Having spent a significant amount of time tracking down pumpkin dishes in Houston, I can say with some certainty that there are more than five, ten or even 20 terrific squash-inspired snacks, drinks, entrées and desserts on offer in this big city. (See my prior lists for examples.) Here are some pumpkin dishes that are relatively new to the scene:
5. The Scarecrow (Torchy's Tacos). This October, Torchy's is offering a taco with a squash spin: juicy white-meat chicken tenders coated in crushed pumpkin seeds and dressed with poblano peppers, carrots, cilantro and chipotle ranch sauce, all snuggled in a flour tortilla. It's crunch, creamy and delicious. One question, though: What did they do with the rest of the pumpkin?
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4. Pumpkin Soup (Salé-Sucré). In a landmark feat of pumpkin-Provençal cooking, chef Philippe Harel has created smooth pumpkin soup garnished with raviole (not exactly the same as ravioli if you're wondering), petite pockets of dough filled with egg, cheese and herbs. Fusion fare has never looked so comforting this fall.
3. Pumpkin Margarita (TQLA). TQLA is providing some friendly competition to the formidable pumpkin margarita at The Original Ninfa's with their own version, which combines Corralejo reposado (craftily infused with cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, and caramelized pumpkin) with Cointreau, lime juice, pumpkin purée, and agave nectar. Which is better? Try both and get back to me.
2. The Great Pumpkin Menu (Union Kitchen). Three times is the charm with regards to pumpkin at Union Kitchen, where this fall diners have the option of enjoying a grilled pumpkin salad with mixed greens, manchego, saged-infused honey and a champagne vinaigrette; a cinnamon and sage pumpkin bisque; and pumpkin empanadas stuffed with pumpkin purée, drizzled in caramel sauce, and dusted with cinnamon and sugar. I suggest taking advantage of this triple pumpkin play to have a multi-course squash supper.
1. Pumpkin Spice Macaron (Bite Macarons). The macaron: a light, whimsical sweet that politely requests to be nibbled with tea. The pumpkin spice macaron: an autumnal treat that I would prefer to eat by the handful along with a pumpkin milkshake. Right now, Bite Macarons claims this terrifically pumpkin-meringue confection will be available in October only, so stock up lest you lose out.