We recently marked the birthday of John Chapman, better known as “Johnny Appleseed.” Chapman’s devotion to nature as a nurseryman, conservationist, and educator is said to have extended not only to apples but to animals and insects as well. But he is most famous for his propagation of apple trees across the Midwest. Yet, despite Chapman’s September birthday, October is when apple-eating (and cider-sipping) season really kicks into high gear in the U.S. and apple dishes dot the menus at restaurants across the nation.
In the interest of finding as many ways to eat delicious autumn apples as we can every day (and not just to keep the doctor away), we’re looking beyond the pie to showcase nine apple dishes and drink for fall dining.
Orchard Apple and Bleu Salad at Relish, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Crisp and tart, apples pair perfectly with creamy cheeses and leafy greens. Take, for example, the Orchard Apple and Bleu Salad at Relish in the PHL. This salad combines fresh, seasonal apple slices with assorted lettuces, blue cheese crumbles, candied walnuts and a raspberry vinaigrette. Sweet, tangy, crunchy, and healthful, this creation hits all the right notes.
Warm Caramel Apple Crepe at Suzette’s Creperie, Wheaton, Illinois
For me, nothing tastes of autumn (and Halloween!) quite like caramel apples. Suzette’s Creperie raises the bar on that food memory in a serious way with its Salted Caramel Apple Crepe. Sautéed apples are topped with warm salted caramel sauce and pecans, then wrapped in a handmade crepe and served with a dollop of whipped cream. Oh, man. Or, rather, oh, Suzette!
Green Apple Slaw at Valley Tap House, Apple Valley, Minnesota
Apples brighten up the taste of this otherworldly coleslaw. And, what better toothy condiment to slather on your burger and kick things up a notch? The signature burger at the Valley Tap House in the appropriately named Apple Valley, Minnesota, features a delicate topping of green apple slaw, as well as grilled portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Italian truffle cheese.
Apple Cider Doughnuts at White Mountain Cider Company, Glen, New Hampshire
No cider mill worth its apples is complete without the warming comfort of fresh, hot apple cider doughnuts. Thankfully, at White Mountain Cider Company, you can channel your inner Homer Simpson (“Mmm, doughnuts!”) with their Warm Cider Donuts and Ice Cream plate throughout the year. Turn up the volume on the deliciousness with a hit of rich caramel sauce.
Roast Duck with Apple Stuffing at Red Apple Buffet-Avondale, Chicago, Illinois
Apples are the secret ingredient in many a family stuffing recipe. At Red Apple Buffet, there is no need to wait until Thanksgiving. Red Apple offers a broad banquet of Polish and other European cuisines served up in pure Chicago style, including an apple stuffing that accompanies their sumptuous roast duck every weekend.
White Cheddar Fondue at Grand Street Cafe, Kansas City, Missouri
I already mentioned the divine combination that is cheese and apples, right? Well, imagine warm, melty cheese atop refreshing apples! Fondue is one of few good culinary reasons to turn the clock back to the ’70s. And you can do just that (without a bridal registry!) at Grand Street Cafe, where their White Cheddar Fondue is served with green apples, warm soft pretzels, and beer mustard.
Polenta at Toscanini, Avon, Colorado
Call it polenta, call it grits, either way it’s still delish! And at Toscanini, you’ll feel like you’re in the Italian Alps as you dive into their Burrata da Condividere, a fresh-baked burrata served with apple polenta, lamb bacon, and roasted mushrooms. Prego!
Johnny Apple Burger at Rockit Burger Bar, Chicago, Illinois
Across from Wrigley Field on Chicago’s north side, Rockit Burger Bar serves a up a real home run. The Johnny Apple Burger is a black Angus beef patty topped with apple wood-smoked bacon, brie, gala apple, pecan aioli, and a side of sweet potato fries. Batter up!
Green Apple Martini at The Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill and Martini Bar, Glen Ellen, California
If all this is making you thirsty, no need to worry! The Glen Ellen Inn Oyster Grill and Martini Bar in Glen Ellen, California, will quench that yearning with a cool and tart Green Apple Martini. They go down easy, but if you have too many, you can always book a room at one of the Inn’s cozy secret cottages.
Are you eating apples outside the pie this season?