House of Tricks
On a beautiful fall night, I joined fellow media friends at the beloved Tempe institution, House of Tricks. In 1997, owners Robert and Robin Trick took a chance on an unlikely spot and transformed a neglected 1920s bungalow and adjacent building into the idyllic oasis it is today. Located on Seventh Street, guests can gather around a vintage stone fireplace, relax on a cozy deck and outdoor bar, or dine in an elegant dining room or on a shady patio, all surrounded by fragrant flowers and lush ladscaping. While awards have included "Most Romantic Restaurant" or "Best Patio," they've also received numerous accolades for their cuisine. Our evening was an invitation to learn more about the talented chefs and the menu's focus on seasonal and local ingredients.
We were greeted with sparkling rosé as we perused the menu.
A delicious welcome board was heaped with locally-made Schreiner's sausage studded with basil and sun-dried tomatoes, a medley of olives from Queen Creek Olive Mill, Punch Honeybee honey, Noble Bread, Arizona Cheese Company cheese curds, Crow's Dairy goat cheese, Cotton Country pickled asparagus, and golden-yellow pichuberries bought at the local farmer's market.
A special treat at our lovely dinner was being seated with Chef Andrea Bales and co-owner Robin Trick. Chef Bales shared her passion for procuring the best local products and her commitment to seasonal, Arizona-grown ingredients with weekly visits to the farmers market. We also learned first-hand the fascinating details behind the history of this beautiful restaurant from owner Robin Trick.
Local sourcing again was the star in our delicious Farm to Table appetizer - a colorful plate of handmade tortellini stuffed with Crow's Dairy goat cheese seasoned with fresh thyme, tossed in a peppery wild arugula pesto, and served with a vibrant Red Kuri squash puree and tart seeds from Maya's Farm pomegranates.
While it was hard to decide between entrees offered such as Mediterranean orata with Israeli cous cous and prickly pear beurre blanc or grilled Cornish game hen with wild mushroom and farro pilaf, I opted for the rack of lamb and it was wonderful. Juicy and tender ground-almond-crusted lamb chops were perched on crisp rounds of spiced fava bean falafel and complemented by the herbal tang of mint-cilantro chimichurri and a shower of micro greens.
Our sweet finale was the decadent house signature of salted caramel and apple bread pudding drizzled with crème anglaise and crowned with cinnamon-spiked whipped cream.
Each week the chefs at House of Tricks visit the local farmers market for menu inspiration, including the Farmers Lunch Special available every Monday (follow them on Facebook to see what's being served). This week was eggplant parmigiana with green heirloom tomato marinara, spinach, and roasted oyster and crimini mushrooms, with a baby romaine Caesar wedge and Noble Bread croutons. Through December 19th, $1 of every lunch special served will be donated to the Tempe Mission campaign. They also host wine tastings and special wine dinners. On November 19th, join House of Tricks to explore Piedmont, Italy at a Nebbiolo wine tasting.
House of Tricks is located at 114 E 7th St, Tempe, AZ 85281. It is open six days a week (closed Sundays) and serves lunch and dinner 11 am to 10 pm.
I received a complimentary media invitation.