I remember how my childhood breakfast was often a showdown between me and a bowl of congealed, lumpy oatmeal. I would glare at the spoon sticking upright in the unappetizing mash, trying to transmogrify it into Fruity Pebbles. I absolutely knew I hated oatmeal and vowed that it would never cross my lips.
Fast forward a few decades to brunch at Nellie’s (2458 W Division Street).
Nellie’s avena de coco uses oatmeal that’s been milled to tiny bits and then cooked until the texture is smooth, creamy, and almost soup-like. Coconut water, brown sugar, and vanilla find balance in each sweet, harmonious spoonful. A generous dusting of cinnamon is the icing on top. If my parents had used this recipe instead of what was on the Quaker box, I’m positive my relationship with oatmeal would have been completely different.
You can order your avena de coco by the bowl for $4.25 or get the $15 weekend brunch buffet that features scrumptious egg casserole, an omelet station, plantains, and as many trips for avena de coco as you like. In my case? Three.
I can’t wait to take my inner child back for more.