A sweet staple in the Valley’s food scene, Tracy Dempsey is an original. The one thing that might top fresh baked goods is fresh baked goods with wine. During regular business hours, you can stop in and choose what’s made from her mix for the day and browse her adorable little shop of yumminess in Tempe.
A sweet staple in the Valley’s food scene, Tracy Dempsey is an original. She wouldn’t be the one to tell you that though, as she gives credit to everyone she’s worked with throughout her career, never acknowledging the fact that her talent got her there. It kind of reminds me of how Janis Joplin never realized she was every bit as popular as those she rubbed elbows with – the parallel here is that Tracy is a rockstar.
Her love of pastries began as a child; that passion blossomed throughout high school while living in Indonesia where she remembers loving the fancy finger foods. Her career in baking spans from catering jobs to executive pastry chef positions in some of the highest-ranked restaurants in the Valley. With her creative mind and obvious perfection in confection, she’s developed a plethora of recipes that have become famous among anybody who’s anybody in the industry. Her delectable treats, many with an Indonesian influence, can be found in various restaurants, shops and wineries throughout the state and consumers can place personal orders for cakes and goodies directly within her shop in Tempe. Whether you are someone who craves the dessert daily or just indulges on special occasions, Tracy has you covered.
During regular business hours, you can stop in and choose what’s made from her mix for the day and browse her adorable little shop of yumminess. If you are someone like me, who fashions reasons to celebrate things, you won’t have to look much further than TDO Eats for satisfaction. Have you ever needed to order a cake for a party and just ran to Fry’s or Safeway because you couldn’t think of a local bakery? Look at her cake menu online and it will be embedded in your mind for life. I’m a sucker for a carrot cake and anything with cream cheese frosting -- she goes a step further by adding apricot jam filling. Two others that popped off the page at me were The Bianco, a vanilla cake with strawberry Campari compote and lemon buttercream, and The Heel Tap, finished with red wine chocolate frosting – I mean seriously, life is just too short for deprivation. Tracy is probably most proud of her Bacon Pecan Brittle which originally was just used as a garnish for her Blueberry Bread Pudding – needless to say, it stands on its own quite well.
The one thing that might top fresh baked goods is fresh baked goods with wine. I know Tracy from back in my days as a wine distributor, so I know first-hand that she and her husband, Chuck, love to seek out the special "finds." I smile fondly thinking about the many days we would taste obscure wines from Georgia and Romania in the back room, together exploring what flourished in the lesser-known wine regions. The shop, attached to the bakery, goes under the name ODV Wines, their way of honoring the French expression Eau-de-vie, meaning water of life. Tracy taught French literature years ago and makes good use of all her cultural experiences in daily business and curating the best wines for their shop. Both well-traveled and well-read, Tracy and Chuck learned about wine by researching interesting varieties and discovering the many nuances a region has to offer its imbibers.
“We pick our wines by tasting everything. Our criteria with distributors are small production wines with a story,” Tracy said.
With an immense amount of respect for all things made in Arizona, the folks at ODV carry many wonderfully chosen wines made in the state. So, when you purchase a bottle of wine at ODV you are doubling down on supporting locals. They also have a beautiful selection of hand-picked vermouths that may be more plentiful than anywhere else in the Valley.
The parking area is a bit small. You can expect a bit of congestion on University Drive while getting in and out of the lot but, once inside the delightful aromas and vision of pure decadence will undoubtedly transport you to your happy place. And you can bet Tracy will greet you with a smile as she sneaks out from behind the kitchen with her apron on, dusted with flour and, maybe just a touch of sugar.
Join the wine club for $60 and receive three bottles every other month, one red, one not red, and one something else. Join the newly created cheese board club for $50 and enjoy four kinds of cheese, many from family-owned creameries, every other month. TDO Eats and ODV Wines is located at 1325 W. University Drive in Tempe. Visit their website at tracydempseyoriginals.com.