Toast Paninoteca is a new place on Main Street that opened a few weeks ago. I headed over there for lunch to try it out. As the name suggests, the restaurant features paninis and other wonderful concoctions on bread. The paninis are hot, grilled sandwiches, the tramezzini are cold sandwiches, the bruschetta and crostini are grilled and toasted respectively and topped with various things.
With bread as the main ingredient, high quality bread is essential. Toast's bread comes from the Rue Cler bakery and Guglhupf, so it doesn't get much better than that in Durham. Plus they are supporting local Durham businesses.
I am partial to any bread that is hot and contains melted cheese so Toast makes me very happy. I intend to try all of the panini. For my lunch I had a panini with rapini, Italian sausage and cheese, I think asiago but I cannot quite recall. The rapini, aka broccoli rabe (though it has no relation to broccoli), was seasoned with roasted garlic and a hint of red pepper flake. It reminded me of a pasta recipe from the Puglia region of Italy that I like to make.
In the next week or so, Toast will be getting it's liquor license to serve beer and wine. I am looking forward to going after work with my girlfriends for a glass of wine and some roasted mushroom, thyme and gorgonzola crostini and maybe some bacalao crostini.