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The Lauren Ignited Podcast

We've rebranded! We are now The Lauren Ignited Podcast and we talk about Soul Music and Comfort Food with my new co-host, Gregory Perrine. If it makes you groove or makes you tummy swoon, we are talking about it! Follow our new podcast "The Lauren Ignited podcast" to hear our new episodes.
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Aug 22, 2018

“When I’m on stage, I feel extremely fearless and I wanted the music to reflect that.” ~Krystal Metcalfe, on the inspiration behind her forthcoming EP

Following her tour for the release of her first EP, In Real Life, Krystal Metcalfe met up with Lauren in Chicago to talk about her musical roots growing up in the church, current collaborations, her songwriting process, her favorite food spots in Houston and Chicago, and the weirdest thing she likes to bring on tour.

Krystal, a Chicagoan, by way of St. Louis, wears her life experiences, musicianship, and love for people on her chest and is always ready to set the nearest stage on fire. Her love for music runs deep into her roots and she uses those seeds to share real, purposeful, and meaningful music that will uplift your spirits and also move the crowd. 

Her musical style has been described as “the love child of Aretha Franklin and Chaka Kahn, infused with Rock n' Soul and Musical Theatre.” She has been recognized by The Chicago Tribune, as well as highlighted by Jet magazine in a new artist spotlight for her student loan anthem 'Sallie'.

Krystal's debut EP "In Real Life" also earned her performances on the historic JBTV, as well as Windy City Live. This summer she was featured at Mamby on the Beach following her spring tour with The Suffers (check out Lauren’s interview on Lauren Ignited with Kam Franklin.)

Following her spring/summer tours, Krystal’s second EP has been tracked and they are now working on the mix. She talks about their crazy idea to record 8 songs in one 7-hour day, which they did! She admits, though that they did have to go back and re-record some of the parts.

The new EP she describes as having a “strong rockin’ soul sound” that is quite different than “In Real Life.” It features songs that she has written in collaboration with her husband, and with multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter, Sam Trump (featured in another episode of Lauren Ignited.)

Krystal describes her songwriting process as “waiting for the song to be sent down from the heavens” and then it comes all at once. She says the theme of the new album came about at the beginning of the year when she was thinking about how much there is to be afraid of and how you can let yourself be ruled by your fears, or you can face them and evaluate them.

Krystal shares some of her favorite restaurants in Houston -- The Breakfast Klub (listen to Lauren’s interview with Chef Marcus Davis here) and Cyclone Anaya’s -- and in Chicago -- MacArthur’s Restaurant for southern comfort food, Batter and Berries for brunch, and Chicago q for baby back ribs.

Artists Krystal would love to collaborate with include Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr, Lenny Kravitz, and two wild cards -- Vampire Weekend and Lucius.

This interview was recorded the day of the great Aretha Franklin’s passing. Aretha was such an inspiration to Krystal, she tells a story of the time her band played her entire catalog in three long sets. Want to know Krystal’s favorite Aretha song? You’ll just have to listen to find out!

In the meantime, Krystal says, “Be kind, spread love, give hugs (to people that say you can hug them,) and check out the new project when it’s available.”

Krystal Metcalfe’s debut EP In Real Life is available on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal and more!  http://www.krystalmetcalfe.com

 

Follow Krystal:

Facebook: @krystalmetcalfemusic

Instagram: @krystalmetcalfe

Twitter: @krystlametcalfe

 

Visit Lauren Ignited:

http://www.laurenignited.com/

 

Twitter: @laurenignited

Facebook: @LaurenIgnited

Instagram: @laurenignited

 

Aug 1, 2018

“A michelada is… a cocktail with longevity.” -Greg

Lauren and Greg kick off this mid-summer round up with Lauren’s recent visit to the Logan Square Farmers Market, Greg waxing poetic about the Green City Market in Lincoln Square, a 4th of July rooftop Cubs game (of which Lauren saw very little because she was too busy socializing, snacking and drinking gluten free hard cider provided by Angry Orchard), and Greg’s firm “no” to the summer shandys of last summer and enthusiastic “yes” to the coffee-infused lagers of this summer.

Lauren was thrilled to catch Mayer Hawthorne, who she describes as “soul with a sassy twist” at the Taste of Randolph street festival in Chicago, where she had a chance to fall in love with the rope viejo taco with goat cheese at nearby Bar Takito.

Once Greg was done complaining about the influx of traffic jams that the West Loop/ Randolph Restaurant District is currently suffering from with the influx of the companies like Google and the new McDonald’s HQ, which features a smattering of items from their “international” menus, we begin a tour of Mexican bar/restaurant concepts around Chicago including Federales (owned and operated by renowned Parlor Pizza Bar). Here the main attraction is an ice tequila shot glass you can throw once you’re done to ring a bell.

We continue to family owned La Josie on Halsted and Randolph, where Greg recommends the flank steak with a smoky michelada, his go-to Sunday drink.

We visit Rick Bayless’s Leña Brava, wood-fired and Baja-inspired, sharing a building with Cruz Blanca, a beer and bites bar and brewery. Lauren loves on the soup from Xoco, also a Bayless spot. Greg recommends anyone flying out of O’Hare Airport to allow extra time to grab food and a margarita to go from Frontera inside Terminals 1, 3 and 5.

In Houston, Lauren recommends her favorite tex-mex, Lupe Tortillas, and back in Chicago, they try to describe the unique fusion concept of Cafe Tola, featured in an earlier episode of the podcast.

After the break, Lauren shares an epic story about driving the artist transport golf cart up and down Lake Shore Drive for last year’s Lollapalooza, her goof up with the managers for the popular hip-hop band Migos (hint: she said,  “Oh I don’t know them!” even though they were headliners), and a torrential downpour resulting in festival evacuation. This year’s festival is August 2-5, 2018 and Lauren and Greg earnestly recommend the VIP pass.

Speaking of VIP passes, gives us the 411 on VIP experiences at Six Flags Great America and we round out the summer recommended experiences with free concerts in Millennium Park (featuring artists like Louie Vega and Robyn!) and extravagant picnic options at Ravinia Music Festival.


 

Food & drinks mentioned in this episode:

Chicago:

Logan Square Farmers Market

Green City Farmer’s Market

McDonalds New HQ

Takito Kitchen - http://takitokitchen.com/

Bar Takito - http://bartakito.com/

Federales - http://federaleschicago.com/

La Josie - https://www.lajosie.com/

Leña Brava - http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/lena-brava/

Cruz Blanca - http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/cerveceria-cruz-blanca/

Xoco - http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco/

Frontera Grill (including the O’Hare Airport location) - http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/frontera-grill/

Cafe Tola - https://www.cafetola.com/

 

Houston:

Lupe Tortilla Houston - https://tex-mex.com/

 

Music mentioned in this episode:

Mayer Hawthorne - http://www.mayerhawthorne.com/

Migos - http://migosonline.com/

Louie Vega - http://www.vegarecords.net/

Robyn - http://robyn.com/


Visit Lauren Ignited:

http://www.laurenignited.com/

 

Twitter:@laurenignited

Facebook: @LaurenIgnited

Instagram: @laurenignited


Jul 25, 2018

“People are addicted -- like crack/cocaine addicted -- to sugar. There is such a difference between a blueberry or an apple and refined crap sugar.” - Jessica Huffman

Coming off a recent juice cleanse and feeling awesome, Lauren caught up with Jessica Huffman of Nourish, Houston’s first cold-pressed juice and smoothie bar in Houston, TX.

In this episode, Jess shares her passion for juice, local business, and her experience with a hospital stay due to frostbite, where they were bringing her white bread and sugar juices during recovery. Hint: she had her friends sneak more natural foods in for her!

Jess started Nourish inspired by a desire to bring more natural, health and wellness solutions to Houston. Typical American daily diets are not giving us the essential vitamins, minerals, and enzymes we need for optimal health and we have a huge epidemic of what Jess calls “crap sugar” addiction. Add to that the way most foods are processed for grocery stores, chain juice bars and mass consumption with pasteurization or high pressure processing (HPP.) Both processes kill bacteria, but that means ALL bacteria is destroyed, which includes what we need for gut health.

The cold pressed method at Nourish extracts 3-5 times more vitamins, minerals, and enzymes than any other method. Without the use of heat, and minimal oxidation, the final result is the cleanest, freshest, raw juice possible.

Jess names all the in-house juice and smoothie blends by the first thing that comes to her mind. Some house favorites include:

Ripped Monkey - organic homemade almond milk, banana, organic peanut butter, Primal Essentials grass-fed whey protein, raw organic cacao

Goji Bee - pineapple, orange, mango, banana, organic bee pollen, organic goji berries

Juan Carlos - spinach, pineapple, grape, cilantro, lime, organic flax oil
(hear the story of how this one got its name in the episode)

In addition to single serving juices and smoothies, Nourish offers 3, 5 and 7-day cleanses. A juice cleanse is when only fruit and vegetable juices are consumed for a limited amount of time to rid your body of harmful toxins. Your body spends the majority of its energy breaking down solid food. During a juice cleanse, your body devotes more energy into detoxing, while still providing your body the fuel it needs through juice. They offer 3 levels of intensity: Rookie, The Middle Child, and Hard Core.

Family owned and operated, Nourish now has 3 different locations and Jess has no plans to franchise. She prides herself in supporting local, independently owned business in the community.

 

Nourish Juice & Smoothie Bar’s Montrose Location, 4th Ward - 1000 W Gray St, #200;  The Heights - 2155 Durham Dr; Rice Village - 5313 Morningside Dr, Houston, Texas.  http://www.nourishjb.com/

 

Connect with Nourish:

Instagram: @nourishjuicebartx

Twitter: @NourishJuiceHTX

Facebook: facebook.com/NourishHTX

 

Visit Lauren Ignited:

http://www.laurenignited.com

Twitter:@laurenignited

Facebook: @LaurenIgnited

Instagram: @laurenignited

Jul 14, 2018

“Without really knowing it, we've kind of had this recipe over the years of like starting the show out and hitting people with that sexually-charged kind of funk -- like get your body moving and make you feel make you feel sexy -- dancing, getting sweaty and then it's like there's a moment where you've been doing that and then you're receptive, in the right spot for a message and the message of positivity…

...like we understand your struggle, but you gotta have hope and so I think that is kind of what we're all about. It's like we're gonna get you dancing, and get you sweaty, and then when you're in the right spot, to let you know that there's a better way -- that happiness is a choice...

… I just want to make it about feeling good and hoping that in some way that will translate and bring opportunity to us to take it around the world and do like we did in Japan the UK and other places in Europe and just carry this message of hope and remind people that music is a path to the present moment.” ~Taye Cannon, Roxy Roca

Lauren first experienced Austin-based soul band Roxy Roca live 5 years ago when they were opening for Mayer Hawthorne. Inspired by their huge presence, strong energy and unique fusion of soul, blues, funk and rock, she describes their sound like this: It rattles your soul a little bit.
It makes you want to dance, lets you firm up your position on something or how you feel about yourself.

Coming off their recent tour in Japan and showcase at SXSW, Lauren had a chance to connect with members of the band after Ryan messaged her through the app. She was amazed that of over 100 bands she favorited, they were the only ones that reached out!

In fact, nurturing community and connecting with fans is a huge priority for Roxy Roca and their grassroots approach to building a following.

On their Japanese tour, which they refer to as a “cultural explosion of the mind”, some of their favorite experiences were the all-night ramen shop after parties AFTER the after party at the club where you “get a table for like 20 people and it's all served family style. Everybody just throws in money and they bring out giant beers and all this family-style food. You just pass it all around and it's never like “this is mine, this is yours.” No one's worried about that. It's just like a bunch of ramen and a bunch of beer and a lot of smiles and laughs.”

Hailing from Austin, TX the Roxy Roca has grown and evolved since its inception in 2011. Building upon their first full-length album, Ain’t Nothin’ Fancy, and citing influences as diverse as Motown, jazz, Michael Jackson, Rick James, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eric Clapton, and Marvin Gaye, they plan to release People Rise Up later in 2018. The album was recorded at The Bubble in Austin with none other than Grammy Governor Chris "Frenchie" Smith (The Darkness, Toadies, Jet).

Recently, Roxy Roca released the first single off the album ,“Taurus”, complete with a complimentary music video and now available on all major streaming services. With the guidance of super-producer Smith, the new album features a grittier, edgier sound with hooky guitar riffs, funky backbeats, slammin’ horn lines, and lyrics of love, heartache, and a message that 'happiness is a choice.’

What’s next for Roxy Roca?

Vocalist Taye Cannon says…

“You play this big show… And then you wake up the next morning, and you still going to have your coffee, still going to drive the van, still going to be with your brothers in the van. I really put the focus on enjoying that and the fact that it's an adventurous lifestyle and that we get this opportunity to move people on daily basis and maybe bring them to the present moment and not so much thinking about their bills and other things that might be weighing them down you know… so I'm excited about the future. And I'm also trying not to be in the future.”

Roxy Roca is based in Austin, TX. Details and tour schedule at http://roxyroca.com

Connect with Roxy Roca on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook (don’t send a sticker!)

Check out the new video for “Taurus” and more on YouTube.

Photo by Scott Saldinger

Jun 28, 2018

Blending Gulf Coast seafood, Tex-Mex and European influences through smoked meats and traditional family recipes, Houston’s El Burro and the Bull is a true reflection of the diversity of landscape, culture and cuisine throughout Texas.

Lauren Ignited’s Gregory Perrine caught some time in person with Co-Owner, Executive Chef and Pit Master, John Avila, to talk influences, flavors and the relationship you build with your customers that keep them coming back for more.

Specializing in small batch handcrafted barbecue, El Burro sells smoked brisket, pork, turkey, sausage, and boudin by the pound. Other menu favorites include eggs benedict torta during Sunday brunch, smoked pork and brisket tacos, meaty mac & cheese with smoked gouda and homemade bechamel. The unifying theme throughout the menu is smoke.

John says, “We’re really lucky we’re working with smoke because you not only taste it, but you smell it. When you crave BBQ it puts that trigger in your brain… smoke is the key.”

El Burro and the Bull is located inside The Conservatory, Houston’s first underground food hall and beer garden. Featuring other vendors including Moku Bar for poke, Arte Pizzeria, Noble Rot Wine Bar and The Pho Spot, The Conservatory sees a variety of crowds from lunchtime business crowds to evening happy hours, game nights to working lunch to Sunday brunch. It’s an ever-evolving space.

“It brings in everybody from the beer nerds to the wine aficionados to the barbecue lovers to the pho lovers… it’s not so much as a competition with each other as it is pushing each other to do the best we can so there’s definitely some friendly competition, but I’m happy to say I’m surrounded by people who take a lot of pride in what they do.” ~John Avila

John and wife Veronica are opening a new concept called Henderson & Kane General Store. With a focus on serving the immediate neighborhood within a one-mile radius and being a fixture in the local community, Henderson & Kane is influenced by the family owned general stores in every neighborhood in Houston and the delis of New York City.

Henderson & Kane will feature a similar menu to El Burro plus bagels, croissants, scones and a full coffee bar in the morning, and burgers, tacos, wings, beer and wine at night. They will also sell produce, bread, soda, juice and sundries -- and probably their house made BBQ sauce.  

Currently the website features a survey for local neighbors to make suggestions for the store’s products and services.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to educate ourselves on what they want and at the end of the day, that’s the goal.” ~John Avila

John owes much of the inspiration behind El Burro and the Bull to his grandfather’s work ethic. His grandfather’s restaurant was part of the central Texas BBQ scene in the 1950s-60s, and as a child sweeping floors there on visits, John noticed one thing that stuck with him -- that it was mostly regulars.

Everybody knew who his grandparents were, and they knew who everyone else was. John recalls that he would say, “I’m a very lucky man because I turn the lights on in the morning and my friends show up to visit me every day.”

John continues that tradition by working partnering with his wife, Veronica Avila, who has had a huge influence on design and community engagement, and treating employees and customers like family.

“There’s a huge amount of trust that a customer puts into you the minute that hey open up your door and walk into your place and they’re going to eat something that you made with your hands.” ~John Avila, Executive Chef, Pit Master and Co-Owner of El Burro & the Bull Restaurant Group

Besides Henderson & Kane, what’s next for John and Veronica?

A bakery called Sweet Mary’s, inspired by traditional panaderias, designed using repurposed shipping containers, and named for John’s grandmother.

 

El Burro and the Bull is located in downtown Houston, TX at the Conservatory Food Hall, 1010 Prairie Street. http://elburroandthebull.com/

 

Connect with El Burro and the Bull on Twitter and Facebook

 

Henderson & Kane General Store is in the 6th Ward of Houston at 715 Henderson St. http://hkgeneralstore.com/

 

Hear more from John Avia in Lauren’s 2016 interview on episode 026 of the Lauren Ignited podcast.



Jun 6, 2018

I met Shantina Lynet at a Sofar Sound Show in Chicago and I was immediately mesmerized. Take a listen to our interview to hear how old she was when she first started singing (hint: it's a single-digit number) and where she plans to take her career now. 

May 3, 2018

Kam Franklin, lead singer for the 8-piece gulf coast soul band from Houston, TX, came on the Lauren Ignited podcast to share a few stories from the past three years. You see, three years ago, the entire band (which was 10 people at the time) all quit their day jobs to follow this singular dream of taking The Suffers to the next level.

Since leaving their jobs, they have played on the David Letterman Show, The Daily Show, The Jimmy Kimmel Show and they have toured to Australia and Japan. They are currently on tour all around the United States. 

This July, the band will be releasing their second full-length album on July 13th, our Houston Day, if you're from Houston. (713 is one of the oldest area codes for the Houston area.) Leading up to the album release, they have shared "Do Whatever" and, soon, "Mammas" both which have music videos to accompany them. I was lucky enough to be included, with my Mother, in the "Mammas" video and I can't wait to see it.

Kam also answered questions from fans on Twitter who tweeted into the show prior to airing. You're definitely going to want to hear these answers!

You can connect with Kam on Twitter at @KamFranklin. You can view The Suffers tour schedule on www.TheSuffers.com. And you can connect with us on www.LaurenIgnited.com.

Apr 24, 2018

It's been a minute since we've had an episode from Lauren & Greg. In this episode, you'll find out why. Greg was busy traveling to Houston to record a new episode with El Burro & the Bull and Lauren was busy traveling to Austin for SXSW....and then you know, getting work done.

From her most awe-inspiring experience at SXSW, to festival season in Chicago and through their shared love of kolaches, Lauren and Greg found a way to talk about Texas and Illinois in the same episode.

And, we have a new sponsor! We're happy to announce that Level Offices have joined us on the show--we'd love for you to try them out and let us know what you think! They have office space in their co-working studios in both Houston and Chicago.

Apr 17, 2018

As found on the Fat Rice website, “Fat Rice aka Arroz Gordo” is the celebratory dish of Macau. Reminiscent of paella, Arroz Gordo is a bountiful, home-style, layered rice dish usually served to family and friends on special occasions. Fat Rice’s version has jasmine rice laced with sofrito, chorizo & salted duck. It is then topped with curried thighs, char siu pork, linguiça sausage, prawns, steamed clams, tea eggs, chicken-fat-fried croutons, olives & pickled chilies, and is served with a mushroom soy and Diabo hot sauce.

But Fat Rice, nestled on the outskirts of Logan Square (2957 W Diversey Ave) is more than just the signature dish. It’s an homage to an evolving culture that once married South Chinese and Portuguese influences into an incredible fusion of flavors. 

From learning traditional Chinese dumpling recipes from her grandparents while growing up in Lincoln Park, to exploring India’s culture an cuisine in college, food has always been a cornerstone of family and friends for Fat Rice co-owner, Adrienne Lo.

After a transformative journey to India and more importantly, Sri Lanka, Adrienne found herself looking for her next adventure while holding a job at Whole Foods back in Chicago. There, a friendship with Abraham Conlon, led to starting an underground supper club, X-Marx, which ended up gaining a cult following.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows running the supper club, and eventually, the city got wind of the operation, putting a kibosh on the gig. There, left with the decision of what to do next, the two partners decided to take things legit. A serendipitous chain of events led to finding the right location and a cuisine that is reflective of both Abraham and Adrienne’s ethnicity.

Two expansions and a cookbook later,  Fat Rice remains at the top of the “must try” places of Chicago, and continues to add to their offerings to keep things fresh. We got the opportunity to sit down with Adrienne and sink our teeth into the story behind the restaurant. Enjoy!

Mar 5, 2018

Lauren and Greg talk about their rodeo experiences and the moment Greg's father became a cowboy.

We also chatted about the difference between the Chicago and Houston food scenes, the Chef culture, and the segregations of cuisine by neighborhood.

 

Feb 12, 2018

Sam Trump is a multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter from Houston, TX, and has been a student of music from first picking up the trumpet at age 7. Since moving to Chicago in 2009 to obtain his fine arts degree in music, he has become heavily involved in Chicago's live music scene and is widely known as a bandleader, sideman, and curator. Wherever he is, Sam Trump is known for creating an experience that is best described as sophisticated & soulful. 

From creating his own music before he was 10 to being offered 7 full-ride scholarships after high school to touring with his bands, Sam has always been in love with music, and it shows. Hear more about what goes on in the studio to create the music of Sam Trump.

Jan 27, 2018

It's restaurant week, and we could not be more excited to share with you some insight into one of the participating restaurants, Tanta

World-renowned chef, Gaston Acurio, wanted to bring Peruvian cuisine to Chicago in a way that showcased culture and flavor. In his words, "Our menu is like traveling throughout Peru from the Pacific Ocean to playing in the desert to touring the Andes mountains, the reflection of the Lake Titicaca over the Altiplano, through the amazing colors and sounds of the Amazon Jungle... traveling, celebrating, sharing the flavors and joys of Peru and having fun with respect and gratitude to the Earth."

At a glance, the menu looks like a fusion of Latin and Asian cuisine, but in actuality, that is EXACTLY what Peruvian cuisine is. Take one of our favorite dishes the Pobre Niguiris Nikei. Perfectly seared skirt steak is topped with a fried quail egg, and slightly spicy sauce and acidic Ponzu gel. Presented on sushi rice, it's a bomb of flavor that literally explodes in your mouth. An order comes with two, and after you taste one, it'll be hard to share the other, so it may be smarter to order two per person.

And don't forget the drinks. Local to Peru, Pisco can be found represented in a multitude of different fashions on the menu. In this episode of the podcast, we hear a little about some of the intricacies of Pisco and how it is used in more than just a Pisco Sour. If you are not a Pisco fan, go for our favorite cocktail, El Chingon. This cocktail with a kick is a beautiful blend of Jalapeno Tanteo Tequila, Mezcal, lime, and cilantro, but it doesn't stop there. Tanta infuses rocoto pepper, indigenous to Peru, into a spherical ice cube that melts as you drink it creating a lasting burn.

For restaurant week Tanta is doing both Lunch and Dinner specials. If you have been curious about what Peruvian cuisine is about, this is a great chance to experience a variety of what the culture has to offer. For $22 a lunch consists of a choice of one of four main courses, and one of two desserts. For $44 dinner is three courses with three first course options, four second course, and two desserts. There are also daily wine specials at $9 a glass.

Albeit cold outside, the vibrancy, cuisine, and culture inside the doors at Tanta will be sure to give you a little escape from January in Chicago. Make your reservation now and be sure to take advantage of the Restaurant Week Specials through February 8th.

Jan 23, 2018

In this episode of the Lauren Ignited Podcast, Greg and I caught up on our holiday stories and shared which restaurants you should definitely check out during this year's Chicago Restaurant Week!  And, Greg and I share the details on how to reset your healthy habits in 2018.

Dec 31, 2017

I met Raging Fyah during the Austin City Limits Music Festival this year and was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down and chat with Kumar Bent, front man for the 5-piece reggae band out of Jamaica. 

Dec 16, 2017

In this episode, I give Greg a special gift. Spoiler alert: hilarity ensues. We also chatted about Christmas traditions in Chicago that have got to go and I share an opportunity for you to volunteer with me in Houston! Tune in!

Dec 1, 2017

Passionate is an understatement for the wife and husband duo Jodi and Devon of Eden Restaurant & Paramount Events in Chicago. For having only been in business since 2011, the company has been able to establish themselves as a force in the Chicago catering scene, open a restaurant, launch a venue, and raise over 2 million dollars to support breast cancer research.

Eden, which opened earlier this year, merges farm fresh ingredients with international flavors. The Umami Donuts are insane. Think of something that’s between an empanada, a hushpuppy, and a filled doughnut. Rotating seasonal fillings like pork confit or miso mushrooms are wrapped in house made dough and fried to golden brown before being coated with a savory dust of spices. Served with a side of Raclette sauce (yeah, that’s the cheese you’ve been seeing flambéed and scrapped off onto everything on Facebook), these things are out of this world.

Chef Devon told us that what makes them even better is that he literally uses “catering scraps” for the fillings, reducing overall waste -- Literally the tastiest bits of scraps, we’ve ever had. 

Jodi is a woman on the go! Between overseeing all operations of the business, she also is an insane philanthropist, not just supporting non-profit organizations with funds, but providing them with a venue to host an event, leading the charge on annual fundraisers, and being an active board member. Check out the Paramount website HERE to see what organizations they are all about, and how they are giving back.

With a greenhouse in the parking lot, a beautiful urban facility nestled near the green line, high expectations, big plans, and an incredible drive. Paramount and Eden are going to continue to aim high and make an impact on Chicago with both delicious food and community support.

Nov 22, 2017

The Ignited team is super thankful to the amazing listeners, like you who tune in and support the show. We will continue to bring amazing stories of how music and food effects the lives of those we are interviewing, and also our own lives. We can’t express how grateful we are that you are along for the ride.

In this slightly ADD episode, find out what's been keeping Lauren busy, how Greg utilizes his vocal jazz performance degree to serenade his dog, and how Lauren almost chose to study French horn in college. Hear some amazing ways to prepare a Turkey (although it’s too late to start some of these for Thanksgiving), and also hear how a King Ranch casserole destroyed Thanksgiving. 

Whether you are prepping a Thanksgiving feast, or commuting out to see family, grab your mulled cider, your stretchy pants, and pop this episode on for a listen. 

We’d love to hear your favorite or least favorite Thanksgiving memory. Feel free to shoot us an email or leave them in the comments below.  

 

Happy Thanksgiving y'all

Nov 15, 2017

I was connected to DJ Chaney through the producer for the Ignited Podcast: DJ Kendrick. From the moment I started talking with Chaney, I was drawn into his energy. He has an upbeat and energized demeanor that just makes you feel like everything is weird, but also A-OK. He smiles a lot. He takes what you say to heart. And he talks about music like it changed his life--and, I'd venture to say it did indeed.

He was introduced to the music video directors that handled a few of the videos for the band One Direction, and after a series of events (tune in for details), these same directors agreed to work on the music video for his latest release: Saxo Jungle. 

Listen in to the episode to get these details plus more about his upbringing, his love for Houston, and what it felt like to survive the Las Vegas shooting. 

Oct 31, 2017

Greg and I got together to chat about our first full month as co-hosts, what we are going to be for Halloween, how Susan Sarandon started a Dart Bar movement, and the only music festival you absolutely CANNOT miss. 

Oct 30, 2017

I had the chance to host The Outer Vibe, a 5 piece band from Nashville, at a Sofar Sounds Show in Chicago in the Spring of 2017. They blew me away. Not only were their musical abilities breathtaking, they were some of the nicest people I had met in a long time. 

We brought them on the show to talk about their behind the scenes stories of what really happens on tour, the truth behind their popular song "Fiona," and their favorite comfort food. 

Take a listen and let us know what you think in the comments!

Oct 30, 2017

“There are good days. There are bad days. And there are crappy days,” says chef and owner of Whisk, Son of a Butcher, and soon to open Point and Feather, Rick Rodriguez. Rick sat down with the Ignited team to chat through the story of Son of a Butcher, the challenges of operating two restaurants, and what’s on the horizon for the Whisk team.

You may remember from our last run-in with Chef Rick that he was born in Mexico City, where he was introduced to food through prepping recipes with his grandmother. After moving to Chicago, Rick got a taste for corporate fast food, McDonald’s. This is where he realized that he could make a living in the food and hospitality industry. After working for other chefs, learning the ins and outs of how to operate a kitchen, he finally made the call to go into business with his brother David.

Chef Rick’s goal is to create approachable food with a Latin flair. This is perfectly summed up in the Masa Steak Fries at Son of a Butcher.  Potatoes are mashed and coated with Maseca (Mexican cornmeal), and fried to a crispy golden brown. The fries are then topped with perfectly cooked Arrachera skirt steak, house-made salsa verde, sour cream, and queso fresco. Think a Latin version of Poutine, crispy on the outside, and melt in your mouth in the middle with an explosion of Latin flavor in every bite.

Rick says it’s the responsibility that keeps him going. He is currently employing about 40 people between the two restaurants, and that number will be growing as the new Point and Feather endeavor gets underway. Even on those “crappy” days he knows that what his business and passion is providing for employees, families, and friends, and that keeps him powering through.

The sky is really the limit with Chef Rick, who told us that he could one day see himself opening and running a small boutique hotel, crafting a memorable and approachable experience for guests, complete with amazing Latin-inspired room service.

Listen in and find hear it from the man himself!

Oct 13, 2017

Welcome to The Lauren Ignited Podcast! If you came to us from Chefs Coast to Coast, we thank you! 

We've been talking with you and it sounds like y'all like the soul music and comfort food focus, so onward and upward! Our new co-host, Greg Perrine, will be chatting with Comfort Food Chefs in Houston and Chicago and I'll be chatting with Soul Musicians that are playing in Houston or Chicago. Let's do this!

Tune in to hear Greg's INSANE story about meeting one of the most famous (and sadly no longer with us) Chefs in Chicago. And, bonus--I share the story of how I met the Wailers that one summer not too long ago and went on multiple tour dates with them all over the United States. 

Questions? Comments? Tweet to me at @LaurenIgnited or DM me on Instagram at @LaurenIgnited.

XO!

-Lauren

Sep 30, 2017

We have a new co-host, y'all! And a new podcasting format! Woo! Lots of changes and all in the right direction. We've been talking with you and it sounds like y'all like the soul music and comfort food focus, so onward and upward!

Chefs Coast to Coast will transition to The Lauren Ignited Podcast starting October 2017! Our new co-host, Greg Perrine, will be chatting with Comfort Food Chefs in Houston and Chicago and I'll be chatting with Soul Musicians that are playing in Houston or Chicago. Let's do this!

Tune in to hear Greg's INSANE story about meeting one of the most famous (and sadly no longer with us) Chefs in Chicago. And, bonus--I share the story of how I met the Wailers that one summer not too long ago and went on multiple tour dates with them all over the United States. 

Questions? Comments? Tweet to me at @LaurenIgnited or DM me on Instagram at @LaurenIgnited.

XO!

Aug 30, 2017

Diana Dávila, Executive Chef and Owner of Mi Tocaya Antojeria, is showing diners a glimpse into her heritage and soul through every dish. Dávila grew up in the kitchen, working for her parent’s taqueria since she was 10 years old. Being part of that world, she didn’t want to open her own restaurant at first. After years of cooking for prestigious chefs and restaurants, then moving to D.C., where she was recognized as a “Culinary Rising Star” and “Female Force”, Dávila came back to Chicago. She wanted to create a place where she could express herself through her food and so Mi Tocaya Antojeria was born!  Explaining the word, antojo, as longing or craving, Dávila’s dishes are meant to be a taste of home.  She wants to share with diners that feeling of nostalgia and belonging, and you can feel it when you’re at Mi Tocaya; whether it’s the deliriously delicious small plates, their tasty drinks, or the colorful and homey atmosphere, you feel like you’ve been invited inside a cultural insider’s house.  If you’re looking for innovative food that references the traditions and comforts of Mexican culture, then Mi Tocaya Antojeria is the place to go! Find out more about Diana Dávila in this week’s episode of Chef’s Coast to Coast.

 

A look into Mi Tocaya Antojeria

 

Dávila's signature dish, Peanut Butter Lengua

  

 

Pick your poison

 

 

The best guacamole ever

 

Connect with Mi Tocaya Antojeria through Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of Chefs Coast to Coast. Don’t forget to catch up on past episodes or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play! We are now sponsored by Audible and happy to announce that you can now download a free book of your choice! Happy Reading! 

Aug 9, 2017

Chef’s Coast to Coast is highlighting a past favorite interview on this week’s episode. The “Chef’s Special,” typically a dish that uses the season’s best ingredients, is our version of bringing to light the stories of chefs that really spoke to us.

 

Chef Darnell Reed talks about his biggest influence on his cooking career, his great grandmother, Luella, for whom he credits his recipes and restaurant namesake- Luella’s Southern Kitchen.  Having been in the industry for over 18 years, traveling the world and working in many prestigious hotels, Darnell still found his passion for cooking in the southern dishes of his childhood.  His food has been described as “hug” inducing, and has in fact, made grown men cry.  Listen on to learn about Chef Reed’s 15 years-in-the-making perfected roux, why his wanderlust and his dishes are rooted in New Orleans, and who his all-time favorite WWE wrestler is on this week’s Chefs Coast to Coast.

 

Try This Week's Recipe!

Luella's Maple Pecan Pie

Maple Pecan Filling:

2/3 Cup Lightly Packed Brown Sugar
6 Eggs Beaten
½ Cup Melted Butter
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 ½ Cups Maple Syrup
3 Cups Pecan Halves

1.Whisk together the brown sugar and eggs.
2. Continue to whisk adding the melted butter, cornstarch and salt
until there are no visible lumps.
3. Lastly add the pecans and maple syrup.

PIE DOUGH:

1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Cake Flour
1 Tablespoon Sugar
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 ounces Chilled Unsalted Butter cut into ½ inch pieces
2 ounces Chilled Lard cut into ½ inch pieces
3 Tablespoons Ice Cold Water

FOR THE DOUGH:
1. In a food Processor, blend the flours, sugar and salt. Add chilled
butter and lard and pulse until well combined.
2. Sprinkle water over flour and pulse until dough forms moist clumps.
3. Gather dough together and wrap tightly into a round dough.
4. Flatten dough into disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
5. Refrigerate for about one hour.
6. Roll into a buttered and floured pie dish and freeze for at least
one hour. This helps prevent your crust from shrinking during baking.
7. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with dry beans or pie
weights and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.
8. Remove the paper and beans and you are ready to fill and bake your pie.

NOW TO BAKE:
1. Fill the crust with the filling.
2. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

Give Us Some Feedback!

Did you make the recipe? Share your results in the comments below!

Connect with Luella's Southern Kitchen on Twitter and Facebook

Don't forget to catch up on past episodes or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play!

We are now sponsored by Audible and happy to announce that you can now download a free book of your choice! Happy Reading! 

Thanks for tuning into this week's episode of Chefs Coast to Coast!

 

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