Each week, we review a different breakfast spot in town, highlighting culinary offerings, brunchability, and the overall vibe as you sip your morning joe. Whether the restaurant in question is grab-and-go or stay-and-play, each offers a unique breakfast buzz that might be just what you need for the most important meal of the day.
The Spot: Kale and Clover Mindful Kitchen
20511 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale
The Scene: Kale and Clover is a north Scottsdale eatery that never seems to get too crowded because most people who eat there get food to-go. That’s good for you. All the hurrying moms in yoga pants and duos who rode bikes in for a quick juice — juices are all pre-bottled, ready to be scooped and dropped into vehicle cup holders — are missing out on a cool laid-back a.m. meal eaten on a mostly-empty patio.
Tables are spaced far apart. The rush stops.The design is sleek and modern. Bourbon-brown wood dominates, white accents popping here and there.
This is a great place for breakfast before or after the main event of your day. You can get in and out as fast as you want, and even totally unrushed meals feel efficient. Come on a Saturday after hitting the nearby McDowell Mountains for a hike. The breakfast will keep the good vibes going.
The Goods: You will find the likes of acai bowls and yogurt creations, but it's the roster of savory breakfast dishes that anchors Kale and Clover’s a.m. menu. Executive chef Gerardo Moreno, formerly of The Mission and Modern Margarita, coaxes more flavor out of eggs, rice, and potatoes than one would expect from a "mindful" health-focused eatery.
Sweet potato pancakes will bullseye your hankering for fluff and syrup. These babies have the diameter of a soccer ball. They come in a stack of three. Orange, airy, and griddled to a heavy brown lacing, pancakes are soft on the inside and have the fragrant, faintly sweet flavor of Red Garnet Yams. Dunk them in the generous bowl of maple or agave syrup that comes on the side.
I typically avoid scrambles and all kinds of eggy concoctions at health food places because I can cook them at home better for one-third the price. But I can’t hang with Kale and Clover's egg bowl.
Two eggs come zigzagged with pesto. The pesto is made with kale and lime juice. It has such a luscious citrus edge that the earthy, vegetal qualities of the kale are mellowed and highlighted. This one time, you’re actually happy it’s not basil but another green. As you fork your way around, pesto finds its way onto the bowl’s brown rice and avocado. The citrus plays nicely with grilled zucchini's char and links up with the astonishing flavor of roasted cherry tomatoes. An egg bowl doesn't get much better.
Kale and Clover has a lineup of juices from Old Town-based Kaleidoscope. They are made from pretty standard combinations of green, tart, and sweet fruits and vegetables. Juices taste fresh and on the mild side. Recently, I wrapped my lips around a bottle of Anton’s Spinach: spinach, ginger, apple, lemon, celery, and mint. Every last ingredient worked to mold the juice into something easily drinkable. For those inclined, Kale and Clover also blends smoothies.
In the end, my only beef is unrelated to the food and drink. At this "mindful" earth-forward eatery, I couldn't find any recycling bins for my plastic.
The Bottom Line: Go here if you don’t want a big production for breakfast but are in the mood for healthy, flavorful food that will catapult you happily into a huge day.
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Special Something: Kaleidoscope’s charcoal lime water. Currently voguish in granola health circles, charcoal supposedly has profound health benefits. Though this stuff looks like thin motor oil, its ashy vibes are turned all the way down. You taste mostly lime, and, hell, maybe the charcoal actually does something.
Breakfast Hours: Every day 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Coffee Options: Drip coffee, iced, and the simplest espresso-based drinks. As of recently, the tea selection has been expanded to include matcha and matcha lattes.
Fresh-squeezed juice: Fresh-squeezed OJ is the only juice made in-house. The wide selection of pre-bottled Kaleidoscope juices is unsurprising but good.
Drinking Before Noon: A few beers and house wines can be ordered. One of those wines is Champagne. Get bubbly, order OJ, and make a mimosa.