The Daily Aztec

Pumpkin spice takes over autumnal flavor palate

Lauren J. Mapp

Lauren J. Mapp

by Lauren J. Mapp, Senior Staff Writer

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Autumn’s chilly winds might not bring a flutter of falling leaves to San Diego, but it does bring piles of pumpkin-flavored dishes that fans of the big, orange squash can jump into.

Over the years, retailers and restaurateurs have taken the pumpkin-spice craze to the extreme. Chapsticks, Pop Tarts, cereals, soaps, Oreos and candles are just a few of the products that can be purchased at various stores, and the list continues to grow each year.  

In San Diego, diners can get their pumpkin fix at restaurants throughout the city. Pumpkin cinnamon rolls can be found at Donut Bar, Better Buzz serves a blended pumpkin spice latte and Spill the Beans is baking pumpkin seed bagels with pumpkin cheesecake filling.

Get in the harvest season spirit by starting your day with the pumpkin spice swirl pancakes at Fig Tree Cafe. Layered with swirls of cream cheese glaze and a cinnamon-infused sauce, this sweet breakfast treat is more reminiscent of a dessert than anything else.

Each year, Fig Tree features a new pumpkin dish as its seasonal offering, Rise and Shine Restaurant Group founder and owner Johan Engman said.

“Pumpkin is a sort of fall flavor, and so we wanted to feature it in our special for this month,” Engman said.

Engman, who is more of a fan of winter holiday flavors like gingerbread, said when creating the pumpkin swirl pancake special, the first iteration ended up being the winner for the menu. While he said it is a traditional fall flavor, he has not personally noticed an increase in requests for pumpkin spice items over the years.

At Holsem Coffee in North Park, try the gluten-free, chai pumpkin cake, washed down with a pumpkin spice latte made from all-natural ingredients. If a double pumpkin snack and coffee combo is too much to handle, the Ace Pear Cider float or La Vie en Rose latte also pair well with the cake.  

Cupcakes ala Yola’s spiced pumpkin maple cupcakes are incredibly crave-worthy with its fluffy, smooth maple buttercream and rich, perfectly-spiced cake. Offered during the months of October and November, co-owner Barbara Klusek said not only do their customers enjoy them, but she and her sister Yola look forward to their return to the menu each year.

As United States immigrants from Poland, Barbara said she and Yola were excited to learn how to create pastries using pumpkin.

“There is a big craze of ‘pumpkin everything’ in the U.S.,” Barbara Klusek said. “Both Yola and I are immigrants to the U.S. and we come from a place where pumpkin is really not that popular, especially when it comes to eating, so that was a new flavor that we got to explore and fall in love with.”

Those who prefer savory dishes over sweet can still indulge in the pumpkin craze. Maestoso in Hillcrest is serving a special pumpkin risotto with lamb tenderloin, and Monzu Fresh Pasta in East Village has a pumpkin and taleggio cheese-stuffed ravioli.

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