I have had the pleasure lately of checking out various restaurants coast to coast, border state to border state. Some have been really good, some have been fair, some have been traditional and some have been eclectic. At the CTK we love to find those off-piste establishments that run wild with their plans and offer twists to the norm that cause a double take.
Recently I took a “Slow Crabber Nawth” of Boston to the bustling seaport of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Move over Manch-Vegas, Move over Crowning Jewel-Concord, there is a jumping scene in Portsmouth and leading the pack is a funky swank joint doing food with unique twists, it’s called:
The Friendly Toast, www.thefriendlytoast.com/
Listed as an American eatery with vegan options & all-day breakfasts served in quirky digs open late on weekends (113 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801), this place is the definition of funky from the food to the décor.
When you walk in its like, the “flea markets” of Florida sailed right into the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco. There is a smorgasbord for the eyes in every nook and cranny. You and the kids could play “I Spy” for days and leave the place happy, laughing and sublime! And you know what the food is a 1000 times ahead of the décor in terms of delectable treats for one’s soul.
Owners, Eric Goodwin and Scott Pulver, have created a dining experience with their staff that is it out of bounds. Sure their traditional waffle and for that matter other traditional dishes from eggs scrambled and omelets to French toast and flap jacks, are to die for. But what keeps bringing folks back are the eclectic, twisted servings and specials that those in the know keep coming back for. As the two have noted “…’Inclusive’ is the word that we feel best describes the Toast”. “Creative food, good selection, satisfying portions, and a unique look and feel, and an iconic status in both Cambridge and Portsmouth.”
Let’s talk about the food. Definitely decent portions for the price, I mean the price point is off the chart compared to the quality (first) and quantity (second) that is served from their heart. You eat here and you leave feeling you have been on vacation, yet you may just be heading in to work. What we can say is there is love imparted in the cooking and joy is brought forth from the Kitchen. I and the crew have eaten here a few times, and each visit is greeted with excitement because you just don’t know what is next.
The staff does traditional breakfast, nay – traditional New England breakfast plates, well and sometimes twisted. Their French toast plate can be made with one of 5 different house made fresh breads including whole wheat, cinnamon raisin, oatmeal, cayenne-cheddar and anadama. What you have not heard of anadama! A New England classic, this bread is made of cornmeal and molasses and is rich, served as French Toast, and you have a twist of this New England classic that is beyond the charts on taste. Served with a bottle of real maple syrup from locally run Fuller’s Sugarhouse in Lancaster, NH (267 Main Street, https://fullerssugarhouse.com/) and the taste explosion is off the charts. Served any which way but down, their Monster Breakfast plate consisting of two “mini” (there not mini) pancakes or two pieces of French toast, two eggs, home fries and a meat….Your leaving the joint as if it were Thanksgiving with the button on your jeans popped. And these are the mellow entrées.
Go “off-piste” and you are in for a culinary vacation. Our crew partook of their special Cheesecake French Toast, if you’re into feeding your sweet tooth this is the breakfast for you. Sandwiched between two slices of French toast they layer a blanket of sweet cream cheese that begins to melt and ooze out to coat the meal in a sweet icing layer you know and love. Topped with fresh fruit, you will not go wrong by your sweet side. Our other culinary gangster partook of their Hot On A Piece plate, house-made cornbread served with slab bacon, two poached eggs, Hollaindaise-Siracha sauce with home fries. From our take, that’s got to be the most delectable “off-piste” meal we have seen thus far on the East Coast.
Eric and Scott not only engage the community as a fun and easy going eatery, but they give back too. As members of the Portsmouth Community, they offer the ability to partner with local non-profit organizations and provide a 20% per sale donation for sending patrons to eat at the Friendly Toast. How easy is that, a win win fundraiser all around. Catching on to a recent trend around the County, the folks at Friendly Toast offer much more to their home base.
Gather the family and friends, head on down-east to Portsmouth and say “Hey Hey” to the folks at The Friendly Toast. Give yourself the opportunity to experience a culinary vacation, trust me you’ll go back.