A 31-Year-Old Toast to the Upper Crust

In another instance of creepy royal British memorabilia, a slice of toast from the morning of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding has been served up at a recent auction. The 31-year old piece of bread was snatched by a former servant of the Royal family, who asked not to be named lest her bread-smuggling ways land her straight into Scotland Yard. We kid, we kid. But don’t let us catch you taking our perfectly toasted bread from the table, y’hear? Having said that, toast in itself has become a sort of an Internet celebrity. Here are a few slices we loaf: toasted, never fried. 


If there were ever a better usage of stale bread, then I’d spare the dough to see it! This stop-motion breadamation music video used 215 slices of bread that were “past their sell-by date and rescued from the clutches of certain disposal.” Well, I’d give anything to have been one of those rescued slices… by OK Go, no less. 
 


This one is for the birds: Laura Hadland, an “English toast artist” (those exist?), used 10,080 innocent slices of bread along with dark and milk chocolate to create a massive rendition of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Hadland appropriately traveled to Matera, Italy’s “City Of Bread,” to embread herself in working on the carbalicious 9 x 11.2 meter portrait, proving art is more than just food for the soul. 

 

TOAST DRESS
We don’t know if we prefer this or the challah bread dress, but either way, they both look wonder-bread-ful. Created by Maurice Bennett, an artist from New Zealand who uses toast has his primary artistic medium, the dress is fashioned from a combination of whole baguettes, burned and regular toast. Let’s hope it attracts men just as good as it does pigeons. 

 


Leave it to the Japanese to completely cover a wall with toast. The mural was constructed as part of a “bakery food theme park” named Tokyo Bakery Street that opened in 2005, further proof that Asians can eat as many carbs as they like and still fit into sizes smaller than an American size 0. Hey, nobody said life was a cakewalk. 

4 Out of 5: Alex Sagalchik on Los Angeles

Alex Sagalchik is an independent film producer and the founder of Mott Street Pictures. This is his take on four places he likes, and one place he doesn’t.

RECOMMENDED

Little Next Door – "The quintessential casual French restaurant. My friends and I have brunch here at least once a week. Charming setting, an all-French waitstaff, and the same chef as Little Door. The almond croissant, Parisian omelet, and quiche lorraine are MUSTS!"

Commissary – "Hands down the best coffee in LA; I’d even say better than Intelligentsia, and that’s pretty bold. Hot young crowd, with, yes, slightly pretentious baristas, but the coffee is unrivaled! Living in the building does make it slightly convenient; I often come down here to write."

Figaro Bistrot"Hipster Los Feliz cafe that’s always great for a casual meeting, happy hour, or just people-watching in general."

Eveleigh – "If you’re a fan of Kingswood in New York, you will love this place. It has that New York neighborhood feel hidden amidst the insanity of the Sunset Strip. Ecclectic menu — “bubble & squeak?” — and a great bar atmosphere if you’re just looking to hang out and grab a drink with friends."

NOT SO MUCH

BLD and/or Toast – "Overrated and overcrowded."

Where Celebs Go: Mark Ruffalo, AnnaLynne McCord, Emily Mortimer

Mark Ruffalo: My favorite restaurant in New York is Le Cirque. AnnaLynne McCord, at the “Shutter Island” premiere: I live in L.A. I don’t go out that much because I don’t drink, so going out, kind of, becomes work, in a way. But, as far as restaurants, I love Chart House in Malibu for good seafood. And good Spanish food – Mexican food – Spanish Kitchen on La Cienega, one of my favorites. I, actually, really like Chili’s [laughs], for a little chain restaurant. Those are three I can think of right now. What’s good at Chili’s? Oh, my God! The queso. I go in, sometimes just get the chips ’n salsa to go, and go home, but the queso — I love the chicken steak quesadillas, just, like, chain restaurant. I’m from Atlanta – that’s high-class dining when you’re in Atlanta, so! Fran Lebowitz: I would never tell. Then they wouldn’t be my favorites, anymore. Then everyone would be there. Do you think they would want to follow you? It’s not me. It’s like you tell anyone anything– look what happened in New York. It got turned inside out. Anything any New Yorker knew, they tell someone like you, and then there’s a million people there from out of town.

Michael Stuhlbarg: Well, goodness gracious! I guess it depends on what kind of mood I’m in. If I’m in a cultural mood, I’ll go to the number of museums here, and if it’s food, there are so many places all over town to go to. One of my favorite sushi places is called Japonica, down on University and 13th. I love the sushi there. That’s the one that sticks in my mind the most. If you’re lookin’ for sizeable, delicious portions of fish, go to Japonica.

Curtiss Cook: We love Aquavit. We have five children, so we don’t really get out to eat that often. We love the cod, and all their herring meals are really well made.

Nellie Sciutto: Oh, my God! I’m glad you asked that. I love the restaurant, House. It’s my favorite new restaurant in Los Angeles, ‘cause I love Capo – their [restaurant] in Santa Monica. House is like Capo light and less expensive – very fabulous place. House is northern Italian, like me [laughs]. And The Tar Pit, good bar lounge.

Teresa Palmer: In Los Angeles – I’m from Los Angeles – I like Magnolia. I dunno. Toast Café [laughs]?!

Dennis Lehane: I live in Boston and Tampa. I go to a lot of Irish pubs. I’m not Mr. —I don’t go to the hip places anymore. Which Irish pubs do you recommend in Boston? Ah, jeez, I dunno. I used to like a place called the Castle Bar. I used to like another place called the Irish Village. What about Tampa? They don’t have any in Tampa. I just go to a place called the Old Northeast Tavern [in St. Petersburg].

Paz de la Huerta: Lately, I’ve been going to Spa 88, which is a Russian bathhouse on Gold Street. And they have hammam and Russian rooms, so it’s just, kind of like, my hangout right now. Hammam? It’s a Turkish hot room. It’s not a bar, but it’s fun. A lot of Russian Mafia go there …. You can eat; you can swim; you can sauna; you get a massage; it’s a good time.

Emily Mortimer: I like to go to Tatiana in Brighton Beach. It’s a Russian restaurant, and I love it. You get very rude waiters, and you drink vodka and sit looking at the sea on the boardwalk, and it’s really cool. I like the dumplings – Russian dumplings – pelmeni, they’re called, and loads of vodka.

Sylvia Miles: I love upstairs at Joe Allen’s, and that’s really swell, if you go to the theater, ’cause everybody in the theater’s there and all your old friends. They have all kinds of appetizers, which is good. They have a different menu than downstairs at Joe Allen’s. It’s like a supper menu; it’s good; that lobster salad; the kind of things that you’d get if you weren’t going to eat a big meal. If I’m going to the theater, there’s a lot of old favorites. And a lot of them are gone. There’s a lot of nice places, like Philippe’s. And I go to Momofuku. But I don’t like places that have very rich food.

Mark Cuban, at the AlwaysOn Media conference: Restaurants in Dallas are Bob’s Steak and Chop House; McDonald’s, for their grilled-chicken salad; Jason’s Deli; the Motley Pub, at the American Airlines Center; Kenichi – those are my hangouts.

Mia Tyler, at the Fullfast and CelluScience press launch:: Oh, my God, I’m such a nerd now. I stay home. I don’t even go out. I live in L.A., so I live in this little, artsy, Silver Lake neighborhood, and I like lounges. I’m not even exciting anymore. What are some of the lounges you go to? I like to eat, so we’ll go to eat. I love sushi. There’s a place called Taiyo that I’m at, at least once a week, and, I, kind of, eat vegan, vegetarian food, so I’ll go to little, vegan places. There’s a place called Vegan House that I order from and I go to, all the time. I like these little off—off-the-track, off-the-path, little places. There’s a couple bars I go to that are just kinda divey. There’s a place called the Cha Cha Lounge, and I love it there. It’s really cute. And then there’s the Red Lion across the street from it. They got two-dollar PBRs.

Industry Insiders: John Stage, Pit Man

For a taste of what many have named New York City’s best barbecue, you must venture up to 131st Street in Harlem, take a gander under the Riverside Drive Bridge, and viola, Dinosaur BBQ. John Stage, the owner of the original Syracuse roadhouse and its satellite locations (Rochester, Harlem), sat us down at the roundtable, gave us a tour of the slow-roasting barbecue pits, and explained the art of making beautiful meat.

How did Dinosaur BBQ come into being? I started Dinosaur BBQ in 1983 as a mobile concession business, doing biker events, fairs, festivals. I was a gypsy BBQ guy for five years. I ended up in Syracuse and opened up my first Dinosaur location in 1988, opened up my second one in Rochester in 1998, and my son went to college around 2004 so I decided to move back to New York. That’s when I opened up Dinosaur here.

So, you started out feeding bikers? I was at this event in 1983 called the Harley Rendezvous, and it was a big gathering of hardcore bikers. I wasn’t doing anything really significant at the time, so I was looking around, and saying, “Man, I should get in the business of feeding bikers. They’re some hungry men.” Back then, it was a very, very close society. It’s not like it is now where everybody rides a Harley. I literally cut a fifty-five gallon drum in half and went to the organizers of these bike events and asked them to let me cook. That’s how it started. I called myself Dinosaur BBQ, but I really wasn’t barbecue. I was grilling. As I started cracking the Mason-Dixon line in the mid-80s I realized what I was doing; as a matter of fact I was told what I was doing. People would say, “Son, this is good but it ain’t barbecue.” I didn’t know what the hell barbecue was. I was raised in New York. To me, barbecue was throwing a hamburger or hot dog on a grill. I started learning about pits and slow cooking, and it really intrigued me. I eventually got on my bike and took a tour of the south to get a taste of what real barbecue was. It became a life’s pursuit from that point.

How do you describe the Dinosaur BBQ recipe? We smoke in the traditional southern manner. In Tennessee, Texas, and North Carolina, we’re all pretty much doing the same thing — cooking meat for long periods of time with an indirect fire. If you had to categorize it, our pulled pork is probably the most Memphis-based, our brisket is definitely Texan. Our barbecue pits are made in Mesquite, Texas, but we’ve got our own style. I can’t say I’m ever one to try and duplicate any one region.

How’d you choose this location? I was living on 101st Street at the time, and every time I went on the West Side Highway on 125th Street, I liked the feel and the vibe of it. I just loved the idea of being under this bridge. If you walk out, take a look at this bridge, it was the same architect that built the Eiffel Tower. There’s such a power and presence here.

Describe the Dinosaur BBQ clientele. We probably have the most diverse clientele in New York City. We get everybody from my neighbors, the Harlemites, people from all over Manhattan, the Bronx, Jersey, Westchester, some Columbia University students. You name it, we get it. You come here on any night and you’re going to see black, Latino, white people just mixing it up having a good time.

All coming together for the love of barbecue? Barbecue defies all socioeconomic boundaries. I’ve always said that. You know, rich and poor — it don’t matter. People feel good when eating barbecue. It’s really diverse and I like it that way.

How do your restaurants upstate different from this one? They’re all different. You can never duplicate an original. I would never try to take the Syracuse restaurant and put it anywhere else. I had to go with the architectural integrity of each building. The one in Syracuse is an old, turn-of-the-century auto dealership — it was the first Cadillac dealership in Syracuse. The Rochester location is a 1905 train station. It’s on the water, and it’s an incredible piece of architecture. They all feel like a Dinosaur, but they look a little bit different. They have the same vibe and flavor, but I would never try to copy any of them. I want them all to be slightly different. If someone goes, “Well this don’t feel like Syracuse” … well good, it’s not supposed to.

Was the first joint a hit from the start? It wasn’t at first. Again, back then it was a different environment. If there were motorcycles parked in front of a restaurant years ago, it had a bad reputation. Now nobody cares. Back then it was different. So the first year, nobody really got us, and then it started catching. By the second year, it was big. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I finally got a liquor license. We were a place just to get a good plate of food. But no one was going on dates there; no one was making it a night out. Once we got our liquor license, then the whole vibe of it changed, and we became a real place to go to. Then we started adding live music.

Do you guys do music shows here in the New York location? On Monday night we have an open jam, and on Friday and Saturday. We have music three nights a week, sometimes four.

Do you have any interest in expanding? We’re looking at a space in Brooklyn right now. I take one at a time. We may put another one upstate, but I’m not sure yet. There’s three balls in the air and I’m not sure where they’re going to drop right now.

What should someone order their first time here? Our number-one selling item is the ribs. Our ribs are St. Louis cut, and we slow-smoke them for up to four hours until the meat pulls off the bone. We rub them, smoke them lightly, and put light sauce on them. Our brisket is all about that slow-cooking process. We’ll smoke the brisket for up to 12 hours. and all the fat and all the connective tissue is based out. It ends up having slightly more fat than a bone of skinless chicken breast. The fatty part of the brisket drips out. I’ll put a plate of lean brisket up against any order of skinless breast, and it’ll have a lower fat content and be healthier for you. Pulled pork is the same thing. It’s a pork shoulder. If you put a nine-pound pork shoulder in the pit, you’re going to end up with four pounds of usable meat, because all that fat drips out of it. That’s what makes good barbecue. You want to start with a fatty piece of meat, and then the cooking process leaves it with a good flavor. It’s lean, and you’re never going to see hunks of fat on a piece of pulled pork.

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What time do you have to start cooking the meat to get ready for lunch hour? What you would be eating for lunch today went into the barbecue pit last night. We load it up about 1 a.m.

Does someone have to be here 24 hours a day? No, we’ll build a fire that will take it until about six in the morning. The barbecue pits maintain a certain temperature, and they cook very slowly at 250 degrees. The fuel self-regulates. If you’re burning low, that fire takes a long time to go down. If we were cooking at 500 degrees, that fire would be gone in an hour and a half. Because it’s at 250 degrees, we can stretch it until about 6 a.m. Another guy comes in around 7 a.m., puts another log on the fire, and builds it back up again.

Where do you go out in this neighborhood? My favorite bar in Harlem is St. Nick’s Pub on 148th Street and St. Nicholas. It’s a great old-school jazz club. Showman’s on 125th Street is a blast. Lennox Lounge is cool. I go around the corner to my friends at Toast — that’s a good Dinosaur watering hole. Those are my Harlem haunts.

How much barbecue do you eat on a daily basis? We’re going to sit down at 11:30 a.m. and do a big tasting. We do this every day in the morning, and then again at 5 p.m. When the barbecue comes out, we inspect it and taste it. I eat barbecue every day. I’m not sitting down with massive plates of it, but I’m sampling it everyday. We get a team of the general manager, the kitchen manager, and my service director. We all sit down to sample our food each day, and then we have a roundtable discussion about it. If something’s perfect, it goes over here, if it needs a little something more, it goes over here. We just re-tweak everything.

Best barbecue joints in the country? I loveThe Salt Lick right outside of Austin. It’s the quintessential Texas barbecue restaurant. It’s about 22 miles outside of Austin, in a dry county, and it’s nestled on this very picturesque road. You start smelling it about a mile out. If I’m in Memphis, I like the Cozy Corner.

Los Angeles: Top 10 Desserts

image1. Frittelli’s Doughnuts & Coffee (Beverly Hills) – Designer doughnuts in a variety of tastes, shapes, and sizes (think PB&J and butterscotch drizzle). Treats are made fresh daily, and for about a buck a piece, you can easily buy a few with your leftover laundry money. 2. Murano (West Hollywood) – Murano’s menu and dessert list recently underwent an authentic Italian overhaul, adding tiramisu and ricotta-style cheesecake. 3. Toast (Mid-City West) – The red velvet cake will change your life — and so might a chance run-in with one of the many Hollywood heavyweights who brunch here.

4. The Waffle (Hollywood) – Open way past bar close (4:30 a.m. on weekends), you can sober up with a baked hot chocolate or a sticky bun waffle before bed. 5. Luna Park (Mid-City West) – End a trendy meal with a do-it-yourself dessert. The s’mores come complete with a tiny flame brought to your table for perfectly toasted marshmallows — just watch your hair. 6. Osteria Mozza (Hollywood) – A fancy-shmancy splurge, rosemary olive oil cakes top the dessert list. 7. Lark Cake Shop (Silver Lake) – The ample array of cupcakes at this modern bakery includes chocolate-, caramel-, and mocha-tastic flavors. 8. Scoops Ice Cream (Koreatown) – The ever-evolving menu includes unique pairings like salty chocolate and Corona and lime, along with the usual suspects — strawberry cheesecake, brown bread, and several fruity flavors. 9. Axe (Venice) – The huge portions of homemade bread and chocolate-brownie puddings are well worth the $5 price tag. 10. Gyenari Korean BBQ & Lounge (Culver City) – This upscale Korean eatery focuses on light seasonal treats like the homemade shaved-ice trifle topped with fresh fruit and mango ice cream. Almost sounds healthy.

Los Angeles: Top 5 Brunch Spots for Morning Flirting

imageIt’s the morning after, so keep the magic going.

1. Millie’s (Silver Lake) – Everyone has bedhead here anyway, so you’ll fit right in. 2. Bld (Hollywood) – If you want to act classy, this is the place for little bites and mimosas. 3. Little Next Door (Mid-City West) – Everything’s sexy with a French accent, and the bowls of caffeine are perky wonders.

4. Monsieur Marcel (Santa Monica) – Be light, breezy, and sunbathed at brunch with all the purveyors and chefs in town. 5. Toast (Mid-City West) – It’s always a wait for a table, so making sparkling conversation and reward yourself with a morning cupcake.