During a searing Arizona summer, sunrise and the couple of hours that follow can be the most humane times of day. Kick off the bedsheets and head to one of the following morning-meal specialists for much more than hotcakes and hash browns.
For starters ...
Ever hear of a waffle dog? Over Easy slides a breakfast sausage on a stick and fries it in waffle batter. The aptly named Oink Cafe offers a sampler of eight varieties of bacon: peppered, applewood-smoked, jalapeño and so on. A legitimate breakfast pizza—not congealed leftovers from last night’s binge—is a house specialty at Scramble; one edition is topped with chorizo, bell peppers and jalapeño cream cheese. And forget chicken and waffles: Vovomeena places a sizzling pork chop, plus eggs, plus a sugar-dusted Portuguese donut atop a Belgian waffle, and recommends washing it down with cold-brewed coffee called Mornin’ Moonshine.
Breakfast and a Stroll
There’s no shame in going “whole hog” when you can apply big breakfast fuel to shopping or sightseeing. After a sampler of three pancakes (pineapple, sweet potato, strawberry rhubarb) or one of six eggs Benedict platters at Snooze, rifle through the bargains at Nordstrom Rack and My Sister’s Closet. So what if there’s a wait for scrambled eggs and high-end salami at Matt’s Big Breakfast; nearby Revolver Records doesn’t open until noon Sundays and 11 am other days. Bathe in the calmness of a college town’s social hub during summer break. You’ll breeze through the ordering line at Tempe’s NCounter, receive your iced coffee and fried eggs with Gorgonzola and thyme in no time, and be back on Mill Avenue to window-shop in short order. Finding the Orange Table can be tricky, since it doesn’t have street frontage; forge on for the sake of corned beef, roasted chiles and poached eggs, then go take a picture with one of Robert Indiana’s famous “LOVE” sculptures on adjacent Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. And only if you dare, tackle the obscene Hillbilly Highrise—country-fried steak, hashbrowns, eggs and sausage gravy—at Scottsdale’s Morning Squeeze, then waddle along 5th Avenue to browse for vacation postcards, dreamcatchers or turquoise jewelry.
Hot Cross Streets
Indulge spontaneity at a few high-density intersections around town. At 44th Street and Camelback in Phoenix, there’s Chestnut Fine Foods & Provisions (banana bread pancakes and an in-house florist!), The Henry (daily espresso/bakery window and a substantial weekend brunch) and Carmel’s (cinnamon toast, croissant egg sandwiches). Near Scottsdale and Indian School Roads in Scottsdale, choose among The Breakfast Club (as yummy as Judd Nelson in 1985), Daily Dose (protein pancakes with poached peaches—say that three times, fast) and Original Chop Shop Co. (smoothies are a specialty). And in the vicinity of Gilbert and Elliot Roads in Gilbert, find homey Gilbert House Restaurant and The Farmhouse, and industrial-chic Liberty Market.