I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween!

DH and I don’t really do much Halloween celebrating, but a few years ago we started up the pumpkin carving tradition. And by we, I mean DH. I just watch and take pictures of the final result. Three years ago he decided to enter a pumpkin carving contest at work despite never having carved a pumpkin.

Since my pumpkin carving experience from childhood had been limited to carving triangle eyes and jagged teeth into a pumpkin, I was pretty surprised that his first carving was this haunting Red Riding Hood Scene.

Two years ago, the pumpkin carving contest at work required them to draw on the pumpkins, so he came up with this.

Last year there was no carving contest at work. He entered a random one, but we can’t find any pictures.

This year the theme for the carving contest is super heroes, so he did this Batman and Penguin scene. But instead of just regular carving, he decided to take on 3-D carving. Given his lack of tools or drawing template, I thought he did a pretty good job.

He also carved me my “cute” pumpkin, using my favorite character, Donutella from the Tokidoki brand. A character with donut ears and a donut skirt, how could I not fall in love with her?

I fell in love with a pumpkin spice doughnut recipe last year but it takes awhile to make because of the yeast. I plan to get to it eventually before Fall is over, but until then, I’ve been searching for a faster fried doughnut recipe.

I found a yummy looking recipe from Pillsbury. There’s no pumpkin in the actual dough, but it’s glazed with a pumpkin spice that flavors the donuts. I’ve made donut holes many times using Pillsbury dough, but never did traditional donut shapes. I was pleased to see how pretty they fried up, just like regular fried donuts.

Just look how pillowy soft they are once you bite in. Though you can kind of make out the layers since the biscuits are supposed to have flaky layers. It doesn’t taste like biscuits though.

We first visited RakiRaki during its soft opening last month and wanted to check it out again after the grand opening. As I previously mentioned, RakiRaki is a ramen chain originally from Japan that uses alkaline water to cook its ramen, offers complimentary alkaline water to its customers, and specializes in a chicken based ramen.

The menu and signs during the soft opening had stated that the Grand Opening was to be October 25th, but when we went this weekend, it wasn’t clear if they had really had their grand opening. The menus passed out still said soft opening and there weren’t any grand opening signs. One thing was clear though, word has gotten out, and this place was really packed.

We did see additional menu items, including some “Tasting Kitchen” options and Sushi rolls which weren’t previously offered.

Premium

Last time we had ordered the original and found it to be a little too salty with very little chicken flavor. This time we tried the premium one which is supposed to be rich and bold. The chicken broth flavor was definitely more concentrated and more what I had been expecting from the original, but we also felt it was still a little too salty for our tastes. However, we really enjoyed the chicken chasiu. I thought I’d miss the fattier pork one (which you can also choose instead), but the lean chicken was incredible moist and soft and I didn’t miss the regular pork one at all.

Chicken karaage

We chose this from the Tasting Kitchen section of the menu. Large chunks of chicken were lightly breaded and fried and served on top of a small salad. I did wish that the pieces would be smaller as I found the cuts to be way too tall and wide to easily eat. The chicken wasn’t very crispy, but they used cuts of dark meat which was very moist and tender, much like the chasiu.