Ruze Cake House, a bake shop for the digital age, is now serving brunch. This brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays only. Just four items are on the menu. But those four items are unlike anything you've seen at other brunches. Like Ruze's visually arresting cakes, the shop's brunch stands alone.
The four items took a year to develop.
"We never want to do anything until an idea is fully cooked," says Jessica Boutwell, co-owner and creative mind behind the shop. "We really want to wait until every possible part of the plate is conceived."
The most inventive brunch offering of the four is a vegan carrot cake French toast. (There is no icing.) Slabs of carrot cake are dipped in (vegan) custard, breaded with an organic cornflake-like cereal, and turned to French toast. Two cuts come per plate. This is just the beginning.
Around the cereal-encrusted slabs, are edible flowers from northern Arizona. On top of the French toast teeters a poof of house-made cotton candy, dusted with powdered freeze-dried strawberries and specks of basil. Under the cotton candy, entombed within the toast, is a sweet coconut cream.
What looks like a tiny stemless wine glass comes on the side filled with strawberry purée. This is "syrup." You pour it into the dish, on and around the toast, slicking edible flowers and macerated strawberries.
Looking down at this plate, you think, man, this has to be all about the visual. About the social media. You have to think this was created for Instagram, something so colorful and aggressively three dimensional, so far beyond what you would see even in Doctor Seuss.
But no. This French toast is actually really good. The key is the strawberry purée, which has such a bright, fruity spirit, setting the tone. Even though you're eating cake, the whole thing is light: fruit, light cream, faintly tropical coconut flavors, moist cake, and even the cotton candy, which isn't the overload of sugar you get at the fair but a version that brings a more modest sweetness.
If you like French toast, this is one to check out.
The phrase "avocado toast" is one that probably makes your eyelids heavy by now. Ruze, though, does a really original version. It's "croast" — toast on a house-made croissant. Pesto adds flavor. So do cherry tomatoes, roasted for depth. The "croast" feels more soulful and substantial than your cookie-cutter avocado toast.
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Finally, Ruze does a pair of tacos. Yes, tacos. They come on croissants.
A savory taco spotlights chorizo from Arcadia Meat Market. This taco features cotija cheese from Crow's Dairy, an avocado mash, pico, cilantro, and a cinnamon sugar base. A sweet taco features strawberry white chocolate cheesecake. This comes with basil, macerated strawberries, strawberry syrup, and cotton candy – a few echoes of the French toast.
I haven't tried those tacos yet. A cheesecake breakfast taco, though, requires a leap of faith. If the other brunch offerings are an accurate predictor, then these will be worth a try.
Ruze Cake House. 7033 East Main Street #100, Scottsdale; 480-438-8692
Wednesday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday.