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If you like tasty breads with toppings, Toast Gastrobrunch offers several as well as other breakfast choices! I've noticed them on social media recently and had a mini-preview during this year's Reader Brunch and Booze. We were recently invited for a full restaurant experience which led us to Carlsbad in north county San Diego. It's one street away from I-5 highway exit Palomar Airport Road. Luckily they have a larger parking lot outside so we were able to park close. By 10am, the place was packed with at least 2-3 parties waiting outside. It got busier as the morning continued.
I love the cute art and decor on the walls. This place is my jam LOL! Don't forget your hashtags!
Just past the waiting area, you're greeted by a cow! Mooooo! This large prop reminded me of a huge red tractor from another popular brunch spot, Farmer's Table. Keep the fun items coming!
Inside has your bar seating as well as dining tables for patrons. We sat next to a large window so there was plenty of light for pictures. Through the glass, we noticed a few two-seaters in a narrow side patio.
Time to explore the menu! Everything sounded so delicious with section headers of Toasts, Eggs, Pancakes, Bennys, French Toasts, South of the Border, Greens, Lunchie, and The Skinny! Our server Mia was pleasant and responsive to questions about the food. We finally narrowed our choices down to three.
Duck Confit Toast ($14) - curry duck confit, sour cherry jam, granny smith apples, pistachio, yellow drop pepper
You can't visit a place with "toast" in their name without trying one of their bread creations! Our selection was the duck confit toast which we had never seen on a menu before! The thick sliced bread offered a delightful crustiness and solid base to the toppings. The mellow meat was portioned into the right sized slivers and easy to bite. Green apples also add some crisp without adding sweetness. Pistachios sprinkled on top added a little more crunch. Usually jam is too sweet but this cherry version gave it an edge of sour to compliment the dish. All together, it was a edgy yet fun spin with atypical ingredients.
Short Rib Benny ($17) - grilled sourdough, braised short rib, harissa hollandaise, poached egg, pickled onion
We were quite surprised by the size of the short rib benny entree. The plate handled both breakfast AND dessert in one! We popped the eggs to let loose the current of golden yolk onto the bread. The short rib meat was moist and delicious. Oh yeah! I may have said that out loud. Add to that a hollandaise that had a cheesy-like taste with a pepper flavor. I like mine just a tad thicker but this one was well flavored.
A surprise was the potato side which had a lightly fried popper-like shell and mashed potatoes inside. We are always fans of pairing potatoes with sauted veggies so this hit the spot!
The nostalgia ran wild when we grabbed the candied apples, made even better with a dark chocolate coating. Less sweet like this tart granny apple plus chocolate seems like the best adult version! I enjoyed every bite of this entree and would recommend!
ABC Hash ($16) - avocado, pork belly, cheddar, potato, 2 up eggs, scallions
Now I know my abc’s… are better when it includes this B – [pork] belly! Sultry meat was juicy with well rendered fat and a little crackle of skin.
Fried potatoes had some bite texture while the onions were gorgeously caramelized. Sunny side up eggs looked perfect. Each bite was rich and tasty though a tad oily overall. We thought it could have used some TOAST to soak up some of that!
I guess we’re bottomless pits because we managed to down all this food in one sitting! It’s hard to stop when you’re enjoying the food though! I can’t wait to try another benny, notably the fried chicken version for a future visit to Toast Gastrobrunch.
Disclaimer: I was invited to the restaurant by their PR company and the food was complimentary. I was not otherwise compensated and all opinions are my own.
5970 Avenida Encinas
Carlsbad CA 92008