Where to Find the Best Apple Specials in Philly This Fall
Apple season is here and chefs are taking advantage of autumn's fruitful bounty.
Summer produce gets a lot of shine, but Pennsylvania’s crop of local, seasonal apples can be pretty spectacular. Peruse Three Springs‘ apples selection on a fall Sunday at Headhouse Farmers Market and you’ll see what I mean. On my last visit, there were at least half a dozen selections, including a new-to-me variety called Lucy Glo — a cross between Honeycrisp and Arlie Red-Fleshed apples with a bright pink interior. With all this inspiration, it’s no surprise to see apple-centric specials have begun popping up on menus across the city. Here are some of dishes you should check out.
Parc is not a place that does a lot of specials, so when they do it gets my attention. This fall, they’re doing a tarte Tatin ice cream inspired by the classic French dessert. The ice-cream base is steeped overnight with green apples cooked in brown sugar and cinnamon, then spun in house with apple chunks and streusel. 227 South 18th Street
Weaver’s Way, multiple locations
Apples and cheddar are an excellent combination (and a regular guest in my afternoon snack rotation), but they’re even better when combined with turkey for a lunch-worthy sandwich.
W Philadelphia, Center City
The Greenlight cocktail at the W bridges the transition to fall without jumping into cinnamon, nutmeg, and all those fall spices too fast. Instead, it combines green apple with lemon, vodka, sake and sparkling rosé for a summer-to-fall moment. 1439 Chestnut Street
R&D Philly, Fishtown
In anyone else’s hands, spiked hot apple cider might feel like a tired cliche, but at R&D they somehow make it feel like a new idea. The secret is really good quality cider, plenty of bourbon, and just a touch of nutmeg. 1206 Frankford Avenue
Rival Bros., multiple locations
Masala chai spices like cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg are a natural pair with locally sourced apple cider in Rival Bros. fall chai cider special, which combines apple cider and a house-made chai blend for a lower-caffeine fall drink. 2400 Lombard Street, 1100 Tasker Street, 1528 Spruce Street
Grace & Proper, Italian Market
Grace & Proper’s batatas doces bring sweet and savory together with an apple hash stuffed inside a sweet potato and topped with a sage-almond crumble. Let this also be a reminder to you that while Grace & Proper doesn’t technically serve brunch, they do open at noon on the weekends and their menu is perfect for day drinking. 941 South 8th Street
Kouklet, East Passyunk
Brazilian bakehouse Kouklet is full of apple specials this time of year. Start with the sonho de maçã, a sourdough donut filled with dulce de leche custard and caramelized apples, then work your way through rosquinha de cidra (a braided sourdough apple cider brioche tossed in cinnamon sugar) and the apple-crumb cake roll, their classic cake roll filled with apple custard and dusted with brown sugar crumbs. 1647 East Passyunk Avenue
Fiore Fine Foods, Kensington
Fiore’s new location in Kensington is not fully open yet, but they are doing pastry pick-ups on Saturdays and Sundays, currently including an apple crostata filled with hazelnut frangipane and Jonagold apples, and topped with a lattice crust. Think of it as a Thanksgiving pie warm-up. New location coming soon
Cicala at the Divine Lorraine, Poplar
Apples can be pasta, too! At Cicala, chef Joe Cicala folds Fuji apple into a pecorino-based ravioli filling with hazelnuts and rosemary. The effect is sort of like if my cheddar-and-apple snack studied abroad in Italy. Pairs well with a Sardinian white wine from their exceptional list. 699 North Broad Street
Bloomsday, Society Hill
I always love Bloomsday’s pop tarts, but their fall version, with a spelt-based dough, rosemary infused glaze and roasted apple filling is particularly satisfying. It’s best when enjoyed at one of their outdoor cafe tables in the autumn sunshine. 414 South 2nd Street