Oat Couture

Oatmeal goes gourmet in restaurants and at food trucks

Gone are the days when oatmeal was a goopy disappointment out of Oliver Twist.

Now oats are going haute in restaurants, where they're served with gourmet toppings and unconventional pairings and during extended hours of operation.

Update the drabness of your morning bowl with a sophisticated tack (click here to download recipe) from Sweetgreen–a frozen-yogurt truck in Washington, D.C. The kitchen gives oats a textural face-lift with the healthful addition of red and white quinoa before lacquering each order with a layer of brûléed brown sugar. Toppings like cinnamon-baked apples or scone crumbles also contribute to the sense that you're eating dessert for breakfast.

Los Angeles's LA Mill forgoes oats altogether, supplanting them with a creamy, cinnamon-spiced polenta. Each bowl is dressed with caramel-like goat's-milk cajeta, candied pecans and a quenelle of whipped cream.

Bloop, a new food cart in Portland, Oregon, believes in grain monogamy, and devotes its entire menu to different oatmeal preparations. Vegans and nonvegans alike queue up for the breakfast oats drenched in almond milk, agave nectar and pie spices, while lunch demands a version with peanut butter, banana and almonds.

And at San Diego's Spread, oatmeal shirks its usual early-morning spot as the base for a savory entrée on the dinner menu. Local fortified oats are slow-cooked in a French yellow curry before they're served cradling sautéed local blue bananas and caramelized sweet onions.

Please, sir, we definitely want some more.