Tuesday, January 10, 2012


1514 E Olive Way


Here are a few possible ways to make toast fancier than regular toast:

1. Use bread made from heirloom wheat which is harvested by orphans, milled by lesbians, baked by Italian monks, sliced by ninjas, and slathered in butter made from the milk of cows fed only foie gras.

2. Hire a robot submarine to grab some leftover bread from the wreckage of the Titanic. Then have this priceless bread toasted by your butler over the flames coming from the exhaust pipe of your platinum rocket car. Have your butler drench it in butter made from Christina Hendricks’ breast milk. Then the butler has to commit suicide so he can never reveal this awesome recipe.

3. Create some molecular gastronomy bread made from molecules, then sous vide it for several months, then caramelize the crust with a satellite- mounted laser. The “butter” is actually yellow wax into which you have somehow infused artificial butter flavor through a very complex process.

4. Two words: Faberge Bread.

5. Or you could go to Dinette and eat some of the fancy toast they sell there.

Everybody knows that Dinette is awesome. It’s been in the same Capitol Hill location for years. The interior, turquoise and yellow and dimly lit, with tiny antique tables and mismatched plates, is simultaneously precious and wizened: just like Bjork! I hadn’t been to Dinette in years, but we were prompted by a deal from Groupon or Rue La La or one of those places.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw a whole section on Dinette’s menu, dedicated to toast of all things: I was definitely more surprised than the time I saw a monkey in a tree outside my dad’s friend’s house (true, but boring, story), yet much less surprised than when I discovered that your mom can read (at a 3rd grade level).

We started with the pork belly and arugula toast ($6). Crusty slices of toasted baguette, sliced on the bias into ovals, were topped with aioli, a bright green bale of arugula, and a neat rectangle of pork belly confit. This was delicious: the pork belly had been seared outside, but so tender inside that when you bit it, it melted like a housewife’s panties during a George Clooney interview. The pork belly was topped with a sharp orange marmalade which, along with the arugula’s peppery crunch, kept the toast from veering off into a fatty abyss. “Fatty abyss” is my pet name for your mom.

Next up, also at $6, was a rapini pesto toast. Personally I’m getting fed up with pestos made of whatever the fuck plant you feel like using that day. Why not make Brussels sprout pesto? Or bay leaf pesto? Why stop there? Why not just refer to polenta as “corn pesto?” Or make a “pesto” out of green Chiclets? That swooshing sound you just heard was law and order flying out of the window! That having been said, the rapini pesto, dark green and a little bitter, worked well on this toast, paired as it was with a layer of melted gruyere, nutty like a Teabagger’s election platform. On top were some superfluous chunks of pickled red pepper which kept falling off.

The chicken liver mousse toast ($7) was better than the rapini pesto toast: this one was spackled with a thick smear of velvety chicken liver mousse. Embedded into this savory mortar were tiny fractal florets of romanseco, that bastard child of broccoli and cauliflower which, if it didn’t exist, millions of disgusted 3rd graders would have had to invent. There were also some more of the same pickled peppers from the rapini pesto toast. They worked better this time, since they stuck to the mousse instead of falling off, and the tangy spice kept the mousse in check.

I was getting toast fatigue by this point, so we got a beet salad with escarole and radicchio ($11). The price tag seemed steep but it was a pretty bigass salad. The bitterness of the chicories was barely cantilevered by the sanguine cubes of beet and the creaminess of the bleu cheese in this, the Alexander Calder of salads.

A big bowl of gnocchi ($18) was tasty: fluffy vaginas of pasta floated in a delicate cheese sauce. Twined through here and there were rich shreds of braised pork shoulder and dotted with toasted pine nuts. A dark green patchwork of braised greens completed this picture.

Dinette has elevated toast to an art form. I would be in no way saddened if they eliminated all of the other menu items and concentrated solely on toast. They could serve panzanella! They could eliminate dessert and just serve cinnamon toast! Instead of wine, they just served carafes of blended up toast! That, my friends, would be a true uTOASTpia! What an awesome pun I just made!

Rating: 7.5 puns out of 10

Dinette on Urbanspoon

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