Steak Sandwich at Essence Bakery Cafe

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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!

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