Sunday, March 06, 2005

Cup 102: Sunday Night at the Friendly Toast

Where: The Friendly Toast, Portsmouth NH
When: Sunday, March 6, 5 pm
Who: Matt & Mike Curti
Coffee: unknown
Mood: Happy

I am bruised and sore from sledding. You know, sledding just didn't seem this self-abusive the last time I went. That was 25 or so years ago and an hundred pounds lighter, though. It was still fun after all these years, though! The afternoon trip to Portland didn't pan out. My friends never called me back. I'd be upset about that, but it means I get to have boys night out with my favorite brother-in-law and favorite nephew. Of course, they are my only brother-in law and nephew, but I'm sure they'd still be my favorites even if I had dozens of them. I'm always happy that my sister married such a great guy, and I couldn't ask for a cooler nephew. Caritha and Sofia didn't want to go out to dinner, so it was just us men. Two of my favorite people at my favorite restaurant!

A word about The Friendly Toast. You are going to think I'm making this up, but I swear it is true. My friend Matt Jasper was married to Melissa Jasper. The marriage kind of fell apart when Melissa, as Matt put it, "ran off with the 6 foot tall lesbian guitarist from the band Motorpussy." They divorced. She kept the name Jasper. Matt remarried to Beatrice Weathersby, a Costa Rican circus performer who co-authored medical textbooks with her dad even though she dropped out of high school. Melissa and Beatrice became friends while they were working at the Salvation Army in Dover, NH. They took home all the best artifacts from the Salvation Army. Bizzarre or kitschy paintings, old advertisements, weird sculptures and so on. Then Melissa and Beatrice opened a restaurant and decorated it with all the stuff they'd been saving. Matt washed dishes. It moved a couple of times, settling in downtown Portsmouth. The location may have changed, but the eccentricity only increased. Now it is the size of small warehouse, and its walls are a museum of bad art and design mayhem. A non-nostalgic look back at a past many would just as soon forget, but others find beautiful and hip. Like pointy-tipped eyeglasses and Russ Meyer movies. Beatrice sold her half of the restaurant to Melissa. Melissa remarried, to a man. He changed his last name to Jasper...

The Friendly Toast could probably get by just on the decor, but that is just where it starts. The menu is vast, containing a hundred or more items ranging from ordinary to exotic to things you might eat on a dare, if your honor was on the line, or if you were really, really drunk. There is a wonderful variety of vegetarian items, and even the non-vegetarian items you can usually get with meat substitute. I've never been disappointed by anything I've eaten there, and I've eaten there a whole lot. And all the food comes in astonishing quantities. And the toast? Yes, it is friendly. Fresh baked just for them, usually about two inches thick and fried in butter. Again, it ranges from the mundane white and wheat, to the exotic, like the chipotle chili and cheddar bread I had this evening.

Mike got egg-in-a-hole. Egg-in-a-hole is fun. Take a slice of bread and a glass. Mash the glass, top-down into the bread to cut out a circle from the middle of the bread. Then put it in a frying pan, drop an egg into the whole, and fry it up! Matt had the Almond Joy pancake. Chocolate chips, coconut, almonds in a pancake that put the "cake" back in pancake. I got the Peasant Breakfast. Not sure why it is called that. It was two piles of food on a plate. The first was tofu, carrots, corn, rice, and other fun, and the second was black beans, spinach and other things I can't remember right now, but it was wonderful and delicious and I ate way more than I should have and enjoyed every minute of it.

I usually don't drink coffee that late into the evening, but I still had a drive ahead of me. The Friendly Toast has a distinct coffee. Not sure where they get it from. There is a charred harshness to it that is not unpleasant yet is uniquely Friendly Toast.

Matt wants to go there regularly. He makes me such a proud uncle! He loves the food and the atmosphere. It was the first time out with just da boyz. I guess that is one advantages to Matt and Sofie getting older. They can start doing things without each other and without both parents and have it be okay.

This time away from Orono has been good for me. I haven't felt depressed at all since I got out of town.

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