Jeff Kraus of Crepe Bar Makes the 13 Mile Vegetable Curry Crepe (VIDEO)
We're going behind the scenes and getting up close and personal with some of the Valley's favorite chefs, learning what it takes to make one of their best-known dishes. Welcome to The Trail.
It's hard not to smile when you walk into Crepe Bar in Tempe. Everything from the walls -- hand-painted in a colorful pattern -- to the young employees to chef and owner Jeff Kraus exudes energy. It's infectious.
The fact that there's always plenty of hot and cold brewed coffee flowing may also be to blame.
Sitting at one of the small tables close to the counter with a cup of Heart Roasters La Esperanza coffee on a recent weekday afternoon, I can barely catch a glimpse of the chef through the window. Service is winding down, but a few diners -- several of whom are clearly regular customers -- linger in the dining room, though no one seems to mind. The back of the house is tidying up while the front of the house clears out.
After a few minutes, Kraus emerges from the kitchen wearing his trademark custom-made blue denim apron and a smile.
Lauren Saria Kraus in the kitchen at Crepe Bar.
"You guys ready to do this?" he asks, offering a fist of tattooed knuckles for bumping.
Today, we're at the restaurant to find out what goes into making one of Kraus' signature crepes, the 13 Mile Vegetable Curry.
And if you're wondering how much work can really go into making a crepe -- and a vegetarian one at that -- I don't blame you. Except the truth is that Kraus puts a lot into this dish. A lot of time (to ferment and pickle some of the vegetables), and a lot of thought (into how to build several different flavors from each ingredient).
"This dish is insane," the chef assures me.