The food and drink we see every single day, and can grow a little complacent over, has a charming way of finding new life as the frou-frou discoveries of the culinary world.
Milk becomes a star via fancy milk punches at the most old-school taverns, while water goes highbrow ("Sparkling, flat or tap?" is now a common question restaurant customers face).
And what of toast? Browned bread, served with a pat of butter, has a way of wowing cuisinaires from time to time, especially after people have tired of dishes bending under the weight of a dozen whimsical additions.
Stir Market, which opened on Beverly Boulevard a few blocks east of Fairfax in 2014, is on the toast train, but Executive Chef Chris Barnett is not riding the regular rails. Artisan breads are his choice for his roster of loaded toasts -- think baguettes and brioches and hearty nine-grainers -- and the toppings are piquant partners to the breads serving as their bases.
Piquant and sweet, we should say. There is an After-School Cinnamon Toast that arrives with carmelized apple butter sugar, and if you guessed brioche would be the bread of choice, you know your toasts.
A seasonal, get-it-when-you-see-it nine-grain bread with fig & ricotta is another toasty titan of Chef Barnett's menu, as is the California Avocado Toast, a green dream that's the best-seller at Stir Market. (Yep, avocado is involved, and a baguette, and sea salt, plus zingy touches like peppercino and shaved lemon zest and olive oil.)
The chef says which bread types got paired with which building blocks -- avocado, ricotta, cinnamon -- was part of the fun challenge. Loaded toast combinations are almost endless, when you think about it: A square of grainy goodness can hold just about any stack o' anything at all, be it meaty or sweet or fruit-focused or dairy.
We do like when the everyday staples come back around as tony cuisine. It reminds us to value our day-to-day dishes and drinks more, but it also reveals all that can be done. Toast, we like you, but loaded toast? You sound like the summer blockbuster version of what humble toast can be, with a little oomph. We're buying a ticket.