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Pumpkin Fest 2008 (Guest Blog)


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Hello, I'm Annie, and I'm addicted to pumpkin. "Hi, Annie!"

Fall is my favorite season for two reasons, because I live in New England and it's gorgeous, and it means the return of pumpkin products. Anything pumpkin, I'm there. So when I read online about the three-course pumpkin pre fix menu offered at Temple Bar in Cambridge this week, I knew I had to go. Lucky for me, Abby was up for the challenge.

We met up at Downtown Crossing first to have a few pints at Kennedy's. Eh, it was a long day, and for me, going to Cambridge is like going to a different country, so the red line is easier to take after a few beers. We then headed off on our pumpkin adventure.

After getting off the train at Harvard Square, we headed down Mass Ave to Temple Bar. The wrong way. A kind (and good looking) shuttle driver for Harvard offered to take us the right way, and dropped us off a block away from the bar. The restaurant was nice, modern and cozy. I'd made reservations, but it wasn't crowded at all on a Tuesday night, so we would have been fine without it.

We were seated and ordered a bottle of sauvignon blanc. Yes, we got it because it was the cheapest wine on the menu, so what? It was good. The waitress soon brought out a bread basket. This too was good, if not basic: onion roll, corn bread, french bread.

The waitress then brought us an amuse bouche. It was a tiny ball of pumpkin risotto, with a dab of cranberry and a sprig of mint on top. It was very tasty (although, I must say, my pumpkin risotto is better!). It was fried like an arancini. A nice little bite.

Next was the pumpkin bisque, with an cider popover. Phenomenal! There was a definite bacon overtone to the bisque (no pieces, but definite taste), and, since I'm of the belief that bacon makes EVERYTHING better, I was happy. The popover was very good too. It had some sort of apples in the middle.

Next came the main course, duck with pumpkin gratin. Now, I've never had duck, but I've always imagined it to taste like dark meat chicken, only gamey. But I so love pumpkin that I was willing to try it for the sake of this menu. I was nervous, but Abby loves duck, so I figured why not. I was happily very wrong about duck. This was phenomenal. It was so rich and tasty and amazing! It wasn't gamey at all like I imagined. It was served over sauteed apples and onions, and a bite of duck with the apple was sublime. I'm not one for hyperbole, but I saw god in that duck. The pumpkin gratin was amazing too. I was a little curious to see how pumpkin and cheese would taste together...and it worked VERY well. So good!

For the last course, we had pumpkin souffle. We had to wait a little while for this, but it was worth it. The souffle was warm and spicy with a tasty burnt sugar ice cream on top. A great end to a great meal!

It was $35 for the three course menu (plus the amuse), and it was well worth it. I definitely got my money's worth!

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