An assortment of Halloween macarons in guava, strawberry, chocolate, mango and more. (Grace Cheung)
The temperatures are cooling (sort of), and the menus are changing — that's right, fall is upon us here in the Bay area. Commercials are already out for Thanksgiving and Christmas but don't forget about one of the finest "holidays" we celebrate at this time of year where gorging on sweets is okay (again, sort of)! Whether you're curled up on your couch watching Hocus Pocus, taking the kids door to door to fill their pillowcases with sugar, or attending your friend's rowdy Halloween party, the right kind of food can make the occasion a little happier.
Lucky for you, we found five boo-tiful treats for anyone who loves Halloween...or themed foods!
Garden Creamery co-owners Erin Lang and Donny Capozzi are known for their Asian-inspired small batch ice cream, but their menu of fall flavors will make you think of pumpkin patches, fireside apple cider, and crunchy leaves under your feet. They go to the farmers market every Thursday at Civic Center and Marin to pick up fresh, local ingredients for their ice cream and the new batch of flavors reflect that.
Garden Creamery uses real pumpkin in this tasty flavor, specifically pumpkin from Feather River Farms. The squash is chopped up and sauteed with their homemade pumpkin spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, fresh ginger, cloves, etc.) that they chop and grind themselves to create a rich, creamy and pumpkin-y ice cream that beats any Pumpkin Spice Latte I’ve ever had. The second fall flavor, a Caramel Apple, is just as reminiscent of fall as the Pumpkin flavor, and it’s also a labor of love. Whole apples picked from the farmers market are cored, marinated in sugar (skins are left on) and cooked down with lemons. “It takes a really long time, but we wanted a whole base that was apple instead of just throwing apple jam into something,” explains Erin. And the final result is a creamy, strong apple flavor — almost like frozen applesauce with sweet hints of caramel swirled in.
Now, for a Halloween treat that will really make you nostalgic for those East Coast autumns (if you’ve experienced them before), the Trick or Treat ice cream is chock-full of candy and something Garden Creamery thinks everyone will enjoy! A sweet cream base is made with organic Strauss milk, and mixed in are chopped up full-sized bars of all of Erin and Donny’s favorite candies: Reese’s, Kit Kats, M&Ms, Hersheys with almonds, etc. As co-owner Donny says, “It’s a treat! When you’re a kid and you go trick or treating, you were so excited to get a full candy bar — we wanted to use full candy bars in our ice cream to bring that nostalgia from when you’re a little kid back.”
Their pumpkin and caramel apple flavors were released at the beginning of October, and, by the time you read this article, their special Halloween flavor will be available too.
Bluestem Brasserie's pastry chef, Lori Baker, tells us, "We wanted to create something really fun for Halloween this year, and who doesn't love Halloween candy? We modeled our Spooky Delight Cookie Plate after our favorite Halloween candy, including Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, Gum Drops, and Caramel Apples!"
There you have it. This Halloween cookie plate is inspired by the candy we know, love and gorge on every year — just in cookie form! You’ll get 2 of each of the following: Peanut Butter Cup Cookie, Caramel & Chocolate Coated Biscuit Cookie, Gumdrop Cookie and Caramel Apple Cookie. My favorites were the Peanut Butter Cup and the Caramel Apple.
We visited Merchant Roots when they first opened, and, as our writer Trevor Felch wrote, “It’s impossible to give a blanket label for this concept, long in the making by business and life partners Ryan Shelton and Madison Michael. There really is nothing quite like it in the Bay Area.” So we weren’t too surprised to hear that their fall special would be a unique treat made with fresh ingredients that Executive Chef/Proprietor Ryan Shelton sources from his network of farmers around California.
Available from October 25 to November 25, Merchant Roots’s lovely charcoal farfalle pasta is served with a coconut pumpkin curry sauce, fall vegetables, and chili oil.
Get the phones ready, folks. Ketsourine Macarons regularly provides adorably shaped macarons like Totoro, pandas, cats, baby chicks and so on, and you can get an assortment of Halloween-themed character macarons to make the occasion a little more fun (and Instagrammable)! Phi and Ketsourine Nguyen own the shop, and Phi tells us, “Ketsourine, my wife, does most of the design and whatever inspires her will determine what we create for the week.”
There’s no telling what will be available at the store when you arrive, so try calling in advance to see what’s available or make an order for pick up to make sure you’re getting the designs you want. Each macaron is light and generously filled with classic flavors like chocolate or strawberry, but you can also grab ones filled with guava, mango, pandan and more. Share them with friends or get a box all for yourself!
If you’ve eaten at any of the Farmhouse Kitchen locations, you know the team behind the restaurant has a penchant for flair. From brightly colored florals decorating their tables and their servers to unique social media promotions for their spicy challenge, they know how to market themselves! It’s no surprise that they’re going all out for Halloween and giving diners multiple options for celebrating the spooky occasion.
Daring eaters can try the mieng non: fried silkworms tossed in roasted rice, onion and lime in betel leaf. Kunkanda "Cartoon" Phukchampa, the powerhouse behind Farmhouse Kitchen's media marketing, explains, "We wanted something that matched Halloween, so having silkworms — it might be scary for some people who haven't had it or seen it before! Silkworms are also popular street food in Thailand and it is a good representation of Thai culture we want to bring to our customers at Farmhouse Kitchen."
For the main course, grab a Kang Ped Pumpkin. Maple Leaf Farms duck breast is served in a red pumpkin curry, lychee, tomato and basil, and the whole thing is delivered to your table in a pumpkin with Kobe Beef Jerky and Thai olive fried rice. "With this dish, we don't serve duck often so we wanted to do something different and it goes well with the red pumpkin curry for a Halloween look," explains Cartoon. The pumpkin receptacle isn't cooked, so don't try to eat it!
To round everything out, you can even sandwich your meal with a Halloween cocktail and dessert. The Bloody Heaven cocktail made with Absolut Elyx Vodka, Giffard Elderflower, lemon and San Liege ‘The Offering’ will get the party started, and the Fresh Pumpkin Creme Brulee will provide a sweet end to the meal. The pumpkin that the creme brulee is served in is cooked through, so scoop up some pumpkin with every bite!
This special menu will be available at both Farmhouse Kitchen locations and at Oakland’s Daughter Thai Kitchen until October 31st. Keep in mind that the San Francisco location does not have a liquor license, so you can substitute the Bloody Heaven cocktail with a Singha beer instead.
Did you see any other Halloween specials worth sharing around the Bay? Or maybe you’re making something at home to wow friends, families, and trick or treaters? Share with us on social media with #KQEDFood!