While we are all eagerly awaiting the time when pumpkin spice and peppermint will grace the menus of everything from lattes to pie, we must stop and appreciate the foods on their way out the seasonal door. And the best way to carpe some diem is with a big bowl of summer berries, hopefully covered in a generous layer of sugar. (Hey, it's vitamin C, right?)
Fortunately, the berries, melons, peaches and other fruits can still be found at the farmer's market. Alas, all good things must come to an end and the bounty of berries and other summer fruits are reaching their last days. Don't let them go without saying goodbye.
Here are five places where you can seize the best from the last of the summer fruit crop.
In its seasonal way, The Macintosh is flexing its creative muscle and vamping up gazpacho, adding chilled watermelon to the traditional tomato base. Toss in some lime balm, mint, and pickled melon, and you have a unique soup sure to cool you off ($8). The crew at the Macintosh says, "Chef Delaney uses the sweetness of the watermelon to play with the tartness of the tomato, creating a new dimension to the soup." If that's too daring for your tastebuds, try the Mac's bibb lettuce salad with (take a deep breath) scuppernong grapes, roasted peaches, Asian pears, pickled blueberries, candied pine nuts, and a drizzle of buttermilk goat cheese dressing ($11). Chef Delaney uses the sweet and tart fruit quartet featured in this dish to highlight the creamy tanginess of the Burden Creek goat cheese.
Perhaps also feeling the seasonal pressure, Cypress is loading up on peaches in their caramelized peach biscuit dessert. "The key is to find really good, ripe peaches," says Chef Craig Deihl. "Right now, those peaches are coming from the Carolinas." Next, Deihl makes a dark caramel that will later fuse with the peaches. The caramel is poured into a tin, topped with a peach half and baked. A buttermilk biscuit sprinkled with turbinado sugar serves as the base and gets topped with a serving of peach anglaise, vanilla mascarpone whipped cream, and mint ($8). It also happens to be Eat Your Dessert First month, so don't be bashful and order this mouth-watering dish for an appetizer. And, if that's not reason enough to order up, the dish will be featured during Restaurant Week.
Sourcing their produce from "as close to home as we can get," the Glass Onion is celebrating this week with a watermelon and cucumber salad. The cool bite of the melon and cucumber contrasts with the crispy field pea falafel served on the side. Add a house vinaigrette and local goat cheese, and you have a simple yet flavorful dish. But be sure to save room for dessert, as the Glass Onion is serving up a peach pound cake with a honey buttercream icing you don't want to miss.
Who says you can't enjoy seasonal fruit in an adult libation? The Belmont is mixing up a couple cocktails taking full advantage of the natural sweetness of summer fruits. First up is a blended watermelon and basil nectar shaken with vodka. No sugar is added to the fruit blend, letting the natural sweetness of the watermelon carry the drink. The result is a refreshing cocktail that is eons better than a cloying Cosmopolitan. If you're looking for something with a little more punch, try the white peach sangria. This drink is made with white wine, homemade peach-infused vodka, a little lemonade, as well as pieces of fresh peach and halved grapes. If downing either of these ambrosial blends gets to be a silly kind of dangerous, be sure to order The Belmont's housemade cherry pop-tart to settle the giggles. Stop by soon to try one of these drinks before they are gone, but, then again, who really needs an excuse to go to The Belmont?