Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Tempe - 2013
Essence Bakery Cafe
825 W. University Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281
If we could get away with having a few of chef Eugenia Theodosopoulous' heavenly macarons for breakfast every day, we would. But until then, we'll settle for the holy trinity of local, organic, and seasonal sunrise eats served up at her (and husband Gilles Combes') always-bustling counter-service café. On the sweet side, we're partial to the brioche French toast featuring a sinfully good hazelnut-topped banana-caramel sauce. For savory, we like the seasonal, veggie-filled French crepes topped with a crazy-creamy béchamel. And when it comes to specialty pastries, the croissants here are divine. Amen.