Move over, Los Angeles. San Francisco is now home to one of the most expensive avocado toasts in California.
A slice of gold-flecked, caviar-topped sourdough by Cow Hollow’s Avotoasty will soon outrank a $38 smoked salmon avocado toast served at the Beverly Hills Hotel as one of priciest pieces of fruit-topped bread that money can buy when it debuts on the Union Street cafe’s menu on Saturday.
The admittedly over-the-top creation is the brainchild of Avotoasty founder Sofia Pinzon, who said she’s been dreaming of serving the decadent brunch item since 2019. Covid delayed the launch of the concept for two years—“delivery-only caviar toast” would not have been a good look or sound business decision during the pandemic, Pinzon said. But Valentine’s Day 2024 seemed like the right time to revive the idea.
“I thought that this would be a nice date,” Pinzon said. “I wanted to elevate the experience and make something special.”
The dish might be hard for some San Franciscans to swallow under even ordinary circumstances—it’s $50 per slice, after all. But perhaps nothing says romance like a half-a-Benjamin’s worth of gold-sprinkled fish eggs.
Avotoasty’s artisanal slice of sourdough from Berkeley’s Starter Bakery comes topped with a layer of fanned-out avocado slivers (that can also be ordered mashed), three mounds of Hackleback caviar from local purveyor the Caviar Company, chives and a trio of garnishes, including hardboiled egg yolk crumbles, crème fraîche and sweet and tangy Hungarian goat horn peppers by Mama Lil’s.
A few square sheets of 24-karat edible gold leaf lie atop the dollops of caviar. A glass of champagne accompanies the whole affair, which is served on a sexy slab of black slate with a purple flower. The whole dish seems designed to say, “This costs a lot, but you’re worth it”—if your sweetheart is into that sort of thing.
The Caviar Company’s national sales rep, Rebecca Frazier, observed during The Standard’s taste test that roe is considered an aphrodisiac. Ever the saleswoman, she also noted the health properties of fish eggs.
“Basically, I like to say it’s a condensed fish oil pill,” she said. “It has a lot of vitamins in it. It’s great for your skin as well.”
The healthy helping of roe that comes with the dish—half an ounce—justifies the dish’s high expense. Since one ounce of Hackleback—billed as the “last wild American caviar”—can retail for $46 alone, could half an ounce for $50, plus a glass of bubbly, actually be a deal? That depends on how much you love caviar.
As for whether the gold leaf has any nutritional value, Avotoasty’s owner had this to say:
“It has a very emotional value—makes you feel amazing after,” Pinzon said.
If you’re wondering, the gold leaf doesn’t add much to the flavor of the toast, but the caviar offers a briny explosion with each bite and pairs well with the crème fraîche and peppers. It makes for a delightful appetizer for brunch, but nothing that’s going to carry you through till dinner.
While Pinzon concedes that the gold-leafed toast is a bit “bougie” and definitely designed for the ’gram, she’s not worried about online trolls who are sure to have knives out for the caviar-laden luxury meal.
“If people hate you,” she said, “you made it.”
Avotoasty’s caviar and gold leaf avocado toast will remain on the menu of its Union Street location through the end of February.
📍1796 Union St., San Francisco