Has the toast moment passed? Maybe.
Do I care? Not at all.
For me, it’s clearly going strong. Anytime anyone asks me for recommendations for places to go eat in San Francisco, I make sure to include The Mill on the list. For one thing, I still find it highly amusing to see a line out the door and down the street for something as basic as toast and jam, but also, that place is just good, and no matter what you think you should be paying for a slice of toast*, it's worth visiting at least once (or any of the other establishments giving toast the prime place on a menu it has always deserved, but the Mill is my go to) for a slice of their cinnamon sugar toast or cream cheese on rye.
*For the record, I don't think $4 is a lot, considering a) the giant, generous slab of bread they serve you, b) the quality of the toppings, and c) that it's still less than most people happily spend on their morning coffee.
Because let's just clarify: this is not the wimpy, soggy, over buttered toast you get as a side at your local diner, this is Toast with a capital T, a celebration of good quality bread and what happens to it when you apply a little heat, time, and imagination with your toppings. Really, the only things I don't love about the Mill are their tea selection and the fact that they are just far enough from my apartment to make visiting a non-regular occurrence on my weekends.
But the good news is, even though I've gushed embarrassingly about it above like a tween crush, it's still just toast! Which means I can easily make it at home, in as many variations as I want, as often as I want, and yes, a little more cheaply. I just follow a simple formula and bam! Toast.
Anyone can replicate the experience at home with the following math:
1 thick slice of the best bread you can buy + toasting time + absurd amount of toppings of your choice = hipster toast
That's it. Really.
Toast away my friends.
Some of my favorite variations:
The Classic A generous swipe of butter, and a sprinkle of quality sea salt, such as Maldon.
Apple Butter Lover My grandmother probably doesn't send you jars of her homemade apple butter (and I feel sorry for you), but it's ok, use your favorite apple butter, and pile it on top of a thick, buttered slice.
Nuts and Honey I used homemade pecan butter and a drizzle of some outstanding whipped honey, but any quality nut butter and honey will do.
The Restaurant Inspo I have not been to Sqirl in LA (yet) but I have been subjected to taunting pictures of their absolutely insane looking ricotta toast (seriously, google it, you will cry), so to calm myself down I made my own. Mine was a mound of homemade ricotta topped with homemade cherry jam, but any good quality ricotta plus good jam is respectable. If you are going for a true homage use brioche for the toast.