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All Eyes On French Toast

Ono, You Know

November 26, 2017

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

The editor has set her sights on IHOP’s limited-edition Toffee Apple Cheesecake French Toast.

THEY SAID breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not make it count with a glorious heap of French toast — certainly one of the most decadent brunch-fare classics in existence.

After all, how could you possibly have a lackluster day after you’ve just devoured a sparkling combination of sumptuous eggy bread drizzled in luxurious maple syrup and crowned with jewels of fresh fruit, among other adornments?

I’ve been all about waking up to the good vibes and flavors of French toast lately, so I’ve scouted out some magnificent — and, at times, over-the-top indulgent — versions for you to try.

And while exploring the following edible delights, keep your eyes peeled for the tasty tidbits on these pages, which highlight the often contested origins of this popular breakfast dish:

GO BIG OR GO HOME

If you’re going to revel in French toast, you might as well go all out.

The most extravagant preparation I’ve come across thus far has arrived at IHOP, where the spirit of indulging during the holiday season is extended to its menu of cheesecake-stuffed French toasts (available until Jan 1).

IS FRENCH TOAST really from France? It appears not. Perhaps the earliest version of the dish can be found in the Apicius, an ancient Roman cookbook from the late 4th/early 5th century A.D.

Every bit of this French toast is elevated above the norm, starting with two extra thick, and extra fluffy pieces of brioche bread that are covered in vanilla batter, layered with creamy cheese-cake filling, and griddled to crisp magic.

As if the addition of cheese-cake weren’t enough, IHOP’s French toast also is topped with an array of taste bud-seducing flavor combinations.

Toffee Apple Cheesecake French Toast ($10.99 with Bacon and Eggs Combo)

“One of the best-sellers is the Toffee Apple Cheese-cake French Toast, as well as the Strawberry Cheesecake flavor. There’s also a Cookies & Cream option with Oreos that’s very popular at our Pearl City location,” says general manager Darlene Balcita.

The cheesecake-stuffed French toasts come with savory combos of eggs, hash browns and meat (options and prices vary) to complete your breakfast of champions. The Bacon and Eggs Combo, for instance, features four strips of bacon, two eggs, hash browns and your choice of cheesecake French toast for $10.99. A larger, full order of the French toast a la carte also is served for $9.99.

As a special scoop for Ono, You Know readers, IHOP also is unveiling an online ordering system (via olo. com), which makes it easier than ever to place an order for pickup. Right now, if you spend $25 on your first online order, you’ll get $5 off. Visit ihop.com/onlineordering.

A BREAKFAST HAVEN

Though Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar is known for its fine Italian lunches and dinners, crafted with from-scratch sauces, house-made pasta and an incredible wine list to boot, the Royal Hawaiian Center eatery also is a fantastic place to have breakfast throughout the week, or a leisurely brunch on the weekend.

Il Lupino’s Banana Foster French Toast ($15)

The restaurant’s beautiful setting helps, of course, especially when starting the day on Il Lupino’s breezy lanai, overlooking a tranquil piece of plush green paradise that feels like an oasis within the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. But what really draws people into Il Lupino each morning is the fantastic breakfast menu, which includes Banana Foster French Toast ($15).

Available daily during breakfast hours (7-11:30 a.m.), the dish presents wonderfully thick and chewy brioche bread that’s made luxurious thanks to a Grand Marnier batter — a fun and delicious homage to the liqueur-accented Bananas Foster dessert for which the dish is inspired. Enhanced with syrup, house-made whipped cream and tons of fresh banana slices, this up-scale take on French toast is guaranteed to please.

As an added treat, thick-cut bacon brings some savory balance to the entree — and you may recognize those divine pieces of pork from Il Lupino’s big-brother restaurant, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener.

In addition to Banana Foster French Toast, the restaurant’s breakfast menu is filled with diverse options, ranging from light and healthy fare to more extravagant selections. There’s also an array of great specials: Dine as if you were in Italy with a fresh croissant and coffee ($7), or pair an Acai Smoothie ($7) with a ginger shot or fresh juice. And for some island-style cravings, try the Mini Loco Moco & Coffee special for just $10.

THERE ARE many theories about the origin of French toast. Some say it was actually invented in England during the medieval reign of Henry V, as a dish made to avoid wasting stale bread.

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