Tacos in Wonderland

On Saturday, we impromptu celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary!

We woke up early-ish Well, actually, Mosha woke up early while I woke up just in time for us to take Milo to his vet appointment. He hasn’t been eating the past few days and also urinated in the house once, which is definitely out of character for him. Turns out that he is pretty ill. Something is wrong with his liver, but what exactly is wrong with it, we don’t yet know. The vet said that it could be a tumor, hepatitis or simply an infection. For now, he’s going to start on liver supplements and antibiotics, and we are crossing our fingers that this is what will clear up whatever is wrong. If not, he’ll need an ultrasound to pinpoint the specific cause.

After his appointment, we knew we had a few hours to kill before our KGDM Life meeting. Since we hadn’t eaten and our anniversary falls on Monday, we decided to go on a lunch date and spend some time together celebrating our anniversary. Rather than going to one of the usual restaurants we frequent, we decided to try a new restaurant downtown called Taco Guild.

 

Entrance door

Taco Guild not only has amazing food, but the restaurant itself is rich with history. The building pre-exists Arizona; the parcel of land was purchased for $30 about nineteen years before Arizona became the 48th state of the USA. The land was purchased to build a church. Smith’s Chapel was constructed in 1893, and was shortly renamed Bethel Methodist Church. It wasn’t until 2012 that the church was vacated, after which it was purchased to erect Taco Guild.

Upon walking up to the building, you immediately recognize that this place holds a historic sense of the old world. The building is full of original wooden beams, stained glass and pews. The walls above the stained glass are filled with beautiful paintings of saints. There’s definitely an old world vs. new world ambiance in this place.

Original wooden ceiling beams and church pews

Original stained glass

We were able to enjoy food off of their weekend-only brunch menu. My curiosity was piqued at the idea of eating enchiladas with eggs, a combination I’ve never tried before, and Mosha was equally intrigued at just how good their tacos would actually be, so he chose a taco dish recommended by our server. Neither of us were disappointed as the food was savory and exceeded our expectations. This place is definitely in our top three list of places to eat in Phoenix, alongside Mora Italian and Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles.

Weekend brunch menu

Chipotle cherry steak, poblano straws, Chile aioli, and Bleu cheese in a corn tortilla, served with a side of borracho beans.

Annatto-braised chicken enchiladas with house-made corn tortillas, Oaxaca cheese, green chile and tomatillo sauce, sour cream and topped with two over-medium eggs, served with a side of borracho beans and southwestern potatoes.

To top off our lunch, we were pleasantly surprised when we received the bill. It was way lower than what we expected given the quality of the food we were served.

When we finished, we took a trip to Hatter and Hare, because I’d heard of the proverbial hole-in-the-wall, and I wanted to check it out for myself.

As soon as you arrive, you are drawn into the world of Alice. There are signs that point you every which way, and if you continue up the path, you come across a mural of Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Upon entering, you immediately see a wall of grass and white and red-painted flowers. Seating is open, and I was immediately drawn to the cozy table featuring two oversized chairs just under the tea-party table that was hanging upside down from the ceiling above it.

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Tea table hanging from the ceiling above our heads

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Oversized chair size comparison

Everywhere you turn you’ll find something else to look at. There are playing cards every place you look, toadstools (literal stools to resemble toadstool mushrooms), whimsical bottles with flowers in them, and the light fixtures are actual hats designed by the Mad Hatter. Various walls feature hand-painted murals, my favorite being the giant mural in the nook you face upon entering the establishment. It contains all the fan favorites from the Tim Burton version of the Alice in Wonderland film. I appreciated the mix of characters throughout the restaurant as they incorporated both old- and new-school renditions of Alice in Wonderland.

Random oddities

Tim Burton-inspired mural

Malice in Wonderland

Table centerpiece bottle label

Bathroom wall decal

Wall art

Playing cards, hanging hat lights, and a painted mushroom mural

Table centerpiece

The restaurant didn’t have a huge selection of food, and it’s clear from the menus that the place is more of a bar than a food joint; their drink menu is almost longer than the items of appetizers and food that they sell. They did take the time to cleverly name their food and drink, and I take my hat off to their creativity in that department. You’ll see entrees with names such as “The White Rabbit,” “Croquet with Flamingos,” and “The Queen’s Platter,” and drinks like “Bandersnatch,” “Jabberwocky,” and “Looking Glass Negroni.” The staff were super friendly, dressed to fit right into the vibe with card symbols adorning their bodies and eclectic Alice-themed attire.

The rest of our day was filled with KGDM Life to-dos, but we had a great time being able to just get away from the stress of health and work to enjoy each other and reconnect. If you’re ever looking for some interesting places to eat in Phoenix, definitely check out Taco Guild and Hatter and Hare!

Happy anniversary, honey!

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