LA’s popular Toast Bakery Café is located on trendy Third Street between The Grove and The Beverly Center. Since it opened it has always been quite the hot spot. A few movies and TV shows have filmed there (The Hills, Entourage and even Rachael Ray) and it’s even known as a place for possible celebrity sightings. I had breakfast at Toast way back in 2001 when I had just moved to Los Angeles, and a weekend visitor suggested it. I never went back. Not because the food or service was bad, but because even back then (before I started leading food tours) I just felt there was such a wide variety of restaurants to choose from in that neighborhood, I didn’t feel the need to make a return visit anytime soon. I never understood the massive lines of people waiting to get in on a weekend morning when they could also dine at Joan’s on Third or Doughboys or Tart or anywhere in The Farmer’s Market. But alas, Toast has had staying power and 14 years later, I made a return visit there for dinner.
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My friend Laura had invited me to a travel presentation by Fodor’s at Traveler’s Bookcase. This fabulous independent book store also happens to be located on the same stretch of Third Street mentioned above, on the western end closer to The Beverly Center than The Grove. So I suggested we arrive early to peruse the restaurants and dine before the event. We considered Electric Karma, Plancha Tacos , Olio Pizzeria, Joan’s on Third and others before deciding on Toast. Laura had reviewed their menu on line and felt like they had a nice assortment. We opted to sit outdoors and took turns checking out the dessert cases inside. We shared both a burger and a panini sandwich, one came with sweet potato fries and the other with a 7-grain tomato, cucumber and quinoa salad. But since Laura’s birthday is next week, we just had to celebrate with something sweet.
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We ordered the chocolate-chip cookie in a mini skillet which arrived with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It. was. incredible! Perfectly baked and served warm enough for the ice cream to melt a bit but not into a puddle. We ate every single bite and even asked our server for more ice cream, which he was awesome enough to bring us a cup complimentary. Then when he heard it was Laura’s birthday he brought us two cupcakes on the house. It was such a lovely evening and every one of our dishes was tasty and fresh. But it was that Skillet Cookie that topped the cake. I am declaring my Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert from Toast Bakery Café as my best bite of the week.