Category Archives: Seasonal treats

The flavors of fall have arrived

Panera's pumpkin pie bagel. Holy yum.

I always, always love it when September rolls around and restaurants start rolling out their pumpkin flavors again.

You know the long, hotness of summer is almost over when Starbucks starts serving its pumpkin spice latte again. (They brought it back extra early this year — on Sept. 1.) And more places every year are adding pumpkiny, spicy flavors to their menus. I was just in Panera the other day and noticed a PUMPKIN PIE BAGEL. Calories shmalories. I’m havin’ one of those.

Have you spotted any other places selling pumpkiny goodness? Let me know in the comments section below.

Question of the week: Favorite fall treat?

Freddy's pumpkin pie concrete.

Coffee shops, ice cream stores and restaurants have been rolling out all their pumpkiny, nutmeggy fall-flavored treats over the past few weeks. I recently received a torturous e-mail from Freddy’s Frozen Custard touting the return of its pumpkin pie concrete, a dangerous combination of frozen custard and chopped up pumpkin pie, crust and all.

What’s your favorite seasonal fall treat offered locally? Describe what it is and where to get it.

Flavors of fall keep keep coming

Several local chains are putting fall-friendly foods on their menus, and I, for one, approve.

Some of the dishes are new. Others are old favorites that the hungry masses wait for every year.

IHOP's Scary Face pancake is too cute to be scary, if you ask me.

I already told you about the glorious return of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.

IHOP will return its fabulous pumpkin pancakes to the menu on Monday and serve them until Halloween. During that time, the breakfast chain also is offering all-you-can-eat buttermilk pancakes, and for children 12 and under, “Scary Face” pancakes made with whipped cream mouths, strawberry noses and Oreos and candy corn for decorating. On Oct. 28,  children can get a free Scary Face pancakes, and parents even can sign up on for a wake-up call on October 28 from Count Spatula reminding them about the free scary pancake day. Bwahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa.

Panera also has added several fall items to its menu, including a roasted turkey artichoke panini, a chocolate pecan babka pastry, a cherry vanilla bagel, steak chili with cornbread, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin spiced lattes.

Know of any others?

The flavor of fall has arrived

Now if fall would just arrive, we’d be good.

The weatherfolk are promising some more seasonal temperatures by the end of this weekend, and if they know what’s good for them, they’d better follow through on those promises. I, for one, have had enough of this blazing inferno. But I digress.

One of the surest signs that fall is actually on the way is when the pumpkin-flavored coffees arrive. Starbucks‘ popular pumpkin spice latte will officially return on Tuesday, but I’m told that anyone who asks for one starting today can get one.

As of Thursday, Scooter’s Coffeehouse locations also added fall drinks to the menu, including pumpkin lattes, chai tea, caramel apple cider and more. Scooter’s has drive-up locations at 3480 N. Ridge, 7399 W. Central, 13335 W. Maple, 626 S. Andover Road in Andover and First and Main in El Dorado. There’s also a Scooter’s on the Newman University campus.

Does anyone know of other coffee shops serving up the flavors of fall?

Question of the week

Cold Stone creamery's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream

Cold Stone Creamery's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream

Remember how I warned you that my dining newsletter’s “Question of the Week” was moving to this blog? Well, I wasn’t kidding. Here’s this week’s, which you should answer in the comments section a.s.a.p.

What’s your favorite pumpkin-flavored treat sold in local restaurants, coffee shops and ice cream places?

Please don’t let the accompanying photo affect your answer.

Krispy Kreepy

donutredoAI wrote about these doughnuts today in the Go! section, but they’re so pretty, I had to share them here in color. And I’m definitely going ot have to eat one.

To celebrate the scariness of the season, Krispy Kreme is serving four devilish doughnuts, including a pumpkin-shaped Jack-o-Lantern doughnut, a pumpkin spice doughnut, a chocolate-iced doughnut with Halloween sprinkles and a spiderweb doughnut.
The treats are available through Oct. 31, though the pumpkin spice doughnut will stay through Nov. 28.

It’s fun to be a kid diner in October

coloringA couple of local restaurants are getting in to the spirit of Halloween with some fun activities for kids.

One is the Donut Whole, which is offering a $20 Donut Whole gift cards to winners of a coloring contest. The official picture is seen here and can be downloaded and printed off by following this link. (The contest’s rules and fine print can be found at the end of this post.)

Over at IHOP, where pumpkin pancakes officially returned earlier this week, patrons can get “Trick or Treat All-You-Can-Eat-Buttermilk Pancakes” throughout the month as well as design-your-own “Scary Face pancakes.” From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Name-IHOPs-Scary-Face-Pancake-150x150Oct. 29, Scary Face pancakes will be offered free to children 12 and under.

The all-you-can eat pancakes are available a la carte or as part of a combo, which starts at $4.99. Scary Face pancakes feature an oversized pancaked with a whipped topping mouth, a strawberry nose and Oreo cookies and candy corn served on the side that kids can use as decorations.

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A Freddy’s/Panera combo for the west side

freddysMy esteemed colleague Carrie Rengers reported months ago that a Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Panera store both would open at Ridge Road and University (that’s near the intersection of Maple and Ridge.) Today, I got an update on the project from the Simon family.

Construction workers started moving dirt today on what will become the first ever Freddy’s/Panera in a single building. The building will contain about 7,500 square feet, with Panera taking 4,250 and some patio space and Freddy’s using nearly 3,200 feet with a patio and a drive through window.

The building should be done by the end of the year, and both restaurants should open in early 2011.

Other Panera news: Local stores will start serving chili with baked cornbread croutons in the middle of this month, and in the next couple of weeks, Freddy’s will bring back its famous fall treat — the pumpkin pie concrete.

Never too soon for pumpkin pancakes

pumpkinpancakesThis glorious, fall-like morning has me thinking about one of my favorite fall-like treats: PUMPKIN PANCAKES at IHOP.

I’m not normally huge on IHOP, but those once-a-year-pancakes make the eternal lines and other I-indignities worth it. Don’t they?

The pancakes won’t be available till October, which is still an excruciating one month and one week away, but the IHOP publicity department was kind enough to send out tips for making the pancakes at home.

They won’t share the secret recipe, mind you, but using the following guide, you can create a suitable imitation to get you through the wait.


  • The batter – Start with your favorite pancake batter recipe and simply add canned pumpkin pie mix.
  • Water temperature – When preparing dry pancake mix, it is essential that the water is chilled to less than 50 degrees.  Use ice to bring the temperature of the water down.
  • Lumps are good – Do not over mix the pancake batter.  Small lumps of flour are what make pancakes tall and fluffy.
  • Grill temperature – Use a 350-degree grill and make sure there are no hot or cold spots that can affect cooking time.
  • Cook time – The appearance is how you judge when a pancake is ready. When dropping the pancake batter, watch for bubbles to form and for the batter to have a dull appearance.  This takes approximately 2.5 minutes.  After flipping, cook approximately 2 minutes.
  • Topping IHOP tops its pumpkin pancakes with creamy whipped topping.