Persona Pizza Chicago

If I was forced to choose one food item, and this one thing would be all I was able to eat for the rest of my days, I feel pretty comfortable saying that pizza would be the way to go. You can go NY style, thin crust, deep dish, marinara, pesto, meat lovers, veggie; the options go on and on. Just as your choices of toppings are never ending, in Chicago your choices of where to order your pizza from can seem endless as well. There are the old staples we all know and love, be it the deep dish spot you take your family when they are in town, or the spot in your neighborhood that is perfect on a cold winter evening. But where to go, when you are in rush before a meeting, hungry because you forgot to eat breakfast, or want to grab something tasty for home as you depart work for the weekend? Persona Pizza, located right in the loop on Washington and LaSalle is your go to for quick, delicious pizza.

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The Islands of the Andaman Sea: Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta

After spending a fun couple of days exploring Ao Nang and Rali we were off to Koh Phi Phi. We knew Koh Phi Phi was a small island and known for its party scene along with the fact that this is where you could catch a long tail boat to go see Maya Bay, made famous by the movie, “The Beach” starring Leo DiCaprio. Upon reading other blogs in preparation, I was personally excited for what seemed a smaller scale Full Moon Party vibe. Shortly after departing the ferry we quickly realized this had great potential to be Full Moon Party-esque minus the staying up all night thing. Koh Phi Phi is much smaller than Koh Phangan but the place was filled with backpackers and the beach and island exists to entertain. The whole island is small enough that people just walk everywhere, no cars, and barely any motor bikes. It was another typical April scorcher so by the time we eventually found our guest house, we were dripping sweat. This is basically a new tradition of ours, where upon checking in at our new hotel, a mop is needed for the front desk after we finish with checking in. Read more


Poblano and Chicken Sausage Pizza from Bake425

Bake425, a bake at home, farm-to-crust pizza concept recently approached me to taste their unique easy-bake pizzas along with a fresh salad and a giant cookie! The folks from Bake425 are the same people that brought you the former Homemade Pizza franchise, but now with healthier options! Bake425 sources as many ingredients as possible from nearby farms in order to bring eaters the freshest flavors while supporting the local economy. At this time they are currently located in Highland Park, Winnetka, Lake Forest, Hinsdale and Evanston.

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Our Food Favorites in 2015

The bread bar at Baker Miller in Chicago

Post by Taste Tester #1

2015 was a tough year for us to eat all the great food options we desired. More and more delicious options continue to open around Chicago, but at the same time the goal was to look good for wedding pictures! Eating a little less pizza, more salads at lunch and a better workout regimen allowed us to still enjoy some great food this past year. This list isn’t necessarily what was the hot new opening or the best new chef; it’s a mix of what we enjoyed, brought smiles to our face and overall just some of the BeyondExpecTasetions favorites!

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Steph Eats Chicago on Dr. Oz!

I’m super excited to announce that this coming Monday, January 27th I’ll be featured on Dr. Oz for his healthy recipe challenge! The show will air on FOX at 3:00pm CT and the episode should also be online here after the show airs.

Dr. Oz producers challenged me to create a healthier version of Chicago’s deep-dish pizza. Always up for a challenge I put my nose to the pizza stone and came up with a delicious alternative that’s figure-friendly and perfectly portioned! My miniature deep-dish pizzas made in a muffin tin give you all the dough and cheese you’re looking for in a bite-sized low-fat option!

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Blaze Pizza and a Giveaway

Two weeks ago Blaze Pizza, a Chipotle-style pizza joint opened up right off the Belmont redline stop in downtown Chicago with so many possible pizza combinations if you came back 100 times you still wouldn’t have tried them all. I had the chance to try a few pies and talk with the Executive Chef Brad who was in from California to open the first Chicago location.  Similar to Chipotle, Blaze uses only the highest quality ingredients from the garlic to the tomatoes that make up the sauce.  As a chef with a food science background Chef Brad tinkered with the typical dough recipe in order to get a perfectly fluffy, crusty, chewy, and flavorful base. I could tell the more I talked to Chef Brad that this dude is seriously passionate about pizza and that passion definitely showed up in everything from the assembly line pizza to the employees.

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Molecular Gastronomy for Beginners

This week I delved into the foray of molecular gastronomy. Several months ago I purchased a Cuisine R-Evolution MoleculeR Gastronomy kit but I haven’t had the time to devote to this new art that is taking the foodie world by storm. If you’ve ever been to, or even heard of, Alinea or el Bulli you’ve certainly heard of molecular gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy is a scientific discipline that studies the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking; it’s a branch of food science. The term “molecular gastronomy” was coined in 1992 by Nicholas Kurti, an Oxford physicist. The phrase started becoming mainstream during the mid-1990s when chef Ferran Adria of el Bulli in Spain started introducing foams, apple caviars, and hot jellied strips of “pasta” made from agar agar.

Some common ingredients chefs often use while dabbling in molecular gastronomy are listed below. They may sound scary, but most are actually different kinds of gelatins that cause chemical reactions when they come in contact with different ingredients, pretty cool!

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