Friday, April 29, 2016

The pumpkin whoopie pie at The Electric Brew is called a “whoompkin.” (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King) (AP)

The contestants in the pho challenge gather at the counter at Golden Monkey, a Goshen restaurant, earlier this month. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King) (AP)

Jimmy Srun shows his bowl of pho after eating for 45 minutes. He won the pho challenge Oct. 13 at the Golden Monkey in Goshen. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King) (AP)
Quick Bites: What's a whoompkin?
Posted on Oct. 29, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

Apparently, pumpkin whoopie pies are hot this year.

I've been hunting the last couple weeks for interesting pumpkin items.

It's that time of year when the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch and brings toys to all the children of the world.

OK. Not really. But I still love the 1966 Peanuts television classic in which Linus believes that.

But I also love food made with pumpkin or squash and this is the time of year when you find those items.

In the last month, I've sampled desserts from a number of Elkhart County places. (I also had a vegan pumpkin pancake from The Little Grill in Harrisonburg, Va., that made me wonder how they made such a wonderful pancake without eggs or conventional butter or milk.)

In Elkhart County, I need to go back and try the pumpkin crepes at Golden Egg and pumpkin pancakes at Old Style Deli.

The two most common desserts, other than pie, are pumpkin whoopie pies or pumpkin roll. Both are pastry filled with sort of icing.

I'm still a fan of the pumpkin roll with cream cheese icing from Baker's Nook, which has a bakery east of Goshen and cafe in Elkhart.

But I wasn't a fan of the pumpkin whoopie pie. The cookie was tough and the cream icing was both messy and not very flavorful.

The pumpkin roll from Dutch Maid Bakery is drier than the one from Baker's Nook, but the whoopie pie is good.

But the two whoopie pies that take the cake are from South Side Soda Shop and The Electric Brew. Both are moist. Both have cream cheese icing. And the Brew version has the playful name of “whoompkin.”

Ÿ Golden Monkey Cafe had a challenge on Oct. 13 for who could eat the most pho in 45 minutes. Five people got gigantic bowls of the flavorful Asian soup. Jimmy Srun ate the most in that time and won several prizes, according to co-owner Sara Ham. On Nov. 10, the restaurant will have a contest with a full slab of spicy barbecue ribs. The challenge will be who can eat it the fastest with only one glass of water or milk, she wrote in an email.

Ÿ Mayberry Cafe will celebrate 16 years of business in November and owner Chris Geroulis is offering several specials. Breakfast specials with coffee will be $4.95 and lunch specials with drink and soup will be $5.95, he said. The restaurant is at 736 Middleton Run Road, Elkhart.

Ÿ St. Elmo's Steak House in Indianapolis is famous for its spicy shrimp cocktail. A bottled version of the sauce is available at Charlie's Butcher Block and Lucchese's in Elkhart. But be warned: a tiny bit will enflame your sinuses. This stuff has serious horseradish kick.

Ÿ The Big Easy, 160 Easy Shopping Place, has a new owner. Gadeer Almanaseer said the bar will be open 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Thursday, 10:30 to 3 a.m. Friday through Sunday. She's had a grand opening. But the Elkhart County Health Department closed the bar for a few days last week until she had her license straightened out, according to two press releases. She'll have drink and food specials, including dollar drafts, she said.

Ÿ Quality Wine & Ale Supply is having a gathering Saturday, Nov. 3, for those who are interested in homebrewing. The local homebrew club called MEGA will be brewing batches of beer and demonstrating techniques. The shop is at 108 S. Elkhart Ave., Elkhart. Information: 295-9975 or

Ÿ Capri Ristorante Italian recently added lunch and private events to what it can offer. Indianapolis restaurateur Arturo di Rosa opened the place in June at 50827 Princess Way. Lunch hours are noon to 2 p.m. seven days a week. Dinner is served starting at 3 p.m. A new banquet room has seating for up to 110. An outdoor patio will be open next summer, according to a press release. Information: 271-1500

Ÿ Congratulations to Elkhart and South Bend restaurateur Kurt Janowsky for receiving the Lewis S. Armstrong Award from the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economics at Indiana University South Bend. The award is given for “distinguished achievement, leadership and contributions to the advancement of business and the quality of life in Michiana,” according to a press release. He oversees catering at the Lerner Theatre, Matterhorn and owns Cafe Navarre in South Bend.

In addition to his restaurant work, he is chairman of the board for Child and Parent Services and active with the Elkhart Rotary Club, Wellfield Botanic Gardens and Salvation Army.

Ÿ LaSalle Grill and Club LaSalle, 115 W. Colfax Ave., South Bend, will have a dinner featuring Journeyman Distillery and Greenbush Brewing Co. on Nov. 8. Cost is $75 per person plus tax and tip. Information: 288-1155

Marshall V. King is news/multimedia editor and food columnist for The Elkhart Truth/ You can reach him at, 574-296-5805, on Twitter @hungrymarshall or via Facebook.