Monday, October 29, 2012

Juno's Kitchen & Delicatessen

Over the weekend, I visited another restaurant participating in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, Juno's Kitchen & Delicatessen on J Street in East Sacramento.

Juno's is mostly a sandwich shop, so, not surprisingly, the vegan dish they're offering this month is a sandwich. Served on their excellent sourdough roll, the vegan sandwich includes roasted red peppers, shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, wild arugula, and heirloom tomatoes, with white truffle oil and a balsamic reduction. Each sandwich comes with a choice of mixed greens or Juno's fantastic roasted mixed potatoes, dressed with olive oil, sea salt, and herbs. You can see in the picture below which option I chose!

Juno's is located at 3675 J Street, and their telephone number is 916-456-4522. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at The restaurant is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and for dinner from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, they are open from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dad's Sandwiches

I ran out for a quick lunch yesterday at Dad's Sandwiches on S Street, one of the restaurants participating in this month's Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge. Since Dad's is a sandwich shop, rather than a full-service restaurant, they aren't offering a vegan appetizer, dinner entree, or dessert like the other participating restaurants. What they are offering is a very tasty and extremely filling vegan meatloaf sandwich.

The sandwich is served on sliced sourdough bread, which is lightly toasted and spread with a sun-dried tomato aioli. In addition to a generous slab of vegan meatloaf, the sandwich also includes spinach, pickles, and pickled onions. I had them leave off the pickled onions, but I thought the sun-dried tomato aioli and the pickles really made the sandwich.

The biggest problem with this sandwich is that Dad's seems to have a hard time keeping enough vegan meatloaf in stock. I was there just before noon yesterday, and got the only slice of vegan meatloaf they had left. I read a post by at least one other blogger indicating that they had been out of the meatloaf the day she went there for lunch. So if you have your heart set on trying this sandwich, you may want to call ahead to make sure it's available.

Dad's Sandwiches has two locations. The restaurant I visited is at 1310 S Street and their phone number is 916-448-3237. The other restaurant is located at 1004 J Street and their phone number is 916-446-7456. The website address for Dad's Sandwiches is Both restaurants are open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Monday, October 22, 2012

58 Degrees & Holding Co. 2012

I had such a lovely meal tonight at 58 Degrees & Holding Co. with my friends Bonnie and Cathie. 58 Degrees is another participating restaurant in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, and the menu created by Chef F. J. Villalobos did not disappoint.

We began with the special vegan appetizer, described on the menu as a flatbread with vegan marcona "cheese," avocado, red onion, jalapeno, tomato raisins, and yeast flakes. I didn't know how I would feel about the raw jalapeno slices on this appetizer, but they really gave a bit of pizazz to this very tasty dish.

The vegan entrée was the Autumn Roughage salad, consisting of lolla rossa (a type of lettuce), parsnips (marinated in a maple syrup sauce), carrots, jicama, kale (cooked in such a way that it had the crispness of a potato chip), ajo blanco (a creamy garlic sauce), and pomegranate seeds. It sounds like an odd combination, but it came together beautifully, and I ate every bite.

The Sans-Panna Cotta dessert was a fabulous vegan amaretto coconut custard, topped with slivered almonds and garnished with a rock sugar that was both sweet and salty. My only regret was that my dining companions and I decided to share this dessert. I may have to go back sometime before the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge ends and order a whole one just for me.

I'm sorry to say that I forgot to take my camera with me, so I can't post pictures of these dishes, but they were as beautifully presented as they were delicious. My non-vegan friends were as impressed as I was with this meal.

58 Degrees & Holding Co. is located at 1217 18th Street, and their phone number is 916-442-5858. The restaurant's website address is, and their Facebook page can be found at!/pages/58-Degrees-Holding-Co/361925419790?fref=ts. Their Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu is available during dinner through the month of October. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

Today's blog post has been delayed. Check back tonight!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tower Bridge Bistro 2012

My friend Marcia and I went to dinner last night at Tower Bridge Bistro. Marcia isn't vegan, but when she saw the creative menu that Chef Clay Purcell had put together for the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, she decided to join me in ordering from the vegan menu.

Chef Clay is offering a three-course vegan prix fixe menu during the month of October, with two different options for each course. The two appetizers on the menu are Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk, Forbidden Rice and Almond Gremolada or Toy Box Mushroom Spring Roll with Arugula and Sprout Salad, served with a Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette. While Marcia and I should probably have ordered both appetizers to share so that I could describe them for this blog, we both really wanted that soup. So that's what we ordered, and we were glad we did. It was creamy and flavorful, and the chewy forbidden rice provided a nice contrast to the smooth texture of the soup.

The first entrée choice was Buckwheat Soba Noodle with Wasabi Miso Sauce, Tofu, Bok Choy, Spinach, Red Pepper Scallions and Bean Sprouts. But Marcia and I both wanted the second entrée, which was a Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Quinoa Cake with Roasted Roma Tomato Compote and Habanero Chili Oil. The cakes were crispy and delicious, and the compote that topped them was a perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

When we got to the dessert choices, we finally ordered one of each. I'm a chocoholic, so I ordered the Chocolate Lover's Decadence Cake with Toasted Pistachios, and Marcia ordered the Honey Crisp Apple Cake with Salted Caramel (no, it doesn't contain honey -- the type of apple used in the dessert is a Honeycrisp apple). My cake was really good, but I have to say that Marcia's dessert was melt-in-your-mouth fabulous. At this point, it's tied with the banana waffle at the Porch as my favorite dessert for this year's Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge.

Tower Bridge Bistro is located inside the Embassy Suites Hotel in Old Sacramento at 100 Capitol Mall, and their telephone number is 916-326-5050. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at!/towerbridgebistro. The Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu is available only for dinner, which is served Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kupros Bistro

A few nights ago, I met up with fellow vegans Jennifer and Kayte to try the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge menu at Kupros Bistro. We had a fun evening trying each of the creative vegan items prepared by Chef Christopher J. Wood.

Thai Spring Rolls were the appetizer, consisting of basil, mint, mixed greens, bean sprouts, and chioggia beets wrapped in rice paper and served with a sweet chili sauce. In addition to being quite tasty, the rolls were beautifully presented. I took a couple of pictures, but neither turned out well, so you'll just have to go and see this colorful appetizer for yourself!

The main course was Tofu Stir Fry, a delicious entrée of seared tofu, glazed peanuts, and seasonal vegetables tossed with a Korean barbecue sauce and served over a very generous helping of Verrigni noodles.

Finally, the dessert was a Berry Crème Tart, blackberries and raspberries on an olive oil cocoa crust with a cloud of coconut milk and cashew cream in the center. It was a great way to top off a very satisfying meal.

Kupros Bistro generally has at least one vegan entrée on their menu all the time. Currently, it's the Spinach Dhal and Chickpea Bahji. There are also items on the menu that can be made vegan. If the menu doesn't specify that an item is vegan, it's best to ask the server about it, as there may be some unexpected non-vegan ingredients, such as the honey that's used in some of the breads at Kupros.

Kupros Bistro is located at 1217 21st Street, and their phone number is 916-440-0401. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at!/pages/Kupros-Bistro/136343619727956. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to midnight.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Grange Restaurant and Bar

My friend Kate and I had dinner at Grange Restaurant and Bar Monday night before heading over to K Street for a performance at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret. Grange is a restaurant that I don't generally frequent because I don't think of their menu as being particularly vegan-friendly. But when I saw that they were participating in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge this month, I welcomed the opportunity to check out this restaurant.

The first item on Grange's vegan menu is the Vegan Baby Beet Panzanella, with corn bread croutons, pickled turnips, watercress, walnuts, and sherry vinaigrette. There were two varieties of beets, and it was a delicious and satisfying salad.

The main course was Vegan Chickpea Croquettes, topped with a sauce of Jimmy Nardello pepper romesco and served with nantes carrots and charred broccoli rabe. The croquettes were very similar to falafel, without the middle eastern seasonings. This dish was tasty and very filling.

The vegan dessert was Almond Milk Panna Cotta, served with a vanilla poached secal pear, which was garnished with pieces of caramelized sugar containing bits of oats. I enjoyed both the creamy consistency and the delicate flavor of the panna cotta, and I really liked the addition of the caramelized sugar to the pear.

Grange Restaurant and Bar is located inside the Citizen Hotel at 926 J Street. Their phone number is 916-492-4450, and their website address is The special vegan selections are offered for lunch Monday through Friday between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Porch Restaurant and Bar

My husband Phil and I had a wonderful dinner over the weekend at the Porch Restaurant and Bar, a restaurant that I never expected to be able to visit. I've checked the Porch's online menu several times since it opened last year, and it always appeared to me that the menu was the exact opposite of vegan. So I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that the Porch had been added to the line-up for this year's Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge.

Chef Jon Clemons' special vegan menu includes an appetizer, an entrée, and two desserts. The appetizer is Rice and Avocado Fritters, served over mixed greens with carrots, cucumbers, and fresh pineapple, and accompanied by a spicy pineapple and sweet tea glaze. I wasn't sure what to expect, but the fritters turned out to be breaded and deep-fried balls of rice with avocado centers. They were delicious, and they were even better dipped in the spicy pineapple and sweet tea glaze. The fritters were so good that even my non-vegan husband was impressed.

The Skillet Blackened Potato Cake entrée was also quite good. It was served with Creole mustard, sautéed organic green beans and garlic, and a corn and tomato relish. I probably didn't do this dish justice, though, as I was already anticipating my dessert.

The first dessert listed on the Porch's vegan menu is the Date Bar, with oat streusel topping, vegan coconut ice cream, and cinnamon bourbon sauce. It sounds wonderful, but I knew I could only eat one dessert. So I ordered the Banana Waffle, served with vegan whipped cream, fresh berries, vegan coconut ice cream, and cinnamon bourbon sauce. Really, there are no words to describe how fabulous it was! I shared it with Phil, and he said he'd go to the restaurant again specifically for that dessert. I can't recommend it highly enough.

The Porch is located at 1815 K Street, and the phone number is 916-444-2423. Their website address is and their Facebook page can be found at!/ThePorchRestaurant?fref=ts. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. until midnight, Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until midnight, and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The special vegan menu will be available only until the end of October, although if enough people take advantage of it and let the staff know they appreciate it, maybe we can convince the chef to include vegan items on his menu the rest of the year too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Evan's Kitchen

The first restaurant I visited for this year's Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge was Evan's Kitchen. I was impressed by the extensive vegan menu that Chef Evan Elsberry created especially for this event, featuring not only dinner items, but breakfast and lunch items as well. My only problem with this menu was going to be trying to choose from among all of the mouth-watering options.

Unfortunately, when I arrived there for dinner this evening, I discovered that Chef Evan had been called away on an emergency (I'm hoping everything is alright now), and the only items available from the special vegan menu were the butternut squash soup and the roasted vegetable pot pie. So those were the dishes I ordered.

Let me start by saying that the butternut squash soup was excellent, very thick and creamy and just sweet enough. I generally enjoy butternut squash soup regardless of the recipe, but this particular soup was especially delicious. I noticed on the menu that it's available for take-out by the quart, so I'll have to stop in again before the month is over and pick up a quart or two.

The roasted vegetable pot pie was also quite good, with a light flaky crust covering a puree of vegetables that included larger chunks of vegetables as well. It was served with asparagus, dressed with a vegan margarine.

I've copied below the vegan menu that appeared on the Facebook page for Evan's Kitchen so you can see what other dishes should be available this month. Looks wonderful, doesn't it?

Evan's Kitchen is located at 855 57th Street, Suite C, in the 57th Street Antique Row, and the telephone number is 916-452-3896. The restaurant's website address is and the Facebook page is!/evanskitchen?fref=ts. Breakfast is served Tuesday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; lunch is served Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.


Veggie Scramble $8.95
Potato, onion, tomato, peppers, mushroom, spinach, basil, cheddar, flavored cheese substitute, and tofu. Served with fresh fruit.

French Toast $8.95
Coconut milk dipped Texas style toast with cinnamon, nutmeg, roasted sesame tahini and maple syrup.

La Mexicana Burrito $9.95
1 super grande flour tortilla grilled and filled with soyrizo, jalapeño, onion, tomato, cheddar cheese substitute, tofu and potato. Garnished with salsa and guacamole. Served with fresh fruit.


Minestrone Cup: $4.00
Butternut squash Bowl: $6.75
Quart to go: $9.25

Vegetarian Sandwich $9.75
Grilled eggplant, roasted red bell pepper, mozzarella cheese substitute, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion with basil and sundried tomato pesto served on grilled focaccia.

Gorgonzola, Pear, and Caramelized Walnut Salad $10.50
Tossed with fresh baby spinach in a citrus vinaigrette.

Veggie Burger $8.75
100% vegetarian steak patty with roasted garlic and basil pesto, lettuce,
tomato & onion. Add mozzarella cheese substitute for $1.00


Minestrone Cup: $4.00
Butternut squash Bowl: $6.75
Quart to go: $9.25


Corn Cakes with grilled tomato, pascilla chili and soy chipotle cream $7.50

Veggie kabobs with key lime sauce $7.50

Watermelon and tomato skewers with sea salt and lemon dressing $7.50


Gorgonzola, Pear, and Caramelized Walnut Salad $10.50
Tossed with fresh baby spinach in a citrus vinaigrette.

Warm watermelon salad with tomatoes, crushed pistachios and balsamic glaze. $9.00


Eggplant parmesan
With marinara, mozzarella and fresh basil, served with pasta pomodoro and sautéed vegetables.

Charred corn Ravioli –
Cherry tomato salad and basil fondue. $16.00

Roasted vegetable pot pie $14.00


Chocolate Cake
With chocolate truffle molten center, stewed berries and spiced wine.

Lemon Cheese Cake
With fresh mixed berries

Raspberry Sorbet

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge Starts Today!

Today is the first day of the second annual Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, which will run for the entire month of October. During this month, twenty-two local restaurants will offer special vegan dishes on their dinner menus. Some of these restaurants don't generally offer specifically vegan options, so this is a great opportunity to try out dishes prepared by talented local chefs whose menus aren't always so vegan-friendly. Other participating restaurants offer vegan options all the time, so this is a chance to thank them for always making vegans feel welcome at their establishments. Regardless of which of these restaurants you visit this month, be sure to let the chef know how much you appreciate their participation in this event. Who knows? With enough positive feedback, maybe more restaurants will be willing to offer vegan options all the time, instead of just during the month of October.

Below is a listing of the participating restaurants. Most of them have not yet posted their vegan menus for the month, the two big exceptions being Tower Bridge Bistro and Grange, which are offering absolutely mouth-watering vegan options. I will visit and blog about as many of these restaurants as I can, which means I'll be posting more often than once a week during the month of October. I'll be interested to hear about your experiences at these restaurants too, so please feel free to comment on this article, or send comments to me directly at Bon appétit!

Tower Bridge Bistro
Capitol Garage
The Porch
Evan's Kitchen
58 Degrees & Holding Co.
Hot Italian
Andy Nguyen's
The Plum Cafe & Bakery
Dad's Sandwich Shop
Dad's Kitchen
Bombay Bar & Grill
Aioli Bodega Espanola
24K Chocolat Cafe
Kathmandu Kitchen
Green Boheme
Baagan (Roseville)
El Papagayo (Carmichael)