weekday lunching at specialty’s, boudin bakery and opera cafe

It’s Monday. And I’m home sick. Hence the late and short post. I am determined to beat this cold as quickly as possible though for birthday weekend fun times. I’m going to be like Barney:

Yesssssss. That’s gonna be me!

Turkey, Apple, Bacon and Brie Sandwich from Specialty's Cafe

[turkey, apple, bacon and brie sandwich / $8.99]

Minion and I went to Specialty’s Cafe recently. I was in a “I-Want-Brie-Forever-And-Ever” mood and chose this sandwich which had roasted turkey breast, bacon and brie with fire-roasted fuji apples, arugula and lemon thyme aioli on toasted ciabatta.

I didn’t notice that “fire-roasted” part on the apples. It looked like mushy, large chunks of baked apples in my sandwich and I removed them and pretended they didn’t exist. I was expecting thinly sliced raw apple but that’s fine. Apple removal was harmless. This sandwich is served nice and warm so the luscious brie is nice and gooey. The bacon gave it a nice bit of crispiness and the turkey was well seasoned.


[peanut butter cup brownie / $2.89]

You can’t go to Specialty’s without getting a baked good. I usually get a cookie, but this time I wanted to try their Peanut Butter Cup Brownie. GOODNESS. They sure weren’t kidding about the peanut butter part! The whole middle is a bunch of soft peanut butter – it’s more like a peanut butter soft cookie middle, not really a gob of peanut butter from a jar. The brownie itself is very rich and had a great chocolate flavor. It’s not too sweet but it is really rich and intense. I only ate half.


[mushroom soup in a bread bowl / $6.69]

For some reason I always forget that there’s a Boudin Bakery over in UTC. The best part is that it’s NOT in the food court so there’s no crowded mad rush feeling. It’s over near the Nordstorm’s which is easier to park at, too.

I went on a Wednesday and the soup of the day then is Mushroom Soup! I was feeling extra hungry and got it in a sourdough bread bowl. I mostly ate this almost as a dip, using my bread to soak up the mushroom goodness. I always love how fresh and delicious the sourdough bread is. I’ll need to make Boudin more a regular spot to visit now that I remember it exists again.


[grilled steak and brie sandwich / $10]

Opera Cafe and Patisserie has this really awesome grilled steak and brie sandwich that I want pretty much every time I go there. I strayed once and got a burger and was unhappy with my choice. Now it’s pretty much steak & brie forever.

There’s a layer of caramelized onions on the bottom of this that really made this sandwich shine. They also cut the edges of the bread off and toast the bread nicely. I eat this with a fork and knife. It seems dainty enough for that. I love how perfectly melted the brie is and the steak is nice and tender.


I sprung for an upgrade of fries. For an additional fee (I think it was $2.50) you can get these Truffle and Parmesan fries added on instead of the plain fries. These fries are perfectly crisp and you get a TON of fries. It’s like a big take-out-container box full of fries which is way too much for one person. The Parmesan adds a nice amount of saltiness but the truffle flavor was a almost a little too light for my taste. It needed like a pinch more.

I’m always trying to find new places. We’re a little boxed in with our office location but I think I might be able to make it out to spots in Del Mar Heights. That might be my new goal for places to try soon!

8 thoughts on “weekday lunching at specialty’s, boudin bakery and opera cafe

  1. Bummer that you are sick and I hope you get over it before your b’day week. I always enjoy reading about all the free lunches you find. Those sandwiches look amazing. I have been a brie lately too. I wonder if it’s the time of year on my part? I do enjoy brie so much. I will have to try it with turkey, looked great! Feel better and thanks for posting despite your cold. Take care, Barbara

    1. Hi Barbara! Just to clarify, these lunches aren’t free, I paid for all of these. If it’s free, then there will be a disclaimer stating that (or, if free birthday food, you’ll know that too haha). For whatever reason I just really have been wanting brie lately. I hadn’t had it in a while and it sounded so good to me so I had to have a few lunches with brie last week. Thanks for the well wishes!

  2. Happy early birthday! I hope you’re signed up for lots of goodies! I’m already mentally preparing and trying to subscribe to the right newsletters so I’ll be ready when December rolls around. GLUTTONY! =)

    Haven’t been to Opera Patissarie in quite a while but I always think of the open faced seared tuna thing I got a long time ago. OMG yum. Except that you don’t eat raw fish so maybe the seared isn’t your thing either?


    1. Hi Lynn! Yes, I printed out all the coupons I hope to use this year. Luckily most of them last for two weeks since I’m not getting out and using them with my dumb cold! I signed up for new things this year but didn’t seem to get stuff from every spot. Oh well, I got plenty to work with!
      Yeah… TUNA isn’t my thing hahaha. I had a bad experience with tuna growing up and now the flavor/taste/texture of it weirds me out so I don’t eat it. I have tried to eat it but I just don’t like it at all. Oh well, more tuna for you! 🙂
      I looooooooove brie!

  3. I hope you feel better soon! Fortunately the birthday coupons are good for at least two weeks after your birthday (Starbucks is one month) and since The Mister and I are seven days apart, we don’t use both at the same time and stretch out our freebies. I found Rubio’s ($7) and Einstein (any breakfast bagel, and the lox and bagel is $7) as well as BOGO at Souplantation are the best value; so many are a free milkshake…

    Specialty’s does test marketing, so I would hope the apple(sauce-y) flavor tasted right…I love soup, don’t need the bread bowl though so have stayed away from Boudin for years now and I *love* everything from Opera, get their newsletter so I can plan a meal (or just a soup).

    You are so lucky to be working near Green Acre, Bella Vista and Tender Greens. The restaurants inside any of the Whole Foods are also great (without going to the hot bar/salad bar). The key is to get there before or after the lunch crowd mess…

    1. Hi Cathy – Thank you! Yes, I was printing out my coupons yesterday and happily saw most of them expire two weeks later. There are a few that I really plan on using since they are new to me. I don’t like the ones that are just a free dessert or BOGO coupons (unless it’s a place I really like) so many of them I don’t even bother with. I think the Cafe 21 coupon is my favorite of the bunch – free dinner!
      I tried to go to Tender Greens once for lunch and it was a nightmare, way too crowded… so I know what you mean about the lunch crowd mess! I’ll have to try Whole Foods for lunch sometime. Green Acre and Bella Vista are just far enough to make them a littttttle too long of a drive, but I have made it there before. I need to spread out a little more in my lunch plans.

  4. Happy early bday Mary! You are the queen of bday freebies! 🙂

    The steak/brie sandwich from Opera is what I want to order next time I’m there….I still remember the bite I had from your sandwich (drool, haha)….I want to try making that mushroom soup in a bread bowl at home as well…

    1. Thanks, CC! I have new freebies on my plate this year that I’m excited about!! I just need to get over this cold like ASAP! I love that sandwich from Opera. I never want to order anything else, haha. I bet the soup is easy to make, I should try making mushroom soup at home as well. I love mushroom stuff!

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