Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Palate for Pumpkin

It's December 1st. Advent officially begins tomorrow. So if I rush, I can juuuuuuust squeeze in a quick post about Autumn and pumpkin-related things before it's too late.

There is much to love about Autumn, including cooler weather here in Vegas, the many colors of the trees, and my favorite: Pumpkin EVERYTHING. Every year I indulge in pumpkin bread (probably my favorite food) and pumpkin cookies. This year, in the spirit of this truly enjoyable season, I set out to try some pumpkin coffee drinks, and along the way experienced a few other treats as well.

First stop: Einstein Bros. Bagels:
They made a pretty yummy pumpkin latte. There it is in all its glory. But take a moment to notice some of the other elements of this photo: on the right and back a little, a container of pumpkin cream cheese; on the left, my friend's Weight Watchers journal. As if these three things should really all pose together in a photo!

On another day, not too long after the visit to Einstein's (because I was on to something here), I zipped through the Dunkin Donuts Drive-thru for this beaut:
I opted for the iced version, probably because Fall in Vegas can fluctuate and the temps were back up in the 90s. Delish! (The iced latte, NOT the temps in the 90s.)

Not too long ago, I lost a friend named Saxby's, who made many many marvelous chocolate chip frolattes just for me. Saxby's either died or was kidnapped. Or was just plain pummeled to death by Starbucks, I don't know. In her place arrived Galaxy Cafe. Galaxy's pumpkin coffee was not too shabby, but their packaging needs some work:
(I can't resist directing your attention to the length of PVC pipe there on the passenger seat. I hereby declare that I do NOT use that to discipline my children on the road. However, I also do NOT remember why on earth I was traveling with a piece of pipe in my van.)

My happy Fall journey soon led me to the LaGrone residence. Their house is a "happy place" for me. Not only do I love the LaGrones, but Mr. LaGrone is a real live CHEF. I like to stay as close as possible to people who make food gloriously. Today's menu item was homemade pumpkin flavoring.
Here my dear friend, full of Autumn love, scoops out the flavoring:
She kept saying, "It's really sweet. I don't want to give you too much." To which I responded with convulsive laughter. There is no such thing as "too much sweet" in my world.
The finished product was beyond-belief yums. There is more eloquent language befitting this treat, but I choose "beyond-belief yums" because that is how my heart chooses to speak.
If this doesn't make you crave a pumpkin latte, or crave the warm melody of Autumn, or just wish you had the LaGrones as friends, I don't know what will!

Folks, we move here to soap. Yes, soap. No other coffee should follow the homemade version, so we'll just cut to soap for a moment:
Bath & Body Works had a sale on their foaming soaps, of which I am a devotee. I rejoiced to see "Creamy Pumpkin" scent, and quickly paid for 8.75 fl. ozs. Although it sounded dreamy, it just plain stunk. I'll call it the foremost disappointment of my otherwise idyllic Fall. Let's quickly move on.

Dairy Queen can make anything better, even stinky soap that dashes your expectations. Next time you're feeling a little glum (or a little elated, or a little anything) in November, I highly recommend the pumpkin pie Blizzard. It is deluxe.

I wrapped up the "pumpkin months" at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf:
Note the perfect orange-y hue, the professionally-designed cup, and the park bench at The District where this prim iced latte rests and watches the rich people's dogs go by. What the picture doesn't show, however, are the unappetizing, gooshy, pumpkin flavored clumps at the bottom of the cup. I had to take back the first cup or I might have barfed on a passing poodle. The second cup was drinkable but still contained a couple of the clumps. Not the best way to end my stint as a coffee taste-tester. Therefore, I won't quit. It's December! Bring on the eggnog lattes!
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