Upper East Side, NYC | It is not lost on anyone that we are now smack dab in the middle of "pumpkin"—and more importantly, "pumpkin-spice(d)"—season. Pumpkins only get this autumn season for recognition, and people trip over themselves to sell and consume all things cucurbita.
It is also the time when the cozy, familiar apple gets far shorter shrift than it deserves just because it's more popular and happily consumed year-round.
So on my occasions to sample and enjoy seasonal morsels and bites, by this time I'm already over pumpkins, and find solace returning to the ever humble apple.
And at my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Cafe Jax, I can choose from a grand, varied menu of not just beverages hot and cold, but of pastries, salads, sandwiches, soups, and much more as well.
A fan of their likewise creative menu, I look forward this time of year to their specialty drink called "chaider", which is a delicious chai-spiced apple cider, which this morning I enjoyed hot with a puff pastry apple turnover.
The chaider—best of both worlds—is out of this world, fully layered with sweet apple flavor and cider mouthfeel, blessed with that special mix of homey, soothing aromatic chai spices (cinnamon, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, cloves), and tempered with steamed condensed milk.
The apple turnover is light, airy, flaky, buttery, and filled with only slightly seasoned cooked sweet apples, baked into a soft sauce with still toothsome bits of crisp apple.
I don't begrudge anyone their love of pumpkin—especially since they only get to fulfill it a few months of every year. More power to them.
But as a lifelong lover of apples—and as a lifelong native of the Big Apple—I'll continue to enjoy what has always been autumn's biggest bounty. Apples.