Tuesday, March 20, 2007

TOAST


This morning I needed a nice, cozy place to treat myself to breakfast. Since I was near the Beverly Center I decided to just drive up 3rd street until something looked good. 3rd street is the au courant restaurant row, so I knew I would come across a familiar name sooner or later.

TOAST caught my eye, but parking was kind of a hassle. I don't know if they had the 4.50 valet parking at 9:30 in the morning, but it would be too weird to pay valet parking for breakfast.

TOAST is so hip I was concerned it might not be comforting enough, but in spite of them having the most attractive waiters I have ever seen, the service was friendly and down-to-earth. The atmosphere was homey, with whimsical touches like little cow statues. The tablecloths were a rough-hewn cotton with large visible stitches and quilted runners. For some reason, those tablecloths made me feel really good. I wanted to just curl up in them.



I watched fantastic-looking plates of food whizz by as the people at the next table discussed which Lexus they were getting. By the amount of meats and cottage cheese on the passing plates, it was clear Atkins is still going strong on the westside. At one table nearby, a girl was served her scrambled egg whites and turkey bacon as a giant plate of banana pudding french toast was set in front of her dining partner. I was thinking, "Wow. You must just hate your friend."

The menu has all of the standards, sometimes with a little twist, as well as more exotic choices. I went for the shakshuka, a Spanish sauce of onions, peppers, garlic and olives topped with eggs. I was not feeling adventurous enough for the Penne Matina "Penne pasta with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives and feta cheese tossed in a light olive oil with fresh garlic and pesto." In fact, I can't imagine anyone wanting scrambled eggs and pasta for breakfast, except perhaps one of those Atkins dieters who had completely snapped and gone on a carb binge. True, spaghetti carbonara contains eggs, but I don't think it's quite the same thing.




The sauce was interesting without being too unusual, kind of like a Spanish Huevos Rancheros. The sourdough toast from the Normandy bakery was first-rate, and the home fries were crispy little cubes, like Potatoes O'Brien without the added distraction of onions and peppers. The most spectacular offering turned out to be the fresh fruit salad. Every single fruit was at its peak of ripeness, practically bursting with sweetness.

The lunch menu has the standard sandwiches, wraps and salads. There are some vegetarian choices, including the appealing-sounding Caprese sandwich. They also have a coffee bar with an extensive selection of coffees, smoothies and teas.

As I was waiting for my check, the guy at the next table was launching into a long story about CSI Miami. I couldn't tell if he was recounting a dream or if he had actually been on CSI MIami. Just your typical L.A. cafe.



2 comments:

HeathBiter said...

Actually, pasta and eggs are really good together. (though admittedly extremely unhealthy) One of my favorite breakfast dishes is the Pasta Papa at Hugo's. (pasta, eggs, bacon & chicken sausage)

Kiki Maraschino said...

Ok, maybe...but you also eat crickets...