Morning Benediction

Written by Carey Sweet Category: Three Bites Issue: December 2011
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Still, it’s their spicy Southwestern eggs Benedict ($8.29) that rouses us out of bed and revs up our day. Golden rounds of Santa Fe jalapeño- and corn kernel-studded cornbread are layered with cured ham and eggs slathered in fiery chipotle hollandaise. Eggs are local, fresh-laid from Hickman’s Family Farms, and poached to a velvety yolk and firm white. The ham is sliced thick and blackened on the grill to order, and the chile-spiked hollandaise is homemade. The soul-satisfying dish comes with rosemary potatoes, but the kitchen will happily switch to hash browns, fruit or vegan sweet potato hash on request.
Settle back in a sleek silver chair, watch one of the hi-def TVs hung on the wall, and relax – breakfast is served all day, every day from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Carefree Station
7212 Ho Hum Rd.
(Spanish Village), Carefree

Despite being secreted  near a courtyard in the Spanish Village at Tom Darlington and Cave Creek roads, this eclectic Southwestern-Mexican eatery has been wooing packed-house crowds since owners Robert and Linda Gabric opened it in 2004. That’s no small achievement for a place that seats 340, including ample outdoor seating.

Savvy diners love the Sunday brunch: From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., they can choose from six renditions of eggs Benedict. Executive chef Thomas Nasworthy offers a traditional Benny on brioche ($13.95), but he also sends out tasty versions topped with jumbo lump crab, boursin cheese, smoked tomato sauce and hollandaise ($17.95); and chargrilled filets of beef tenderloin glistening in rich demi-glace and hollandaise ($17.95). Highlights include the Southwestern Benedict of house-made chorizo sausage on grilled masa cakes with chipotle hollandaise ($13.95), and the French Toast Benedict of brioche topped with sausage, poached eggs and vanilla hollandaise ($13.95). The portions are big enough to be the sole meal of the day, and all orders include champagne.

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Dick’s Hideaway
6008 N. 16th St., Phoenix

Starve a cold, feed a hangover. Restaurateur Richardson Browne knows your pain, and he’s ready to help with monster-size eggs Benedict served in this dark (read: easy on light-sensitive eyes) speakeasy-eatery. Equipped with a shower in the restroom for those truly crapulous mornings, the Hideaway is a cool place to hang out when all you want is something delicious on your plate and absorbent in your stomach.
The Benedict is served until 4 p.m. and could even double as dinner. Try it tricked up with Nueske’s pork loin ($15), beef tenderloin ($18) or daily grilled fish ($15), all sopped in spicy jalapeño hollandaise and paired with piquant beans and potatoes. Trouble choosing? Dick’s Hideaway also offers a Benedict combo ($16), plus another combo pairing one Benedict with two chicken enchiladas, red or green chile, and asparagus with hollandaise ($15). Still not decadent enough? Top your tenderloin Benedict with Dungeness crab ($26).
Browne doesn’t allow any stinginess in the bar or the kitchen – each portion of meat is at least six ounces per plate, and English muffins are toasted just so, to a golden crunch.

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