre blanc and toasted walnuts.
Antique Taco: Forget about generic pumpkin spice lattes this season and get your pumpkin drink fix at Antique Taco. October 15 through November 15, the restaurant is adding a pumpkin margarita to its menu, made with lemon juice, orange juice, lime juice, fresh pumpkin puree, nutmeg-canela syrup, and Casamigos Reposado.
Presidio: Things are getting rich at Presidio, both on the food menu and the drink list. Food-wise, try the new duck rillette preparation served with sorrel, roasted pumpkin mustard, and fennel-raisin bread, or the heirloom pumpkin soup with coconut milk, black rice, spicy hazelnut pesto, and chili oil. To drink, bartenders are heating things up with the Presidio Coffee #1, a warm elixir of wheat whiskey, herbal spirit, pumpkin spice syrup, hot Sparrow coffee, fresh whipped cream, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Sepia: Pumpkin and coconut milk must be a thing, because another restaurant is serving up pumpkin soup infused with coconut. The pumpkin-coconut dish at Sepia, courtesy of chef Andrew Zimmerman, is a Thai-inspired vegetarian option spiced up with red curry paste.
South Water Kitchen: At this Loop staple, you can get your pumpkin fix early thanks to a new addition to the brunch menu. It's a spiced up rendition of challah French toast, featuring pumpkin spice cream cheese and dried cranberry-pecan gremolata.
Bread & Wine: Pumpkin seeds and spice come together for a new potable at Irving Park's Bread & Wine. Here, hot pumpkin spice marries with Parce 8-year rum, ginger liqueur, Cointreau, simple syrup, egg white, and toasted pumpkin seeds for a decadent tipple.
Delightful Pastries: There's no shortage of pumpkin pastries and desserts on menus nowadays, but beyond the standard pie, there are innovative confections to be tried at spots like Delightful Pastries. The pumpkin cayenne cheesecake brownie is a masterpiece of autumnal snacking, made by layering a cayenne-spiced brownie with a patina of pumpkin cheesecake. Then there's the famed pumpkin roll, a pumpkin cake prepared jelly roll-style with a tangy cream filling.
Filini Bar & Restaurant: If you're looking for the richest, most flavorful savory pumpkin dish this year, you'll find it at Filini. The Italian restaurant and bar is cooking up Italian sausage ravioli in brown butter sauce with pumpkin-maple ricotta and crushed pistachios.
AMK Kitchen Bar: One of the funnest fall cocktails of the year can be sipped at Bucktown's AMK Kitchen Bar. It's called The Pilgrim and it features an alluring mix of Treaty Oaks Waterloo gin, Domaine de Canton, housemade pumpkin syrup, Reynolds' Don's mix, two spoonfuls of pumpkin pie mix, and a Half & Half foam topper dotted with shaved cinnamon.
M Burger: Get ready for a novel take on pumpkin pie, because M Burger is gearing up to put pumpkin in the spotlight next month. From November 1 through November 30, the beloved burger collective is featuring a special pumpkin pie shake made with local homemade pumpkin and vanilla ice cream topped with graham cracker crumbs and housemade pumpkin spice.
Firecakes Donuts: Another apt destination for pumpkin pie-inspired noshing is Firecakes Donuts, which is currently featuring an old fashioned pumpkin pie donut with pecan praline.
Magnolia Bakery: The end all-be all of pumpkin desserts in Chicago, though, may very well be Magnolia Bakery. This little slice of Americana is going all out with a menu packed full of pumpkin. There's pumpkin icebox pie in a gingersnap crust, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin cheesecake in a gingersnap-pecan crust with toasted pecans, pumpkin pecan bars, pumpkin loaves, pumpkin-pecan muffins, and pumpkin spice whoopie pies. It's pumpkin-tastic!