With a crisp evening breeze blowing the fallen orange and red leaves over your boots, San Francisco is finally embracing autumn. And if the end of summer isn't enough to convince you, we've put together a list of our favorite pumpkin dishes around the city to ring in the fall season — and make your taste buds tingle too.
Pumpkin Shrimp, Burma Superstar
As if we needed another reason to dedicate an evening to waiting for and eventually eating the Bay's best curry, Burma Superstar in Inner Richmond gives us one in the form of pumpkin shrimp. A traditional Burmese dish, the shrimp in pumpkin stew is seasoned and slow cooked with kabocha squash and ginger. If only Burma shared a border with S.F. 309 Clement, 387-2147, burmasuperstar.com.
Pumpkin Spice Latte, Lava Java
Let's face it, everyone's favorite part about the holidays is the seasonal drinks. Skip the morning rush at the coffee chain on your block and slow down with the pumpkin spice latte at Lava Java café in Cole Valley, right on the corner of Golden Gate Park. With a little sugar and spice and everything nice — including the barista — the latte is rich and satisfying, with a strong note of autumn. 852 Stanyan, 751-7375.
Pumpkin Pie Cocktail, The Park Bistro & Bar
What's better than pumpkin pie? Pumpkin pie in martini form. Lafayette's Park Bistro & Bar has created the ultimate mix of the holiday season: dessert and alcohol. The perfect blend of pumpkin puree and Cruzan Vanilla Rum, thickened with a bit of cream and Torani pumpkin spice syrup, makes the Pumpkin Pie our favorite way to celebrate adult Thanksgiving. Best of all, the boozy dessert-drink is topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Crust sold separately. 3287 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-7108, parkbistroandbar.com.
The Great Pumpkin, Bluestem Brasserie
As one of the latest fall confections from Union Square's Bluestem Brasserie, the Great Pumpkin, shaped like a Thanksgiving turkey, is a sugar pie-style seasoned pumpkin cheesecake on a flavorful caramel pecan graham cracker crust. The spiced Italian meringue of whiskey crème anglaise atop the cheesecake is then pierced with a salted caramel tuile sprinkled with bits of pepita. Dessert first is never a bad idea, right? 1 Yerba Buena Lane, 547-1111, bluestembrasserie.com.
Pumpkin Tart, Top of the Mark
Do you like your tart with a side of art? The Pumpkin Tart at Mark Hopkins' rooftop restaurant Top of the Mark in Nob Hill is a little of both. A pumpkin spiced tartlet on a ginger cake crust comes topped with a ring of vanilla rum crème flowers and a statement chocolate garnish. If the views of the city and the bay don't take your breath away, the first bite will. 1 Nob Hill, 616-6916, topofthemark.com.