The Ten: Poppin’ Pumpkin Dishes & Drinks

Photo courtesy of Palena

Photo courtesy of Palena

So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.

For a while, it felt like summer was going to last forever. And, then — poof! Now that Pumpkin Spice Latte season has officially arrived, it’s a good time to remind ourselves that gorging on the orange gourd doesn’t only mean pie or artificially flavored coffee drinks. Here’s how some of our favorite D.C. spots are celebrating the squash:

End your meal at Palena with an order of pumpkin spice macarons (seen above). Or, pick up a Drunkin’ Punkin’ whoopie pie from Makin’ Whoopie, packed with pumpkin beer-amped gingersnap cookie filling.

Astro’s pumpkin cake round is dressed with a maple glaze and gingerbread crumbs, while New Heights opts for a yeast-raised, spiced pumpkin doughnut, plumped with pumpkin cream and topped with Armagnac prunes, ground pistachios, and apple cider gastrique.

Always at the forefront of everything moules, Granville Moore’s seasonal bivalve special arrives in a creamy pumpkin broth boosted with a hint of sage, poblano peppers, and white wine. Absolutely sop worthy!

Start your meal at Art & Soul with a set of pumpkin and goat cheese turnovers. The plate is lightened with a small mixed green salad tossed with maple-black pepper dressing.

Heirloom pumpkins add an autumnal accent to a seasonal rice dish. Firefly‘s version is perked up with foie gras butter (can we get a stick of that to-go, please?) and spiced sunchokes.

There’s a whole pumpkin-themed menu at Lincoln. Our favorite dish is the pumpkin “steak.” A slab of squash is cooked sous-vide in honey butter and rosemary, then plated with vanilla parsnip puree and braised kale.

Frozen Eats 
Embrace the brain freeze! Doi Moi offers a pumpkin soft serve sweetened with brown sugar and accented with a hint of vanilla bean, while Dolcezza whips up small batches of heirloom neck pumpkin gelato spiced with cinnamon allspice, clove, nutmeg, and ginger.

Frozen Sips
Choose from four kinds of pumpkin-themed milkshakes: BGR’s is made with Gifford’s premium ice cream and topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Good Stuff Eatery’s Pumpkin Patch whips together pumpkin pies and homemade custard. Burger, Tap & Shake offers a pumpkin pie variety for the month of November, while Woodward Takeout Food‘s special shake highlights pumpkin spice. As if that wasn’t enough, The Majestic has a house-made pumpkin pie soda on the menu now.


Fans of moody Nineties alt-rock will appreciate the densely layered Smashing Pumpkins at Graffiato, which rocks out with pumpkin moonshine, lemon juice, allspice dram, maple syrup, and pumpkin beer. A more classic choice, the Pumpkin at Blue Duck Tavern mixes together house-made ginger-vanilla infused vodka, pumpkin syrup, and nutmeg. Meanwhile,  BLT Steak’s barrel-aged Amaro Manhattan features Bulleit Bourbon, house-made Amaro and pumpkin syrup.

Photo courtesy of Pizzeria Orso

Photo courtesy of Pizzeria Orso

Another alt-rock homage, Pizzeria Orso’s Smashing Pumpkins pie (to the left) comes topped with roasted pumpkin, smoked blue cheese, shaved grana, buffalo mozzarella, pear, garlic, arugula, and cream sauce.


Is your favorite missing? Disagree with one (or more) of my choices? Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @nevinmartell.