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Beyond Pumpkin Pie

November 05, 1998

Pumpkin is a New World vegetable that has beguiled cooks worldwide. Here are a pumpkin dishes available this autumn.

* Alto Palato: On a chilly autumn night, have the thick Italian-syle pumpkin soup, made with a touch of cream, crumbled amaretto cookies--and a scoop of rice in the middle. There are also terrific pumpkin gnocchi. (Pumpkin soup, $6.50; gnocchi, $11.50.) Alto Palato, 755 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 657-9271.

* Prado: The moist, spicy pumpkin cake served at this Larchmont Village has ground almonds in the batter and a butter cream frosting decorated with candy corn pumpkins. It's exactly the kind of cake a mom might make--and a mom does. The mother of one of the hosts bakes it for the restaurant. (Pumpkin cake: $5 a slice, $27 whole cake.) Prado, 244 Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 467-3871.

* Marble Slab Creamery: Ice cream here is made on the premises, including the pumpkin ice cream. They can also make a pumpkin ice cream pie on 24 hours' notice. (Pumpkin ice cream, cone $2.64; whole pie, $11.95.) Marble Slab Creamery, 104 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 744-0999.

* Chameli: Come to this vegetarian Indian restaurant for betha, a rich, spicy, slightly sweet Indian-style masala made with pumpkin. Eat it with puri bread, as they do in India, or with Chameli's bubbly naan bread, and add a dollop of raita or mango pickle. (Pumpkin masala, $4.25.) Chameli, 8752 Valley Blvd., Rosemead, (626) 280-1947.

* Babalu: Through Thanksgiving, you'll find pumpkin cheesecake, traditional pumpkin pie or pumpkin muffins in Babalu's mouth-watering bakery counter. On a day's notice, you can get whole pies and cakes and muffins by the dozen. (Pumpkin pie or cheesecake, $5 a slice; muffins, $1.75 each; whole cakes and pies, $27 to $32.) Babalu, 1002 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 395-2500.

* Chapalitas: At this stall in the Grand Central Market, you can buy the Mexican confection called calabasa: big meaty chunks of candied pumpkin. Watch out--they're addictive. (Pumpkin candy, 55 cents each.) Chapalitas, Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 625-0262.

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