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The Freshest New Takes on Avocado Toast

While many cafes keep it simple, others are taking this instant classic to mischievous new levels of artistry. Here’s where to find the most-creative versions of avocado toast from coast to coast.

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Grilled Cheese Avocado Toast at Little Donkey, Cambridge, Massachusetts

At this hip Central Square all-day cafe, chef duo Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer pump out inventive, globally inspired small plates. Guests sip creative cocktails while noshing on dishes like black pepper popovers with steak tartare and spicy Thai street noodles. The grilled cheese avocado toast is a perfect mashup of the childhood sandwich and the adult brunch favorite. Comté, Gruyere and sauerkraut are sandwiched between thick-cut, grilled sourdough, then smothered with smashed avocado, pickled vegetables and cilantro. You could attempt to eat this thing with your hands, but chances are you’ll need a bib if you don’t want to resemble a toddler.

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Photo: Vincent Ventura

Tofu Toast at Dove's Luncheonette, Chicago

This Tex-Mex diner by the One Off Hospitality team (the folks behind Publican, Blackbird and other Chicago hotspots) serves a homey mix of Southern-inspired Mexican fare, ranging from blueberry quinoa pancakes to a country ham tamal. One of the most-popular picks is the seasonally changing avocado toast. Always set atop Publican Quality Bread (made from local and sustainably sourced flours), past avo toasts have included one with beet-cured trout with jicama and cilantro and another with strawberry, pumpkin seed oil, arugula, mint and crispy quinoa. The spring 2018 iteration offered a protein-packed punch with locally made, non-GMO tofu, fried tempura style, as well as arugula, jicama, onions, pepitas and a sweet and spicy habanero-citrus glaze. Even tofu haters can get on that train.

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Farro Bread Toast at Slab Sandwiches and Pie, Seattle

Swapping out all-purpose flour for nutty, sweet farro, James Beard Award winner John Sundstrom gives his avocado toast an heirloom twist at this casual sandwich-and-pie shop. His Farro Bread Toast is topped with smashed avocado, sweet and spicy tomato ginger jam, frisee and the option of crispy chicken skin. Set right in the midst of Seattle’s Capitol Hill’s Pike-Pine corridor, this laid-back sibling to upscale Lark Restaurant has become a lunch go-to. The food here is so good that you’ll want to strategize: Go light with the avo-topped farro toast and save room for a rectangular slab of chocolate and smoked marshmallow pie. A light lunch will cancel out dessert, right?

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Avocado Toast at Hinoki & the Bird, Los Angeles

"Growing up, my mother would feed me half an avocado with soy sauce poured in the middle, so I wanted to incorporate the flavor profile into the avocado toast," says Hinoki & the Bird chef Brandon Kida. It seems he pulled it off in his unique avocado toast with hijiki and pickled shallots. The hijiki, a seaweed that’s simmered in dashi and soy until tender, amplifies the flavor that Kida was trying to mimic, while the pickled shallots incorporate acid and texture. Those flavorful, crunchy toppings are sprinkled on avocado mashed with salt and lime juice, piled atop fresh buckwheat bread that’s made in-house by Hinoki’s talented baker.

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