9.10.2013

first taste of fall at first watch

I hated college. I know. This is seldom the experience other people have when they reflect back onto their college years. Other people think late nights, partying, reveling in the new found freedom. I was not that person. The silver lining to my college experience was First Watch. This quaint, delicious "daytime cafe" was on just about every corner up in Central Florida and it was the place I most frequented as a college student. My friends and I would always meet at First Watch and talk over their delicious hot chocolates and fresh, amazing breakfasts. And when fall rolled around and First Watch rolled out their fall menu? Well, we were the first ones there to delve into those amazing pumpkin pancakes and gush over the taste of fresh nutmeg.

The college years are over. I live three hours south in my hometown now. But there are more and more First Watch restaurants popping up around here, too, including a brand spanking new one just minutes up the road (20401 State Road 7, Boca Raton in the Mission Bay Plaza). The moment I watched the crews begin construction, I immediately called my husband. Sure, he was at work and, sure, he was in a business meeting, but they are opening a First Watch just up the road. Priorities, people. Priorities. Because all dreams come true if you wish hard enough, I received the opportunity to learn more about First Watch's spectacular fall menu at a First Taste Of Fall event (#Fall4FirstWatch) for bloggers at the new West Boca location. (Sidenote: hanging out with other bloggers is awesome because they all understand that food is first to be photographed and then to be consumed.)


Myself and some fellow awesome bloggers aprilgolightly, Teach Me 2 Save, Political Consulting & West Boca News along with First Watch regional manager Les King.

First Watch currently has over 110 restaurants in 15 states. What sets them apart -- way apart -- from other breakfast locations is how absolutely fresh the food is. While speaking with Les King, regional manager, we learned that there are several things you won't find in a First Watch kitchen, like microwaves, deep fryers or heat lamps. The food is prepared fresh and with only the finest, real ingredients. You won't find slices of white bread doused in syrup but instead fresh fruit and yogurt parfaits, Muesli and egg white omelets. And the coffee. I can never turn down a cup (or two) of First Watch's amazing coffee blend.

As the wife to someone with Celiac disease, I know how tricky it can be to find a place for my husband to eat. If a restaurant happens to be familiar with gluten free food, chances are they offer one or two menu items to choose from. This is never the case at First Watch. First Watch boasts an impressive gluten free menu still packed with fresh, delicious food choices. Their obvious knowledge about nutrition is apparent by simply browsing their extensive menus. I'm more than a little bit picky when it comes to the quality of food I'm willing to feed Ethan, and First Watch is hands down one of our most visited restaurants. (Can I gush about how, as a parent, it is so refreshing to see a children's menu that contains real food like fresh fruit crepes, multigrain pancakes and sourdough French Toast?)

Speaking of menus, and because it's September, I'm going to elaborate more on why the First Watch menu becomes even more magical than usual. (Nothing but love for Starbucks, but First Watch's fall menu totally trumps the debut of that pumpkin spice latte by a landslide.)

The entire fall menu is bound to make your mouth water, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to dive into the Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast. These spiced, fluffy, delicious pumpkin pancakes are certain to never disappoint. Paired with two fresh eggs cooked any way you want and grilled all-natural chicken apple sausage, you'll basically be dreaming about this breakfast for days after you've finished every last, fluffy bite. You want to reminisce about your college days through memories of those nights you stayed up way too late and drank way too much? Go for it. I'll be over here inhaling these amazing pancakes and remembering my own college years, the brisk Central Florida falls, the amazing taste of fresh nutmeg and cinnamon. These pancakes? They're what dreams are made of.

I could sing the praises of these pancakes all day long, but the rest of First Watch's fall menu is equally as amazing. There is nothing like the aroma of butternut squash, pumpkin and candied walnuts to make you feel the beauty of fall -- even here in hundred degree South Florida.

The Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Bowl is as delicious as it sounds, topped with all-natural white meat chicken breast, herbed goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic dressing. If you're a quinoa fan, which we most definitely are in our house, you'll also be pretty stoked that First Watch has also added two regular quinoa dishes onto their standard menu as well: a Pesto Chicken Quinoa Bowl and a Cherry Chicken Quinoa Bowl. The other First Watch fall staple is their amazing Butternut Squash Soup which is sweetened with carrots and just the right amount of nutmeg.

Because it's too exciting to not mention, I thought I should add that First Watch will be selecting one winner per restaurant to eat free for a year! To enter, guests must sign up for First Watch's Sun eClub before September 30th. Already existing members will be automatically entered to win! (Remember that thing I said about all dreams coming true if you wish hard enough? I'm wishing so hard my brain hurts!) This promotion is just another stride First Watch has taken to give back to their customers. Speaking with Les King, we learned a lot of great information about First Watch and their ingredients, menu items and restaurants, but we also learned what passion First Watch managers and staff have for what they do. This love for their restaurants and the quality of their food is so apparent in both the menu and when speaking to the staff. The passion certainly shines through.

One of Ethan's favorite First Watch menu items is their yogurt with granola. Their house made granola is to die for. This is also the first year that it is available for purchase -- and $0.50 from each purchase goes to Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. In fact, so does $0.25 from every kids meal purchased in one year! This is a cause that First Watch has donated more than $90,000 to and this year alone they're pledging to raise $50,000!

It all sounds too good to be true but I can totally vouch that it isn't because, well, I shamelessly ate my body weight in pumpkin pancakes this morning.

Find a First Watch near you and fall for First Watch, too!

I was invited to be a part of First Watch's #Fall4FirstWatch First Taste of Fall event. No compensation was provided and all opinions expressed are completely my own.

3 comments:

  1. You are now the second person who has mentioned this restaurant. I had never heard of it and we have them locally here. I will definitely have to try it soon!

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    Replies
    1. You will absolutely love it! First Watch is so yummy!

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  2. Yum and delicious and so cool that you were a part of this! Now I want to go and stuff my face.

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