I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. I always told myself, “Self, just do good things and better yourself all year and you’ll be good, don’t buy into the mainstream Resolution stuff!” I am still constantly working toward being a better person in general — but that usually equates to year-round efforts like working harder, making sure my kids have access to all the fun things I may not have had access to growing up and keeping First Watch on the cutting edge of food trends and execution of great dishes.
This year is different. I recently spent some time in South America, and I REALLY want to learn Spanish. I’ve been working in restaurants since I was 14 years old, so my kitchen Spanish and ingredient identification is on point, along with the basics like ordering a beer and asking for directions to the restroom… But I need more!! I have taken the steps necessary to start the process, and I’m actually looking forward to it. As I embark on my next journey to South America, I look forward to speaking to the people in their language. It shows a dedication to their culture, shows I am really interested in learning as much as I can from them and allows me to build relationships in a more personal way!
At First Watch, we always feature what we call “Jump Start” seasonal menus starting each January. We name all of our other seasonal menus after the season (Spring, Summer, Fall, Holiday), but this one has been called JumpStart as a tip of the hat to our customers starting something new. We try to create dishes that have a lighter feel to them than the traditionally indulgent items found on menus across the country for the holidays and winter seasons. While we still may need some delicious Millionaire’s Bacon to warm our hearts and bellies, we also feel it’s a good time to reset and refresh.
We’ll be introducing three great dishes on January 8 (excluding the Tampa Bay Area) that are sure to lift your spirits and help you accomplish your resolutions, whatever they may be! Although this wasn’t planned (I swear), they do tend to tie in a bit with my personal New Year’s Resolution as two out of the three have a definite Latin American or Mexican lean to them:
HUEVOS RANCHEROS TOSTADAS
Two crispy corn tostadas topped with fresh smashed avocado, two sunny-side up, cage-free eggs, chorizo, salsa verde, chive crema, Feta and fresh cilantro. Served with chipotle black bean slaw.
This is our twist on a classic Huevos Rancheros dish. For me, the traditional Huevos dish, which I love, usually is missing an important element in the texture. You’ve got soft tortillas, soft refried beans, soft eggs and then usually pico or salsa. It wants some crunch, so we’ve added it by using tostada shells as the base, and instead of traditional refried beans, we are using avocado mash to add a little pop of flavor. Don’t worry, there are beans in the Citrus Chipotle Slaw served on the side!
SoCal BREAKFAST BURRITO
Egg whites, Springer Mountain Farms all-natural grilled chicken breast, quinoa, black beans, kale, house-roasted onions, Feta, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, fresh smashed avocado and pico de gallo in a hearty-grain tortilla. Served with a side of warm salsa verde and fresh fruit.
We’ve been wanting to feature a burrito at First Watch for quite a while but just couldn’t figure how to make something different from the breakfast burrito you can get everywhere else. So, we set out to make a truly First Watch style handheld. This baby is filled with things that would normally make it an anti-burrito, i.e. HEALTHY OPTIONS! An egg white frittata, Springer Mountain Farms all-natural grilled chicken breast, quinoa, black beans, kale, house-roasted onions, Feta, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, fresh smashed avocado and housemade pico de gallo all stuffed inside a hearty-grain tortilla. Filling, yet not unhealthy. Crazy, right?!
SUPER SEED PROTEIN PANCAKES
We add rolled oats, cottage cheese, kasha, sunflower, flax and chia seeds to our multigrain pancake batter. Served as three mid-sized pancakes topped with fresh sliced bananas, blueberries, maple-almond butter, warm berry compote and super seed crunch.
Now, if the first two dishes are considered “lighter-fare” this one might be the most indulgent of the trio. However, it’s still made with healthy-leaning and high-quality ingredients. We start with our signature multigrain pancake batter and add oats, sunflowers seeds, kasha, flax and chia seeds along with Daisy brand 2% Cottage Cheese. We serve as flight of 3 pancakes and top them with Maple Almond Butter, fresh blueberries and bananas and then another healthy dose of the sunflower, kasha, flax and chia seed blend! Makes for a great, healthier dish for those still looking to satisfy that sweet tooth!
WAKE UP CALL
Coconut water, local honey, lemon and a cayenne sugar rim.
Our juice offering this season is more of a handcrafted beverage of sorts. It’s a riff on a traditional cleanse where we combine coconut water, delicious local honey (We used the 100-mile rule) and lemon juice for a nice, balanced beverage capable of replenishing what your body needs after the long holiday season. We are also adding a new element — a garnish on the rim of the glass with a cayenne pepper and cane sugar blend. Think margarita salt but sweet and with a kick! This one is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
All in all, I’m REALLY looking forward to this Jump Start seasonal menu and to my personal New Year’s Resolutions. We’re definitely taking a different approach to the winter season, but that’s what I love about First Watch: We’re always willing to try something new, and we have a lot of fun doing it!
’til next time — Chef Shane