House of Tricks

I have a tradition, since moving to Arizona, to have a brunch on the Saturday before my birthday (since it's been in the middle of the week).  This year would be no exception. After much deliberation, I decided upon House of Tricks, right near the University in Tempe.  My husband had been there twice before, once for lunch and once for dinner and he had been raving about it since.  I needed to see what all of the hype was about for myself.

I woke up with a gleeful skip to my step and threw my hair up in a ballerina bun and popped on my new summer dress. We had made reservations for 11am, which is when they open (we really didn't even need reservations, but by 1, the place was pretty full).

Once we parked and fed the hungry meter a few coins, we bid it adieu and walked up to the cozy, garden filled patio to fill our own bellies.  The sun was shining brilliantly, but the large umbrellas kept it at bay, so that we wouldn't burn in the desert sun.

Our hostess sat us down in what I thought was the best seat in the house.  We were nestled in the corner with a view of the fountain and herbs surrounding us along the edge of the garden.  I was sure one of the plants was mint, so I snipped off a leaf and held it up to my nose.  I am proud to say that I was correct in my moment of botany.

I searched the expansive drink menu to find the perfect brunch beverage.  I already knew what I wanted, but I love reading menus anyways.  I ordered a mimosa, and my husband, coffee.

The coffee arrived in a really interesting vessel that I had never seen before.  It's glass so it doesn't hold the heat well, but that can be a good thing when you're about to take your taste buds for a ride.  The coffee had a really nice flavor, with hints of caramel.  If you're a big coffee drinker like my husband is, don't be worried about the vessel's small size.  There are free refills, so you can order to your hearts content (three times in this case).

I tried my mimosa as soon as it arrived.  I've had bad ones in the past, but had high hopes and I was not disappointed in the least. I think that a lot of the taste has to do with using really good orange juice. On another note, the shadows from the trees made for interesting marks on my arm while we dined.

Our food arrived and I was stunned.  He ordered Smoked Pork Green Chili Eggs Benedict with Cheddar Biscuits, Kale, Poached Eggs, Chipotle Hollandaise and Roasted Potatoes.  It was a close contender for me, but I had been craving lemony flavored things and so when I saw that they had just what I needed on the menu, I jumped at it. Specifically, it was Lemon Curd Pancakes with Macerated Blueberries and Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream.  How could I not order it?  I was not however, expecting five pancakes! I don't think you have a good enough view of this beauty.  Let's zoom in shall we?

Look at that lemon curd oozing all over the place and the deep blue blueberries resting among the sweet goodness.  I loved that there was no maple syrup in sight. This is how I will take my pancakes from now on. I guess I shouldn't get ahead of myself.  A bite was in order, a big bite.

Yea...I liked it. Who am I kidding? I couldn't get over it! The warm berries and lemon curd, the perfectly cooked pancakes, the vanilla bean whipped cream (in which you could actually see the specks of vanilla), all made for a luxurious taste.  Finishing this plate was another ordeal.  I gave it my best, but after two and a half pancakes, I had to pass the plate to my smiling husband who had to take one for the team (rough life).

His meal was fantastic as well.  The kale added a nice crunch and took on the flavor of the smoked meat and sauce. The hollandaise was rich and divine with a slight kick from the chipotle, the biscuit, cheddary and perfect.

After the waitress had taken away our plates, we sat and enjoyed our surroundings before taking off.  I had a wonderful birthday brunch and will certainly be returning to try their lunch and dinner offerings. Though, on my actual birthday I'll be off to another establishment.  I honestly haven't decided which yet, but I'll keep you posted.