Pumpkin spice and everything nice

A guide to some of our favorite fall foods in the Northland

We look forward to autumn for many reasons. The change in the weather is a welcome respite after days of oppressive heat and humidity. We change gears into a slower pace of life after long summer days and busy vacationing. And, of course, it’s football season. 

But with the change of seasons also comes a change in food. It is, of course, the harvest season, so there’s so much seasonal produce being picked at the perfect time of ripeness. But the cooling of temperatures also brings some of our favorite hearty foods to the dinner table again as we can safely run our ovens without fear of it making our air conditioners work extra hard.

As we don our sweaters and fire up the stove for chili, we also look to the local restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, orchards, and more that are serving up our favorite autumnal treats that we look forward to every year — and don’t worry, there’s more to fall than pumpkin spice. 

Savory eats 

While many people look forward to Halloween or apple picking, some folks are counting down the days to soup season. It’s time for pot roast, slow-roasted meats and squashes, and plenty of filling foods to warm your belly. Here are some of our favorite savory foods being served up in the Northland. 

Start your day off with a pork carnitas breakfast sandwich from Bee Creek Cafe & Bakery in Platte City, and round it out with a pumpkin spice or caramel apple coffee drink. We also love the seasonal quiche offerings at Parkville Coffee — this fall, they’re serving one with sweet potatoes, bacon, and spinach. 

If you’re looking for lunch options, Parkville Coffee also has seasonal soups and sandwiches, such as their red pepper tomato soup. They also have a roasted autumn salad, filled with mixed greens, candied pecans, dried cranberries and roasted butternut squash with feta, topped with a house-made maple dijon vinaigrette. You can also head across the street to Stone Canyon Pizza for their orchard chicken salad, complete with granny smith apples, glazed walnuts, craisins, and goat cheese. 

If it’s dinner you’re after, Noah’s Cupboard in Weston is always our favorite for an intimate night out, and their butternut squash soup, with its fascinating topping, an apple cider lemon marshmallow, will warm you right up, or they also have duck confit on the menu this fall. Of course, you can also order both!

Sweet treats

Pumpkin spice, apple filling, crunchy toffee bits — we want all the fall treats, sandwiched around our Halloween candy. We’ll cap it all off with Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, but here’s what we’re eating until then.

If you’re headed to the orchards and pumpkin patches this season, make sure you go hungry, because you can’t go home without a donut or kettle corn. We love the apple cider donuts from the Historic Weston Orchard and Vineyard and wash them down with one of their apple cider slushes (they have wine versions for the adults, too!). Carolyn’s Country Cousins in Liberty has pumpkin donuts on their menu, and you can even order them a la mode. If you’re making the trip to the Red Barn Farm in Weston, we love bringing home their caramel dipping sauce or their churro nuggets, which are like corn puffs coated in cinnamon and sugar. You also can’t go home without some candied pecans or walnuts, especially after smelling them roasting at any of the orchards and pumpkin patches.

If you’re looking to kick your sweet tooth off early in the morning, you can start your day with made-from-scratch pumpkin pancakes with cinnamon sugar butter from Ginger Sue's in Liberty. Or if it’s a dessert you’re after, we love the oatmeal cream pies, pumpkin rolls, and apple pies from the Laughing Place Bakery in Gladstone, paired with one of their lattes. 

Drink deets 

Whether you’re warming yourself with a hot mug of cider or a stiff, caramelly old fashioned, here are the drinks keeping us from catching a cold all fall long. 

If you’re looking to start your day off with some fall feels, Parkville Coffee has plenty of seasonal coffee drinks to choose from. This fall, they’ll have a pumpkin pie latte, pumpkin pie chai, spiced cocoa mocha, and autumn dolce cold brew on the menu. If you’re looking for something other than coffee, they also have the Parkville wassail, a warm, spiced apple cider with orange juice and mulling spices. You can also head to Headrush Roasters (they have locations in Briarcliff or on North Oak Trafficway) and pick up their pumpkinhead latte, crafted with pumpkin spice, white chocolate, and a dash of nutmeg, served with their house-roasted espresso blend. 

If you prefer to make your coffee at home, you can also grab some of Shatto Milk Company’s pumpkin spice egg nog to make your own latte, or we’re hoping they also bring back their red velvet Chiefs Kingdom milk this year for the ultimate Red Friday drink.

If you’re not one for a pumpkin-spiced latte and instead look forward to seasonal beers, there’s no shortage of them in the Northland. Cinder Block Brewery in North Kansas City has an impressive line-up, starting with the Nightmare Quad, a J. Rieger Whiskey barrel-aged quad packed with premium malts, loads of hops, and Belgian Candi sugar aged for six months at a whopping 12% ABV. They also have a Vietnamese coffee stout, loaded with dark malts, lactose, and Vietnamese coffee beans. Down the street, Big Rip Brewing Company is tapping the Pennywise Sweet Tater Ale, an amber ale with 100 pounds of sweet taters in the mash, plus brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Weston Brewing Company has their Rail Hopper ale available this time of year, a pale ale made from hops employees discovered near a now-defunct rail line near the brewery. 

If you’re not a beer drinker, you can head around the corner from Weston Brewing Company to the Weston Wine Company for their warm spiced wine. Nearby, Jowler Creek Vineyard in Platte City has a caramel apple sangria that you can drink by the glass, bring home in a bottle, or even take home your own DIY kit! Or back in North Kansas City, Restless Spirits has an Irish cream float, with a bit of half and half, some condensed milk, a little chocolate, and a lot of whiskey, topped with a splash of root beer — the perfect after-dinner cocktail and way to end your day.

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