The Skinny: Breakfast at Acacia Café

By Wynter Holden

After a visit to the lovely Phoenix Public Market last Saturday (where I scored some awesome tomato garlic pasta, plum spread and fresh-baked cinnamon bread), the hubby and I made a pit stop in the shopping plaza 3701 East Indian School Rd to peruse the pathetic linen selection at Tuesday Morning (guess that's why you should go on Tuesday, instead of waiting until the weekend, when the store's already been picked clean by shopping vultures).

We spotted Acacia Café, an unassuming little eatery in the corner of the plaza, flanked by a cozy outdoor patio sporting some rather sad-looking trees. Hey, why not? Dead foliage notwithstanding, we thought the place looked cute. I now thank the dieting gods we walked in, because this joint was heavenly.

I stood at the counter for about five minutes, perusing the mouthwatering selection of salads, grilled paninis and breakfast staples. Mmm...tuna salad? Veggie panini? Or maybe the waffles I was already salivating over? The guy behind the counter asked if he could help. I wiped the drool off my chin and told him I was looking for something healthy and I was leaning towards breakfast foods. "We can do egg whites only, or egg beaters, and all of our sausage is turkey sausage," he said. "And you can sub fruit for hash browns." Hot damn! I would've leapt over the counter and kissed him right there, but uh, my husband probably wouldn't have approved.

I ordered up a breakfast plate with egg whites, wheat toast, turkey sausage, fruit cup and a hearty helping of neighborly cheer. I practically inhaled the eggs and sausage, which were both perfectly cooked and the latter spiced to perfection. Even the fruit was outstanding -- not the typical all-watermelon, one grape combo, but a healthy mix of pineapple, melons, watermelon and grapes.

As we ate and chatted, other folks started wandering in and greeting each other like longtime pals. The folks behind the counter knew most customers by name. Two gay couples walked in holding hands. And a little girl threw herself at the female cashier as if she was her favorite aunt. I forgot I was sitting in a cafe in Phoenix and felt like I was at a small-town neighborhood diner in the Midwest. That sealed it -- I think I've found my new favorite breakfast spot!

Tip of the tongue: When in dieting doubt, ask the natives for help in choosing the right dish.

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