Bite Me will be honest with y'all. She ain't always on time. She's been known to be late. Like frequently. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But she always, always intends to be prompt and means to arrive at a predetermined location at an agreed-upon time. Seems, though, that there's always some barrier standing in her way. Gunfights. Missing buttons. Broken stilettos. Too much pre-partyin'. Half-hour too long in the sack. You get the picture. So, as bad luck would have it, Bite Me arrived at the House of Tricks minutes late and her photographic sidekick was nowhere in sight. She is easygoing to a fault, so she just planted her ass at the bar (big trauma for her, ya know) and waited. After about a half-hour, she called Emily. Seems Emily had come and seen no sign of Bite Me and waited a few minutes and then went home. Problem is, without a shutterbug, Bite Me can't bother interviewing folks since, well, hey, you all need to see what these fools who chat with her look like. So she called her, uh-huh, new friend Elaine and told her to get her ass on over to House of Tricks. Elaine zipped on over with her digital camera. Then Emily came back. What was Bite Me to do? She ended up forgiving Emily for bolting and buying Elaine a shitload of drinks. Bite Me is well aware that she behaves like a princess at times. But hell, she does want to be a good girl, so she'll try to be on time for Em next time. Odds are, though, something will happen. Doesn't it always?
Anyhoo, on to House of Tricks. What a cool freakin' place it turned out to be! It's like an adventure. There's this spacious courtyard all lit with oh-isn't-everyone-so-beautiful candles and dim lamps. And an outdoor bar. SCORE! Isn't there something about an outdoor bar that just brings some dignity to getting liquored? You're breathing in that fresh air and smelling the trees as you gaze up at the stars. You're not an alcoholic. You're a woman who appreciates nature and the beautiful climate of Tempe. Find fault with that, if you dare. Bite Me had such a good time she can't really remember the tail end of it. She only knows that she must have ordered something to eat, because she woke up the next morning with some of it left in her teeth. By the taste of it, she must have enjoyed some fine Angus sirloin with wild mushroom sauce and swanky Gorgonzola butter. Yum. She's definitely goin' back. Perhaps even on time.
Jyll Lynn Thomas and Patrick O'Neill
House of Tricks
114 East Seventh Street, Tempe
480-968-1114. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Main courses: lunch, $6-$10; dinner, $16-$28. Major cards.
Bite Me: Listen, freakboy, uh, why you got sunglasses on?
Patrick: I'm on crack. (Pat didn't really strike Bite Me as the crackhead sort. But hey, she's been wrong before.)
Bite Me: What are you doing here?
Jyll: It's so beautiful here. Where are you from? (Bite Me knows you're quickly jumping to the conclusion that Jyll is trippin'. She ain't. She's just a happy gal.)
Bite Me: Right on. You interview me. Super. I love it. Well, I moved here from L.A. in January.
Jyll: I'm gonna move to L.A.
Bite Me: Why on Earth are you moving to L.A.?
Jyll: Because I wanna be there.
Bite Me: Well, yeah, but why?
Jyll: Because that's where it's at. I wanna get into advertising, promotions, marketing.
Bite Me: Listen, you just named a whole bunch of stuff. You need to get focused, girl. (Bite Me met more than her share of folks such as Jyll and they end up, well, waiting tables. Focus. Focus. Focus.)
Jyll: I wanna make something of myself.
Patrick: I'm going with her. (Pat's that dude who just fell hard for the chick in the dorm and he's not gonna give up without a knock-down drag-out. He kids but he is utterly serious about his devotion to Jyll.)
Bite Me: You guys have a chemistry. You hate it. I hate it, but I just know you have it.
Patrick: No. We're just friends. Hey, I'm a former student. I write screenplays. It's real easy to get out of ASU. (Yeah. Bite Me is sure this dude just sailed through college. Seems so scholarly, don't he?)
Bite Me: Is it?
Patrick: It is.
Bite Me: What do you wanna do? Do you wanna work in the movie business? Jesus. And you, Jyll, c'mon, don't be a dumb-ass chick. You have to know what you want to do.
Bite Me: It is really tough to make it there.
Patrick: L.A. is high dollar, man.
Bite Me: Have you ever lived there?
Patrick: Don't need to live there. I watch Cops. I mean, c'mon, how many cop shows are filmed in L.A.? So how long were you in L.A.? (Uh, then why does Patty wanna go there?)
Bite Me: Five years.
Patrick: Read the papers, man. It's dead. Ancient history. Phoenix rocks. L.A.'s done. You guys are sinking into the ocean. Bye. Buy some property about 40 miles west, you'll have beachfront property in five years. Kiss it goodbye.
Bite Me: I've gotta agree with you on that one. When I was in college in Santa Barbara, I had some friends who lived on the beach who had a kitchen door they couldn't open. If they had, they'd be fish bait. The doors were like cemented shut.
Bite Me: You've got such a freakin' cute do-rag thang goin' on. Look at your bad self.
Peter: This is my work uniform.
Bite Me: Grand. You must be proud. I should point out that you're wearin' clogs. God bless you, buddy. Hey, who do people tell you that you look like?
Peter: Elvis Costello. Maybe because until recently I had an Afro. (Uh, did Elvis have an Afro? Ever?)
Bite Me: I'm actually thinking more along the lines of Roberto Benigni, but screw it. I'm gonna pass you off to my photo babe and take a drink break.
David and Peter Finley
Teacher; refused to divulge
Bite Me: So your last name is Finley, huh?
David: Just like the baseball player.
Bite Me: Like I'd know that. I don't follow baseball, man. (Bite Me was once on a chick baseball team. She joined solely for the uniform. She sucked at baseball, ran from the ball. She made up excuses for missing practice and her mom caught her. Mama made Bite Me call up the coach and confess that she'd joined only for the uniform. Coach actually laughed at her. Wasn't even mad. Probably relieved as shit.)
David: Well, c'mon, you live in Phoenix.
Bite Me: So it follows that I must be a baseball whiz. No dice, buster. Sportos aren't really celebrities to me. Balls and boys don't make bad-ass. So what do you do for a living, Dave my man?
David: I teach English and humanities.
Bite Me: Are you humane?
David: Probably not.
Bite Me: I've had my eye on you since I walked into this place. But you seemed so unapproachable.
David: That's how I keep reporters away from me.
Bite Me: Yeah. I bet they're on your ass night and day. So hey, are the school systems here good?
David: We've got a bad reputation.
Peter: That's true.
Bite Me: The freak speaks. Hey, where are you from, long-silent brother of the inhumane?
Peter: Salt Lake City, Utah.
Bite Me: Are you a Mormon dude?
David: He's my brother, but he looks like a Mormon.
Peter: I think if you go to Utah you should just talk to somebody and not ask if they're Mormon.
Bite Me: Dude, I'm not in Utah. But if I was, I'd ask anyone I freakin' wanted to if they were Mormon. I'd then ask them where to score some kind bud.
David: Why don't you accommodate her? She's only got so much tape.
Bite Me: You rock cool, brother dude. So hey, Utah bro, are you at least a pretty good snowboarder?
Peter: I'm okay.
Bite Me: I learned how to do that a few years ago and it's like getting down the hill is such a huge big hurdle and then it's all about the tricks.
Peter: I'm not big into tricks. I don't enjoy getting hurt. I'm about the fluidity.
Bite Me: What the fuck do you mean, fluidity? Eek. Do you like Utah?
Peter: I love it.
Bite Me: What's so grand about Utah?
Peter: It's got everything I need.
Bite Me: Like . . . ? Snow? The outdoors?
Peter: It's got the extreme outdoors.
Bite Me: What's extreme outdoors? Are you gnarly, man?
Peter: I rock climb and snowboard, but I work too much.
Bite Me: What is it that you do to bring home the bacon, buddy?
Peter: I don't wanna tell you what I do.
Bite Me: So how long y'all been brothers?
Bite Me: I've had my eye on you all night but I frankly can't figure out why. I think it was Peter's shirt. I dig it.
David: He's a minimalist.
Bite Me: I'm not gonna use you unless I can coerce you into a photo, but I like you. You're cute: great face, good hair, and you've got that good shirt. I appreciate what you say though it ain't much.
Peter: I didn't mean to offend you.
Bite Me: Oh darlin', that's damn near impossible.
Peter: The scary thing is I probably wouldn't talk to you any differently if you didn't have the microphone. I hate the sun. That's why I don't live here.
Bite Me: Dude, you're too white to live here. You're practically albino.
David: We're both crackers.
Peter: Cracker city.
Bite Me: Cracker city.
Manager, House of Tricks
Bite Me: Tell me about this place, man.
Brent: Well, it's been here for 15 years. It's constantly evolving and growing larger. I think things are going well.
Bite Me: Are you always this schmoozy?
Brent: No. It's just because you're holding a tape recorder in my face and if I wasn't schmoozy my boss would kill me. So what are you doing later? Not that I'm asking what you're doing later . . (God forbid, apparently.)
Bite Me: I'm not sure. Where are we? Do you remember when Pamela Anderson kept saying that in her X-rated video with Tommy Lee? That was classic.
Brent: I don't really remember that.
Bite Me: Okay, I'm the freak. So, what's the best thing about this place?
Brent: The food, of course. But the wine, the wine I feel passionately about, I guess.
Bite Me: Go love your grapes, mister man. 'night.
As parlayed to Marnye Kaye Oppenheim
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Phoenix dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.