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Posts Tagged ‘First Watch’

Falling into the All for Fall Menu at First Watch

Posted by CMH Gourmand on September 18, 2022

Long time readers and anyone that has dined with know knows that breakfast is my fourth favorite meal with a rare few exceptions: Starliner Diner, Tommy’s Diner, Skillet and Egg (in Rehobeth Beach, DE). I have no ill will against breakfast as a meal. I’m not a morning person and I don’t find most breakfast foods exciting. I prefer to save my calories for lunch, second lunch and dinner. However, when I was contacted by First Watch about their new fall breakfast / brunch menu I was immediately all in.

Fall is my favorite season. The colors and flavors of fall were well represented in the sample menu included with my invitation. I did not see one menu item that I was apathetic about. I was exited to try this out as their guest, however, due to the size of their All For Fall Menu I know I would need a lot of help so I made this a family affair. My evaluation team included my wife, my son, my mom and my mother in law. We picked a Saturday morning to visit our neighborhood First Watch (Upper Arlington) and we will all in.

Even with the excuse of the Covid Era, there is no good reason for us not to have visited this First Watch earlier, we have lived in the neighborhood over three years. We were very impressed as we walked through the doors. We noticed a well organized area for pick up orders, we were seated quickly at a very large, family friendly table and our server was fast, friendly and efficient. My wife and I quickly decided we need to add First Watch into our future rotations. I had no problem parceling out the menu items to different family members – everyone quickly identified which item they were most interested in with almost no overlap. The biggest challenge was my desire to order at least one item that was off the regular menu so I could get a sense of how First Watch delivers dad to day menu fare. My mom opted to be our team player by ordering the Floridian French Toast (in honor or my visiting mother-in-law) as long as she could sample the Caramel Crunch Cinnamon Roll. We made that easy by ordering two since that seemed to be the most intriguing item for all in our all for fall party.

Everything was served fairly quickly en masse to our posse. After chatting with the ladies in my party I looked over to my son to ask how he was liking his pumpkin pancake breakfast – and saw that there were only two bites of pancake left on an empty plate. So that let me know that he liked his meal. Fortunately for me, I took a photo before I passed the dish to him. The Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast included: two cage-free eggs cooked any style (he opted for scrambled) a very large spiced Pumpkin Pancake with a cone of butter dolloped in the center and a Jones Dairy Farm grilled all-natural savory chicken sausage patty. My son loves breakfast and while this might be considered too fancy for many seven year olds he said he loved it all. For the one bite of pancake I did get to try, I found it had enough subtle pumpkin flavor to be enjoyable but not so much that it tasted like an over the top pumpkin spiced (everything) which is ubiquitous for the season.

My assigned dishes were the Pomegranate Pear Punch, Butternut Squash Bisque and the Modern Croque Madame. I’ll lead with the punch. It was a pleasant pairing of flavors that bordered on tasting healthy. The ingredients are simple: Pomegranate, pear, cane sugar and lime. There is just enough pear to pair down the intensity of the pomegranate.

The drink was a good lead in to my sandwich, the First Watch Modern Croque Madame, their take on the French Classic. Their Croque Madame starts with grilled Buttered Challah bread then adds on layers of Cheddar and Monterey Jack, freshly sliced tomato and strips of hardwood smoked bacon. The concoction is topped with a sunny side up egg and an Alfredo-esque sauce of Parmesan cream sauce and fresh herbs. On the side, for the sake of balance, the dish includes a pile of organic leafy greens dressed with a hint of lemon. For a quick aside. the Croque Madame is the better half of the Croque Monsieur, a classic ham and cheese sandwich which appeared on French menus before World War One. The Madame is often known for its cardiac challenging extravagance. The First Watch interpretation makes bacon the meat of choice and I can find no fault in that. It is a good sandwich, and as with other croques I have consumed over the years, the egg makes the sandwich, much like the woman makes the man.

I end for recitation of selections with what I tried first, Butternut Squash Bisque. This soup resonated with the flavors of fall for me. The pureed butternut squash base was complimented a hint of carrot for sweetness and a touch of nutmeg then garnished with all-natural sour cream and a dash of fresh herbs. The origin of bisque is French as well, just think of it as a thick, creamy soup. This is the premise that First Watch delivered.

My wife gladly volunteered for the Brisket Corned Beef Hash. She was very happy with the perfect combination of shredded /pulled corned beef, seasoned cubed seasoned potatoes, house-roasted sweet potatoes slices, onions and red bell peppers topped with two cage-free eggs (we opted for scrambled) Parmesan cream sauce and fresh herbs. She was kind enough to save me a bite. We both agreed, that this was our favorite dish out of all we sampled and we would love to see this move to the main menu come wintertime and after. While is reads like a very heavy dish, it tasted quite light with all of the flavors blending well for a tasty meal any time of day.

My mother in law choose the Caramel Crunch Cinnamon Roll as her selection – which was pretty amazing since she is the most health conscious of our entire crew for this outing. We collectively shared the second roll we ordered for the rest of the table. These giant cinnamon rolls were topped with cream cheese icing, brown sugar caramel sauce, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and cinnamon streusel with a dusting of powdered cinnamon sugar on top. The rolls were light and flakey. The dense, flavorful sauce coasted my tongue like a bear skin rug in front of the fireplace on a chilly fall night. It tasted heavy and I wanted more after each heavy bite. I am fairly certain it added one pound per morsel.

While not on the fall menu, my mom’s order of Floridan French Toast was perfect for her. It appears on the year round menu. It consists of thick-cut brioche bread with wheat germ and powdered cinnamon sugar, with fresh banana, kiwi and seasonal berries piled on top. All in all, the Fall into Fall Menu was a fine meal for all of us and I am glad there is still time to go back and sample several of these fall themed menu items again.

Thank you for the invitation First Watch, I’m happy to come back again in the winter, and the spring, and the summer.

To find our more of the fall menu, the year round offerings and where to find your nearest First Watch, visit them on line anytime -> FIRST WATCH.

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