Smashing Pumpkins

A&E circles campus to find you some seasonally appropriate foodstuffs.

You can find a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks for $3.45.

You can find a Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks for $3.45.

Sarah Harper

Pretend that this sentence is a flowery description of summer turning to fall ­âÄî you know, falling leaves, cable knit sweaters, the whole shebang âÄî because time cannot be wasted setting the scene when there are so many good pumpkin-flavored eats making their seasonal debut. In the name of efficiency, letâÄôs jump into the reason for the season: pumpkin-flavored stuff.

Washington Avenue

Jamba Juice advertises its Pumpkin Smash smoothieas being made with real pumpkin, but if you didnâÄôt see that poster, youâÄôd never guess it. The whipped cream on top of the pie inspired the folks at Jamba Juice more heavily than the pumpkin itself.

The poster also says their smoothies are made with âÄúspiced goodnessâÄù âÄî a claim that shouldnâÄôt even be dignified with a response. Given the distinct lack of spice in this, it might as well be a pumpkin milkshake. But for OctoberâÄôs warm days, there isnâÄôt necessarily anything wrong with that.

Speaking of pumpkin milkshakes, Dairy Queen is currently hawking its Pumpkin Pie Blizzard. The dude behind the counter will ask you if you want whipped cream on that. And unless youâÄôre watching your weight âÄî the small version alone has 570 calories âÄî youâÄôll obviously opt for the cream. The nutmeggy orange ice cream and crunchy bits of âÄúpie crustâÄù in this Blizzard will send you into such a haze that youâÄôll forget all your health worries anyway.

On the hot side of Washington Avenue, the corporate overachievers over at Starbucks unleashed their Pumpkin Spice Latte days before September ended. Their latte is a solidly balanced mix of spice, coffee and sugar. And Starbucks gets brownie points for not trying to front like thereâÄôs real pumpkin in it.

In the name of actual food, pumpkin bagels are on the wall and pumpkin cream cheese is lodged in the fridge at BrueggerâÄôs. The pumpkin bagels are consistent with the rest of the corner bakeryâÄôs bagels âÄî that is, they feel stale even if you get them as early as 11 a.m. Although they provide a hearty contrast to the sweet cream cheese, the tough-skinned bagels ought to be skipped right over.

 

Cedar Riverside

 

Mapps Coffee & Tea has gone all-out, featuring an entire list of fall-appropriate options. Not only are they offering âÄúpumpkinâÄù as a syrup flavor, theyâÄôve got apple cider, chocolate almond mocha, caramel chai latte and, of course, the classic pumpkin spice latte.

For the full effect, the pumpkin white chocolate mocha combines the vegetable of the month with the smooth taste of the Other Chocolate. Unlike StarbucksâÄô pumpkin spice latte, it isnâÄôt an unbelievable orange color. Props, Mapps.

The Keefer Court Bakery and Café doesnâÄôt have anything special out for October, but their apple pie puff pastry is a total bargain at $1.50 and pairs nicely with MappsâÄô drinks. The only problem with it is that itâÄôs served room-temperature âÄî there is something deeply unsettling about the chill apple pie filling.

Another West Bank dissenter is Hard Times Cafe, an establishment you might expect to feature some kind of pumpkin-hemp wheat grass soup âÄî but no such thing exists. Still, thereâÄôs something inherently autumnal about the grungy co-opâÄôs offerings.

With actual shreds of carrot and slivers of pecans, Hard TimesâÄô vegan carrot pecan ginger muffin has nailed down the flavor of the season. And even if the muffin isnâÄôt a permanent menu item, you can bet on other variations of the vegan muffin to be heartily spicy for those hungry October days.

 

Seven Corners

 

The bars of Seven Corners are stocked with a less sugary, more grown-up treat.

The Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery will put its house-made brand of pumpkin beer on tap Oct. 17 for the ninth year in a row. This stuff runs out quick.

General manager Matt Zastrow said the pumpkin ale stays on tap for a maximum of two weeks.

The Republic has already run out of its stock of Southern Tier Pumpkin beer, which is more of a dessert than a beer. But right now, theyâÄôre serving up the darker, more savory Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Boston, Pa. This beer has a strong pumpkin pie scent to it, with hints of clove, nutmeg and allspice. During happy hour, which is every day from 4 to 6 p.m., you can get more than just a whiff of it for only $3.

 

Dinkytown

 

You know that cheek-tingling feeling you get when you eat something too sweet? Well, you donâÄôt really know it unless youâÄôve tried the pumpkin bars at Espresso Royale. Three Chocolatiers, a local bakery, delivers these bars to DinkytownâÄôs homework hotspot every week. The frosting on top of the moist bars will have the sensitive-toothed running in fear.

Over at the Purple Onion, you can double-fist a pumpkin spice latte and an autumn spice latte âÄî which is chai tea with caramel and cinnamon. Both are offered iced. But beware that the Purple Onion takes the moderate way out. The iced pumpkin spice latte is way more milk than latte. If there really is espresso involved, it is nearly impossible to detect, and the spice isnâÄôt all too present either.

 

Your home

 

Alternatively, you could try out recipes for pumpkin pasta and pumpkin soup in the comfort of your own home. But wouldnâÄôt you rather get out there and squander all your money on snacks?