By Dan Morgridge
Okay, okay, easy there hoss. We know you're still clinging to summer with a vice-like grip, but we just wanted to hint – to give the barest suggestion – that some delicious little seasonal food-treats are on their way. And maybe these treats are called pumpkins, and maybe they are usually harvested between September and October, but that's no reason to freak out, okay? This weather will last forever. Winter was cancelled! 75 degrees year round! The Cubs will win the World Series!
...oh the hell with it, get ready for the cold icy hell of Chicago winter by fattening up with delicious pumpkin carbs. Did you hear me? WINTER FAT!
I'm sorry. Let's... let's just talk about pumpkins, okay?
3324 North California Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
If you don't know who Doug Sohn is or why encased meats are the two greatest words in the English language... well, you're probably not a Chicagoan. For those who are, the current game of the week is a doozy: Cherry-Infused Venison Sausage with Pumpkin Cream Sauce and Bonvallis Mahon Cheese. Go. Go run there now. You'll make it just in time before they close for Labor Day weekend, and if you literally run, you'll also burn enough calories to justify eating it. Everyone wins!
1139 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
This lil' ol' café is a great morning stop for the hardworking meatpackers/gastro-cocktail demographic of Fulton Market. But if you have time to stop in for more than morning coffee and a sandwich, think about having a nice slice of Pumpkin Pie – wait, just kidding, it's a coffee drink. A touch of vanilla, pumpkin spice, espresso and milk should blow a certain global chain's version out of the water – or at least not give you the diabetic shock.
1805 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
Pumpkin Sushi? Ohhhhh yeah. Well, but no: it's really Kabocha, the Japanese pumpkin. Bob San's Kabocha tempura is a perfect way to sample some gourdy goodness while still sitting outside and shoving spicy tuna and white wine in your summer-loving gullet. See? Pumpkin and (the last fading vestiges of) summer can totally get along!
2119 S Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60608
Nightwood and chef Jason Vincent, owners of their own sizable garden, are hyper-aware of seasonal cooking. And so, gently, let them nudge you towards a savory fall dish with their stracchino and pumpkin seed ravioli, served with fresh garbanzo beans. Can you taste the leaves changing? Maybe that's not a bad thing? Just nod if you're still chewing.
The Bad Apple
4300 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60618
Their logo even looks like a jack-o-lantern. Surely the burger barons at this North Center bar will have pumkiny goodness for us, no? Well, perhaps not on the burgers. But they are a new upstart challenger in the arms race for biggest beer menu in town, and they boast an impressive selection of Michigan's Jolly Pumpkin ales. Now TECHNICALLY, said ales don't have pumpkin in them, but they are absolutely funky and delicious, and sheesh, it's just a list. (And don't fret: by the time you actually get there, the menu will likely offer about 10 different pumpkin ales.)
Dan Morgridge encourages you to stop the brutal violence of jack-o-lantern carving, and suggests the peaceful alternative of "buying your pumpkin a very stylish hat."
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