It's October, and despite 90-degree days and no rain, October still means pumpkins. And that means pumpkin desserts.
But you're busy. You can't possibly get around to tasting all the pumpkin-y yumminess showing up on local menus. So, I volunteer to survey—and hopefully sample—what I can. There isn't room for a pervasive list, so e-mail me if I've missed anything. Also, be aware that these items may only have a brief life on shelves and menus; that's what seasonal eating is about.
A stroll down Chapel Hill's Franklin Street turned up Brinkley Farms (4233 Old Weaver Trail, Creedmoor, 528-0604, brinkleyfarms.com) pumpkin cheesecake with pecan crust at Elaine's on Franklin (454 W. Franklin St., 960-2770, www.elainesonfranklin.com). That was almost the end of the mission, because Elaine's also has a s'more tart with a graham crust, milk chocolate ganache and homemade marshmallow, not to mention a rustic apple crisp with walnut streusel topping and bourbon ice cream. A dessert lover can get distracted, you know.
But I pressed on to Locopops (451 W. Franklin St., 286-3500, www.ilovelocopops.com), which has a pumpkin spice paleta and a maple butternut squash paleta. The latter is new, and a customer suggestion, said founder Summer Bicknell. "We're looking forward to seeing how it turns out," she said. Both flavors are also available at the Durham location on Hillsborough Road.
Maple View Farm Dairy Store (3109 Dairyland Road, Hillsborough, 960-5535, www.mapleviewfarm.com) sells pumpkin pie ice cream and expect to have it through October. It's also available at their two other locations (525-A Hampton Pointe Blvd., Hillsborough, 644-2222 and 100 E. Weaver St., Carrboro, 967-6842).
In other news, City Beverage (4810 Hope Valley Road, Durham, 401-6500, www.citybeverage-durham.com) has expanded into the space next door, adding 100 seats. The new space has its own kitchen, so owner Jim Earnhardt expanded the menu too. The result: The "old" City Beverage, with a full dinner menu, has moved into the new space. The old space, with the funky tiki décor, is now the new Lava Burger Lounge, complete with its own menu of mostly burgers. Two kitchens, two menus, two different vibes.
City Beverage has a loyal neighborhood following, and the new deal has confused some people, Earnhardt said. Plus, they're still tweaking things. So check the Web site for hours and menus, and definitely check out all nine burgers, including "The Wisconsin Hangover Cure."
Hammocks Coffee (2121 T.W. Alexander Drive, Morrisville, 293-1050, hammockscoffee.com) is selling single-origin coffee at a cute shop—complete with drive-thru window—near Brier Creek. Owner Sandra Pinzon, a native of Colombia, got the idea after not being able to find the same coffee that she had been enjoying in her home country all her life. Hammocks has all the typical coffeehouse accoutrements: Wi-Fi, pastries, frappe drinks. But it has unique stuff too: cardamom coffee and Mayan hot chocolate.
Know about a special food event in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.