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Eat and Drink This Tonight: Pumpkins

Pump it up

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With Halloween only a week away, the selection of harvest foods is at its peak. Though you’ll probably be sick of pumpkin in a month, now is the prime time to indulge in that sweet autumn flavor. From entrees to desserts to drinks, we’ve got you covered.

Over at Rutledge Ave. locale Lana, Chef John Ondo is serving up a variety of pumpkin-oriented dishes. Ondo’s got a pumpkin soup he’s been perfecting over the past few weeks. He starts by roasting pumpkins with sage, brown butter, carrots, celery, onions, white wine, and chicken stock, then purees the mixture and runs it through a sieve for smoothness. A little more sage and brown butter is added afterwards, giving the soup a nutty, earthy taste. “It’s a good dish for those who don’t want anything too overwhelming,” Ondo says. “There’s no cream added so it’s not too rich, and the pumpkin flavor is subtle.” Ondo is also serving a crispy duck breast and apple gastrique with sides of pumpkin gnocchi, braised cabbage, and rainbow carrots. The vegetables and gnocchi match well with the gastrique’s fall flavors, making this a great all-around harvest dish.

For dessert, head over to the Charleston Sweet Gourmet in the South Windermere Shopping Center. Owner Mike Furlinger recently received some chocolate pumpkin bark courtesy of Bissinger’s in St. Louis. A variation on peppermint bark, the candy features milk chocolate swirled with bits of real pumpkin. For breakfast lovers, Furlinger has you covered with Stonewall Kitchen’s pumpkin pancake mix, plus a pumpkin butter. “As far as pumpkin products go, the butter is our top seller,” Furlinger says. “It’s delicious and great on anything toasted.”

After dessert, grab some beer from the Charleston Beer Exchange. Unfortunately, you can’t drink your beers inside, but the Exchange is offering a selection of some unique pumpkin beers. The shop is currently filling growlers of Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumpking Ale straight from the tap. With flavors of pumpkin pie and even graham cracker crust, you’d think it was straight out of the oven if it wasn’t, you know, a beer. With a rich flavor and a 9 percent a.b.v., this ale is perfect for sharing. Hurry on this one though, as the Exchange’s taps are constantly changing. Scott Shore at the shop also recommends the Hoppin’ Frog Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin Ale. A nice, clean tasting ale, the cinnamon notes on this one are more prevalent than the pumpkin, making for a less rich beer.

Want some drinks and dessert but don’t want to take ‘em home? Daniel Island’s Laura Albert’s can help you out. Owner Karen Elsey told us about the restaurant’s decadent pumpkin cheesecake, a rich and creamy slice with homemade graham crust and topped with candied pecans. The restaurant also got ahold of New Holland’s Ichabod Ale, a seasonal amber ale with pumpkin, cinnamon, and amber flavors.

Since it’s still 80 degrees outside, it’s perfectly fine to head to the beach in October. If you stop by Folly, check out Tokyo Crepes, where they’re offering a special Halloween-themed crepe. Dubbed “the Pumpkin Tragedy,” this crepe is filled with pumpkin pie, vanilla ice cream, strawberries, chocolate chips, and topped with whipped cream. Ah, the joys of living on a beach town.

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