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Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng chow down on the 34th annual Taste of Chicago!

Whether you make Dorilocos, Tostilocos or Takilocos, here’s the basic recipe. Buen provecho!

In this cookout episode of Chewing the Fat Louisa and I talk about our late night Korean galbi dinner years ago with chef Marco Pierre White, His  temper was almost as hot as the meat on our grill that he turned with his bare hands.

What’s your favorite hot sauce, you know like the one you buy in the 8.5 gallon size? Louisa Chu and Monica Eng will be talking fiery sauces on WBEZ’s The Afternoon Shift Wednesday as a lead up to July 4.

On this bonus WBEZ Pledge Drive Chewing the Fat special, hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng are back from tasting the future of food! Monica and Louisa break bread, with smoked butter and sous-vide-cooked steak and eggs, with culinary tech maker Philip Preston, inventor and owner of PolyScience. They flavor trip on miracle berry inspired chocolate and bacon donuts with Moto and Berrista chef and owner Homaro Cantu. Plus US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) CEO Randy Krotz tells us how we as consumers drive meat to the market. And Blue Hill co-owner, chef, and author of The Third Plate Dan Barber details a multi-course meal of the future, including the Rotation Risotto he’s serving right now.

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(Photo: Louisa Chu/Flickr—Bacon chocolate donut test for Berrista in Chicago)

LISTEN to our Chewing the Fat COOKOUT episode HERE! Louisa Chu and Monica Eng discuss deliciously dangerous BBQ with Low & Slow BBQ author/Barn & Company pitmaster Gary Wiviott; Gluten Is My Bitch author/blogger April Peveteaux; and legendary anchorman/new Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me scorekeeper/Tallgrass Beef Company’s Bill Kurtis!

(Photo: Flickr/Christopher Craig)

This week we dig into the rising intolerance for the gluten intolerant by talking to celiac scientist Dr. Stefano Guandalini, comedian Brian Babylon, blogger and author April Peveteaux (“Gluten Is My Bitch”) and WBEZ COO Alison Scholly. (Photo by Louisa Chu)

This week we mix it up with anchorman, and sometimes judge & scorekeeper of NPR/WBEZ’s “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” Bill Kurtis. He talks about his delicious and nutritious Tall Grass beef franks. Plus, we grill “Gulp” author Mary Roach about the benefits of juicing and extreme chewing. And we learn the secrets of eating like a movie star with actor John Turturro who wrote, stars and directs the new movie “Fading Gigolo.”

Ruth Reichl and Alice Waters! Chewing the Fat hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng welcome in studio Reichl, former “Gourmet” magazine Editor in Chief, and Waters, chef and owner of Chez Panisse. They were in town for the Chicago Humanities Festival event, “The Art of Simple Food: Alice Waters in Conversation with Ruth Reichl”. Monica and Louisa learn the the truth about Ruth’s highly anticipated Twitter inspired book, and hear her struggle writing the recently released Delicious!: A Novel. Alice talks about her new book, “The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden.” All that and listener mail — finally! (Photo: Monica Eng, Alice waters, Ruth Reichl, Louisa Chu)

Just some more pics of our Top 5 Chicago croissants from Beurrage (Louisa’s No. 1), Eclair, Fritz (Monica’s No. 1) and Cellar Door.

If you can’t make it to Paris but still long for a rich buttery croissant, you don’t have to look far in Chicago.

That wasn’t always the case. For decades, we suffered a terrible deficit of decent French bakeries. But in recent years and months, Chicago has seen the opening of Eclair Patisserie in Andersonville, La Boulangerie in Lakeview, Cellar Door Provisions in Avondale, Vanille Patisserie in Lincoln Park and most recently, Beurrage in Pilsen. A Chicago location of Le Pain Quotidien is also set to open any day now in the Gold Coast.

Even Starbucks got in on French bakery act when it launched it not-so-shabby line of croissants here last fall.

So what does this mean for Chicago croissant lovers? That depends on whom you talk to.

My Chewing the Fat co-host Louisa Chu is not impressed by the Chicago offerings, which she deems just “OK.”As Louisa OFTEN reminds me, she lived and cooked in Paris for years, and is consequently, “spoiled.”

When I suggested that she lighten up and join me on a quest to find five really delicious croissants in the city, she scoffed and said something like “c’est impossible!.”

So, after we finished interviewing Beurrage baker Jeffrey Hallenback (whose croissants Louisa likes) on a recent Saturday, I set off with my 10 year old daughter to find buttery bliss.

I started with a list of recommendations from foodies, colleagues and Facebook friends and quickly nibbled it down to 10 that I could get to in the next four days. Facebook commenters suggested some that I didn’t get to including those from Ely’s Pancake House, Bon Jour Bakery in Hyde Park and in St Roger Abbey in Vernon Hills.

When all was said and done, we had a tie for No. 1 because Louisa only voted for one and the other four were also heavenly in my book. Here they are

1. Beurrage: 1248 W 18th St.; 773-998-2371: Supremely flakey with dough full of character building housemade cultured butter.


Fritz Pastry: 1408 W Diversey Pkwy.; 773-857-2989: Well-browned, complexly flavored croissants that are so criminally rich and buttery that you’ll look around for the cops as you eat them. We think the ham and cheese version are THE best hand held breakfast in Chicago.

2. Cellar Door Provisions: 3025 W. Diversey Ave.; 773-697-8337: Aggressively browned with a nutty exterior and light eggy center.

3. Vanille Patisserie: 2108 N. Clark St.773.868.4574: Restrained browning, but a buttery and pleasantly sweet center.

4.La Boulangerie: 915 W Belmont Ave.; 312-480-8337: Not gorgeous but full of a flakey but dense and flavorful dough.

5. Éclair Patisserie: 5212 N. Clark St.; 773-987-9881: Delicate and buttery and we love the striping on the pain au chocolat and the little bag of 5 to go.

“We’ll always have Paris,” says Chewing the Fat! But is the best food in Paris still made by the French? This week hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng have a tête-à-tête-à-tête with blogger and author David Lebovitz about his new book “My Paris Kitchen.” And catch up with former Gourmet magazine European correspondent Alec Lobrano, who’s just updated his restaurant guide, Hungry for Paris, and released his new book “Hungry for France.” Plus Monica and Louisa go on a croissant crawl in Chicago, tell you how to pick pastries like a Parisian, and reveal their top croissants in the city!
(Photo: Flickr/Mini croissant au beurre from Beurrage in Chicago—Louisa Chu)

Chewing the Fat co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng ask legendary Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters and Renegade Lunch Lady Ann Cooper why, despite more than a decade of school food reform, processed foods still rule America’s neediest lunchrooms. We also talk to former Fed Up With Lunch blogger Mrs. Q (aka Sarah Wu) about her exit from the school food movement, and highlight Sitka Conservation Society’s innovative salmon to school program in Alaska. Plus, Louisa makes Monica a 42 ingredient nugget, but Will She Eat It?

Live from Chicago, it’s Chewing the Fat! Co-hosts Louisa Chu and Monica Eng hold their first live event, a podcast recording and WBEZ Chicago Member Meet-Up at City Winery complete with wine, cheese, and charcuterie. Listen as audience contestants play Know Your Sausage with Hot Doug’s Doug Sohn; Will You Eat It? with three stinky cheeses and Pastoral’s Greg Miller and Ken O’Neill; plus Ask the Somms with Tenzing Master Sommelier Fernando Betata, and City Winery’s very own Rachel Driver Speckan.