Pumpkin and squash are often dismissed as bland ingredients, but with the right preparation, they can develop into the star of the dish. With fall now in full swing, pumpkin and squash flavors are popping up in dishes all around the city. Here are five dishes featuring pumpkin and/or squash that will make anyone a believer.
1199 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Beretta is located in the Mission district, but it is not just another ironic hipster restaurant. This eatery takes a contemporary point of view on Italian and serves up fresh salads, zesty thin-crust pizzas and flavorful antipasti. Using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farmers, Beretta delivers hearty comfort food nightly. Risotto is an Italian favorite and the butternut squash risotto is easily one of the stars on the menu. This slow-cooked dish has good viscosity and a bright yellow color that gives it a rustic air. Rosemary and squash go hand in hand, making it an ideal ingredient to the dish. Beretta then seals the deal with a topping of crescenza, a cow-milk cheese. This dish looks and tastes like fall in every way.
309 Clement St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Burma Superstar has been a staple in the San Francisco food scene for a decade. Most diners might not be able to correctly point out Burma on a map, but this restaurant has made a fan out of many. With influences from neighboring countries like India, China, Laos and Thailand, Burmese food is characterized by lots of spices and seasonings. A dish that has many diners returning is the pumpkin pork stew. This chunky stew features fork-tender pork with kabocha squash and ginger. Submersed in thick gravy, this dish really embodies the pumpkin flavor.
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845 Market St., 4th Floor, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dining at the mall is more likely to invoke visions of Panda Express or Sbarro than a fine-dining experience. But Cupola Pizzeria, a Neapolitan-style restaurant in Westfield Mall, goes against conventional wisdom. With a menu that includes handmade pastas and house-prepared desserts, Cupola goes far beyond food court fare. Before launching into the carbs, visit the lighter side of the menu and enjoy the summer squash salad. Made with crisp butter lettuce, slivers of Moliterno cheese, crunchy pistachios, slices of crunchy green and yellow squash and a herb dressing, it packs flavor. You should still leave plenty of room for pasta and pizza.
415 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
SoMa is kind of a mixed bag with super modern, industrial, fine dining and seedy sports bar locales. Koh Samui & The Monkey is an oasis that can make any diner feel like he/she is on a great escape to Thailand. While Thai restaurants are abundant in the city, Koh Samui & The Monkey has taken a high-end approach to its dining experience. The menu is thorough and offers all the dishes you would expect – from pad thai to pad see ew – but easily one of the best dishes on the menu is the pumpkin curry and chicken. The red curry sauce is joined with basil and bell peppers for a burst of flavor. The dish is creatively served in a hollowed-out gourd, completing the experience.
2031 Chestnut St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
741 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tacolicious is a kitschy taqueria in the Mission and Marina districts offering fancy Cal-Mex two-bite tacos. The restaurant has concocted a menu that highlights seasonal, sustainable and organic ingredients. True to its name, the centerpiece of the menu is the restaurant’s tacos, which include the likes of shot-and-a-beer braised chicken and traditional carnitas. Carnivores and herbivores alike can veg out with Tacolicious’ hearty meatless tacos that features roasted butternut squash, peppers, swiss chard, nopales and spicy pepitas with ancho chile recado. With bold flavors and tender roasted flavors, it is hard to match this taco.
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Jenna Broughton can frequently be found exploring the streets of San Francisco looking for her next adventure and gastronomic delight. She has traveled far and wide, from Paris to Savannah, GA, to satisfy her adventurous palate. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.