Toast (toäst if you're Chloe Sevigny) is a seemingly simple repast. So simple, in fact, that when word of fancy, artisanal toast got out, many called it the end of days, the official shark-jumping of foodie culture. Cynics balked at the mere suggestion of spending $4 on an order of toast. Four dollars for lightly browned bread?
Here in the Twin Cities, we know the value of a great plate of toast. It is humble. It is reliable. It is our birthright: We live in the breadbasket and can proudly claim that the first automatic toaster was invented right here in Minnesota.
We're obsessed with butter, toast's inseparable sidekick, once dubbed the "currency of the Midwest." With our polar vortexed winter months, we have mastered the art of preserving fruits and produce -- jams, jellies, preserves, and fruit butters line our shelves so that they may top our toast.
So when the coastal toast trend officially made its entree onto the Twin Cities scene, the makings of the movement were already here: Our food scene is rich with bakers and breadsmiths, endowed with fresh local creamery butter, and teeming with artisanal jams, jellies, and spreads. Canteen, the new coffee shop in the former Urban Bean location on Bryant, began serving its toast bar a few weeks ago, rotating bread from standout local bakeries such as Rustica, Patisserie 46, and Sun Street and toppings from a number of local purveyors.
Canteen displays the Twin Cities bounty in an elegant spread each Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For $3.50, diners get two thick slices of bread, a pair of toasters to use, and an array of toppings to choose from, including Hope Creamery butter, Beez Kneez clover and buckwheat honey, cinnamon sugar, house-made peanut butter, house-made maple almond butter, and two types of Serious Jam (pictured above: a strawberry balsamic black pepper name and a blueberry bourbon jam).
Bread options include oatmeal, sourdough, currant walnut sourdough, and buckwheat walnut, and we opted for the last, a nutty, hearty bread that made a substantial toast. We carefully dressed our slices with every type of topping, taking full advantage of the weekend-only toast bar. Though you can get toast at Canteen any day of the week, at $2.50 an order and .75 per topping, you'll miss your chance to be a toppings tourist, trying out all that the local producers have to offer. And sure, you can make toast at home much, much cheaper, but how often do you have six types of bread and eight different toppings at your disposal?
Canteen 3255 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis @canteen3255 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday
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