Fall means comfy sweaters, crunchy leaves, apple picking and pumpkin spice lattes. This year, Starbucks is celebrating its 10th anniversary of their pumpkin spice latte (PSL) – the trendsetter for pumpkin flavors.
However, we know there are better pumpkin flavors out there. We sought out the best food and drinks in the District that taste like this trendy fall fruit.
Lattes: Yes, pumpkin drinks can taste great without the powerful pumpkin spice latte brand attached to them.
201 F St. NE (Union Station Metro)
You start by drinking through a couple inches of foam, like dragging your feet through a pile of leaves, only to find Halloween’s treat – a pumpkin spiced chai. At Ebenezer’s, baristas say they can “pumpkinify” anything. And they do, from the simple pumpkin pie latte to a salted caramel pumpkin latte. The pumpkin flavor is not overwhelming: It is sweet but subtle which is a difficult task for a coffee shop to balance when pumping pumpkin syrup into their drinks.
660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (Eastern Market/Capitol South Metro)
This Eastern Market coffee shop is meticulous in its methods of dripping and steeping their coffee and tea and how they create their October pumpkin special, “Decaf-O-Lantern.” The macchiato with pumpkin pie filling, butter and a dusting of nutmeg is not for everyone. The drink almost tastes like pumpkin soup: Ot is so rich and creamy in its pumpkin flavor that it is tough to remember this is served at a cafe.
Pie: Because the best time of the year to have pumpkin is in October when you can eat it without the restraints of a tiring meal beforehand.
3423 M St. NW (Georgetown)
The pumpkin pie is creamy and rich without too much butter while keeping the crust is crisp, light and flaky. The flavors are far from customary, as cinnamon and nutmeg seasoning slyly sneak in a seasonal kick. If you don’t want to spend on a whole pie or a slice then indulge in a mini pie or a bite size pie, none of which skimp on any of the homemade richness.
Dangerously Delicious Pies
1339 H St. NE (Union Station Metro)
Each pie in Dangerously Delicious Pies’ repertoire unleashes an explosion of flavor. Dangerously Delicious is well known through D.C. for their pies that put a stunning spin on mom’s classic, like the the overflowing sweet apple flavor with undertones of cinnamon in the roasted apple cinnamon chess. Unfortunately, their pumpkin disappoints. It reverts back to the traditional and taste no better than your average kitchen’s pumpkin pie. Dangerously Delicious steps away from their key formula and welcomes back the mundaneness of mediocre pie.
Milkshake: It doesn’t have to be hot outside to enjoy a good milkshake, especially with the D.C. weather.
Good Stuff Eatery
303 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC (Capitol South Metro)
Good Stuff Eatery is known for keeping their products natural, but it takes that idea to a new level with their pumpkin milkshake. The restaurant takes an actual pumpkin pie and blend it together with vanilla ice cream to create their mixture that they use later in the day. Instead of having a strong pumpkin flavor using a syrup or extract to establish the flavor in the shake, the extra-thick shake maintains a pumpkin à la mode flavor.
Baked and Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW (Georgetown by the waterfront)
Baked and Wired certainly has a wide selection of pumpkin items. Not only does the shop kick in a pumpkin flavored cupcake but they also feature a gluten-free pumpkin chocolate brownie. (They also have a pumpkin ice cream sandwich, but it’s usually sold out.) For its cupcake, be prepared for a slightly-overwhelming blast of pumpkin flavor when biting into their cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting and pumpkin seeds. For a more subdued flavor, go for the mostly-chocolate pumpkin brownie that is very chewy but maintains a good texture. Disappointingly, they don’t have their own pumpkin latte but their chaider (chai-apple cider) is worth trying hot or cold.