Move Over, Pumpkin Spice: 7 Smashing Pumpkin Dishes + a Cool Cocktail Full of Fall Flavor

In case you’re hard of seeing or smelling, pumpkin spice season is in full swing. While we understand the legions of PSL fans, we prefer to savor pumpkin in its more natural state.

There may not be a single definition of what pumpkin spice is – and the same can be said of pumpkin itself. There’s no accurate botanical designation for it; it’s merely a common name for an array of winter squashes. But, in their most recognized form, pumpkins are round, orange, smooth-textured, and magically delicious. As much as summer squashes, such as zucchini, crookneck, and pattypan, lend color and flavor to our grilling season favorites, winter squashes including butternut, acorn, and kabocha, all make for hearty cool-weather delights guaranteed to satisfy. Here’s where you can find seven smashing pumpkin dishes — plus one cocktail — that will soon have you pining for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin.

Pumpkin Borani at Oasis Grille, Pleasanton, California
Borani is a Persian dish, much like a dip, made with aromatic spices and creamy yogurt. This divine Borani, in which pumpkin is cooked with olive oil, peppers, and garlic, then topped with a garlic-yogurt sauce, is begging for you to tear up some nan and dip in! Seinfeld fans already understand that you should only double dip at your own risk.

Best Pumpkin Dishes

Pumpkin Mascarpone Ravioli at Harvest Seasonal Grill, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
It wouldn’t really be fall without the annual arrival of pumpkin ravioli on restaurant menus. This Pumpkin Mascarpone Ravioli is a rich interpretation of the dish — with all the trimmings. From the butternut squash purée, sage brown butter, and cranberries to the baby spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds, and gingerbread dust, you can practically sniff the seasoning off the photograph. (No need to scratch!)

Best Pumpkin Dishes

Butternut Squash and Cider Salad at Red Hat on the River, Irvington, New York
If there is a salad that was meant to complement an autumn trip up the Hudson River for the viewing of the turning leaves, this Butternut Squash and Cider Salad is it. Sweet maple-glazed squash takes center stage, while awards for supporting roles go to arugula, dried cherries, green apple, pumpkin seeds, naturally cured smoked bacon, goat cheese, and an apple cider vinaigrette. Pro tip: Go apple picking first so you can wash it back with a glass of dry Reisling (or two).

Best Pumpkin Dishes

Squash and Pumpkin Lasagna at Winds Café, Yellow Springs, Ohio
For our money, few foods are as comforting as lasagna. And that includes vegetarian lasagnas. The Squash and Pumpkin Lasagna won’t have you missing meat at all. A variety of locally grown squashes are roasted, scooped, and mashed, layered with fresh pasta sheets and a blend of cheeses, and then baked until bubbly. Finished with roasted shallot cream and housemade sage oil, this version may turn you off tomato-based lasagna (at least for the season!).

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Pizza for Dessert: 7 Sweet Slices That Will Blow Your Mind

Usually, pizzas are a savory affair. Pepperoni and mushrooms, sausage and peppers, and prosciutto and arugula are all classic topping combinations – not to mention cheese, and lots of it, please. But now chefs are putting sweet spins on them to create desserts that give new meaning to the phrase pizza pie. Goodbye, meats and veggies. Hello, marshmallows, Nutella, and fruit! Live the dream of eating pizza for dessert (which is almost as good pizza for breakfast) with these seven sweet slices that will blow your mind.

Bar Toma, Chicago. Illinois
Made with Nutella (because Nutella), cinnamon-y graham cracker crumble, and freshly toasted marshmallows, this pizza evokes the s’mores of your summertime memories, campfire not included. This, of course, means your clothes won’t smell like smoke and ashes at the end of the evening. Now that’s sweet!

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Pizzeria Libretto, Toronto, Canada
Chef Rocco Agostino loves blueberries. So he dapples this limited-edition dessert pizza with the tart ‘n’ sweet blue beauties along with mascarpone, lemon sugar, honey, and fresh mint. Call it a slice of summer anytime.

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Filini Restaurant and Bar, Chicago, Illinois
Nutella has the power to make everything taste better – even pizza. Chef Carolina Diaz slathers the chocolaty-hazelnut-y spread on the crust then adds toasted almonds, marshmallows, and strawberries. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar finishes it off. Truly delizioso.

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Nebo, Boston, Massachusetts
Oh. Yeah. The Christoforo is crisscrossed with Nutella, topped with crushed hazelnuts, and finished off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Sounds like our kind of threesome. #menageachomp

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Atlanta Dining Guide: Tried + True and Hot + New Restaurants

The dining landscape in Atlanta, the capital of the New South, has changed dramatically over the past quarter century. Beyond restaurants serving old school Southern staples, the city now boasts one of the most delicious culinary scenes in the nation. But in a time when restaurants, even in this growing city, open and shutter on a near-daily basis, it’s important to remember those that have stood the test of time and look at those newcomers who we have no doubt will do the same. To wit, we present our Atlanta dining guide to the ATL’s long-running and newly opened restaurants.


Tried + True: Bacchanalia
Chef Anne Quatrano has been a pioneer in Atlanta’s culinary crusade since she opened one of the first chef-owned, fine dining restaurants in 1993. That restaurant was Bacchanalia, a spot that has remained on nearly every “best of” list for more than 20 years and only seems to get better with age.
Rave review: “I hadn’t been to Bacchanalia in 15 years. It is still as amazing an experience in 2015 as it was in 2000 — the food, the service, the atmosphere all were beyond excellent!”

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Hot + New: Atlas
Not only is Atlas one of the city’s first fine dining restaurants to open in several years, but it’s also one of the only chef-driven restaurants within a hotel in all of Atlanta (Atlas sits on the second floor of the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead). Local restaurateur Gerry Klaskala, who also owns Canoe and Aria, opened the stunningly beautiful hotspot with chef Christopher Grossman, who hails from The French Laundry, manning the stove.
Rave review: “Wonderful ambiance. Great service. Very good wine list. The food was fantastic and seasonal. It really hit all points you want when you go out to eat.”

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Tried + True: South City Kitchen Midtown
Hungry Atlantans have been flocking to South City Kitchen for fried chicken and banana pudding since the late nineties. The restaurant was one of the first contemporary Southern spots in the city, marrying regional ingredients and time-honed recipes from granny’s kitchen with modern cooking techniques.
Rave review: “SC Kitchen has been here for multiple decades and after not visiting for over 15 years we know why: they always deliver. Wonderful meal and impeccable service. They keep their menu choices down and the quality at a high level. Our waitress said their training program is unbelievably thorough and we believe it. It’s no wonder they rank in the top Atlanta restaurants every year.”

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Hot + New: One Eared Stag
Though One Eared Stag isn’t traditionally Southern, it’s a restaurant with the heart and soul of the South. Chef Robert Phalen runs a no-waste kitchen that serves up innovative, whole-animal, root-to-leaf dishes bursting with flavor — just order his fried chicken thighs and black pepper biscuits with Anson Mills grits and marrow butter for proof.
Rave review: “I made reservations at One Eared Stag based on it making Atlanta Magazine‘s ‘Top 50 Restaurants’ list and recommendations from friends. Boy, am I glad I did. The restaurant is tucked off in Inman Park and has an atmosphere that borders on upscale and hipster simultaneously. The food was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. I am still dreaming about it a week later. I have heard great things about OES’s brunch and will more than likely return to the restaurant this weekend to try it out.”

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Tried + True: no. 246
For nearly five years, Italian food lovers (although, does anyone really not love spaghetti and meatballs?) have been booking tables at Ford Fry’s no. 246 in Decatur to get their pizza fix. Chef Drew Belline’s margherita pie is simplicity at its best while his ricotta agnolotti is the stuff of legend.
Rave review: “Love going here! While the menu changes a bit, I know the food will be amazing no matter what. The service level is the best and this is one of Ford Frye’s best teams. I can come here for any meal and bring anyone — picky family, vegan colleagues, friends, etc. My go-to spot! And the wine list is amazing, too!”

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Global Noodles for a Delicious World Pasta Day

Since the 12th century, Italians have been feasting on an addictive amalgamation of flour, eggs, and water, also known as pasta. Though Americans often associate pasta with Italian dishes, such as spaghetti and ravioli, there are, in fact, dozens of cultures around the globe whose staple foods include noodles, many of which are made of rice, buckwheat, potato starch, or kelp in place of flour, in a plethora of shapes and sizes. On this momentous day, then, we thought it only apropos to round up some of our favorite global noodles for a delicious World Pasta Day – each of which you can find right here in the states.

Vietnamese Vermicelli
Though it looks like its sister noodle, spaghetti, vermicelli is the Asian equivalent, made from rice flour and water (called rice vermicelli) or mung bean starch (known as cellophane noodles). In Vietnam, rice vermicelli finds its way into many signature dishes; it’s in pho (noodle soup), gets tucked into summer rolls, and is the main event in other noodle-based plates, called bún. Surprisingly, you can find all three in Atlanta at chef-owner Guy Wong’s gorgeous French-Vietnamese hotspot Le Fat. Though the summer rolls are fresh and vibrant and the pho earthy and satisfying, we recommend the bún, in which the rice noodles are topped with an aromatic herb salad, pickled daikon, crushed peanuts, and crispy grilled pork.

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Thai Pad Thai
Here in America, there’s perhaps no dish more closely associated with Thailand than Pad Thai, stir-fried rice noodles. Though the dish is often watered down to appease our penchant for sugar, the traditional version is made with soaked dried rice noodles stir-fried with eggs and tofu (or often prawns), topped with roasted peanuts and bathed in a tangy sauce made from tamarind (never ketchup or peanut butter), fish sauce, dried shrimp, chiles, and palm sugar. For the real deal, head to none other than Bida Manda in Raleigh, North Carolina, where chef Van Nolintha serves up a Laotian version of pad thai made with crispy tofu, tomatoes, rice noodles, and plenty of crunchy peanuts and aromatic herbs.

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Japanese Soba
In Japan, the name of the pasta game is soba, a thin noodle made from buckwheat flour that’s eaten near daily, whether chilled with a dipping sauce, enjoyed in hot soy-dashi broth as a noodle soup, and even grilled in a stir-fried dish known as yakisoba. Boston chef Tim Cushman hand-makes two different varieties of soba noodles at his award-winning o ya restaurant — squid ink soba alongside seared octopus and bonito, pictured, (he also serves a chilled squid ink soba dish in an uni consommé) and chilled soba noodles topped with uni, fresh wasabi, and a rich dashi broth.

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