Move over pumpkin spice, peppermint is having a moment. Even though the weather may not indicate it just yet, winter is coming, and as fall wanes, we say goodbye to the familiar tastes of the season. While we’ll miss creamy butternut squash soups, hot apple cider donuts, and pumpkin…everything, their departure makes way for all the festive flavors of the colder months. Popping up on menus once again are cranberry, gingerbread, eggnog, and — perhaps winter’s most iconic flavor — peppermint. Peppermint evokes a sense of nostalgia for holiday traditions — trimming the tree to Christmas tunes, wrapping presents by a fragrant fire, and our favorite, sitting down to a deliciously restorative meal in the midst of the holiday madness. Book a table and order one of these invigoratingly delicious peppermint desserts. From the beloved classics to the distinctly imaginative, each one will put you in the holiday spirit.
Péché, Austin, Texas
Péché translates to “sin” in French, and while you could opt for a lighter dish like Kale and Roasted Vegetable salad, why not let the restaurant live up to its name by indulging in sinfully rich Housemade Pappardelle with Texas Wild Boar or a Braised Short Ribs with Duck Fat Mashed Potatoes? Either way, save room for pastry chef Yolanda Diaz’s impressive Bûche de Noël. Made from scratch, her traditional French dessert is a Swiss chocolate roll plated with peppermint bark, (almost) too-adorable-to-eat mushroom meringues, chocolate soil, and a scoop of housemade chocolate chip peppermint ice cream. It would be a sin not to order this heavenly dessert.
Siena Tavern, Chicago, Illinois
Gelato in the winter doesn’t sound crazy when it’s of the Peppermint Brownie variety. Fabio Viviani’s urbane Italian eatery, which features housemade pastas, crispy pizzas, and a mozzarella bar, offers the seasonally apropos dessert this December. The brainchild of Siena Tavern’s pastry chef Amy Arnold, crushed candy canes, Rumplemintz, and double chocolate brownie bites are swirled into a peppermint gelato base for a bracing brownie sundae in a scoop. Order a post-pizza dish, or opt for a flight of three, paired with cannoli and pumpkin pecan flavors.
10 Arts Bistro, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Enjoy the flavor of the season in one (or more!) of many forms at the Ritz Carlton’s predictably elegant restaurant. For a whimsical treat, Hot Chocolate service is on offer with enhancements such as marshmallows and crushed candy canes. Add a “cookie jar” for a sample of assorted holiday cookies, including pastry chef Stephen Wilson’s handmade peppermint meringues. Wilson is also whipping up Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream and Yule Logs for their festive holiday brunch, starting at 11AM on Christmas Day.
Presidio Social Club, San Francisco, California
Comfort foods have a place at the table any time of the year, but herb-roasted chicken, mac and cheese, and meatloaf at this San Francisco “club without the dues” are particularly perfect on winter’s dark, chilly evenings. The comforting options extend to bar director Maureen Donegan’s Hot Cocktail List, featuring warming quaffs like Hot Buttered Rum, Caffè Sambuca, or — for a true dose of holiday spirit — a Hot Mint Chocolate. Mixed with housemade hot cocoa and Bracamenta then topped with fresh whipped cream, this boozy version of a childhood favorite will inject the meal with a little extra good cheer. (If you prefer your dessert in cake form, order one of pastry chef Rene Cruz’s Chocolate Peppermint Cakes to go. The only downside is that you’ll probably be expected to share.)
Bestia, Los Angeles, California
Genevieve Gergis is one half of the husband and wife team behind LA’s Bestia. (Her husband, chef Ori Menashe, dishes out rustic Italian fare in the form of house-cured charcuterie and made-from-scratch pizza and pasta.) A self-taught pastry chef, Gergis’s own sweet tooth inspired her to learn to bake, and the fruits (and cakes, chocolates, and donuts!) of her labor are showcased with desserts like Pink Lady Apple & Candied Quince Crostata and Chocolate Budino Tart. This season, sample her handiwork and bring a touch of holiday whimsy to the table with the housemade Candy Cane Ice Cream with a “Cinna’man” and Whole Wheat Butter Cookie.