There is no shortage of trendy restaurants on the stretch of College Avenue near our house. We have a wine bar, three Thai places, a French-influenced small-plates bar, a gourmet Italian place, an Iranian-Italian place, a chocolate cafe, deep dish pizza, sushi in little boats, Burmese, Chinese, and a crepe place that I haven’t patronized since I found a bug in my salad. (Although that was probably a positive sign that the greens were organic.)
That’s a lot of restaurants. Still, Becca and I were excited a few weeks ago when we passed a storefront with a new eatery under construction called Toast.
A cafe specializing in toast! It particularly struck Becca’s fancy, since she likes offbeat and indie kinds of things.
I pictured cinnamon toast like my mother used to make, tiny grains of sugar crunching in the melted butter.
Raisin toast. French toast. Maybe Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream.
Slabs of meat and cheese on sandwiches made of thick peasant-bread toast.
Hot vegetable soup and toast.
Scones! Crumpets! Cucumber sandwiches on little triangular toasts! Maybe this would be a sleek Oakland version of Lovejoy’s Tea Room, that wonderful quirky San Francisco cafe specializing in English high tea.
I loved the idea of a restaurant built around such a humble, common, taken-for-granted yet wonderful food.
I promised Becca that I would take her out for lunch there as soon as it opened. It seemed like a nice end-of-school, summer vacation outing.
Then this morning I walked past Toast after dropping my car off at the nearby garage for a tune-up.
It seemed to have opened for business, and I peered in the window at the menu.
No cinnamon toast. No raisin toast. No scones.
It’s … a wine bar.
For making, not eating, toasts.