Smile Politely

All the fall things

Happy fall, C-U. Work sucks, I know. Feel that cooler weather in the morning. Put some pumpkins on your porch. It’s finally the best time of the year: autumn. When I think of fall, I think of pumpkins. I want to eat all the pumpkin things, and I hope you do, too. A lot of local restaurants have seasonal offerings for those who love all the fall things, but especially those who love pumpkin-flavored things.

As today is the first day of fall, here is a list of five C-U drinks and treats that are perfect for fall. 

A pumpkin cookie from Art Mart with a yellow-brown cookie base and a white circle of icing sits on a white plate. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Pumpkin Cookie | Art Mart

This pumpkin cookie ($1.73) is a popular fall treat. We let you know earlier this month that they were back at Art Mart. Offered seasonally, this cookie was more cake or a muffin-top than cookie in my opinion. It was a super-soft pumpkin-flavored cookie with a bit of icing on top. The icing was super sweet which balanced the pumpkin cookie. There was a substantial pumpkin flavor, and it is something you will want to enjoy now that it’s fall. It is a lovely treat that you most definitely deserve.

Art Mart
1705 S Prospect Ave
M-Sa 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Su 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A photo of a to-go coffee cup with a red band around the center. The latte has a heart made in the foam on top. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Pumpkin Spice Latte | Caffe Paradiso

It’s not fall without a pumpkin spice latte. You won’t find me at Starbucks for mine when we have so many great coffee shops unique to C-U. I called ahead and placed an order for pickup. When I arrived, there was ample parking, and the barista was putting the whipped cream on top. No waiting — which was amazing. 

My pumpkin spice latte ($5.05) tasted like pumpkin pie: the whipped cream in my latte reminded me of whipped cream on a hot pumpkin pie. The flavors in my drink were layered with spices of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, and it had both sweet and creamy notes. Of course, it tasted like coffee, but the pumpkin flavor was dominant. First, there was a pumpkin savor, then a pumpkin sweetness. The pumpkin flavor lingers for a bit. This latte was a delightful drink that smelled (and tasted) like fall. PSL is a basic bitch drink, for sure, but this one from Caffe Paradiso was way more than basic.

Caffe Paradiso
801 S Lincoln Ave
M+T 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
W-Su 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Six apple fritters from Curtis Orchard are lined up, three on one side, three on the other, in a plastic clamshell takeout container. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Apple Fritters | Curtis Orchard

Taking a break from pumpkin-flavored goods, let me move along to this apple-flavored goodness. Curtis Orchard’s apple fritters ($10.80 for 6) were a bit pricy, but they were my favorite thing I’ve had from the Orchard. Many people may be familar with the famous apple donuts, but these are better. These sticky, sugary fritters were big, a bit bigger than my fist, and each had large chunks of apples throughout the treat. The outside had a light glaze, and the inside was a bready-doughnut texture.

A single apple fritter from Curtis Orchard sits on a white plate. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The flavors were splendid, with the cinnamon, apple, and sugary icing all competing for attention. It was not super sweet, and it gave me breakfast vibes. Six fritters came in the package, and while they are each differently shaped, they were all the same deliciousness.

Curtis Orchard
3902 S Duncan Rd
M 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
T 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
W-Sa 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

A pumpkin pie snowstorm sits on a wooden table outside of Jarlinc's Custard Cup in Champaign. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Pumpkin Pie Snowstorm | Jarling’s Custard Cup

Back to pumpkin-flavored treats — because pumpkin is the reason for the season, this sweet treat is a must-have. This pumpkin pie snowstorm ($5.20) from Jarlings is a popular fall favorite among my friends, and I tried it for the first time yesterday. 

An overhead shot of a pumpkin pie snowstorm from Jarling's Custard Cup on top of a wooden table. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The snowstorm is available in junior (12 ounces), regular (16 ounces, pictured), and giant (20 ounces). You can have any mix-in on the menu added, but the pumpkin pie mix-in is seasonal, so try it while it’s available. It has a really strong pumpkin flavor made stronger by ribbons of pure pumpkin puree throughout the drink. My favorite part were the small cookie crumbles: crunchy bits reminiscent of pie crust. The drink had two textures as I drank it: thick, soft ice cream and melty milkshake, with the occasional surprise appearance of cookie. 

Jarling’s Custard Cup
309 W Kirby Ave
Su-Th noon to 10 p.m.
F+Sa noon to 11 p.m.

Six white squares of iced pumpkin bars dusted with brown nutmeg are in a clear clamshell takeout container. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Cream Cheese Iced Pumpkin Bars | Harvest Market

Finally, these pumpkin bars ($4.99) from Harvest Market are surely something you need in your life this autumn. As the name says, the topping was a cream cheese icing on top of a pumpkin cake. There was a hearty pumpkin flavor in the cake squares and a rich frosting that was sweet but not cloying. The pumpkin bars were dusted with nutmeg.

A single square of cream cheese iced pumpkin bar from Harvest Market sits on a white plate. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The pumpkin flavor was more robust than any sugar taste, and as an adult with a waning sweet tooth, I really enjoyed these. These bars would be great for a holiday breakfast, dessert, or hell, even lunch (no one is judging in a pandemic) on a particularly autumn day.

Harvest Market
2029 Neil St
6 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

Food + Drink Editor

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