Over Easy
Katie Johnson
Late last year, Aaron May's happenin' breakfast place moved out of its old digs in a refurbed Taco Bell on 40th Street to a considerably bigger spot in a Safeway-anchored strip mall about a mile east on Indian School Road. Even with a bigger space, there still are lines out the door on the weekends. No wonder. Over Easy is one of the best breakfast joints in this part of town — or any part of town, for that matter. Whether you're with the family (the kids will dig the bright and whimsical interior, replete with framed pictures of old-school Disney characters) or nursing a hangover with your buddies, it's tough to go wrong with the cheese and jalapeño biscuits and gravy, housemade corned beef hash, outstanding breakfast sandwiches, gut-busting pancakes and waffles, and our personal favorite, the spicy (and filling) chilaquiles. You're going to pay a little more than you might at a mom 'n' pop bacon-and-egger, but for morning munchies this good, it's worth it.
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Jackie+Mercandetti
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If coffee's not enough to wake you up in the morning, try a pop of color — in the form of the hot-pink furniture and shocking green wall of moss at Province, the restaurant in the brand-new Downtown Westin. When the Sheraton opened down the block a couple of years ago, there was a lot of hoopla, but no one said much when the Westin quietly opened its doors a few months back. We'll say it: This place is way cool! And a great way to start your day. We love the airy lobby (and the airy rooms — we hear the place was originally designed as an office building, meaning higher ceilings) and the funky style, which begins with cool green glass tiles where we stop to valet (free, if you're there to eat) and continues on, particularly in the restaurant. We also love the breakfast menu at Province, which features a mix of old and new favorites, including whole wheat waffles, a Spanish tortilla scramble, and crispy turkey sausage. A friend swooned over housemade cherry scones with whipped butter. Best of all? The coffee kept on coming.
Morning Glory Cafe
Tucked at the back of The Farm at South Mountain, Morning Glory is our favorite way to start the day when we're in this part of town. You can go with the light fruit and granola or pig out on anything from a down-home "cowboy" breakfast of chili and eggs (with griddled bread!) or white truffle scrambled eggs with fresh local veggies. Best of all (except maybe for mimosas with fresh-squeezed orange juice) is the casual, red-and-white-checked tablecloth atmosphere. Morning Glory bills itself as "Phoenix's only breakfast on a farm," and, come to think of it, they might be right. Just be sure not to visit in the summertime. These folks are civilized — they close for the hottest months of the year.
Tryst Cafe
Sweet potato tots for breakfast? We must be at Tryst Café. We love this place. Everything is reasonably priced, there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options, and they offer organic mimosas and bloodies. We like the buttermilk flapjacks and Belgian waffles, and if it's a decadent kind of day, Tryst lets you smother them in bananas foster, strawberry cheesecake, or candied walnuts. The Hawaiian breakfast with smoked kalua pork is also a welcome twist on traditional breakfast. Just don't forget that side of tots!
Kiss the Cook Restaurant
Glendalians have it good. It's not easy to find a consistently excellent breakfast joint in the West Valley, but these folks have one right in their backyard. Kiss the Cook is a down-home nod to the prototypical old-fashioned country kitchen: hardwood floors, knickknacks, wicker baskets everywhere you look, retro prices, and a bright, airy atmosphere (thanks to the huge windows overlooking Glendale Avenue). Kindly servers are eager to bring bountiful plates of eggs Benedict (try the crab cake Benny, if you get a chance), huge omelets, waffles and pancakes, and that old stick-to-your-ribs staple: homemade biscuits (soft and fluffy) and gravy (just a kick of pepper and smooth consistency). And most entrees come with a cute little basket holding a variety of tasty mini-muffins. It's that kind of extra touch that truly makes you want to, um, kiss the cook.
Apricot Glazed Chicken from Liberty Market
Heather Hoch
Apricot Glazed Chicken from Liberty Market
Those living near downtown Gilbert are lucky to have Liberty Market, one of the best breakfast spots in the Valley. Come to think of it, even residents outside Gilbert should make the trek for this caliber of good eats. They've got pancakes, scrambles, and all-American B-fasts aplenty, in addition to a fully stocked coffee bar. We recommend the grilled bread pudding, a decadent twist on boring old French toast, with a prosecco-spiked mimosa or a whiskey-laced Irish coffee. Also, make sure to try the grilled flattened meatballs, a breakfast addition that will make you forget all about bacon — at least for the day.
Essence Bakery Cafe
Courtesy of Essence Bakery
True story: A friend was in town from back east, staying at a Tempe hotel. Went to the front desk, asked for advice about where to grab breakfast. The clerk recommended a place we won't name here, but if you've lived in Tempe for more than five minutes, you are familiar with it — it's been around forever, a little grimy, attracts the natives like flies. An okay post-hangover standby, but not the place you'd send your fancy friend. As our friend tells it, he set off down University, in search of eggs. Luckily, he was headed west, and he's observant. "What's this cute-looking place?" he asked himself. "Maybe I'll stop in."Our friend was lucky, because that cute place was Essence — about as different from that other place as you can get. Essence is a real treat, and we're not just talking about the pastry case, though if you like, we could talk about the pastry case (namely, Essence's famous French macarons) all day. No, we're here to discuss breakfast. From the housemade granola to the hot breakfast cereal to the Quiche Lorraine, every dish is exquisite. Not so hungry? Grab one of Eugenia Theodosopolous' croissants, which are quickly giving the macarons a run for their money, reputation-wise. Really, you can't go wrong here, whatever you order. Just go.
Orange Table
Jamie Peachey
Hidden between SMoCA and a parking garage, the hungry breakfast masses find their way to this cheerful eatery for Orange Table's out-of-this world breakfast and killer sandwiches. Now under new ownership and new management, the service is finally just as good as the food! Known for outstanding green flannel hash, insanely good jalapeño pecan pancakes, and fancy breakfast cocktails that will cure that next-day headache in a heartbeat, this place is well worth a trip off the beaten path. And if for some reason you miss breakfast, the burgers and thick-cut BLT sandwiches will make you forget about that oh-so-most-important meal of the day.
Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market
Workday lunches can be a hassle. You've got a gaggle of colleagues all hot and bothered and hungry, with different food tastes and a unified desire to keep costs down. Where to go? If you're lucky enough to have made it to the end of the week, it's a no-brainer: Head to the Downtown Phoenix Market for Food Truck Friday. There, your co-workers can munch on a Short Leash Hot Dog or grilled cheese from Paradise Melts while you get adventurous with Hey Joe's Filipino cuisine — and you can all get crème brûlée (really!) for dessert, thanks to the kind folks at Torched Goodness. The list of options goes on — so now you know where you're having lunch next Friday, too. Now to figure out where to go Monday through Thursday . . .
The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix
Courtesy of Bistro 24
The Ritz-Carlton often requests the pleasure of our company at its afternoon tea, served in the Lobby Lounge from noon 'til 3 Wednesday through Saturday. And we're eager to oblige! For a meager $36 per person, a full-on, super-elegant English tea hosted by Tea Maitre d' Jeffrey Hattrick is ours. Three courses are served — finger sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, and French pastries — all prepared right at the Ritz and all designed to make one feel ever-so-British Royal. Exclusive tea blends, like White Peach and Provençal, are offered alongside soothing black and green standards like Afternoon Darjeeling, all perfect accompaniments for those tiny tea sandwiches of egg salad, smoked salmon tartare, and cucumber with chive cream cheese. A child's tea offers smaller portions at a lower price point, so bring the kids and get them acquainted with the delightful and rare treat of a real-life tea party.

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