~ By Janet Helm, MS, RD
The a.m daypart is getting increasingly creative in restaurants, and breakfast menus are featuring an array of craveable, memorable and flavor-forward dishes, according to a recent article on "Breakfast Break-Outs" in Flavor & The Menu.
The article cites data from The NPD Group that says U.S. consumers made more than 12.5 million breakfast visits in 2013 -- a 3 percent gain over 2012. Convenience, speed and protability are the holy trinity, wrote Katie Ayoub, but flavor, as usual, trumps everything. Here's a look at the top 12 breakfast trends, with creative interpretations of these trends by Healthy Aperture bloggers.
1. Asian Inspired
Asia flavors are seeping into most areas of the menu, and that's true of breakfast. Yet the morning application is more likely expressed through accents and finishes rather than authentic replications. Examples cited in the article included Pim Bop Bacon & Eggs "Stir Like Crazy" at Tasty n Alder in Portland, Ore., Bib Im Bop at Tweet in Chicago, and Japanese Breakfast with poached egg, miso dashi, sweet potato, and greens at Boulettes Larder in San Francisco. Pictured above is an Asian-inspired breakfast: Eggs of the Orient by Therefore I Yam.
2. Savory Oats
We're moving beyond brown sugar and maple syrup in our breakfast grains. A single-themed restaurant in New York called OatMeals brings this to life with build-your-own bowls featuring an abundant menu of sweet and savory offerings, such as The Croque Monsieur with diced ham, shaved Gruyere, nutmeg, sea salt, cracked pepper and steamed milk. Here's Savory Mushroom and Herb Steel Cut Oat Risotto by Foxes Love Lemons.
3. Artisinal Meats
Building off the charcuterie trend at the bar and appetizer menu, artisanal meats are being interpreted at breakfast with various in-house sausage and meat curing, with a tie to provenance -- from an Irish sausage to Spanish-style smoked chorizo to a Portugese linguica. Pancetta and sausage have a starring role in these Cheesy Egg "Crepes" by The Cozy Apron.
4. Breakfast Sandwich Bravado
Lots of creativity going on with the sandwich format -- incuding the Sandwich I Am offering from Snooze that stars a soft pretzel roll filled with scrambled eggs, cheddar and a sausage patty, served with a side of smoked cheddar hollandaise or the Falafel Dog with spiced chickpea bratwurst on housemade pita with olive aioli, roasted tomato, marinated eggplant and peppers, arugula and tahini hot sauce at Mud Hen Tavern in LA. Take a look at these sumptuous Butternut McMuffins with Kale by The Miniature Moose.
5. Wondrous Waffles
Waffles have become the hip starch at breakfast, with lots of tinkering with the batter and even the format -- such as moving away from the stack and into carriers. Spiking waffles with extra protein, fiber and good-for-you ingredients is a popular trend, like these Yogurt and Flaxseed Waffles by Real Mom Nutrition.
6. Europe's New World
The article says we're moving away from a generalized Mediterranean call-out on menus into more localized flavor pockets, like the Sicilian Hash with braised pancetta, arrabbiata and over-easy egg at Tasty n Alder in Portland, Ore., or Full English Breakfast of fried eggs, pork sausage, blood pudding, bacon, tomato and mushroom at The Breslin in New York. Here's Scotch Eggs by Jane's Adventures in Dinner.
7. New Sides on the Block
Bacon is still a favorite, but restaurants are serving up new sides in the morning, such as caramelized grapefruit with mint at Egg in Brooklyn, sauteed kale and sweet potato cakes at Ria's Bluebird in Atlanta and turmeric rice at Hugo's in Agoura Hills, Calif. Here's an amazing looking recipe for Cilantro Hash Stuffed Portobellos by Running to the Kitchen.
8. Pancakes Far From Flat
Pancakes are breakfast's ultimate comfort food and they're shifting away from the basic short stack. At Snooze, diners can order a Pancake Flight, choosing three pancake flavors that include Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes and Molten Chocolate Lava Pancakes. LYFE Kitchen offers Quinoa Buttermilk Pancakes served with fresh berries, Greek yogurt and pure maple syrup. Here's Banana Coconut Stuffed Pancakes by Eat Within Your Means.
9. Cutting-Edge Condiments
It's no longer just jam, jelly, ketchup and maple syrup in the morning. Now maple syrup becomes smoked maple syrup or hazelnut syrup, raspberry jam gives way to housemade fig preserves, and condiments reflect the global influence at breakfast -- sriracha, gochujang, guajillo, soy sauce, hoisin, and harissa. Take a look at this Roasted Carrot and Kale Bibimbap with Sriracha and Soy Glaze by Buttercup and Bourbon.
10. Latin Moves
Menus are moving beyond simply breakfast burritos. Latin flavors are coming through with dishes like Corn Arepas at Tweet in Chicago, Pork Belly Chilaquiles at Xoco in Chicago, and Huevos O' Groats at John O Groats in LA. You can find several versions of Huevos Rancheros on Healthy Aperture, including this dish by Culinary Hill.
11. Alternative Grains
New whole grains are making big appearances at breakfast, especially quinoa. This high-protein, gluten-free grain is often served up in the popular breakfast bowl concept, along with chia and grains like barley, farro, and amaranth. Here's Creamy Amaranth Porridge by Meaningful Eats.
12. Breakfast Beverages
Morning drinks include exotic tea blends, pedigreed coffees, immunity boosting smoothies, freshly made juice concoctions and creative hand-mixed shakes. Here's Chai Coconut Bubble Tea by MJ and Hungryman.
For the full article on Breakfast Break-Outs by Katie Ayoub, see Flavor & The Menu.