pumpkin toast from the libertine photo by greg rannells

5 fancy toasts to try right now

This is not the toast you make at home. It is, instead, an elevated version – like tricked-out mac-n-cheese or gold-dusted hamburgers – a trend with roots in San Francisco that traditionally sticks to breakfast-oriented recipes with butter, sugar, jam or nuts. The toast showing up in St. Louis, however, tends toward savory and offers a radical wave of innovative flavor. And since this is the city of beer, why not wash down your trendy toasted grains with a tall glass of the liquid kind? Out with wine, cheese and crackers – and in with toast.

pumpkin toast from the libertine // photo by greg rannells

Pumpkin Toast
Oven-roasted pumpkin is tossed with a brown butter vinaigrette made with sour verjuice and sherry vinegar, then mashed and spread on toasted, house-made sourdough bread. It’s then scattered with shrimp poached in a citrusy court bouillon and dressed with spicy yuzu mayonnaise. This is topped with a Mexican-style vegetable escabeche of sliced radishes marinated in olive oil, vinegar, herbs and onions. Completing the dish are grilled pear slices, radish sprouts and diced chives. 
Pair with: Avery Brewing Co. White Rascal
The Libertine, 7927 Forsyth Ave., Clayton, 314.862.2999, libertinestl.com

pork shoulder-sweet potato baguette from veritas gateway to food and wine // photo by greg rannells

Pork Shoulder-Sweet Potato Baguette
It starts with salt- and brown sugar-cured pork shoulder, pan-seared then braised in chicken stock with sorghum until it achieves a corned beef-like texture and flavor. Next come diced, pan-roasted purple sweet potatoes. Finally, oven-roasted eggplant is blended with goat cheese and labneh before the whole shebang is stacked on toasted baguette slices with grated, cured egg yolk, house-pickled okra and fresh arugula.
Pair with: Civil Life American Brown
Veritas Gateway to Food and Wine, 15860 Fountain Plaza, Ellisville, 636.227.6800, veritasgateway.com

radicchio agrodolce crostini from katie's pizza and pasta // photo by greg rannells

Radicchio Agrodolce Crostini
Creamy mascarpone cheese is richly balanced by bitter radicchio seasoned in a sweet and sour agrodolce. A half-inch slice of Italian bâtard (similar to a French baguette) is then drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, toasted in a wood-fired oven, spread with mascarpone cheese and topped with the warm agrodolce. Shaved Parmigiano and toasted pine nuts complete the stunning presentation.
Pair with: Modern Brewery Citrapolis
Katie’s Pizza and Pasta, 9568 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, 314.942.6555, katiespizzaandpasta.com

mushroom conserva toast from urban chestnut grove brewery & beerhall // photo by greg rannells

Mushroom Conserva Toast 
This earthy, creamy pairing showcases a conserva made from a bounteous mix of fresh, local mushrooms combined with shallots, chives, thyme, champagne vinegar and olive oil. Add fresh ricotta, blended with olive oil and black pepper and spread on a toasted piece of Miller’s five-grain round bread from Companion Bakery. Pea shoots complete this picture-perfect toast.
Pair with: Urban Chestnut Ku’damm 

Urban Chestnut Grove Brewery & Bierhall, 4465 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.222.0143, urbanchestnut.com

butternut squash-beet rye toast from small batch // photo by greg rannells

Butternut Squash-Beet Rye Toast
A slice of toasted rye bread, made in-house, is generously smeared with a creamy blend of slow-roasted squash and Heartland Creamery goat cheese, layered with roasted beets and topped with arugula dressed in shallot jam. This delicious veggie creation gets finished with toasted walnuts and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. A mouthful? Just ask for the “Rye.”
Pair with: Bell’s Smitten Golden Rye Ale

Small Batch, 3001 Locust St., St. Louis, 314.380.2040, smallbatchstl.com