Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Is Toast the new Cupcake?

Toast.....  It's a pretty simple thing, in it's simplest form, it is bread with heat applied to each side to make it slightly dried and browned, or "toasted".  It's been around forever, not something one would consider new, hip or trendy... but wait.... maybe they do...

It appears that in San Francisco, the hub of northern California, toast has turned into the hipsters new treat of choice.  Ciao, Cupcakes, Bye-bye, bacon.  It's toast that they're standing in line for in the city by the bay.  Of course, it's not just your wonderbread-in-the-sunbeam kind of toast, it's made with artisanal breads, organic butters - both nut and dairy, alongside fancy, handcrafted jams and jellies - natural, artisanal, organic - all the latest "good for you" buzzwords.

It appears that the originator of the craze is the Trouble Coffee and Coconut ClubPacific Standard magazine writer John Gravois recently visited northern California to uncover what’s behind the area’s newfound love of toast.   At Trouble, he met 34-year-old owner Giulietta Carrelli, who told him how starting her own business and serving toast saved her life.  Carrelli suffers from schizoaffective disorder—a brain disorder with features of both schizophrenia and bipolar disease, and was looking for something to keep her grounded and give meaning to her life.

Trouble began with a $1,000 loan from a friend in 2007. Carrelli decided to focus her menu around coconuts, which she told Gravois, is a great food for striking up conversations with strangers, and, of course, the now-famous cinnamon toast, which reminds her of growing up with her family in Cleveland. “We never had pie,” Carrelli says. “Our American comfort food was cinnamon toast.”  Opening up her popular café helped Carrelli clean up her life and stay grounded and focused, she told Gravois.

There are "Toast Bars" popping up all over the city - for just $4, you too, can stand in line at cafes with names like Acre, Red Door or The Mill and score yourself some crunchy bread with your choice of toppings.

Toast fever has spawned outrage in some - it represents everything that is hipster, the nouveau rich and all that the average-joe sanfranciscan-ite abhors about them.  The fact that they pay more for two slices of crispy bread than most people pay for an entire loaf of bread screams 1% - "they can't even toast their own bread?".  Recent outcries in San Francisco have accused the tech industry for ruining the city, causing the prices of housing and more to rise, simply because the newly rich can afford it and forcing many from their longtime residences because they can't afford the new cost of living.  It's not the browned, crusty, dough that the residents have issue with, it's what a $4 slice of toast stands for - An August article on Venturebeat entitled "$4 toast: Why the tech industry is ruining San Francisco" quickly turned this food item into a target for sarcasm.

The toast phenomenon is headed your way -  there's no escaping the aroma of toasty, warm bread in your local coffee shop.  The question is.... will you try it?

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