New Restaurant is the Toast of the Town )&'$)"$#"(% Toast is such a perfect name for this new restaurant in Temecula. Toast features an innovative brunch (toast anyone?) and lunch menu. And you can â€œtoastâ€? your meal with creative craft coffees or inventive craft cocktails. We recently met with one of the owners of Toast, Kim Leigh, and the restaurantâ€™s general manager, Celeste Walker. Both women are personable, enthusiastic, and passionate about serving unique and delicious dishes to their happy customers. This is not your typical hash browns and omelet breakfast joint. The dishes are imaginative while being satisfying and tasty. Toast opened in December, 2017, and is owned by Ricky and Kim Leigh, who are also the owners of popular 1909 in Old Town Temecula, and also by
) )( ) $(%)'$) )(!(&#( Rickyâ€™s parents, Rick and Danti Leigh. '!(%)($(%'!)'$'(% Itâ€™s a family affair with everyone contributing their own expertise. The elder Rick Leigh actually designed and constructed the stylish furniture in the restaurant. We were very impressed with the sleek, â€œindustrial chicâ€? design of the benches, booths, chairs and tables made of wood and metal. The atmosphere is inviting and comfortable with a modern vibe and a friendly ambiance. A major feature of Toast is its enticing menu of coffee selections. Coffee is also available â€œto goâ€? for those on their way to work or their daysâ€™ activities. Toastâ€™s location right by the entrance to the I-15 makes picking up coffee a snap. All the coffee brewed at Toast comes from Abide Coffee Roasters based in Yucaipa, California. Ten percent of every bag of coffee purchased is donated to a local charitable organization dedi-
cated to people in need. Coffee is purchased directly from traders who work with small family farmers to improve their living conditions. Abideâ€™s motto is â€œLove People Through Coffee.â€? Kim points out that they chose Abide as their coffee source in great part because of its charitable commitment. The coffee choices are tempting. I tried the Honey Lavender Cappuccino and savored its lovely flavor combinations. We also tried the Pour Over when talented barista, Seth Visocky, brewed the coffee right in front of us, pouring hot water over freshly ground coffee. It was fun to watch the dripping coffee and the result was delectable. There are a variety of coffee choices, including Vanilla Ice Charcoal Matcha, Vietnamese Coffee, and even a cute tiny cup for kids called Babyccino that isnâ€™t really coffee but, with milk, whipped cream and sprinkles, itâ€™s very appealing to little ones who can enjoy having a â€œcuppaâ€? with their parents. Toastâ€™s menu also includes some tempting cocktails that have been created by the staff. I would like to return and try the Cucumber Blue Mule and the Booyah Blackberry. We did try the Farmhouse Bloody Mary, which is literally breakfast in a glass, with inhouse smoked beef bacon, a breaded sausage meatball, a deep fried blue cheese olive, smoked cheddar, pickled asparagus, pickled garlic and pepperoncini. I consider myself a bloody mary connoisseur and this is one of the best Iâ€™ve ever tasted. Wines and beers are also available and theyâ€™re almost all from local wineries and breweries. Kim and Celeste emphasized that they like keeping their sources within the community. As much as possible, their produce, fish and meat come from local vendors. Their menu is overseen by a team of chefsâ€”Carlos Martinez, Anthony Castillo and Marcial Quinteroâ€”who are also part of the 1909 team and collaborate to create and serve dishes that are delicious, consistent, and beautifully presented.
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Kim emphasizes that Toastâ€™s food is eclectic, unique and inventive. You will not find similar dishes in any other restaurant in Temecula. We sampled a variety of Toastâ€™s most popular dishes and, without exception, they were wonderful. The CrĂ¨me Brulee French Toast was heavenly with fluffy thick toast and a scrumptious sauce. I also loved the Avocado Toast, which would be perfect for breakfast or lunch if you want a light tasty dish. It was enticingly presented on squaw toast on a bed of alfalfa sprouts with crunchy watermelon radish, a tiny quail egg, grape tomatoes, and queso fresco. I also loved the Taco â€˜Bout It. These light corn tortillas were brim full of crispy yellowtail, mixed cabbage, a lime cream sauce, pico de gallo, and queso fresco. The flavor combinations were so delightful that this just might become my go-to item on the Toast menu. But my husband (a burger man) was more inclined toward the magnificent Radical Stack. Wait until you hear about all the ingredients: pork belly, ham, a burger patty, roasted tomato, smoked cheddar cheese, sausage jam, fried egg, and hash browns all served on a brioche bun with a savory bourbon maple aioli. â€œWowâ€? is all I can say. Toast also features a variety of benedicts if you are looking for a more traditional breakfast, although these benedicts are a bit out of the ordinary. The Reuben Benedict and the Crab Cake Benedict were appealing, but we were glad we tried the Smoked Veggie Benedict, which was served on a potato cake, with poached eggs, smoked red bell pepper, asparagus, snap peas, alfalfa sprouts and a classic hollandaise sauce. There are a variety of other items on the menu appealing to those looking for vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free dishes. There are even gluten-free crepes and pancakes.
MARCH 2018 There are many more intriguing items on the menu. There is even a beer and bacon flight, which I will treat my beer and bacon-loving son to when he is in town soon. I also look forward to trying the Shrimp and Grits and the Chilaquiles Verde. It is important to note that everything at Toast is made from scratch. There are no premade sauces or syrups here. For example, the raspberry syrup is made each morning from muddled raspberries. Toast is also kid-friendly. The morning we were there several families were enjoying breakfast. There is a kidsâ€™ menu with special items and kids all receive a placemat to color, crayons, and Wiki Sticks. Bar top high chairs are available for the higher tables. Although Toast has done very little promotion since it opened a few months ago, it always seems to be busy and sometimes has lines waiting to be seated. (It is definitely worth the wait.) In addition to its delicious food, one reason for the restaurantâ€™s success is its friendly and welcoming staff who always put the customer first. Kim says they try to hire the best staff and promote from within as much as possible. They offer staff opportunities to work at both 1909 and Toast and many staff members move back and forth between both restaurants. Toastâ€™s dedicated General Manager, Celeste Walker, is a good example. She
was first hired as a chef at 1909 and soon the owners saw her management potential. When Toast opened, she became its GM. She says, â€œI love working here. I love the people I work with and it is wonderful to see the reactions of customers and the amazed looks on their faces when they try our food.â€? As if the food and drinks were not enough of a reason to visit Toast, we were so impressed with the restaurantâ€™s commitment to the community. Kim emphasizes, â€œWe believe in giving back.â€? As the mother of two small children and a former teacher and assistant school principal, Kim emphasizes that both restaurants donate to non-profits, particularly those supporting children and education. Each holiday season, 1909 holds a toy drive in conjunction with Toys
PAGE 11 for Tots and this year Toast will join in this endeavor. Both restaurants are now teaming up with Temecula Valley transition programs where young adults with disabilities are hired and trained. In addition, the restaurants are also now working with Riverside County to employ veterans through a veteransâ€™employment program. Toast serves breakfast and lunch from 6:00 am until 3:00 pm, seven days a week. It is located at 31093 Temecula Parkway in a nicely developing shopping area. Photographs by Todd Montgomery.
New in Temecula