At a time in the year where diners are ready to cozy up to a hot bowl of pumpkin bisque, Los Angeles has been having one of the longest lived heat waves in recent years. With temperatures still ranging in the high 80’s in many parts of LA, serving up cold weather comfort food has thus been a challenge for many local purveyors. However, not everyone has been stifled by the heat and several innovative local restaurants have found ways to still incorporate the fall flavors diners crave that can still be enjoyed in summer temperatures.
At Manhattan Beach favorite Doma Kitchen, the international cuisine served up by Chef Kristina Miksyte features fresh, seasonal ingredients and local, farm to table produce. To celebrate the beginning of the autumn season, Doma Kitchen has introduced a number of fall themed dishes that still maintain a light, fresh quality that can be enjoyed regardless of weather conditions.
New to the menu is the Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Tartine, an open-faced sandwich made with fresh arugula and roasted garlic. Additionally, Miksyte is featuring both a seasonal Autumn Salad of organic arugula, butternut squash, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese served with a wine vinaigrette as well as a special Pumpkin Cake in a Jar dessert, served with caramelized apples and a house-made Meringue Crème that is both vegan and gluten free.
Westchester’s Ayara Thai Restaurant is another local favorite that is employing autumnal, seasonal ingredients onto its menu this year. While the restaurant features a number of intriguing seasonal dishes, it is the release of their specialty Pumpkin Crème Brulee, a special fall themed dessert served inside miniature pumpkins, that is making the most waves. Only available for a short period of time, this dessert always gets diners lining up to enjoy its unique flavor profile and Instagram-worthy presentation.
Love & Salt
Only several blocks away, fellow Manhattan Beach restaurant Love & Salt is another hot spot known for featuring seasonal ingredients and to celebrate the return of fall, Chef Michael Fiorelli is bringing back a dish from his opening menu last year that features squash prepared three ways – a roasted delicate squash served over a kabocha squash puree with pumpkin seeds, living watercress and saba.
Chef Chandra Gilbert of Gracias Madre is known for her inventive vegan cuisine, and this season she is adding a fall twist to the dessert menu. Next month, Gilbert will be featuring a special vegan pumpkin cake that will be served with a mezcal caramel sauce and a side of coconut ice cream made with coconut milk, agave and mineral salt.
Fellow plant-based restaurant Café Gratitude, run by Chef Dreux Ellis, features an annual fall themed Brussels sprouts dish topped with a miso, maple glaze that is 100% organic. One of the most popular dishes on the menu, Chef Ellis deals with a number of complaints when the dish must be taken off the menu after the end of Brussels sprout season.
Fig & Olive
West Hollywood’s Fig & Olive recently rolled both new lunch and dinner menus, both featuring autumn themed dishes incorporating a number of seasonal flavors. Fall themed dishes include a butternut squash and chestnut veloute soup, topped with toasted squash seeds, a Salade D’Automne served over a bouquet of endives, dandelion greens and sliced radishes topped with a whole grain mustard dressing, and a poached pear for dessert, featuring pears poached in citrus, honey and cinnamon.
Chomp Eatery and Juice Station
At Chomp Eatery and Juice Station, the team recently unveiled a cinnamon crumb doughnut fried chicken burger drizzled with pumpkin aioli, as well as a Spiced Almond Mylk, which offers a creamy, sweet and subtly spiced profile. Made with a dash of both cinnamon and Himalayan sea salt, it is the perfect combination of sweet and spice.
Salt and Straw
New to LA, Portland based Salt and Straw creamery is known for their fantastic, seasonally crafted flavors that incorporate a number of fresh and intriguing ingredients. Their fall flavor series is no different. Head Ice Cream Maker Tyler Malek released a “Spooktacular” ice cream series at the Larchmont Village location that offers Halloween inspired flavors. New options include the Candy Corn, The Great Candycopia and the Creepy Crawly Critters. Additionally, Tyler plans to introduce several more flavors when it gets closer to Thanksgiving including Sweet Potato Casserole, Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Spiced Goat Cheese and Pumpkin Pie.
By utilizing traditional fall ingredients in such interesting and inventive ways, these restaurants have demonstrated that even the most seasonal, cold weather flavors can be made available to guests despite the scorching temperatures.