Roundup: The great pumpkin-food hunt
This time of year the ubiquitous fall fruit, which represents both Halloween and Thanksgiving, becomes as much of a marketing tool as a food. Fortunately for us it's delicious -- and flexible -- enough to please all kinds of palates. The following is a sampling of pumpkin-themed foods and drinks being served around town:
Gyenari: About the last place you’d expect to find pumpkin drinks (or desserts) is at a Korean BBQ restaurant. Yet this Culver City newbie is offering both. Pumpkin cheesecake, made with pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla and cream cheese and topped with house made sour cream and sugar glaze is $7 a slice. Also on the menu is a $12 "Smashed Pumpkin" cocktail made with rum and pumpkin pie filling with a whipped cream float flavored with Grand Marnier, vanilla and sugar.
Hungry Cat: The Persimmon Margarita ($13) and Rhumpkin ($13), which is made with Barbancourt rum, Goslings Black Seal rum, roasted pumpkin and lemon, are back on the autumn menu. And for one night only, the Halloween menu will feature a handful of yet-to-be-concocted thematically appropriate libations.
RA Sushi, Corona: Here you'll find a considerably cheaper Smashing Pumpkin martini for $6 on Halloween as part of Boo Bash 2008.
Breadbar: Nosh on a tart made with pumpkin custard, topped with cream cheese and vanilla, and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. You can get the whole pie for $24 (for six to eight people), or just go for a $4 slice.
BLVD 16: Throw frugality to the wind and sample a $14 "Great Pumpkin" cocktail. This completely nonsensical creation is made with Libby’s pumpkin pie mix, Captain Morgan rum, Frangelico, Licor 43 and Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur shaken and served in a martini glass with a graham cracker-crusted rim.
The Woods: On a budget this year but still want to get your exotic pumpkin cocktail fix? Consider this Hollywood lounge's pumpkin pie shots, which consist of Bols Pumpkin Smash liqueur, Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum, vodka, peppermint schnapps, orange juice and half-and-half (finished off with a dab of whipped cream). These shots cost a measly $3 on Halloween, and $6 any other evening.
Sushi Roku West Hollywood: Leave it to a sushi joint to take the prize for creativity. Here you'll find baked pumpkin cheesecake served inside a mini-pumpkin and slathered with pumpkin crème anglaise. (So much pumpkin!) You can also get truffled pumpkin and king crab with pomegranate vinaigrette.
Blue Velvet: This sleek restaurant with delicious downtown views is serving organic quail stuffed with pumpkin, cranberries, bacon and green zucchini and served with date puree and arugula. We vote that this one stays on the menu through Thanksgiving, that's how much we like the idea of it.
Frida in Glendale: For a hint of spice try this mini-chain's mole verde. It's made with chicken slow-simmered in ground pumpkin seed sauce and served with Mexican rice.
Ivan Kane's Cafe Was: This new outpost of hip on Hollywood and Vine is serving pumpkin-spice beignets with brown sugar vanilla ice cream.
Le Pain Quotidien: You'll find rich, delicious pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pie here.
Rush Street: Culver City's new home of revelry has introduced curried pumpkin ravioli with smoked tofu, peppers, onions, and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Did we miss anything? Of course we did. Please send other options our way.
-- Charlie Amter, Jessica Gelt and Elina Shatkin
Photo of pumpkin cheesecake and smashed pumpkin cocktail credit: James Sunu/Gyenari