I had originally conceived of this avocado toast Food Fight as a kind of love offering to my vegan friends and family, several of whom are regular readers. Lord knows they’d have every reason not to be, what with all the animal-based dishes I feature.
But then, a brain fart. As I ordered my avocado toasts, I was given the option of adding an egg. I gladly did so, absent-mindedly, thus rendering my vegan intentions a failure.
Egg or no egg, I was very pleased that I ventured into avocado-toastdom. Chowing on this healthy dish was a revelation. I’ll be back for more, no question.
As contestants, I chose two independent, boho-leaning restaurants a bit north of downtown St. Pete: Karma and Flatbread & Butter (or FB&B, as the logo on the door says).
Karma serves bowls, smoothies, made-in-house juices, and an array of salads, sandwiches and other treats. The brand now has three locations — the flagship on 4th Street and 18th Avenue, where we ate, one in Clearwater, and a new spot in downtown St. Pete.
Despite its name, Karma doesn’t go big on the Eastern/mystical vibe. From the covered patio out back to the cozy interior to the affable staff, the place just felt comfortable.
On a sunny Monday at 2 p.m., I ordered Cado Toast ($9.50) with a hard-boiled egg (agh) and red pepper flakes on the side.
I added a Twisted Dragon juice ($6) that included an array of fruit flavors, and offered a vivid, tart taste that wasn’t too sweet.
The single slice of toast was generously slathered with luscious green avocado spread, flecked with seasoning. The hardboiled egg was neatly sliced, and the red pepper flakes sat in a plastic container, destined to be ignored.
Texture and Taste
The avocado was creamy, as expected. Creamier, actually, like edible satin. That was due in part to the olive oil mixed in.
I occasionally put avocado slices on my salads at home, and as a result I expected bland. But somehow this smashed avocado was damn near bold. Lemon added some bite, and there was a blend of savory flavors in there that gave the stuff a whole lot of character. Must’ve been sprinkled with some kind of cosmic dust.
The bread was nicely chewy, but the avocado spread was the star attraction of this dish. I ate it ravenously with my hands.
Oh, and the egg (yeesh) turned out to be a nice complement.
Flatbread & Butter
This place is situated in a weathered building just west of 4th Street in Historic Uptown, one of St. Pete’s more boho neighborhoods, populated mostly by young people with hair of many hues. The eatery is wedged between a yoga studio and a juicery called The Works.
We arrived at 1:55 on Tuesday, five minutes before the restaurant stopped serving its brunch menu, which includes Smashed Avocado Toast ($12). I added a poached egg (oy!) for three bucks A quick aside here: I recommend putting this item on the lunch menu as well. What’s the harm?
FB&B’s version (show in photo at top) was surprisingly colorful, with pickled onions, heirloom tomatoes, seeds (poppy, pumpkin, sunflower), seasoning and, of course, avocado green. The piece of sourdough toast on which all of this sat was bigger than the competition’s. the poached eggs — they mistakenly gave me two — rested in a small metal container.
Texture and Taste
FB&B’s Avocado Toast offered a delightful complexity, made even better by the addition of the runny egg (one last mea culpa to you vegans). I was concerned that the pickled onions would overwhelm the dish, but they were agreeably mild.
The smashed avocado, more thinly applied than at Karma, was a role player in an ensemble cast. The seeds and seasoning provided crunch and just the right level of saltiness.
I ate the large portion greedily — with a knife and fork. It made for a hearty late lunch.
And the Winner of the Avocado Altercation Is …
Before I reveal the victor, let me say that this was one of toughest decisions I’ve had to make as your Food Fight correspondent. I even considered calling it a draw. But instead …
Their avocado spread was more scrumptious and forward. This is, after all, a bout between avocado toasts.
On the other hand, I would likely opt for FB&B’s version as a meal. It featured a terrific combination of really good things — and lots of them.
But my biggest takeaway from this week’s Friday Food Fight: Who knew avocado toast could be so substantial and so, so good?
Next time I’ll have it without the egg.