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The folks behind the successful Essence Catering have branched out with this laid-back Tempe cafe, which they remodeled with environmentally friendly materials. Quiche Lorraine and spanakopita are house specialties; the warm, open-faced steak sandwich, with sauteed mushrooms, Cabernet butter, and Maytag blue cheese, is another tempting option. And if you're looking for something lighter, the salads here are delicious, made with organic greens. Homemade cookies and pastries make for a sweet finish.
Vincent Guerithault Vincent on Camelback, Vincent's Market Bistro 3930 East Camelback Road 602-224-0225, www.vincentsoncamelback.com See also: -- Taste Maker #53: Vincent Guerithault -- James Beard... More »
As the chefs competing in Smeeks and Chow Bella's fourth annual Caramelpalooza -- coming 7 p.m. Friday, April 5, at UNION -- get out the candy thermometers, we've got our pens ready to introduce you t... More »
We are practically in a sugar coma, just thinking about the line-up for Caramelpalooza 2013 -- the biggest and best ever, if you ask us. See also: - Caramelpalooza 2012: The Winners!Participating ch... More »
I go to Essence fairly regularly, and lament often at the fact that it's a breakfast/lunch place and I can only go there on Saturdays!
Essence is a cozy little cafe hanging out across the parking lot from a Starbucks. Step inside and there's usually a line at the register, most of the tables are usually full. Both signs of a good eatery. It smells like pastry right when you walk in, the buttery scent of croissants makes your mouth water. All of the pastries I've had have been wonderful. Most especially their macarons. Classic French sandwich style cookies with creamy filling are a must-have whenever I stop in. They have a wide range of flavors that tend to change seasonally and also week to week, some of the regulars include Caramel, Hazelnut, French Chocolate, Espresso, and Chocolate Mint. Seasonally they have Strawberries and Cream and Pumpkin. Their croissants are absolutely delicious and a great little breakfast on their own.
Grab a vanilla bean iced coffee and one of their Big Breakfast plates and you will not be disappointed. The coffee is smooth and sweet, and they mean big when they say Big Breakfast. Local made sausage, potato cake, fried eggs, and house made bread and jam all work to satisfy even a picky eater. Other delicious menu items include a Croque Madam with tomato, ham, and cheese, hot cereal served with yogurt and fresh fruit, quiche lorraine served with either fruit or a side salad. All worth a first trip as well as many more.
I've only had lunch here once or twice. I was less than thrilled with a mozzarella and tomato grilled sandwich, but I had a burger made with grass-fed beef that was divine.
They get most of their ingredients locally and it tends to be organic, which makes for pricey but great and good for you food. My biggest gripe with them is the wait when they are busy. You can wait up to 40 minutes to get your food, but that's when it's very busy, and I think it's worth the wait (as long as you don't gnaw your arm off in the mean time... but that's what pastries are for, right?).
One Friday morning, after a few hellacious days of office drama, a dear co-worker showed up bearing tiny cardboard boxes adorned with Essence Bakery stickers. Passing one to us, she said, "I thought we all needed to end the work week on a sweet note." We peeked inside and could barely contain our glee at the sight of five freshly baked miniature treats — and we promise you, it wasn't just because we'd just been staring at the computer and listening to the steady rumble of our empty stomach. But still, those desserts were quite a sight, and we couldn't resist nibbling on them immediately. What was inside? A Mexican wedding cookie, coated with confectioner's sugar; a chocolate cookie; a chewy white chocolate and macadamia nut cookie; a creamy little square of chocolate cake; and a Lilliputian pound cake sprinkled with sugar. Before we knew it, we'd gobbled them all up — and we couldn't think of any better way to usher in the weekend.
In a downtown jam-packed with beer, frozen yogurt, T-shirt shops, and places to get your nails done for $10, it's a relief to know a civilized breakfast awaits. Best known for her amazing French macaróns (and quickly gaining notoriety for her croissants) chef/owner Eugenia Theodosopoulos presides over a fabulous morning menu in a lovely, low-key setting. On a nice day, sit outside and pretend you're in a big city as cars whiz by the University Drive café. Order the organic... More »
True story: A friend was in town from back east, staying at a Tempe hotel. Went to the front desk, asked for advice about where to grab breakfast. The clerk recommended a place we won't name here, but if you've lived in Tempe for more than five minutes, you are familiar with it -- it's been around forever, a little grimy, attracts the natives like flies. An okay post-hangover standby, but not the place you'd send your fancy friend. As our friend tells it, he set off down University, in... More »
When it comes to the latest fad, too often Phoenix is the last to arrive on the scene. So we were pleased this summer when, on a visit to New York City, we noticed that French macarons were all the rage. Ha! Essence has been doing that for years. And doing it oh so well. We bet you'd be hard-pressed to find a more divine macaron in all of Manhattan or Paris. Unlike the chunky coconut Passover variety, these macarons are the ultimate sandwich cookie, two discs that manage to be chewy and... More »
One Friday morning, after a few hellacious days of office drama, a dear co-worker showed up bearing tiny cardboard boxes adorned with Essence Bakery stickers. Passing one to us, she said, "I thought we all needed to end the work week on a sweet note."We peeked inside and could barely contain our glee at the sight of five freshly baked miniature treats -- and we promise you, it wasn't just because we'd just been staring at the computer and listening to the steady rumble of our empty... More »
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