Over the years I have written reviews on restaurants, products, and books. I took a break, but I want to revive that part of my life. The reasoning being is I have food allergies, sensitivities, and IBS (Irritatable Bowl Syndrome C & D) depending on which way the wind blows. Back in the day, it was called Spastic Colon, and I spent a significant amount of time in the ER with horrible abdominal pain. Now with the food allergies and a few other woman issues, chronic pain is my norm. Going out to enjoy a meal with friends or with my husband and son, is not. Why, because I fear I will die and almost have a couple of times due to the lack of concern at restaurants. I have a soy allergy. Soy is in EVERYTHING.
Publix bread - soybean oil
Some seasonings - soybean oil
Most chocolate - soy lecithin
I don't expect restaurants to rid of soy, but I do expect waiters, waitresses, and chefs to be knowledgeable of food allergies. Gluten. Soy. Dairy. Nut. ALL FOOD ALLERGIES. Especially if it's a high-end establishment which I had the misfortune of dealing with recently, but that's for another review.
Okay, there's a little bit of background on me and now onto the review.
First Watch - The Daytime Cafe.
It's a chain breakfast/lunch eatery.
They have locations from Arizona to Wisconsin to Florida.
It has a rustic vibe. The menu reminds me of farm-to-table. The coffee is crack in a cup. Not bitter. Not weak.
One of their newest locations opened a few months ago in Brooksville, FL. Residents were thrilled to have another option besides Panera. Don't get me wrong, we love Panera, but variety is good.
I have frequented First Watch since their opening, and I've never once had a terrible experience. The wait staff is knowledgeable about the menu and food allergies. Halleluiah! Also, they write in large letters on the ticket SOY ALLERGY. The attention and concern are refreshing. Unfortunately, This is lacking in many food establishments.
I am avocado obsessed. I could eat it with every meal. First Watch has Avocado Toast. Yes, I make this at home, but sometimes I don't want to and have I mentioned their coffee. Oh, my. You can find Avocado Toast under The Healthier Side of the menu.
First Watch description:
Our thick-cut whole grain toast topped with fresh smashed avocado, EVOO, lemon and Maldon sea salt. Served with two basted eggs.
Their menu does list the calories, but on their website, it contains all nutritional information. There is an egg white substitution.
I always order the Avocado Toast. Not out of fear but because I love it. The egg yolks are runny and blend perfectly with a forkful of avocado smash and toast. The bread is hearty and soaks up any leftover yolk. The seasoning of the avocado smash is salty (not over) and citrusy. The textures work well together. Also, it's comforting to know I won't stop breathing because of cross-contamination. This meal fills me up for hours. Healthy fats. Protein. Grains. Even my fickle digestive system gives it two thumbs up. I couldn't eat it every day, but I enjoy each bite when I do.
My husband ordered the Eggs Benedict - BLNo tomato.
First Watch description:
Two poached cage-free eggs atop toasted ciabatta piled high with bacon, vine-ripened tomato, avocado and lemon-dressed arugula and covered with hollandaise. Served with lightly dressed organic mixed greens.
He was in heaven.
The hollandaise was light and citrusy. Pretty much all he said while devouring his breakfast.
I am always suspect of chain restaurants due to experience, but my mind is changing. First Watch exceeded my expectations.
My goal is not to be a food critic my goal is to bring peace of mind to those who have food allergies. More so soy allergies. When I'd Google "restaurants soy allergy friendly" one food blogger site popped up, and my heart sank because when we travel options are limited.
Again this isn't about banning soy it's about education. It's about acknowledging food allergies.
They are real no matter what anyone says.
I want people to know there are options out there. I cook 95% of the time, but sometimes I want to go out. Where I live is a blend of locals, snowbirds, and tourists. Wouldn't it be nice to know you could eat out minus the fear? Well, of course, there is a sliver of doubt -- human nature -- but there are options. Make them clear. Talk to the chef.
If you live or are visiting the Nature Coast of Florida, I recommend First Watch. Their hours are 7 am-2:30 pm. They offer a seasonal menu. Sides and small plates. Teas and iced coffee. Reasonably priced.
Did I mention the coffee?