Pumpkin spice. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin cream cheese muffins. September starts the pumpkin craze across the country and it's just warming up here in Greater Des Moines. From lattes to desserts, here is a list of where you can get your pumpkin fix and where you can find other great fall foods:

Get it while it's hot! The pumpkin spice latte (also known as PSL) is back at coffee shops across the Metro. I was lucky enough to walk in to Java Joe's when it was the special of the day! As an official black coffee drinker, I'm not the biggest fan of flavored espresso in the morning. However, Java Joe's PSL is perfect for people like me (not too sweet, not too pumpkin). A couple of other local stops that are offering up PSL's include Scenic Route Bakery in the Historic East Village, Friedrichs Coffee in Urbandale and Smokey Row. I know there are probably more, but a girl can only drink so many pumpkin lattes before I've met my season max.

Now let's talk about fall-inspired dishes. I hope I don't make you too hungry. New seasonal menus are starting to roll out featuring ingredients such as pumpkin, corn, eggplant and more. Here are a few places that you need to check out ASAP:

Trellis: Their September menu features delicious salads! One includes baked Iowa apples and cranberries while another features charred Iowa corn. Let's not skip over the Italian grilled cheese though. On top of having corn bread to hold it together, the sandwich includes eggplant and zucchini. YUM. (FYI: Trellis is only open for lunch Tuesday through Sunday)

HoQ: Catch fall farm-to-table. Their September menu includes eggplant and a grilled cheese as well as a beet carpaccio salad. If you love beets as much as my fellow blogger, Audrey Weidman...then you will love this!

Le Jardin: The menu doesn't get released until next week BUT I got a little sneak peek. All I can say is get ready for a salad that includes roasted pumpkin and a pasta that includes zucchini and sweet corn. Those are just two menu items and the rest sounds equally delicious. Mark your calendar to check out the full menu next week...

Other local restaurants that will be releasing seasonal menu additions or changes include AlbaTable 128 Bistro and BarBaru 66 and more. Eat up and check them out!


Now on to sweets, treats and desserts. Who's ready for a sugar rush? This month at Crème Cupcake you can catch a caramel apple crisp with a giant scoop of ice cream on top (see below...it's a pretty generous scoop). It tastes like Thanksgiving and is the perfect size so you don't feel too guilty about having dessert (although if you didn't share, I would understand why). I can't wait to see what their special October dessert will be! A few other treats to taste test include pumpkin flavored cake balls from Cache Bake Shoppe. WARNING: If you eat one...you will eat four more. For a unique dessert option, try Brandmeyer's caramel apple popcorn or Chocolate Storybook's caramel apple flavored cotton candy. You will also need to grab a gourmet caramel apple this fall. Both Chocolate Storybook and Chocolaterie Stam offer this classic treat on-a-stick and both do not disappoint. Chocolate covered caramel apple toffee? White and milk chocolate drizzle with chopped pecans? How do they expect people to make a decision with so many delicious options?


Now I know what you are going to say... what about (fill in the blank)? My list is only a fraction of the fall-inspired dishes, desserts and drinks being offered around Greater Des Moines.

So what must-try fall food or drink did I miss? Where is your favorite spot to eat or drink during autumn?

Leave your recommendations below and you will be entered to win a fall prize package from us!

Ends October 1st. information on other ways to enter and giveaway details here.