Gray Mare’s Oatmeal Survey

It’s been a while since the last blog post!  October was National Novel Writing Month prep and this month I’ve been working on the cozy mystery I was prepping for.  It’s going slower than I’d hoped but I’m a slow writer and just getting the words down is a win!  I do tend to go down research rabbit holes—this week, I learned a lot about electronic fingerprinting…  So, if I can get halfway through during NaNoWriMo, I’ll be very happy.

As it’s gotten chilly here in SoCal, the urge for some comforting oatmeal has been strong.  I thought it might be interesting to compare the different offerings I’ve ordered recently.

Corner Bakery

The only overnight oats in the bunch, I’d ordered this at the Santa Ana restaurant and loved it.  The oatmeal is refreshingly cold, thick and flavored with vanilla yogurt.  Add the dried cranberries, raisins, apple and banana slices for even more texture and goodness.  Plus, it comes with a raisin pecan sweet crisp!  It’s pretty yummy and there’s also a version that adds almonds, strawberries and blueberries.

We hadn’t been to the Brea location in a very long time because their food and service have been disappointing.  But I thought we’d give it another try, since it’s the closest location to us.  We were greeted by a brand new awning at the entrance, so I was hopeful.  But they were out of one of their new products already, at 8:30 in the morning, plus Diet Coke, for starters.  It took us 5 minutes of standing at the register (we were the only customers, no line) to get waited on.  The raisins in my oatmeal looked way drier than they should be and the banana slices had bruises.  Sorry for the rant! 

Panera Bread

The presentation of this oatmeal was so pretty, I didn’t want to mix it up.  The strawberries were fresh and sweet, the pecans gave it a nice crunch and the cinnamon topping was scrumptious.  Along with being a slow writer, I’m also a slow eater.  I think I’d be happier with the oatmeal itself if I do mix it all up next time.  By the last few bites, there was only oatmeal and it was a little thicker that I like and wasn’t enhanced with the other flavors and textures.  But that’s on me.

The Panera in Brea is within walking distance and I usually go once or twice a week.  It’s about 2 miles round trip and I bring either a writing work in progress or the latest copy of Writer’s Digest.  I can sit there as long as I want and they don’t mind.  In fact, there are always several people with laptops and I think I saw someone getting ready to do a podcast last week.  My only gripe:  they have Pepsi products, not Diet Coke ☹


This is what oatmeal would be like at Ikea—some assembly required!  That’s ok by me-it’s fast food, after all.  I don’t expect the frills here.  The fruit has always been fresh and cold and the oatmeal is always hot and a good stir mixes up the brown sugar from the bottom.  It’s a decent, quick breakfast that’s just enough for me most mornings.  And I can say that I had some fruit that day. 😊

This is another walking distance option for me.  It’s a bit farther than Panera but right now, it’s great walking weather and I’m all about getting out into the air and getting some exercise.  I finished one of The Happy Writer podcasts I’d been listening to and started an episode of V Interesting (Under the Desk News host V Spehar) to keep me entertained while I walked yesterday.

Avalon Bagels to Burgers

The first time I ordered the oatmeal here, they brought it in a McDonald’s style cup and I was a little disappointed.  Until I opened the lid!  Filled to the brim with cranberries, walnuts and banana slices, it’s hot and tastes as good as it looks.  It also comes with a little packet of brown sugar that coats the fruit chunks and melts into the hot, fresh oatmeal.  This one leaves me full and satisfied till dinner.

We try to come here on the off hours since it’s a really rockin’ breakfast place.  There’s a toy train that runs around the ceiling and they deck out it’s flatbed car with seasonal decorations. The Husband always has their egg, jack, avocado and tomato bagel.  It’s also a good place to bring WIP’s or books and settle in for an hour or two, after the morning rush, at a pub table with a window on the world.

Got any recommendations for oatmeal in SoCal or your neck of the woods?  Happy Fall!!

Current Reads and Watches

What I’m reading now (paper): Love and Death Among the Cheetahs by Rhys Bowen

What I’m reading now (Kindle): Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews

What I’m binge watching: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime

What I’m Watching Live: The Jeopardy Tournament of Champions

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