Friday, September 16, 2011

Fall in the Berkshires!

I love fall! I love the crisp, cool morning, the fresh apples at farm stands and markets (and consequently the smell of apple pie baking), the leaves turning colors – which they already are here in Western Mass. – the clothes, the promise of holidays to come…I love fall! (I also feel like I’ve been on this rant before, probably, oh, about a year ago…)

This morning when I woke up and took the dog out, my breath left little puffs of mist in the air. The Weather Channel informed me that it is going to frost tonight and I better bring my plants in. My apartment is decked out in pumpkins and gourds. And on the way to work I swung by Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and a pumpkin muffin. Life is good.

Now, last weekend I drove all the way out to Starbucks for a pumpkin cream cheese muffin. As I am sure I have rambled on about in the past, I LOVE these muffins and look forward to them all year. And I have to say, this was really a disappointment. Starbucks is not exactly next door – it’s about a 20-25 minute drive, usually including a bit of traffic. Since I moved a few months ago, I have gone through serious Starbucks withdrawal – like, I need an IV in the crook of my arm. So anyway, actually driving up and going to Starbucks is a much bigger deal than it used to be. This Starbucks is pretty small, kind of out of the way, and overall pretty lame. But I am ecstatic that pumpkin cream cheese muffins were out on the shelves, and I promptly ordered one. My coffee was good; the muffin, not so much. It seemed like it wasn’t quite baked through, and was sorely lacking in the candied pumpkin seed department. I ate the top (always the best part anyway, right?) and offered the rest to the dog. No takers – this from a dog that licks his own butt. Seriously. So from now on its Dunkin Donuts pumpkin muffins. Not quite the same, and no cream cheese, but good nonetheless, and much less expensive and out of the way.

Also last weekend, I had the opportunity to judge an apple pie baking contest that was sponsored by King Arthur flour! Ah, the hidden perks of being a journalist. It was really fun, even though judging meant I didn’t get to enter. And really, I should have – not to sound cocky or anything, but my pie would’ve blown them away. There were a lot of yummy pies, but many of them were so heavy on the spices (esp. the nutmeg) that one could barely taste the apples. And I believe that a pie should really showcase the apples – esp. considering the area we live in.

Oh, and finally, the last bit of news – my dad is coming to visit in a couple weeks! I have big plans for us – a visit to Viva for tapas, Chez Nous for a French dinner, a glorified min-Thanksgiving Sunday night, hiking, shopping. Its gonna be legen – wait for it – dary!

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