Fall Flavors

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Autumn panettone from Emporio Rulli.

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SusieCakes apple crumble pie.

Annoying Daylight Savings Time is in effect, the rain is here, and chillier weather is creeping at my window—but fall flavors are also ramping up, which I love. It was like a full-on assault at tablehopper HQ last week, starting with a delivery of an “autumn panettone” from Emporio Rulli. Panettone is one of my favorite things to eat over the holidays, so it was kind of fun to try this new early-bird version with spices, cranberries, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and a walnut and almond paste glaze. Awesome with morning coffee—but the price is a bit ouch, at $37 a loaf. Available until Thanksgiving at Rulli’s Il Caffè at Union Square and Emporio Rulli Larkspur.

I was also sent a trio of mini holiday pies from SusieCakes: apple crumble, pecan, and pumpkin. It was kind of decadent to be eating pumpkin pie a couple weeks early—and not when I am deep in a Thanksgiving dinner coma and barely enjoying my slice. (It was also fun to share the mini pies with neighbors and friends—seriously, get them the hell outta here before I eat them all!) The winner for me was the apple crumble, not too sweet, with the nicely firm pieces of apple, and a light, flaky crust. Click here for more info on pre-ordering pies.

On Saturday I took a break from all my writing chores and pedaled over to the Hapa Ramen kitchen to pick up a couple of Richie’s new take-home ramen kits. You basically get a container of his wonderful broth, a bundle of noodles that you cook in salted water at home, and voila! (Here’s a pic of the kit.) The pork version ($9) was truly delicious (and oh-so filling), with a hunk of pork belly nestled into the rich broth, plus pieces of delicata squash, spigarello, nori, watermelon radish, and scallions that you garnish it all with. (Of course I cooked mine with an egg as well.) The vegan version ($8) was also killer and super autumnal, featuring a kabocha squash-miso broth. (The ingredients are seasonal, and can change each week.) You can swing by the Hapa Ramen stand at the Ferry Building during the Tuesday and Thursday markets to pick them up while they last, or do the pick-up thing at the Hapa Ramen stand at Off the Grid at Fort Mason on Fridays, or at their kitchen at 550 Alabama Street (at Mariposa) on Saturdays from 12pm-2pm (just pre-order them via email). Nakano also said you can sometimes just swing by the Alabama kitchen to pick one up during off hours (if he’s there), so try emailing or send him a tweet!

One more fall entry: this Thursday November 11th, chef Lizzie Binder of ~BAR BAMBINO~ is putting together a four-course fall menu inspired by the northeastern corner of Italy: cauliflower soup with caviar; pomegranate, pumpkin, and lamb stew; and a walnut and poppyseed dessert. Wine pairings for the dinner feature an organic wine grown within the city limits of Bolzano, some wines from the Friuli, and more. Here’s the full menu. 7pm-10pm. $85 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Reserve your seat at 415-701-8466.