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Boston's Best Toast?

wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 11:48 AM

I just read an article about some exceptional toast in San Francisco and wondered if there is anything close in Boston. I'm happy to make my own and I suspect that's the best way to go since it's so much cheaper and you get it hot, but I thought it was worth throwing out there. To be clear, I'm not talking about French toast, just regular old toast.

Here's the article: http://www.bonappetit.com/restaurants...

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  1. black_lab RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 11:56 AM

    If you want to pay $10+ for a basket of toast, Hi Rise in Cambridge will accommodate you.

    1 Reply
    1. re: black_lab
      wandergirl RE: black_lab Mar 25, 2014 01:23 PM

      I see they also have two slices for $4. Maybe I'll give it a try some day.

    2. rlh RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 01:04 PM

      It's harder than I imagined to find a truly good toaster (even, crunchy golden brown not dried out, etc.) -
      That said, I I think some the finest toast we make is using When Pigs Fly New York Rye or the dense standard white bread they sell at the Asian bakery in Lexington Center (this is ideal for cutting into soldiers for dipping into soft boiled fresh eggs from Pete and Jen's Backyard Birds with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt - what a treat!)

      11 Replies
      1. re: rlh
        devilham RE: rlh Mar 25, 2014 01:07 PM

        I haven't found a good toaster yet that didn't toast un-evenly, which saddens me. When I make home made bread, it tends to run on the denser side (in a good way, it's no brick, and I get good bubble) and toasts very well. I've found home made bread browns quicker ....I wonder what they are putting in commercial breads that retards browning.

        1. re: devilham
          wandergirl RE: devilham Mar 25, 2014 07:02 PM

          I read somewhere that the more sugar in bread, the faster it browns. Maybe that explains it?

        2. re: rlh
          wandergirl RE: rlh Mar 25, 2014 01:22 PM

          I should have included a request for toaster and bread recommendations in my post. Thank you for giving them! My parents have a Breville toaster that cost a ridiculous amount of money but does make a damn fine piece of toast. I think this is it: http://www.brevilleusa.com/smart-toas...

          Any other recommendations would be appreciated.

          1. re: wandergirl
            rlh RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 02:47 PM

            That is indeed one slick toaster - and it should be at that price - wonder if the exterior is "cool touch" so as not to burn curious felines circling it? I hope to see it in action at some point.

            1. re: rlh
              wandergirl RE: rlh Mar 25, 2014 06:38 PM

              I asked my father about the exterior and he said it gets warm but not hot. I don't think the link I gave is the actual toaster they have. They got theirs at Crate and Barrel for about $130 I believe.

              I thought they were insane when they told me what they were spending on a toaster. But then I used it. Now I covet it. I'm considering splurging and getting myself one. (It even has a really well designed plug if you can believe it. It's just a pleasure to use all around.)

            2. re: wandergirl
              mikeinboston RE: wandergirl Mar 29, 2014 03:14 PM

              I received a Breville Mini Smart Oven for a holiday gift and I can tell you its a great toaster and a helluva toaster oven, so much so that as I am single, I haven't once turned on my regular oven since arrived.


            3. re: rlh
              opinionatedchef RE: rlh Mar 27, 2014 06:17 PM

              soldiers? gee, i must have missed that one when i was a kid. One of my first babysitters made us Butterfly sandwiches which thrilled us, but i've not heard of these soldiers....

              1. re: opinionatedchef
                Boston_Otter RE: opinionatedchef Mar 28, 2014 05:57 AM

                It's very much a British sort of thing. Cutting buttered toast into little strips that are the right size for dipping into an egg in an egg-cup. Preferably with Vegemite!

                1. re: Boston_Otter
                  MC Slim JB RE: Boston_Otter Mar 28, 2014 06:17 AM

                  I expect that would be Marmite. Vegemite is beloved in Australia.


                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                    Boston_Otter RE: MC Slim JB Mar 28, 2014 06:23 AM

                    Very true. I just got back from Australia so it was top of mind. BTW, for Marmite lovers, if you can get your hands on either the Guinness Marmite or Marmite XO varieties, they're pretty terrific.

                    1. re: Boston_Otter
                      opinionatedchef RE: Boston_Otter Mar 28, 2014 09:53 PM

                      otter, don't worry, your marmite stash is safe with me. If I had a natto stash i'd happily give that to you as well :-}

            4. k
              kimfair1 RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 01:07 PM

              Clear Flour Pain de Mie plus toaster = the best toast I've had, and continue to have!

              1 Reply
              1. re: kimfair1
                wandergirl RE: kimfair1 Mar 25, 2014 06:39 PM

                I bet that would make fantastic toast. It's been too long since I've been to Clear Flour. This is a perfect excuse, thank you.

              2. StriperGuy RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 01:12 PM

                April 1st is still a few days away right...?

                1. j
                  Jenny Ondioline RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 01:14 PM

                  The highlight of any late night breakfast at the New Yorker is the plate of scali toast.

                  That said, the $50 Dualit we got at the Williams-Sonoma outlet in Wrentham serves my need for toast quite nicely.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                    wandergirl RE: Jenny Ondioline Mar 25, 2014 06:42 PM

                    I was so sorry to hear that the W-S outlet in Wrentham closed but I'm glad to hear a good review of the Dualit (sounds like you got a bargain too).

                  2. Boston_Otter RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 01:18 PM

                    I appreciate the thick-cut toast (in many varieties) served at The Friendly Toast. They had curry-cheddar toast when I was there last week, and it was pretty great.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Boston_Otter
                      wandergirl RE: Boston_Otter Mar 25, 2014 06:44 PM

                      I hadn't been too impressed the one time I went to the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth. Now I feel I ordered badly.

                      1. re: wandergirl
                        Boston_Otter RE: wandergirl Mar 26, 2014 05:39 AM

                        I've only been to the one in Cambridge, and it's very hit-or-miss. Especially during peak times, service can be abysmal. Food's a bit pricey for basically being sloppy diner-style plates, but there's a lot of tasty stuff on the menu -- their pancakes, omelets, benedicts, and egg dishes are all decent. Love the fries with bleu cheese and strawberry-habanero sauce. Don't get the huevos rancheros, though. Horrible.

                    2. MC Slim JB RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 01:19 PM

                      The story of the woman at the root of the San Francisco "artisan toast" trend is truly amazing. At first face, I also found the fancy-toast trend risible, but this sprang from something distinct from typical hipster food dorkiness: http://www.psmag.com/navigation/healt...

                      The same person's story is told by This American Life in Act III of this podcast: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio... I found it very moving; well worth a listen.

                      I haven't seen anything like SF's toast boom in Boston yet.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                        devilham RE: MC Slim JB Mar 25, 2014 01:31 PM

                        I just heard that This American Life recently, and kind of hope the toast thing never gets here, as it sounds goofy, but that story was pretty interesting.

                        1. re: devilham
                          femmevox RE: devilham Mar 25, 2014 01:39 PM

                          I loved the story on This American Life--very heartwarming. The upscale toast craze is basically a footnote to it.

                        2. re: MC Slim JB
                          wandergirl RE: MC Slim JB Mar 25, 2014 06:54 PM

                          A wonderful story, thank you for linking it.

                          I have mixed feelings about the idea of artisan toast. My first reaction was to scoff at it. But I actually really appreciate good toast and it's something I can't reliably produce in my own kitchen (getting a crisp exterior while maintaining a soft interior) so if I can pay someone a few bucks for it, I'm willing. Meanwhile, I'll try to upgrade my bread and toaster in the hope of controlling my own fate.

                        3. p
                          Parsnipity RE: wandergirl Mar 25, 2014 01:49 PM

                          Tamper in Medford has a nice toast. Not sure where they get their bread. Go with the apricot jam. I've been liking their food in general and want to put in a plug for them- the owners are such friendly earnest guys and they put up with our kids running amok while we sip coffee. (Not really amok. Just some general running about early in the morning while the space is largely empty. We never let our little hounds cross the line into poor behavior in an eating establishment)

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Parsnipity
                            wandergirl RE: Parsnipity Mar 25, 2014 06:59 PM

                            Thanks for the recommendation, I'll try to check it out. It sounds like a nice cafe and it's not far from me.

                            1. re: wandergirl
                              chompie RE: wandergirl Mar 26, 2014 10:25 PM

                              We always liked the anadama bread toast at Friendly Toast in Portsmouth. Havent tried the Cambridge one yet

                              1. re: chompie
                                wandergirl RE: chompie Mar 27, 2014 08:04 PM

                                That sounds great, thanks for the lead.

                                1. re: wandergirl
                                  cjd260 RE: wandergirl Apr 1, 2014 01:38 PM

                                  The toast is, as far as I can tell, the same between the two locations. I like the anadama bread, but if you haven't gone yet, the cayenne-cheddar toast is basically my favorite bread product on this side of the Atlantic.

                            2. re: Parsnipity
                              nicklepickle RE: Parsnipity Mar 29, 2014 03:30 PM

                              Tamper looks awesome. I have been looking for a good tofu scramble since since Washington Square cafe (?-pre-The Fireplace place).

                            3. Pia RE: wandergirl Mar 27, 2014 07:02 PM

                              I don't know if it's "artisanal" but Spot Cafe in Watertown has excellent toast. I think they import it from somewhere? (They have a sign up saying where their bread is from, but I haven't been there in a while and can't remember. France? Montreal?)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Pia
                                wandergirl RE: Pia Mar 27, 2014 08:05 PM

                                I don't get over to Watertown too often but I would really like to try Spot Cafe, I've heard great things. This is extra incentive, thanks!

                                1. re: Pia
                                  MC Slim JB RE: Pia Mar 27, 2014 09:50 PM

                                  The Spot Cafe does have very fine bread that makes for great toast, sandwiches, French toast, etc. They buy frozen dough from Au Pain Doré, a French bakery in Montreal, and bake it on-site.

                                  (Good pancakes, Belgian waffles, omelets, soups, fresh fruit, crumb cake, and baklava, too.)


                                2. opinionatedchef RE: wandergirl Mar 28, 2014 09:58 PM

                                  My fav 2 toasts are both from Pigs Fly: Sauerkraut Rye (which they've lately only stocked once a year, and which is in their stores now!) It is so moist and robust- very deep flavor with tang of sourdough and sauerkraut. I could eat a whole loaf of it, toasted and buttered.

                                  The other is sweet- their blueberry lemon bread with sugared crust- like eating a piece of cake but with tang of sourdough, and sturdy structure.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                                    wandergirl RE: opinionatedchef Mar 29, 2014 01:16 PM

                                    These both sound delicious! Thanks for the tip.

                                  2. w
                                    wonderwoman RE: wandergirl Mar 29, 2014 02:00 PM

                                    my absolute favorite is nashoba brook's harvest -- sourdough with apricots, figs, cranberries, pecans, walnuts, and candid ginger -- followed by their whole wheat.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: wonderwoman
                                      addiez RE: wonderwoman Mar 31, 2014 07:53 AM

                                      I love NBB's seven grain - the slight sweetness that comes from the dates is great. I always keep a loaf in my freezer. Sounds like that'll be part of dinner tonight!

                                      1. re: addiez
                                        bear RE: addiez Mar 31, 2014 08:27 AM

                                        And I love their olive bread. It has some caramelized onions in it for some extra savoriness.

                                        1. re: bear
                                          wonderwoman RE: bear Mar 31, 2014 11:08 AM

                                          if only i like olives:). but, their rosemary garlic is one of my few non-whole grain treats.

                                        2. re: addiez
                                          wonderwoman RE: addiez Mar 31, 2014 11:06 AM

                                          can't say exactly why, but i've always preferred straight whole wheat to seven or multi grain.

                                      2. b
                                        BBQJesse RE: wandergirl Mar 30, 2014 04:27 AM

                                        Boston's best toast? That's easy: "Slainte."

                                        (Couldn't resist.) :-)

                                        1. t
                                          TimTamGirl RE: wandergirl Mar 31, 2014 06:44 AM

                                          Mate, I have looked all over the world and found no toast better than what my mother makes at home with Pepperidge Farm country white bread and whatever toaster she has at hand. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but I cannot replicate it; I've never found anyone who can replicate it; and good lord, it is something special.

                                          I personally have very good luck at home with Whole Foods' Seeduction bread - horrible name; beautiful toast - and pretty much anything from Fornax in Roslindale.

                                          1. a
                                            addiez RE: wandergirl Apr 1, 2014 08:04 AM

                                            Couldn't help but share Serious Eats' writeup on fancy toasts that are worth their price: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2014/04...

                                            Not quite Boston, but closer than SF!

                                            1. Allstonian RE: wandergirl Apr 1, 2014 08:47 AM

                                              It breaks my heart that I wasn't able to get a photo, but I swear that this is true: someone pulled a terrific April Fool's Day hack this morning in Brookline Village. As I passed on the bus around 7:45, I spotted a big poster proclaiming "Coming Soon - Todd English's Toast!" with photos of TE himself and a slice of toast, in one of the ground-floor windows at 202 Washington Street (next door to the former Japan Village Mart, a 3-story brick building that was supposed to really have a restaurant "coming soon," about 2 years ago.)

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Allstonian
                                                MC Slim JB RE: Allstonian Apr 1, 2014 01:02 PM

                                                Todd English is now officially in Poe's Law territory: hard to tell parody from the truth.


                                                1. re: Allstonian
                                                  chompie RE: Allstonian Apr 16, 2014 11:56 AM

                                                  allstonian, that's really a riot! He does sell just about everything else...
                                                  Wondergirl- did you ever get to Friendly Toast?

                                                  1. re: chompie
                                                    wandergirl RE: chompie Apr 22, 2014 07:46 PM

                                                    Not yet, chompie, but it is still on the list! I'll let you know what I think when I make it there.

                                                2. w
                                                  wandergirl RE: wandergirl Apr 22, 2014 07:47 PM

                                                  NPR has chimed in on the artisan toast craze:


                                                  1. s
                                                    smtucker RE: wandergirl Apr 24, 2014 09:45 AM

                                                    The New York Times is taking toast seriously!


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