I have two more restaurants for you to read about before you check them out for the Vegan Chef Challenge, so let’s get right to it. I don’t know about you, but I look at a restaurant like art, when you know the artist and their inspiration, it makes the piece that much more interesting and special.
Chef Christopher Wood – Kupros Bistro
So how many of you have been to Kupros Bistro or at least heard of it? If you haven’t, I’m about to change your world. The menu at Kupros is anything but ordinary.
“When people first hear of Kupros, they think we are a Greek restaurant, but we are not”, says the chef. Chef Wood explained that the building is 100 years old, and had copper finishes throughout. Copper originated on the island of Cyprus and Cyprus is translated to Kupros. And that’s where the restaurant got it’s name.
Kupros is nestled in midtown, on 21st and L, but for some reason many people I know pass right on by without noticing. Since I’m a huge fan, I try to spread the word.
In terms of ambiance and atmosphere, there is something for everyone. There is outdoor seating both upstairs and downstairs where people tend to hang out and chat. Dinning booths circle a great bar in the main downstairs dining area, and there is a beautiful upstairs dining room in case you are looking for something a bit more quiet. They serve lunch, dinner, late-night plates, and brunch.
What more could you want?
In my experience, Kupros has that too.
Meet Chef Christopher Wood
The Toronto-born chef, who has completed 3 tours of duty with the military, traveling all around the world, found himself in Sacramento and began exploring his passion for food . “I always loved to cook, but didn’t always think that I could do it in this way, and then I realized, hey I am actually really good at this”.
Chris has worked closely with some of the most prominent chefs in the area, including chefs from Golden Bear, Ella, and Kru. He continues to support the local chef community, saying, “whenever I could get the day off, I go out to restaurants in town, we all support each other and what we are trying to do”.
When it come’s to the Chef’s food – it’s eclectic and exciting. His energy and creativity clearly makes its way to the menu.
“I look at food as an experience and a memory. Eating out should be a real experience, and that’s what I go for – I try to make it something the people would remember”.
“My specialty is Asian cuisine, but our menu has a little bit of everything – we have Indian influences, Asian influences, and more. I like to try new things and love to experiment, recently with molecular gastronomy”.
There are a couple of things on the current menu that are vegan, but my favorite is the veggie burger. The patty is stacked high, and infused with a really unique combination of spices. I still remember biting into that burger, thinking that this is one of the best I’ve ever had.
Although the Chef is keeping the challenge menu in secret, Kupros will also have a new fall menu coming out in October, full of more exciting items.
I know this is one of the first places that I will be checking out and taking my friends.
See you there?
Chef Mark Helms – JUNO’S Kitchen and Delicatessen
When this little East Sacramento eatery opened about 10 months ago, conveniently located a couple of blocks from our house, Eric and I were the first in line. And then we found ourselves in line again, and again.
Last week, I had the chance to talk to the owner and Chef Mark Helms.
What I didn’t expect was a lesson in bread making.
I knew that Mark makes fresh bread at the restaurant, but I had no idea that his process was so unique. Mark does not use brewer’s yeast as a starter, making the bread making process so much more complicated than the conventional method. The result however, is soft, extremely flavorful bread that stays fresh longer.
In the first five minutes of our conversation, it was obvious that the chef’s passion is bread.
“We are in a valley, so we have a different bacteria that sours the bread. I was a bread maker in San Francisco and ever since then, this has always been something I wanted to do full scale – it’s really all about the bread”.
The bread making that goes on at Juno’s is no small feat – “it takes about 27 hours to make our bread”. I hesitantly admitted to Mark that I’m not a huge bread fan. Of course, he didn’t take it well. Wide-eyed and disappointed that I was clearly missing something magical in life, he kindly sent me home with a loaf of my own.
I did have a slice (or three) at home with some really good olive oil, and then Eric polished off about a half a loaf as soon as he got home. It was in fact amazing bread. You can taste for yourself and even purchase a loaf to take home at the restaurant. Lucky you 😉
The restaurant menu is composed of chef’s favorites – “it’s things that I like and that I eat, and everything changes constantly depending on the seasons. Our place is just a hole in the wall and the food really speaks for itself”.
Mark also really cares about his ingredients – he buys all his produce locally. “We don’t order anything here in commodity. I buy produce from farmers I know personally”. He gets much of his produce from Produce Express and Del Rio Botanicals. He often rides his Vespa to Del Rio Botanicals and strolls through the farm to pick out whatever looks good. “Produce from Del Rio Botanicals is truly unbelievable, especially the greens”.
His restaurant is named after his beloved dog, Juno, Greek god of everything beautiful. It’s open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday.