New Jersey Date Night is a series on NJ Flavor by relationship writer Craig Rogers.

Remember that moment during a cooler-than-usual morning in late August when you began to anticipate it, so much so that your nose and taste buds craved its arrival? Before you knew it, you finally got to taste it in your coffee, smell it candles and maybe even try it in your macaroni and cheese.

Pumpkin is the word of the season and for years it’s spiced up our autumn. From cookies to lattes, couples everywhere become fixated with this seasonal flavor. We include pumpkin in most everything, so why not incorporate it into out next date night? Experiencing love with a little pumpkin on the side makes for a date night that’s impossible to … squash.

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Get ready for a New Jersey Date Night that’ll make you flip your gourd!

Keeping it Smooth and Seasonal

Pumpkin and seasonal root vegetables can be found in Indian food, and Benares serves up some of the best in New Jersey. Located in Wyckoff, you’ll find some great vegetarian dishes using seasonal root vegetables including kashmiri soup (roasted turnip, beetroot and pigeon peas flavored with fennel, cumin, pepper, ginger and garlic) and navrattan korma (assorted vegetables in a sauce of nuts and fruits). 

Be sure to try their pumpkin spice lassi smoothie, made with pumpkin, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and yogurt — it can’t be beat!

For more information about Benares, visit

FALLing in Love All Over Again

Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen in Morristown provides both a romantic backdrop and a seasonal menu perfect for your date night. Thanks to Executive Chef AJ Capella, you can start your evening with beet salad with goat cheese and enjoy a main course of a perfectly prepared New York strip steak with sunchokes, Brussels sprouts and pomegranate. 

You’ll have some serious choices to make with it comes to dessert, including Autumn Alchemy (elderflower sorbet, roasted pear jam, cornflake crunch and pumpkin ganache) and Oh My Squash (kabocha squash pound cake, roasted butternut mousse, blackberry jam and maple pecan praline). 

For more information about Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen, visit

Seasonal Sweets for the Sweet

Sometimes all you need for the perfect date is your sweetheart and some delicious sweets. Soul Sweet Boutique in Newark is a Brazilian confectioner specializing in everything from lollipops to bonbons. 

You’ll be tempted by their seasonal cakes and cupcakes including pineapple cake, walnut cake and naked chocolate cake. For fall, be sure to check out their pumpkin cheesecake and their pumpkin cupcakes.  

For more information about Soul Sweet Boutique, visit

Pumpkin Start, Pumpkin Finish

Grain and Cane in Berkeley Heights has all the elements for a perfect date night, especially when pumpkin reigns supreme. Starting your evening toasting each other over pumpkin martinis followed by appetizers like roasted honey nut squash soup or shaved kale and Brussels sprouts is seasonal perfection. 

Enjoying one of their main courses like roasted Amish chicken with carrots and pee wee potatoes makes the evening even better. And the pinnacle of your date must include dessert. You can’t go wrong with pumpkin tiramisu (pumpkin mousse, mascarpone whipped cream and espresso-soaked lady fingers).

For more information about Grain and Cane, visit

Carving out a Game Plan

Remember the days of Pumpkin Past when all we had was pumpkin pie? Back then one was lucky to have encountered pumpkin bread and perhaps a pumpkin muffin. Not so long ago pumpkin was just a gourd to be carved on Halloween and the main ingredient to a Thanksgiving grand finale.

Pumpkin has evolved, and it’s been spicily merchandised. The same should be said about relationships.

One of the keys to successful relationships is its ability to expand and extend. What your relationship looked like 10 years ago … even five years ago, should pale in comparison to its appearance today. As individuals we grow and change; our relationships should reflect that progression. Just like pumpkin, your relationship should morph into a deeper, tastier and more meaningful offering … with lots of spice.

Craig Rogers is the guy who gets relationships write. Author of The 49th Challenge, Craig has written countless articles on dating, relationships and breakup recovery. To learn more about Craig, visit

What’s your idea for a great New Jersey Date? Tell Craig all about it at


More Date Night Ideas:

New Jersey Date Night: You’re the Wurst

Butter Them Up with Lobster

San Gennaro Festival, DIY Style

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