We’ve fallen into the heart of fall. Before the impending wintery months make their attack, feast on the flavors that make these months of colorful leaves and crisp air so lovely. What better way to bask in the glory of winter’s predecessor than with some hearty and wonderfully seasonal squash and its third cousin, twice removed – the sweet potato. Pull on your eating pants and prepare yourself for an injection of some high doses of quality beta-carotene. Just reading this will be enough to have you babbling, “What’s up, doc?”
4&20 Bakery & Café (305 N. 4th St.)
#2 Breakfast Sandwich
It is a serious misfortune for those who have not yet experienced the #2 breakfast sandwich at 4&20. If Shakespeare were alive to compose another play, it would no doubt document the intense emotions and frustrations of individuals who are barred from experiencing this sandwich in all its glory. It all starts with a buttermilk biscuit. Made from scratch, this biscuit is fan-freaking-fluff-tastic. Think of a pillow that tastes like butter. This is the biscuit. Now top this with scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, tons of melted Hook’s cheddar cheese and, here goes, some roasted squash. You’ve got a winner. The roasted squash adds a delicate sweetness to what would otherwise be overwhelmingly savory from the cheddar and bacon. What’s more, it provides a moist texture that compliments the breadiness of the flaky biscuit. To call this sandwich beautiful would be an understatement.
DLUX (117 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.)
Sweet Potato Fries & Sriracha Mayo
Sweet potato fries are all the rage these days. And if you’re looking for arguably the best of the best, you must make a stop at DLUX. Their sweet potato fries are crisp, yet not fried so much that the sweet potato loses its characteristic sweetness. The fry is cut a bit thicker so as to retain the integrity of the sweet potato. The fries are then served with a scrumptious Sriracha mayo. DLUX, we’re impressed. Sweet potato fries and hipster Tabasco? Props for fueling the latest foodie trends.
Ha Long Bay (1353 Williamson St.)
The squash curry at Ha Long Bay is delightful. Once you’ve had a taste of this red curry sauce, there’s no turning back. It’s been known to convert non-curry fans into true curry addicts. This is truly a feel-good dish that’s packed with flavors that will warm the soul. The gentle medley of spices will have you hooked at first bite and will leave you craving that flavor like no other. Within the curry is a great blend of zucchini, Thai eggplant, bamboo, basil and, of course, squash. Ha Long Bay incorporates both acorn and butternut squash into this dish, and these components are the star of the show. They retain their lovely flavor while also absorbing a good amount of the spices from the curry, which makes for a hearty yet healthy meal. Addicts beware.
Short Stack Eatery (301 W. Johnson St.)
Sweet Potato Oatmeal Pancakes
Sweet potato in a pancake? Yes, it has been done. And it is glorious. The sweet potato oatmeal pancakes at Short Stack Eatery will have you questioning how all nearby breakfast restaurants are still in business. If everyone knew how delicious these cakes were, Short Stack would be giving all competitors a serious run for their money. These spiced oatmeal pancakes are whipped up with real sweet potatoes and served with a generous dollop of bourbon-maple mascarpone and fresh strawberries. A plate of these guys is comfort food at its best. While they are hearty and filling, the fact that you just ate oatmeal and sweet potato makes you feel good about yourself. Pancakes are the new health food, have you heard?
Humble (10 S. Allen St.)
Pecan and Cardamom Sweet Potato Pie
Pie is good. But pecan and cardamom sweet potato pie is really good. The spiced flavor of the pie makes for a serious party in your mouth. Picture a cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and clove-type explosion. This pie packs a punch in terms of quality fall spices. That’s not to mention the freshness of the main sweet potato component itself. The texture of the pie is beautifully reminiscent of a pumpkin pie, yet this version is amped up in terms of flavor profiles. It is not cloyingly sweet, as similar pumpkin pies often are. With this pie, Humble shows how versatile an ingredient like sweet potato is; its applicability spans from savory fare to sweet.