Toast: Then & Now

When I was in college, I’d get up early on weekday mornings and head down to a nearby bakery. I’d order a cup of coffee and a thick slice of toast with jam for breakfast and settle in at my favorite corner table to finish up my homework before I had to go to class.

This became such a ritual for me that eventually the people at the bakery knew my order and they’d put a piece of toast in when they saw me come through the doors. (I became such a regular, in fact, that one day not long after I’d moved to SF, a woman on the N Judah said I looked familiar to her and it turned out she worked at that Santa Cruz bakery where I’d have my morning toast and coffee.)

the millMy taste in coffee and in bread has changed a lot since college (I wasn’t a regular coffee drinker then), and I doubt that my old breakfast would be palatable to me now that I’m used to starting my mornings with Blue Bottle Coffee and Tartine or Della Fattoria bread.

But there’s now a place in SF where I can get a much-improved version of my old college breakfast: The Mill, a new coffee and bread shop on Divisadero. The Mill serves better coffee (SF’s Four Barrel) and better bread (baked by local bread man Josey Baker), and they are serious about toast: they have a toast menu that chantoastges daily. It might include cinnamon toast or toast with crunchy almond butter. On the day I was there, there was a rye toast with cream cheese and I’ve read about a toast that is topped with maple syrup (I must try this!).

I opted for the day’s special toast, which was really similar to the toast I used to eat on those early mornings in Santa Cruz: a thick slice of toast with butter, strawberry preserves and a little salt (the salt was a nice, subtle addition). The toast wasn’t exactly mind-blowing and my macchiato was a tad muddy, but I still liked the place if for no other reason than it reminded me of another time.

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