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The Calypso, a frittata-style egg dish, also gets the day off to a hearty start. The ingredients don't have any novelty--diced ham, onions, peppers, cheese--but they're tasty enough. And so are the wedges of skillet-fried potatoes that come alongside. But Pischke's needs to find a better bagel supplier. The ones sharing the omelet platters don't get much beyond supermarket quality.
Gringos rancheros is about as wild and crazy as the breakfast offerings get. But it's not exactly the kind of dish I crave first thing in the morning. You get a crisp tortilla heavily coated with refried beans, blended with minuscule amounts of insipid pork sausage. It's all topped with cheese and two eggs. This platter furnishes more heft than flavor. French toast, though, is right on target. The kitchen uses thick wedges of eggy bread, and stuffs them with a choice of fillings. The spiced cinnamon apple model is a good option. The biggest disappointment? No question, the pancakes. I like that Pischke's lets you order them singly, instead of by the stack. I also anticipated enjoying the whole-wheat batter and tempting fillings. The Tropical pancake, for example, is flecked with pineapple, coconut, raisins, apple and papaya. But these flapjacks are much too dry and rubbery to wake up for. And the syrup makes eating them even more of an ordeal. Pischke's brings tacky plastic containers of Log Cabin Lite--labeled "Reduced Calorie Syrup Product"--a horrifying blend of sugar and chemicals without a molecule of maple. This stuff should be buried.
Pischke's shows some a.m. promise, but it's not yet worth leaping out of bed for. Wrigley Cafe, 6001 North 24th Street, Phoenix, 553-7391. Hours: Breakfast and Lunch, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
7217 E. 1st St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251-4401
Region: Central Scottsdale
If you're hit with the urge to leap out of bed and eat breakfast at the Wrigley Cafe, I suggest you lie down until the feeling passes.
Part of the Wrigley Mansion complex, the place registers zero on the charm scale. There's an antiseptic Southwestern motif--ristras, by-the-numbers paintings and regional gimcrackery. Institutional metal buffet tables around the edges of the room display cans of juice and soda pop, individual boxes of cereal, containers of yogurt, out-of-season fruit and doughnuts. Nothing on them suggests that the cook is going to be breaking much of a sweat preparing breakfast.
Those suspicions are confirmed once breakfast arrives. Clearly, I was deluded by the ritzy address and Wrigley name into thinking I'd get something other than coffee-shop fare. I didn't.
The instantly forgettable Wrigley sandwich features egg, ham, cheese and some chunks of avocado on a croissant that could have been left over from an executive breakfast the day before at the mansion.
The breakfast burrito is harmless enough, about as close to a ringing endorsement of the food here as I can muster. Eggs, peppers, cheese and bland chorizo come rolled in a tortilla, accompanied by an ice-cold metal cup of less-than-sensational salsa. The Wrigley muffin is another reason to skip breakfast. It's a snoozer, an English muffin coated with cream cheese, and topped with egg, bacon and tomato. The French toast is just as boring. At least it wasn't made with Wonder bread. Assorted pastries and muffins are alternatives to the full breakfasts, but no improvement on them. One more thing. Despite being armed with Wrigley Cafe's address, I had a hard time tracking it down. It's not on 24th Street at all, but back behind the Arizona Biltmore. However, as a public service, I'll refrain from providing more explicit directions.