Hey you! Don't eat that, eat this!

Every year, around late September or early October, pumpkin season starts. When I was a kid, there wasn't much pumpkin flavored foods... pie and bread were really about it.
Then at some point a few years back, somebody realized that pumpkin is a flavor that can be used for all sorts of wacky treats! This blog is primarily about those pumpkin items.
Typically, if it's pumpkin flavored, I will try it. If it has pumpkin in the name, there is a strong chance I will try it. The weirder, the more fun.
In order for this to not be a September - December only blog, I'll also highlight other weird foods (typically prepackaged, mass produced stuff) as well. There will also be a healthy dose of beer reviews.
Wanna suggest something? EMAIL Fido!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Betty Crocker Quick Cookies

Weird Ass Candy

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows

Holy crap these things are awesome! They add to pumpkin to everything. I've used them in my hot chocolate and I've made two batches of Rice Krispy Treats with 'em. Maybe I'll try some s'mores!
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Wasatch Pumpkin Ale

Beer from Utah. Gift from my boss. Decent pumpkin ale, good pumpkin flavor, but doesn't mix well. A lot like the Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale, like soda water with pumpkin flavor. Worth a taste, but not much of a repeat purchase.

Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds

And another food manufacturer jumps on the pumpkin bandwagon. Well, hello Mr. Peanut! Mr. P is happy to present his "Pumpkin Spice Almonds" for your consumption.

Damn, these things are good... they remind more of cookies than nuts. Heavily dusted with the pumpkin spice mixture, these things are just phenomenal. Brilliant even. So good that, I'll have to try the next Limited Edition Seasonal Flavor, Creme Brulee!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fried Pumpkin Pie from some place attached to a gas station off I-45

So, stopped for a leg stretch potty break while transporting 2 Pit Bulls from DFW area shelters to rescue group near Conroe. The gas station where I stopped (in scenic Buffalo) had this Fried Pie Store attached to it. Normally, I don't pay much attention to roadside pie shops because, well, THEY ARE ROADSIDE PIE SHOPS! But this one caught my eye with the handmade "We have pumpkin and sweet potato pies."
Now, from my experience, most "fresh" or handheld fried-style pumpkin pies are generally on the low end of good (Whataburger, McDonald's) although the Northern TastyKake pies are actually pretty decent. I think I have an idea why that is.
In my neck of the woods, there is a Mindy Lu pie factory/outlet store where they make the pies that the ship out to local shops (for local people). They also keep some on hand that are fresh and hot for folks to pickup. I had bugged these folks 2 or 3 times about making pumpkin pies and they finally explained the problem. Apparently, fresh pumpkin has a short shelf life unless it is all preservatived up. They haven't come up with a recipe they deem worthy of selling.
But that doesn't stop Gas Station Carnies from doing it.
As you can see, it's a large half moon thing, kind of like a calzone. Since they also make meat pies, that isn't surprising (I thought about trying one of those too, but didn't want to wait). The crust is pretty good... Very similar to funnel cake. That is a major yum factor.
The pumpkin filling was disappointing and pretty much supported Mindy Lu's assertion. It did have some pumpkin flavor, but it was also heavily influenced by a lemony citrus flavor, which I'm pretty sure was something to give it a longer life. Also, it had the consistency of apple butter... And some of that flavor too.
This will never replace a good ol' fashioned pumpkin pie. Still, I don't regret getting it because it was the only thing I had to eat while I sat in traffic while the idiot holiday drivers made fools of themselves.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blue Bell Spiced Pumpkin Pecan

I think this first showed up last year. I didn't try it because I really didn't want to buy a full half gallon of it, mainly because I hate pecans.

Yeah, yeah... I live in Texas, pecan country and it's Texas ice cream blah, blah, blah... I don't like 'em. Pumpkin desserts and pecans are like beans and chili... I don't care how one area of the country likes it, they don't belong together.

So, anyway, I finally broke down and bought one because it's pumpkin ice cream and that is Kryptonite to me... I can't fight it, it's going to win sooner or later. It was on sale this week for like $5 or something, which made me think, "You know, back in high school, Blue Bell was usually like 2 for $5... and when it went on sale for like $1.50, I went nuts!" Makes me want to go OccupyBrenham just so I can help them eat all they can before they sell the rest to the 1% that can afford it.


Popped it open and scooped out some. First thing I noticed was that it had swirls of caramel. Well, that's a plus.. pumpkin and caramel do go well together. So I grabbed a spoon and a plastic cup and went to watch those wacky Ghost Hunters investigate Waverly Sanatorium in my ancestral home of Louisville, KY.

Both the ice cream and the show were pretty much what I expected. The BB entry into the pumpkin ice cream category is pretty standard. It has a nice pumpkin pie flavor with the right amount of spice and the caramel was a nice touch, not overdone. And the pecans were annoying.

If you paid much attention to the paragraph just before the last paragraph, you may have asked yourself, "Why did he get a plastic cup?" That was for the pecans, which I would spit into the cup upon melting the ice cream in my mouth. EFF YOU, pecans!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pinkberry Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

I remember back in the '80's when frozen yogurt was all the rage. There were fro-yo places everywhere, notably TCBY and I Can't Believe Yogurt or whatever.
For my family, we loved this place near the house called Yumi Yogurt. We went probably at least once a week for a while and even got to know the owner on a first name basis. That was some good stuff. Not far off from regular soft serve ice cream.
But, like most trends from the '80's (except those effing Dippin' Dots), yogurt fell out of fashion. Now there are only a few places left for fro-yo.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I find out that there is actually some new yogurt place in town. It's called Pinkberry and it's hip and hangs out in one of the fashionable retail areas in town. You know it is hip because the name sounds like a Rodeo Drive handbag and the employees treat you like somebody with class and not some schmuck that wants a cup of yogurt.
Anyway, Pinkberry has a Pumpkin Pie yogurt. It's been a looooooong time since I've had fro-yo, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I do know I wasn't expecting what I got.
Sure, you taste the pumpkin flavor, deep in it somewhere, but what you mostly taste is cold, tart yogurt... With a hint of something citrusy. Too be honest, it reminded me more of an Orange Push-up than anything pumpkin-y.
Hell, I LIKE yogurt, but that was just too much yogurt and not enough pumpkin flavor. I've had pumpkin pie flavored non-frozen yogurt and it was way better than this.
Most interesting part about the thing was I got the "whipped cream" topping. It was also made out of yogurt. So it was really fluffy tart yogurt.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Woodchuck Limited Batch Pumpkin Cider

You know, I had high hopes for this. Woodchuck, while it's still a totally American Cider company (i.e. way too sweet for me to get super excited about), generally produces pretty good stuff. So when I heard that they were producing a "pumpkin" cider, I think I started to drool.

I love my Belgian Style beers and my pumpkin ales, but my true passion is cider. I mlove the stuff. I've had all types of cider... British, French, American, Dry, Sweet, in-between, sparkling, practically apple juice... and it's my preference in most instances. I've long wondered if pumpkins could be successfully fermented, for a "true" pumpkin cider... I may have to try that in the lab someday.

At any rate, the Woodchuck Limited Reserve Pumpkin is not actually pumpkin. It is apple with what are supposed to be pumpkin flavored stuff added to it. I say "supposed to be" because I'm not sure what they added to this concoction, but I'm pretty sure it ain't pumpkin. As best as I could nail down, it tasted more like a sparkling cranberry drink although a friend of mine thought he tasted peaches. Whatever it tastes like, it doesn't taste like pumpkin.

Woodchuck supposedly limited production of this stuff to just 2 1/2 hours so it should be relatively rare. But don't feel disappointed if you don't find it. I do however enjoy the horrifically designed flourescent orange label...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sonic Pumpkin Pie Shake

So, Sonic enters they Pumpkin Market with their own Pumpkin Pie Shake. It should be noted that for me, shakes should be mostly smooth and easy to move through a straw. Adding solid stuff is risky since it can clog the straw or just confuse the hell out of your mouth.
It is the latter that comes into play here. While some, like Which Wich, blend in the taste of crust into their mix so that you get the flavor without doughy surprises. The Sonic version takes the Dairy Queen Blizzard route and adds actual crust pieces to the shake. It works for the Blizzard, sine you largely eat that with a spoon anyway, but the Sonic shake uses a straw delivery system and the crust pieces, while they easily traveled through the straw, refused to go with the flow in my mouth. The shake wanted to go over the tongue and down the throat easily but the crust got in there and the throat said, "WTF IS THIS!?!??!" It was like I had to filter stuff out of the shake and swallow it separately.
The thing is really tasty, but the whole crust thing made it less than satisfying.

Ben & Jerry's Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

So, Mrs. Pumpkinboy and I are at Six Flags for a thing put together by her work. And after deciding after 2 rides that I just don't like being thrown violently around anymore, it turned into a wander around the park trip.

Her company gave us a bunch of "Daffy Dollars" or whatever the hell they were so we went looking for junk to buy. We unloaded most of them at the M&M store on stuff for the niece and nephew and still had about $5 left. There was a Ben & Jerry's store right across the walkway so I figured, let's see if they gots any pumpkin.

B&J put out a Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream in pints every year (which I have had but need to get posted) but at the shop (or is that "shoppe") they had a more traditional Pumpkin Pie. Since it was Six Flags, $5 only got me a tiny cup that the spoon barely fit in, but whatever. That was some damn tasty ice cream.

Not nearly as rich as the cheescake, this stuff was just what you'd want in an ice cream... smooth and creamy with a healthy pumpkin pie flavor. If you've got a Scoop Shop anywhere near you, it's worth a visit.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat

This is probably my (current) favorite pumpkin beer. It is a good American Belgian Style with a great pumpkin flavor. I am stunned really. This is not what I expected at all.

I've been trying to keep a 6-pk in the fridge, but the stuff has been sold out wherever I go.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Which Wich Pumpkin Pie Shake

A friend of mine who knows of my pumpkin obsession, sent me a message on Facebook alerting me to this new addition to the pumpkin shake family.

This one has a nice leg up since I'm pretty sure it's real ice cream and they blend it with the spices to a very smooth and creamy consistency that is easy to drink through a straw.

Definitely has a good spice flavor and does a good job of tasting like a liquified pumpkin pie (complete with a hint of crust flavor), although it has it's own pumpkin style flavor. They crazy thing about pumpkin stuff is how varied the ideas of "pumpkin" taste. It's all to do with the spices and how they are blended. Which Wich has a decidedly different flavor than the delicious Jack-In-The-Box shake, which for sheer flavor wins the battle, but the WW is so smooth that it is worth buying.

McDonald's Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Pie

McDonald's has, in the past, had a pumpkin pie. This however, is a pumpkin AND sweet potato pie.
Let me complain right off the bat about two things regarding McDonalds:

1) The pies suck ass ever since they started "baking" them instead of frying them. I think the last thing most people stop to think about after consuming a Big Mac, large fries, and ginormous soda is just how unhealthy that fried pie might be. McDonalds is not a place to eat healthy so don't give us this baked pie crap.

2) Apparently, from what the guy at the drive thru window told me, Mcdonald's pies are 2 for $1 or 1 for $1. So, you might as well buy 2 and if you don't have a use for the second one, you fling it the window of an Apple Store.

Anyway, so I got 2 of the damn things. This turned out to be a good thing because it allowed me a more scientific taste test.

The first one was just icky. Not much flavor and had the consistency of yams shoved in a Hot Pocket pouch. Really. It was just terrible.

The second one, however, was not as bad. It had a smoother consistency and more pumpkin flavor. That said, it was still unsatisfying.

Not sure why they feel the need to add Sweet Potato to these things... It's really the spices that make pumpkin stuff what it is. The yammy stuff just makes you unsure of what the hell you are eating.
Can't really recommend this one. Anybody got a fresh TastyKake?