Whether you're sick of pumpkin spice-everything already, you have to admit: pumpkin French toast, gelato, and beignets sound delicious and, well, they are. Now that it's fall, several Orange County restaurants have added special pumpkin dishes to their menu–some infusing it more subtly than others. That being said, here are some of the most interesting pumpkin dishes available in the county right now. You'll want to get your hands on them soon because before you know it, they'll be gone.
10. Manhattan Steak and Seafood (Orange)
If you want steak old New York-style in Orange County, try Manhattan Steak and Seafood, a restaurant of polished wood interiors and its own wine cellar. Instead of just ordering, say, Stephane Beauchamp's steak culotte with a side of lobster bisque this season, try their Fairytale Pumpkin Bisque where pumpkin, creme-fraiche, and toasted pecans combine to make the most soothing sips.
202 Main St, Orange, (714) 978-6161; manhattanoc.com; facebook.com/ManhattanOC
9. Disneyland (Anaheim)
You can't have an season-themed list without mentioning Disneyland, which is one of the only places in the county that dresses up for the holidays. Seasonal treats are introduced every season, and this year that includes pumpkin beignets at Cafe Orleans and Mint Julep Bar, pumpkin cheesecake at French Market Restaurant, pumpkin pie at Plaza Inn, and pumpkin flan at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurant.
Disneyland Park, 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 781-3463; disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/disneyland
8. Scott's Restaurant N Bar (Costa Mesa)
For Scott's Restaurant N Bar Thanksgiving menu this year, $60 per person will get you three courses–and that includes apple and pumpkin fritters with salted caramel as one of the choices for dessert (though the creme catalana and pecan butterscotch namelaka sound good too). For a full look at the courses being offered, check out their menu.
Bristol St, Costa Mesa, (714) 979-2400; scottsrestaurantandbar.com
7. Flappy Jack's Pancake House (Orange)
California's autumn feels more like summer, but luckily we have dishes like pumpkin pancakes from Flappy Jack's Pancake House to help us imagine a backdrop of yellow leaves and cold weather. Each bite is warm and milky with only a hint of pumpkin, making these pancakes the perfect complement to a hearty plate of eggs and potatoes.
2848 N Santiago Blvd, Orange, (714) 283-2800; flappyjacks.com
6. Sidecar Doughnuts N Coffee (Costa Mesa)
Though they're known for their huckleberry and maple bacon donuts, Sidecar Doughnuts N Coffee introduces new flavors each month that are just as delicious. For November, they've got donuts in French spice cake, lemon and thyme, pecan pie, apple, chocolate, and of course, pumpkin. Called “Pumpkin Fool,” this donut comes with pumpkin-mascarpone mousse, whipped sour cream, and gingersnap crumble.
270 E 17th St #18, Costa Mesa, (949) 873-5424; sidecardoughnuts.com; Instagram: @sidecardoughnuts
5. Crepe Coop (Tustin)
One of the more unique ways to have your pumpkin this autumn is in Crepe Coop form, which involves pumpkin spice gelato wrapped in thin pancake layers and loads of whipped cream. The pancake layers are simultaneously crispy and soft, which works well with the creaminess of the gelato and cream.
#5, 2493 Park Ave, Tustin, (714) 259-1136; crepecoop.com; Instagram:@crepecoop
4. Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen (Orange)
Who needs a sign? Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen doesn't, and it hasn't for the past eight years. What curious first-time visitors should do instead of looking for one is identify long lines of people waiting for a table against the scent of mole Oaxaqueña. Once you get in, make it a point to try Gabbi's classic homemade churros for dessert or their calabaza tres leches, a delectable concoction of pumpkin mousse, cinnamon chantilly, and cherry coulis.
141 S Glassell St, Orange, (714) 633-3038; gabbipatrick.com/gabbis-mexican-kitchen; facebook.com/gabbismexicankitchen
3. A La Minute (Orange)
A La Minute's creative flavors and consistency prove that liquid nitrogen ice cream–when done right–is more than just a trend. Take their pumpkin ice cream for example, which consists of browned butter vanilla-pumpkin custard topped with maple syrup. The pumpkins used to make this flavor come from their location in Redlands.
117 N Glassell St, Orange, (714) 363-3470; alaminuteicecream.com; Instagram: @alaminute
2. Old Vine Cafe (Costa Mesa)
There's no better fall breakfast item than Old Vine Cafe's pumpkin pecan French toast, a cube of sweet toast topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar and plated with fresh fruits. Slice your fork through the toast and you'll get thick, flavorful chunks that are still crispy even in the midst of dripping cream.
2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa; oldvinecafe.com; Instagram: @oldvinecafe
1. Rutabegorz Restaurant (Multiple Locations)
When four hippie entrepreneurs open up a restaurant together, you get a Rutabegorz, a vegetarian-friendly restaurant serving fresh protein and vegetable dishes. Every fall, they bring out special hummus dishes like pumpkin hummus served with tortilla chips and vegetables and pumpkin soup–which, of course, are delicious with Buffalo Bill's pumpkin ale. If you don't want to be too healthy, try their made-to-order pumpkin cookies.
264 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 633-3260
158 W. Main St., Tustin, (714) 731-9807
211 N. Pomona Ave., Fullerton, (714) 738-9339