Dining Out | Local

Pumpkin dishes with panache among fall delights at local eateries

Cooler weather isn’t the only thing Tucsonans can look forward to this fall. Local kitchens are heating up with all new menus and pumpkin-flavored treats galore.

Gourmet Girls’ Susan Fulton says she and co-owner Mary Steiger “are in our full pumpkin mode.” The gluten free bakery is offering pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin pie and pumpkin muffins. While baked goods are their specialty, Gourmet Girls also serves lunch seven days a week and dinner on Fridays. Pumpkin chili made with Double Check Ranch grass-fed beef is on the menu this fall.

Homemade hot and sour soup can be found at the Rice Bowl to warm cold hands this season. “I’m a spicy girl,” says Cassandra Rahn, owner of the restaurant. Her go-to quick meal is spaghetti, but she loves adding Sriracha sauce to her combinations at the Rice Bowl. Rahn says her favorite celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, inspires her cooking and his accent “I could listen to all day!”

Coralie Satta, chef and owner of Ghini’s French Caffe, also idolizes Gordon Ramsay. “He’s the only chef I would know that could equally match my attitude,” she says of Ramsay’s lively demeanor. Ghini’s French Caffe will have all new breakfast, lunch and dinner menus this fall with items like a fresh herb and goat cheese omelet, a breakfast salad bowl, Provençal vegetable bru­schetta and a wild ahi or salmon farmer’s salad, just to name a few. At home, Satta says she always has bread, goat cheese and plenty of wine in her pantry.

Noble Hops chef Mario Ferrari says his pantry is always stocked with pasta. “I need pasta in my life at least once a day,” he says. New on the menu for the Oro Valley gastropub is a rib eye steak with a sweet mushroom demi glacé, which is a glaze made of red wine and vegetables such as onions and carrots to give the meat more flavor. Another new dish for the fall is a skin-on ruby red trout.

For a more casual bite, Fresco Pizzeria & Pastaria will be serving their five- cheese pizza all winter. The Italian restaurant has an assortment of pizzas and pasta on the menu for delivery, takeout or dine-in, including a vegan pizza and the option for gluten-free crust. “I really love cheese,” says co-owner Mat Cable, but when he is cooking at home with his kids, he enjoys making them sloppy Joes.

Located in the Tanque Verde Shopping Center, Eclectic Café has a diverse seasonal menu that includes items such as a deconstructed chile relleno, a curry chicken salad and Reuben chimichangas. The cafe, co-owned by Grant Bennett, offers a variety of Mexican dishes as well as a full breakfast menu. Bennett says his “food rescue 911” is grilled cheese and he always has an assortment of salsas in his fridge.

At Pastiche Food/Drink, Chef Tim Moore serves up American cuisine with a global flair, such as his panko-crusted fried avocado with chipotle aioli, available on the regular menu and for Thanksgiving. The a la carte holiday menu features classic roasted turkey with gravy, cranberry sauce and garlic mashed potatoes, as well as restaurant favorites such as quinoa-crusted chicken breast. The pumpkin ravioli with toasted fennel and a champagne cream sauce is another holiday special to savor. A dozen dessert selections complete the menu.