Want to really appreciate the value of good toast? Go to a greasy spoon and order a breakfast, any breakfast. Behold the limp, warmed-over afterthought of white sandwich bread perched on the side of your plate, soggy with butter substitute, and hastily paired with a tiny plastic square of "mixed berry" jam. Cry into your cheesy eggs and sausage links and wonder if there is a place where toast is respected, revered, held to its highest standard, and celebrated for all its crusty, toppings-bearing potential.
Indeed, there is such a place.
Each weekend, Canteen, the corner coffeeshop on 33rd and Bryant, dedicates its counter space to a pop-up (har, har) toast bar.
A studio for the art of making and dressing toast, Canteen's weekend spread takes the finest loaves in the city -- nutty brown wheats and tangy sourdoughs from area bakeries such as Patisserie 46, Sun Street Breads, and Rustica -- and slices them up for customers to toast to their liking.
But what is toast without toppings?
Adjacent to the sparkling silver line of toasters sits a collection of spreads: butters, honey, cheeses, nut butters, and jams, all locally produced or, in the case of the almond and peanut butters, prepared in-house. For the dabbling palate, a bit of each topping can fit nicely on the two slices that come with an order ($3.50). Purists, meanwhile, are free to concoct whatever simple savor suits their fancy.
There is no right or wrong way to toast bar. There is only the mistake of accepting sub-par toast in a world where toast is what you make of it.
Canteen's Toast Bar Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 3255 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis @canteen3255
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