The Wall Street Journal has made it official: Oatmeal is red-hot right now. As proof, look for the power breakfast at spots such as Starbucks and Jamba Juice. For life-long oatmeal lovers (myself included), these are exciting times. It means steel-cut oats are finally getting their due. Compared to instant packets, this whole-grain variety is heartier, nuttier, and creamier. And it's still cheap. Starbucks' version--which comes with nuts, dried fruit, and brown sugar--sells for $2.45, while Jamba Juice's (choose from blueberry-blackberry, banana, or apple-cinnamon toppings) goes for $2.95. Better yet, look to our local and independent restaurants for even more delicious takes on the dish: Snooze sells vanilla-almond oatmeal brÃ»lÃ©e. DJ's Berkeley Cafe offers steel-cut oats with pistachios, dried cranberries, and dates. And Flower Wraps dishes up Irish oatmeal with brown sugar, candied pecans, and golden raisins. Bonus: For a fun spin on the health food, make these dark-chocolate oatmeal cookies. The key to this recipe (which uses steel-cut oats) is very soft, room-temperature butter. Snooze, 2262 Larimer St., 303-297-0700 DJ's Berkeley Cafe, 3838 Tennyson St., 303-482-1841 Flower Wraps, 1313 S. Clarkson St., 303-733-3240
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