Breakfast Beat

Breakfast Beat: Morning Nachos and Green Chile Bloody Marys

Quinoa-banana pancakes from Tryst
Quinoa-banana pancakes from Tryst Chris Malloy
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: Tryst Cafe
21050 North Tatum Boulevard, #108; 480-585-7978

The Scene: A Desert Ridge strip mall that looks about five seconds old – paint pristine, stucco unfaded – hides Tryst among a typical collection of banks, coffee shops, and places to tan. Tryst feels a little out of place (but not as out of place as a tanning salon in a desert). At the same time, Tryst feels right where it should be.

The all-day restaurant feels caught between a few things. A bar with a TV. An upscale eatery that plates fish entrees. A breakfast spot with a wide-ranging menu that has pockets of originality. That said, Tryst's general feeling is strongly breakfast if you sit on the patio in the morning.

On weekday mornings, a motley of scattered diners collects. Sparsely, they eat at tables far apart, seemingly relishing the distance and privacy. Office workers. Men about to golf. Moms. Old co-workers catching up. You get the sense that Tryst's crowd consists of a few folks from the nearby Marriot, and all regulars after that.

click to enlarge Tryst's interior, bordered by a bar - CHRIS MALLOY
Tryst's interior, bordered by a bar
Chris Malloy
The Goods: The breakfast menu here is sprawling. It’s just about evenly split between doughy and eggy. Some of the offerings are refreshingly original, enough to snap you out of your breakfast fatigue.

Whimsical selections include a Monte Christo with strawberry jam and sweet potato tots.  A Hawaiian breakfast that makes use of smoked pork, jasmine rice, and wonton. A lox smorgasbord that features avocado and daikon sprouts. It's nice to see a place branching out.

That branching can get wide, maybe too wide. See: breakfast nachos. They come with fried eggs and a cream sauce made with Anaheim chiles. You can add chorizo.

Pancakes are fluffy and on the rustic side. Tryst offers various channels for those who like to split from wheat flour. One is quinoa-banana pancakes. They come in a stack of two, each thick as a T-bone steak, dense and light, with little bursts of crunch where your teeth land on a pinpoint of quinoa. A heady, heavy brown encrusts the tops, bringing a homestyle flavor.

click to enlarge An omelet stuffed with kale, tomato, and avocado - CHRIS MALLOY
An omelet stuffed with kale, tomato, and avocado
Chris Malloy
Omelets are solid. They feel unrefined, the kind of hearty omelet you might make at home if making omelets is your thing. A plain cheese omelet has a thick, eggy exterior. An egg-white omelet wrapped a green forest of vegetables in a diaphanous robe, almost in the outside-to-inside proportions of a burrito.

The Bottom Line: If you're in north Phoenix early and craving novelty, a drink, or a solid breakfast, head on over to Tryst Cafe.
Special Something: Morning drinking is a big thing at Tryst. Bloody Marys come in five or so versions; they harness vodkas infused with flavors like cucumber and basil to build flavor. Look up the horseradish or green chile Bloody if you want some heat.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: $$
Coffee Options: Standard, nothing mind-blowing.
Fresh-squeezed Juice: Orange
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Chris Malloy, former food editor and current food critic at Phoenix New Times, has written for various local and national outlets. He has scrubbed pots in a restaurant kitchen, earned graduate credit for a class about cheese, harvested garlic in Le Marche, and rolled pastas like cappellacci stuffed with chicken liver. He writes reviews but also narrative stories on the food world's margins.
Contact: Chris Malloy