Ahwatukee Farmers Market
You probably thought farmers markets were only about fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Ha! Think again, at least if you're at the Ahwatukee Farmers Market. While there are healthful foods to be found here, the balance of good versus evil has shifted to the dark chocolate side. Tucked between handcrafted jewelry and produce are vendors selling cookies, brownies, toffee, cupcakes, and crepes. We make the trip to the Ahwatukee market every week for locally made cheese and salad fixings, but somehow end up adding Hallie's Apple Butter and a few of Sherrye Chapin's Caramel Addiction Brownies to our reusable shopping bag. Trust us, once you get a sugar high going from all the samples they dish out, you'll forget all about your organic, healthful goody-goody diet.
Old Town Farmers' Market
Short of dedicated dog parks or your own street, there aren't many public places in Scottsdale that welcome pooches larger than a Gucci purse. That's why owners with four-footed pals in tow adore the Old Town Farmers Market, where Fido can walk the streets with his furry head held high. Water bowls are placed throughout the market, and several vendors offer homemade organic dog treats or toys. Once we even spotted Labradoodles for sale at Double Blessing's lotion and soap booth. But there was one product featured at the market this past spring that shows how dog-friendly this farmers market truly is: Bowser Beer, an alcoholic treat for dogs. If you want Spot to be man's best friend, forget the chew toys and rawhide bones. Stroll him over to the Scottsdale Old Town Farmers Market and buy him a cold one.
Frank & Albert's
Tearing down the old Biltmore Grill and starting anew with Frank & Albert's was perhaps the Biltmore Resort's smartest move to get noticed in the local dining scene. In its previous incarnation, it was never much on anyone's radar, but now it's a restaurant for more than just a captive audience at the hotel. Savvy Phoenicians are getting to know Frank & Albert's for its contemporary take on Southwestern comfort food and just as much for its gorgeous patio. Sit out here, sip a prickly peartini, and bask in the glow of a fireplace and two fire pits that make the outdoor space feel cozy. With lush landscaping and the wide-open sky, it's our favorite spot for enjoying a meal al fresco. They even have tableside s'mores for a whimsical finish.
Lon's at the Hermosa
Jackie Mercandetti
Without a doubt, the kind of brunch that really romances us is one where the food is better than run-of-the-mill breakfast, and the setting transports us to a different time and place. Such is the charm of brunch at Lon's, located at the historic Hermosa Inn. This is pure Southwestern beauty, inside and out — beautifully manicured desert grounds, and rustic but classy Southwestern décor in the dining room. The brunch menu features some seriously impressive dishes, from tasty brioche "monkey bread" (fresh out of the oven, with an irresistible cinnamon and pecan aroma) to perfect sliders made with beef tenderloin and scrambled eggs. Got a sweet tooth? Then don't miss the lemon ricotta pancakes, stacked like sculpture and gilded with huckleberry compote. Although we're glad brunch is available Saturday and Sunday, Lon's has live jazz only on Sundays. You know when to find us here.
Matt's Big Breakfast
Matt's Big Breakfast
The name only becomes more ironic as time goes by — Matt's Big Breakfast feels smaller with every new customer who discovers the place (often courtesy of The Food Network) and makes the wait here that much longer. But what's impressive is how the quality has stayed so consistent in spite of Matt's popularity. The from-scratch pancakes are still fluffy and perfect, the egg dishes are just as mouthwatering, and they still use quality local ingredients, from the citrus juice in your glass to the jam on your toast. At this point, the crowds will only get bigger.
Lo Lo's Chicken & Waffles
Did somebody say chicken and waffles? Yeah, that'll get us right out of bed. You'll never need to twist our arm to start off the day with Lo-Lo's crispy, otherworldly fried chicken and a hot pile of waffles, but even if we weren't in the mood for that (impossible, honestly), there's still so much to love about this favorite local hangout. Ivan's chorizo and eggs, served with warm flour tortillas, gives a nod to that Southwestern spice that we're hooked on, while steak and eggs with hash browns hit the spot when we're craving an old-school breakfast. Factor in rich, creamy grits, chicken gizzards smothered in gravy, and perfect red velvet cake for dessert (oh, yes, we'll have dessert with breakfast when it's this good), and it's easy to see why Lo-Lo's really makes breakfast the most important meal of the day.
Cee Cee's on the Corner
Just as you'd expect from a restaurant set among the historic buildings of Glendale's Catlin Court — literally, on the corner of 58th Avenue and Palmaire — Cee Cee's just oozes vintage charm, with wood floors, old-timey décor, and quirky antique retail to boot. Before we set out on a shopping adventure in the neighborhood, we like to fuel up with a hefty breakfast here. Chorizo and eggs are a good choice, as are the French toast and the covers-all-bases combo of ham, eggs, home fries, and toast. If you don't make it here until after 11 a.m., don't worry, slacker: the breakfast burrito, stuffed with potatoes, eggs, cheese, and either bacon or sausage, is available all day long.
Apricot Glazed Chicken from Liberty Market
Heather Hoch
Apricot Glazed Chicken from Liberty Market
It's a good thing that breakfast service at Liberty Market starts bright and early, at 7 a.m., because our cravings usually kick in as soon as we roll out of bed. What's waiting for us at Liberty Market? To eat, there are scrambled egg dishes, granola, fresh pastries, and don't-miss griddled bread pudding with espresso syrup (for a sugary boost). And for a tasty eye opener, try one of the expertly made coffee creations (try the potent cortadito, a "Cuban micro-latte") from Liberty's E-61 bar. Some days we dread getting up, but a visit to Liberty always puts a smile on our face.
Crackers & Co. Cafe
There's a lot of seating at Crackers & Co., and the folks here seem to fill it with ease. That's just a sign of how good this spot really is. Strong coffee with abundant refills, perfectly cooked omelets, egg skillets heaped with savory ingredients and generous gobs of cheese, and all kinds of guilty-pleasure treats — scones, giant cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting, crepes, blintzes, and French toast — are just a few of the a.m. options that set Crackers apart from the competition. We could eat breakfast for any meal of the day if it were always as good as this.
Orange Table
Jamie Peachey
How do the night owls of downtown Scotts­dale manage to drag themselves out of bed and recoup the day after bar hopping, wee-hours eating, and dancing like there's no tomorrow? Their secret has to be a hidden-away Civic Center eatery called Orange Table, where the made-from-scratch breakfast could revive even the most hungover (or terribly hungry) customer with killer coffee drinks like the Mexican chocolate latte, lavish buttermilk pancakes, and savory stuff like fat omelets and "white flannel hash" — a.k.a. corned beef that's worth a "Best Of" unto itself. There's often a wait to get a table here, but we can't imagine starting our day any other way.

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