“Artisan toast” is the stuff of parody, the punchline to a plethora of jokes about foodies and their ridiculous proclivities. But if it's the thing that gave us Sqirl, we're all for it. When chef-owner Jessica Koslow opened this small cafe on Virgil Avenue, it was at first a way to showcase her extraordinary jams. How do you showcase jam? Toast. Thick, buttery, amazing toast. Since then, the space has morphed, the menu has expanded and Sqirl is so much more than its toast. But even when you're ordering “squid in its ink with charred peppers, cranberry beans and salsa verde,” it will come with that toast, and be all the better for it. There are even dishes here built on a foundation of burnt toast. And the original, served with chocolate ganache, nut butter and fleur de sel? Still delicious. —Besha Rodell
720 N. Virgil Ave., E. Hlywd., 90029. (323) 284-8147, sqirlla.com.