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Falling for Autumn Flavors (That Aren’t Freaking Pumpkin)

Cloves! Cinnamon! Nutmeg! OVERKILL!!!

You’d think, knee-deep in farm-to-fork everything, we’d have better alternatives for celebrating the harvest season than yet another allspice-inflected no-foam soy crappuccino that tastes like a Yankee candle. And you’d be right! Here, some of our favorite ways to eat and drink the season that have nothing to do with pumpkin spice:

Get your Italian on at Le Virtù or Brigantessa, where Chef Joe Cicala is mining the depths of la cucina povera for rare, infrequently exported recipes that capitalize on the freshest flavors of the season. We’re innamorati (that’s “enamored,” for those who don’t parla italiano) with his hay-smoked Scottish grouse (carved tableside and served with roasted porcinis, honeycrisp apples and rosemary jus) at Le Virtù and nightly specials like paccheri pasta with ‘nduja, clams and smoked tomatoes at Brigantessa.

Off to Germany next, via Brauhaus Schmitz, where Chef Jeremy Nolen has accomplished the near impossible and gotten us excited about a salad: his gluhwein pear salad, to be exact, tender red oak lettuce with walnuts and blue cheese dressing, topped with two-year house-aged ham and sous vide pears poached in gluhwein (spiced red wine that will warm you on even the coldest day of the year). And speaking of warm, what could be cozier than a bowl of nutmeg- and sage-scented parsnip soup with smoked and fried hen of the woods mushrooms? Nichts.

For a closer-to-home taste of the harvest, High Street on Market is still hosting their weekly Plowshare Farms Farmers Market; pick up ingredients to prepare yourself, like watermelon radish and Napa cabbage, or sample the High Street team’s takes, including Baker Alex Bois’s Vollkornbrot with fall squash hummus and long-hot chermoula or Pastry Chef Sam Kincaid’s Kabocha Cake with pumpkin seed, sour cream and pear.

Finally, Team ProTip knows sometimes you just have to drink the season (at least, we do) and we’ve got you covered: local nanobrewery Saint Benjamin is now pouring their Inca, an India Cream Ale that will have you swearing off pumpkin beer for good thanks to rich, seasonal flavor that puts the autumn in IPA; alternately, savor the last of the summer cherries with the PA debut of Ommegang’s Rosetta, an oud bruin-kriek hybrid that is tart, tasty and impossible to stop drinking.

Okay, you got us: that’s what’s really in our coffee mugs (“deskies,” anyone??) when 5 p.m. rolls around.

In This ProTip:
Brauhaus Schmitz
(718 South Street, 267-909-8814)
Brewery Ommegang (656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown, NY; 607-544-1800)
Brigantessa (1520 East Passyunk Avenue, 267-318-7341)
High Street on Market (308 Market Street, 215-625-0988)
Le Virtù (1927 East Passyunk Avenue, 215-271-5626)
Saint Benjamin Brewing (1710 North 5th Street, 215-232-4305)

 

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