December 17, 2009 | 2:08pm
It's really kind of surprising that more people don't talk about Essence Bakery Cafe -- it's one of the best places for lunch in Tempe, situated in that building on University that was the longtime home of Sabuddy (R.I.P.).
I stopped by for a bite and was tempted by the most luscious-sounding thing on the menu, an open-faced steak sandwich (with grass-fed beef from Power Ranch), topped with Maytag blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and Cabernet butter. It was rich but thankfully not too huge -- a perfect amount of food if you include the side salad of tender greens.
Seemed like they were doing a pretty good lunch business.
The soup of the day was lentil-vegetable, which was light but flavorful, a good contrast to the sandwich. A soft, warm, cheesy roll soaked up the broth.
Of course, Essence is essentially about naughtiness. The place is famous for its killer macarons, and there are even more treats in the pastry case. Bring a healthy appetite!